Monday, October 3, 2011

Week 3 in Cold Mountain

Hello Family!

It's been an interesting and challenging week so I'll get started with
everything. Elder Schoen and I both kind of caught colds this week so this
made it hard to work. We're pretty much over them now so don't worry or
anything. We did a lot of area book work this week, just calling old
investigators and seeing if they would be interested in meeting again. Most
of them said that they weren't and one of them wants to meet later on this
month. You probably remember Victoria, the lady who found the purse. Well,
we invited her to church and she said she'd come, but she didn't come. So we
called her the next day and when she found out that it was us she hung up.
So we're going to hold off a little on talking to her. She does have a Book
of Mormon though so that's about as much as we can do right now. Hopefully
she will change in the future and will want to hear the message of the
gospel. We do have an investigator though, Aleksei. We are meeting him again
tonight at the branch building. We haven't met him since last Sunday because
he was in Kiev last week and it's also hard to meet with people more than
once a week here I guess because they don't want to meet very often. But
nonetheless, we're meeting tonight and we hope that our lesson will be good.
We are going to focus on the doctrine of Christ and do our best to help him
understand the importance of repentance. I really think that he will be
baptized if he can understand this. My companion told me what the Europe
Area President said when he came. He said that "If a person understands
repentance and repents that he will be baptized." So this is what we need to
focus on when we teach people. The reason that they don't get baptized is
because they don't understand repentance. We are hoping to find some new
investigators this week through members and contacting. With General
Conference coming up this weekend, we are having members invite people they
know to come and listen to it. Aleksei wants to come so we'll be talking
more about it tonight as well. We will watch Priesthood and another session
this Saturday, and then the rest on Sunday. It is all on DVD and will come
in English and Russian. I guess they send it to Kiev and then Kiev sends it
to us. I'm really excited for General Conference. I hear that it was good! I
am going to do the things that Elder Uchtdorf suggested from now on for
conference. The words we hear are truly from God and are what we need to do
for the next six months. We are spoiled back at home haha. We can all watch
conference in our own homes and record it for ourselves. The people here
cannot do that. And some of them live far away from the branch building and
so it's like an all day thing to watch conference. Last night we were
teaching Valera and his wife a lesson about conference and challenged them
to invite people to go to conference. His wife asked us if we had ever been
to conference in person. Elder Schoen said no because he lives in Canada. I
said no as well and was really embarrassed because I've had so many chances
to go but I've just been too lazy or was working or something. I was humbled
very quickly by that experience. I know that I have been kind of casual
about conference back home. But now I really understand why it's so
important. We have prophets and apostles that speak to us on behalf of the
Lord! We ought to do what they say and listen! So I am really looking
forward to conference this weekend. I'm excited to listen and learn what I
need to work on and to learn from the Spirit what I can do to improve.

On Saturday we did a service project for the zoo in Kharkov. It was the
country wide day of service in Ukraine for the Church. We moved a bunch of
bricks, branches, and leveled off dirt for them. And then we got to stroll
through the zoo. It was the most depressing zoo I've ever been to! I had
heard this from elders but I didn't really know why. And now I can say that
I know why haha. From the pictures you can see maybe how depressing it was
haha. Just the location and everything was depressing. The kiddie rides and
the animals just looked sad! Elder Rallison said that last time they went to
the zoo that it was worse because the animals were attacking each other
haha. And it rained the whole day so that made it depressing as well. I will
never look at a zoo the same anymore. There is no zoo like the Ukrainian
zoo! But it was good to get together and do service though. The Church is
new here. The members need help knowing how to run everything and service
projects are great to get the Church out there in the open.

I forgot to say that we have a deep fryer in our apartment!
We're the only elders that have one haha. We make french fries and we did
some chicken this past week. It's awesome! I also forgot to mention a few
things about Elder Schoen. He is actually from Ontario, not Toronto and he
plays the drums! He also dated Neil Peart's niece and he kind of knows their
family. He brought a practice pad and sticks so sometimes we play together
haha. And also, last week I said we get 1600 grieven a month but we really
get 1200 a month. I meant that we're hoping to get 1600 a month. We just got
our new grieven for this month so we can go to the store again. It's hard to
live on a little bit of money but we manage. I was going to ask you if our
ward has mission plaques yet? Whenever they get one, I want the scripture to
be D&C 100:3-8. I was reading those verses again this week and that whole
section is awesome. I know that Heavenly Father is watching over you and
blesses you everyday. I know that this is His work and that He has suffered
me to come to Ukraine for a reason. And I know that through our faith and
desires to serve Him that we will be blessed.

I want to involve you guys in the program that we're doing here. It is
called My Zion. It comes from 'mission' in Spanish and is split up into My
Zion. We are all missionaries and we should all have our own Zions that
contribute to the whole Zion. Next week I will send you a pdf of the list
that we pass around to members and non-members about how to build their own
Zions. It has different categories of people like friends, work, family,
etc. that you know and that you think need to hear the Gospel. You should
pray about names and write them down, then pray about action to invite them
to hear more about the gospel. For me, I am going to be sending my testimony
to my friends and people on my Zion list and then the office here will
contact missionaries where they live to go and visit them and teach them if
they accept the invitation. So I challenge and invite you to pray about
people that you may know that could hear the gospel. And pray for ways to
talk about it or come in contact with them to do so. For us right now, we
are inviting people to General Conference to come and hear why our Church is
different and that we have living Prophets and Apostles. Maybe you could
invite people to come watch conference if you recorded it or watch online?
But the whole idea is that we are all missionaries and we all have a
responsibility of building the Lord's kingdom. We are helping the members
here to learn how to be better member missionaries and My Zion is how it
needs to work. But we can't teach this and ask for referrals if we don't do
it ourselves. The goal is to have it work in our own lives and then be able
to tell people here, "Hey, I'm doing it back home and this is how it's
working." So thanks for those two addresses of my friends. I really feel that this program is
inspired of the Lord and is how the work can move forward in Ukraine and for
each of our Zions. President Campero came up with the idea and I know that
it can work if we are faithful and involve the Lord in helping us build His
kingdom through our personal Zions.

I love you guys and hope that you continue to grow in testimony and in love
together. Have a good week!

Cold Mountain Missionaries

Elder Keown and Elder Schoen

Not only are the animals sad, the cages are too!

Even the rides are sad!

Ukrainian Child Feeding a Monkey

Elder Keown Feeding a Sad Looking Animal

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