So I've been in Zaporozhye about a week now, and it's very different from anywhere else I've ever served. There are tons of youth and young adults here, and we spend most of our time with that age group. We hold events almost every night--like English Practice, Games Night, and Sports Night--so we don't really have days here where we look at our planner, see nothing scheduled, and realize we'll be contacting for 8 hours that day. Preparing for lessons is way different because I've gone from preparing to teach middle-aged people to preparing to teach those in the 15-25 age group.
My new companion is Elder Rex. He's been out two transfers (1 transfer = 6 weeks) longer than me. He's from Norman, Oklahoma, and will be a Sooner when he returns home in about a year. He is a prodigy on the piano and has gotten some of the youth in our branch to become interested in learning. One crazy thing about Elder Rex is that he has served in Zaporozhye his whole mission!! So he knows this place like the back of his hand. His Russian is pretty darn good, he got trained by a native, and then he himself trained in only his 4th transfer! So, yeah, this kid is cool.
The rest of the missionaries in our city are sisters, and there's four of them. I'm not sure how common that is, but we elders are outnumbered. It's actually pretty awesome, though, because it brings the average maturity level up a few notches. When we do bubble contacting in the park, they can approach the kids and their families much easier than we elders can. In the end, there are some doors, literally and figuratively, that sisters can get into that elders can't, so I hope we'll see some good stuff happen here in Zaporozhye.
Some awesome things about Zaporozhye are:
There's a bakery across the street from the church building, and it is 1) delicious and 2) super inexpensive. So I'm pretty happy.
Soccer fields are actually free here (as opposed to Odessa).
There's a large Wal-mart-type store here that sells European products, so I can finally have chips and salsa again!!
So, yeah, those are a few little fun facts for y'all. Oh, yeah, and all of the sisters I served with in the MTC are here together in Zaporozhye, so that's a bit of a party. They all hit their halfway mark last week and will celebrate today by burning a skirt or a dress or whatever it is sisters do at their halfway point.
Another awesome tidbit! Evdakia has a baptismal date! She has been having spiritual experience after spiritual experience and miracle after miracle, and no one will be able to stop her from doing what she believes needs to be done. She's so strong! A month ago she believed the Book of Mormon was true, but wanted to finish it before getting baptized. Now she just can't wait any longer and will be getting baptized regardless where she is in her reading.
Anyway, that's pretty much everything I think. Love you all; hope life is good!