Hey everybody! Hope you all had a good week. As I usually say, “This week has been a good one”. It's weird to me that it's already Christmas and at the end of the week I will have already been on my mission for 4 transfers (25% of my mission). Time flies for sure, it's been a good time thus far and I look forward to the rest of it.
This week we had a few interesting adventures. In one of these said adventures I fought a 60 year old woman. Yes, I was attacked by a 60 year old woman. It's okay, my companion got beat up by a 13 year old. All is well. It all started with a "behind the walls" at an aikido dojo. A member in our branch said there were a few people who he felt would be interested in hearing a message or simply meeting us. So we came into this Ukrainian Dojo and I immediately couldn't help but smile. It seemed as if all the cheesy parts from the Karate Kid movies were all manifested into this one room, mixed with "Rex Quando" from Napoleon Dynamite (to those who have not seen these films. The point is this 'Dojo' was pretty intense). Pictures of Ukrainian fighters on the walls right next to some weird looking katanas. Even though the room looked like something from a spoof, the people were super serious (as I would find out soon enough). The class started with the teacher demonstrating some moves and then having the class stand up, get a partner, and then spar. I stand up and look around. Everyone has a partner except for me. I'm looking around hoping to find a partner. Now to those of you who are reading this thinking "partner up with your companion dummy", he was already taken by a small thirteen year old who would soon bring him down like a lion takes down a giraffe. Anyway, I look in the corner and I find a person standing alone. An older woman who has tattoos from her wrist all the up to her neck. Seeing that she didn’t have a partner I walked up and paired with her. We stood on the mats and got into position. She motioned me to throw a punch at her. At this point, I just think that she wants to practice some exercises and I'm not going to punch an older woman (or any woman for that matter) if I don’t need too. So I slowly reach my hand out in a fist in front of her. The next thing I knew my arm was twisted behind my back, I was pushed into the wall, and the lady was whacking me in the head. While my head was pressed into the wall, I look over to see my companion on the ground, tapping out as the thirteen year old kid was about to break his arm. I broke out of the arm bar the scary lady put me in and just "dodged" everything she threw at me from there. After our super intense battle we got some lessons with some of the people afterwards and walked out of the dojo laughing and a little humbled. It was a pretty fun time.
More importantly though this week we had a big Christmas event on the 17th. It was a huge gathering in the center of the city. The missionaries in the city performed musical numbers, helped the branch in the area perform a nativity, and displayed the church's Christmas video. We had a little over two hundred people there. It was super cool. I was reminded about the greatness of the Savior and the wonderful message that Christmas can bring. We all come from different backgrounds, beliefs, cultures, but at least during this time of year the majority of a much divided people can come together and agree to be kind at the very least. I think that's what makes this season so special to so many people. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.
Give more than you get this year, and come closer to those you love!
Elder Cody L. Johnson