Monday, January 9, 2017

Merry Ukraine Christmas!

Merry Ukrainian Christmas!!  For those of you who are Russian Orthodox, I hope you had a great holiday. 

Though I can say I love to celebrate holidays, I can't even compare to the people of Ukraine. I'm pretty sure there are about 4 holidays per month in Ukraine. Example: in 5 days there will be a celebration for the holiday,"Old new years eve" I can't really complain though because everyone is a lot nicer during the holidays and if the holidays take up 80% of the year then things are looking pretty good.

To celebrate Ukrainian Christmas, our Branch (church congregation) had a Christmas celebration/concert the night of. It was a pretty cool thing to see a lot of the older members of our church revealing their hidden talents for the concert. I was really surprised to see Vladmir, a 68-year-old man who is always smiling, rock out on the electric guitar to the trans Siberian orchestra. Needless to say it was the coolest Christmas party ever. The missionaries sang a few Christmas songs as well, but we were nothing compared to the talents of the Branch members. We had a few investigators come to the party and it was good for them to see that members of our church are actually people (and some of the coolest people at that) and not just indoctrinated fools who eat glue in a dark closet.

UKRAINE TRIVIA: Many Orthodox Christian churches in Ukraine observe the Christmas Day date from the Julian calendar, which is different from the more commonly used Gregorian calendar. So, while Christmas is still on December 25 in the Julian calendar, it appears on January 7 in the Gregorian calendar, up until 2100.

This week I can say I officially was hit by a wave of realizing I was in another country. Elder Anderson and I went to see a member who couldn't go to church due to some health reasons. To give the member, who has been inside for a few months something to look forward to, we planned to meet with him and make borscht. We gathered up all the ingredients and under the very specific instruction of Belaus (the member), we made the perfect pot of borscht. We sat down and started to eat. In the middle of the meal Belaus's head shot up and said that we were missing something very important to the meal. He hobbled over towards his computer and started typing like a mad man. Occasionally he would look over his shoulder at us to make sure we couldn't see what he was doing. After about 5 minutes of this he turned around and smiled showing his one bottom tooth. He hit the "enter" key on his computer and music started to play. Smiling, he hobbled back over, looked at us and said, "Merican music". We couldn't hear the song at first but as we listened we realized that he was playing Pink Floyd's, "Dark Side of the Moon". 
Here I was, sitting in a little concrete apartment, eating borscht to Pink Floyd with a little Ukrainian man. In that little second I was hit with the wave that I am far from home. It was a pretty cool experience.

Look how thick the ice/snow is on the road 

 I have really been loving this mission. It has been a real adventure and I feel like I have grown closer to my Father in heaven as I have invited others to do the same. 

I hope all is going well for you readers out there. Celebrate some holidays; make some up if you need to. 

Love you all and until next week. 

-Elder Johnson

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