Hello Again Family!
Another week has gone by and today is the five week mark (six if you count the first three days here as a week). So I am part of the group of the older Russian elders now. We're getting like forty new Russian elders next Wednesday that we will be the example to. It's weird how fast the time has gone by. All of the Russian elders left this week so we have been stealing their desks and fans for our classroom. A few of them didn't get their visas though, so they are going to be here for one more week. Apparently UPS lost them or something so they are getting redone. It was for some elders going to Vladivostok so I don't think Ukraine is too affected by visas. Also, last Friday I had to pack up my things and move exactly one floor up in our building due to bed bugs being detected on our floor. So that was pretty fun. Elder Moss thought it was funny because bed bugs are everywhere in Ukraine and so it was like a drill haha. Pretty soon we will be packing up for real and I'm not going to know what hit me!
I think I may have already mentioned this but our District Leader was made Zone Leader this past week leaving him to do both callings. So they called a new district leader on Sunday and it is Elder Whitmore. He reminds me exactly of Josh Gibbons and he also knows him too so it's pretty cool. We are really striving to be the examples now because we are the old guys and have to set the stage.
I received some cards written from young women in our stake. They were hilarious and my district and I still laugh about what some of them said. One girl gave me her phone number. Another girl asked me how many baptisms I have had. And another girl ended her letter by saying "I'm at camp.. and you're not" hahaha and I didn't even know like any of these people either, so that made it even funnier.
Let's see, in teaching Anya and Valera this week, we had some good teaching experiences. Anya is praying now and went to church. We challenged her to go again and she accepted. But the main experience I want to talk about with her happened at the end of one of our lessons with her. In preparing for this lesson, Elder Moss and I role played and I thought that maybe we should ask her if she had a desire to be baptized based on the things we had taught her. So I learned how to say it in Russian, wrote it down, then kind of forgot about it. When we got to this lesson, I didn't even think about asking her this and was just focused on what I had prepared to say. So we were almost out of time and I said that we had to go, but then Elder Moss said that we could stay for like five more minutes and he just started going off on something. I don't even remember what was being talked about, but shorty after he started talking I just had this overwhelming impression to ask Anya if she had a desire to be baptized based on the things we had taught her. My mind was scrambling about how to say this, and then I remembered "I wrote this down on my paper!" So I found it (sure enough on my paper) and showed it to Elder Moss. He nodded that it would be good to say. So I asked her the question and she said yes! Now, I know that she is not a real investigator and that she won't be baptized, but this gave me just a small taste of what could happen in the field. These investigators are based off of real people that the person knows, so Anya is probably based off of a girl in Kiev, Ukraine. I have never felt an impression as strong as this to ask someone a certain question. I know that it was the Spirit prompting me and that it only came through my faith and obedience. I can't wait to get to Ukraine and start teaching real investigators! Valera is doing good as well. He went to church with his family and liked it. We taught him with a "member" (Elder Taylor, whose named was Nikolai) about the Plan of Salvation. I shared 2 Nephi 2:25 with him and he asked us a really hard question to answer, even in English. It was "How can good people that are hard working have so many trials in their lives and people that are wicked have so much fun in their lives?" We are still working on an answer for him. In Ukraine, the babushkas are the working class and live hard lives just to provide for themselves, while others have more successful lives and don't seem to work at all. This is where the question came from. It is a totally different world over there.
To answer your questions in your dearelder, Elder Lewis is from Phoenix, Arizona and Elder Groothuyzen is from Sonora, California. Elder Moss's name is Zach and he went to Utah State. I got to go to the Temple last week for the first time and will be going again later on today because it is open again. The cafeteria food is alright. I am getting sick of some of it, but it's okay. Brother Eckersley has been telling us stories of what he had to eat in Ukraine...the MTC food is much better haha. We play four square every day in gym and now I play basketball sometimes now that all of the other elders are gone and the crowds have died down.
I love you guys so much and hope that you're doing good! I will write some more in my letter today. Tell every one I love them!
Love, Elder Keown