Hey there family and friends!
Well, it's been a pretty dang good week here in Ulianovsk! I came in Tuesday morning with my new companion, Elder Lewis, and starting from the first day we were getting some way good work done! I love this town so dang much. I'm thinking it's a combination of spring really starting up (the trees are budding!) and a lot of people in the town telling me I have way good Russian. Weird! I rarely got those kind of compliments in Saratov, especially from people on the streets, but for whatever reason I got a lot of compliments this past week. Good stuff!
Me and Elder Lewis are the only missionaries here in Ulianovsk, which is pretty fun since you can go anywhere you'd like in the city and still feel confident that it's your area. Good times! This also happens to be Lenin's home town, so sometime in the future you'll probably see a picture or two of me standing in front of Lenin house. The branch here is relatively small, with about 15-20 active members (yesterday there were only 11, counting the missionaries, for some reason), but I already love this little branch so much. There's just so much love and desire in these members, and I can't wait to get to know them better and work with them!
Last Sunday was Easter in Russia, but I heard a little story that I thought was interesting. The dying of eggs actually has a Christian background, as it turns out. As the story goes, a woman found out that Christ was resurrected and came to tell a king (or some high govenor) about it. Generally, only rich people could come and see the king and were required to bring a gift to him, but because of the uniqueness of the situation, the poor woman was let it, carrying with here only a chicken and some eggs. When she told that king that Christ was risen, he said to her "I don't believe it. But I will believe you if, somehow, these eggs turn red as blood" And sure enough, they did! Crazy! So apparently that's why people color eggs on easter, in rememberence of this event/miracle. Cool stuff!
Lets see here, what's more to say. Elder Lewis is a champ. He's been out the same amount of time as me and has good Russian. He's a red-head that has some Irish background, so we like listening to Celtic music. He's a great cook and has served here for about 3 months now (we served in the same District when I was in Dachney, and left for Ulianovsk when I left to Zavodskoi for the second time). Speaking of which, ya'll remember [...]? She got baptized! Yay! My first baptism! You'll have to add [...] on facebook to see pictures of the baptism (his mom keeps his facebook pretty well updated I hear). That was way exciting to hear :)
Mom, as for pronouncing Ulianovsk (and, for everyone else too actually) it sounds like oo-li-aun-ovsk (with the -oo- being pronounced like in moon). And I like how you put my middle name like the Russians do! It's always fun telling people that my middle name in Russian would be Darrellovich!
I know I already mentioned it, but I really do love how it's spring time now. People are more happy and willing to talk, which is always a day brightener to have a fun conversation with a happy Russian. I hope ya'll are appreciating the Spring. Take some pictures of our cherry tree for me if you can! That thing always looks so pretty this time of year.
I love you so much! Every one of you! Thanks for reading my weekly ramblings and caring for me. It's always a miracle for me to think that I'm writing from the other side of the world to my favorite people in the world (followed very closely by the Russians!). My prayers and my heart are with you all, and I feel the same feeling from you too. Be good now, and if you're bored, try making a borsh like I did this week! :)
With love and smiles,