Hello Again Family!
It has been another week and many things have happened so I'll get started!
So, remember Elder Hunsaker that I talked about last week that Elder Moss and I taught? Well he decided to go home for a little bit to get help with some clinical depression problems that he's been having. I think that a lot of it was that he didn't want to be here and that he just wanted to be in Russia already because he already speaks it very well and didn't learn anything here. However, once he's cleared he can fly straight to Vlad so we all think that he will be okay. Last week in TRC, Elder Moss and I taught a guy from Kharkiv named Emil! It was pretty sweet to teach a native Ukrainian. We talked about the Book of Mormon and how we can receive revelation from reading it. I am already seeing that Ukrainian people have a lot of faith just from what he was telling us. They have been through a lot and many of them do not even know that there is something better for them in the world. So I believe that many of them live by faith without knowing it. Let's see, two days ago Elder Metcalf and Elder Ingersoll left for Chile and El Salvador. They both got here the same day as me so if I was a 9 weeker than I would have left yesterday. And also yesterday, Elder Aoki left for the Guatemala MTC. I got some pictures with him so I'll send them. He's doing really good and I know that he'll be just fine. Also, on Monday Elder Moss and I went to the real world again haha. His eye has been really bothering him and so we got to go to a fancy eye doctor. It's crazy how many people notice the missionaries when you're not in the MTC. I talked to a lot of people just in the waiting room. We have to go back next week sometime so our goal is to do a contact. We'll see how it goes. We received our official Russian name tags yesterday! Keown is now KAYH. So sweet! I'm not going to wear mine until right before I leave and so I'll try and get a picture to you guys. I will also send home my English tags.
So last night for Devotional all of our dreams came true - we got to hear from an Apostle for the first time in 10 weeks. THE Elder Jeffrey R. Holland came and spoke to us. It was an amazing experience to say the least. We have been getting there early every week for good seats so I sat within 15 feet of him. I could just feel his spirit the whole meeting and I knew that everything he said was true. I took a whole bunch of notes, but there are a few things that really stuck out to me. The first was that all of the missionary work that is talked about will take place in our dispensation. It will not end in Apostasy like the other dispensations. All of the prophets and missionaries in the past truly saw our day. Their missions were not very successful, but because they saw our day and what we would be capable of doing, they kept going and didn't get discouraged. Alma and Amulek saw this day and they were awesome missionaries themselves! And just as we look to prophets and missionaries of old for inspiration, they look to us today to keep the work moving forward. The second thing is that if the Church were to have an icon, it would be two missionaries. Everyone loves the missionaries. And everyone has a right to think that we are perfect. Now when Elder Holland talks, sometimes he gets very stern in saying things. This is a stern part right here. YOU DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO DAMAGE THIS ICON. NEVER DO ANYTHING NOW OR IN THE FUTURE THAT WILL DAMAGE WHAT PEOPLE THINK OF YOU AND THIS CHURCH. He also talked about how a few things really irk him and one of them is seeing returned missionaries come home who just didn't get it. They fall away from the Church and Elder Holland just has to wonder "What on earth did you do for the last two years?" He told us to go in for the whole experience and to come back a new person for the rest of your life. Elder Holland's mission meant and means the world to him. He said that there hasn't been a day in the past 49 years where he hasn't thought about his mission. He also testified that every single good thing in his life has come from serving his mission. He doesn't believe that anyone in the whole world can be affected as much as he was by his mission. He answered a few questions that I guess were posed by missionaries before he came. One was "What is the most important thing Christ wants us to know right now?" And he answered that He wants us to know that every single thing that He said was true. This especially means the doctrine of Christ- Faith, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. And somehow we must convey this to everyone we teach. Christ's words are true. He lived and lives today. I am going to do all I can to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength so that I my return with honor and let my mission change my life. I have already changed so much just being here. I know that Heavenly Father will help me become the missionary that He needs me to be and that the experiences I have will shape my life forever.
And now to comment on dearelders - I'm glad you received the package with the pictures. Happy Anniversary! I can't believe it's been 25 years years! Crazy stuff! It sounds like it was a good one for you. Well, I need to wrap this up. I love you guys so much! Two weeks from yesterday I will leave! I will let you know if I need anything else. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Have a good week! Love you!
Love, Elder Keown