We visited Sumy to check Elders & Sisters apartments, present a fireside, visit Institute & Seminary classes and speak to the Branch President about enrolling students. As always, we were received warmly – the people are wonderful. We found time to go out for pizza with the missionaries.
The fireside topic was education. The emphasis was that learning spiritural things first makes other learning more effective, and knowing and understanding ourseves helps us make better choices. With an interpreter one wonders if the message delivered is the message received, and the spirit witnessed to us that our message was received.
When we check apartments we walk from one to another. While walking we took a few pictures. The main river running through town is frozen over and serves as an area for recreation – pulling children on sleds and ice fishing. Pulling children on these sleds is a main mode of transportation for the little ones. We see this in the city of Kharkov, too, right on the sidewalks of the main part of the city. The little boy on the sled is holding a Ukrainian flag.
This is a family we met on the train ride back from Sumy. They were in the coupe next to us and heard us struggling with the door of our coupe which got stuck, and we couldn’t get out. The young man came to our rescue, and we discovered that both the husband and wife spoke English. They had lived in Alaska for a year after they were married. They are from Lugansk, which is south of Kharvov. They said they wanted to have a family of 3 or 4 children – something unusual for Ukrainians. Most of the families have one child, or two at the most. There are a few families in the church with 4 or 5 children, but this is certainly the exception. We had a wonderful time chatting with this lovely young couple.