Monday, January 9, 2012

I've Lost Track of Whatever Week This Is In Cold Mountain!

Hello family! I hope that you've had a good first week of 2012. Thanks for you emails and things, it is always great to hear from you all. This past week has been good for Elder Robison and I. We have two new investigators. They are both older women probably in their 50's. They have just been contacts for a while because every time that Elder Schoen and I tried to meet with them they couldn't meet or just had excuses or something. But we met with them and they are interested to learn more. They are both interested in English and both of them have known about the Church since several years back when the missionaries taught English classes. The one is named Natalia and the other is Angela. Natalia believes that the Book of Mormon is true but needs to pray about it and Angela seems to mostly be there for English. But we will see what happens. We meet with them with members only so if we can develop a good relationship between them and the members then anything can happen! Dima and Vova are progressing along. We taught them the Plan of Salvation this past week. They said it was very interesting to them but was a lot to take in. We are trying to work with them to get them on date for baptism. We felt that the 11th of February would be great but they still don't want to commit. They said that they would think about it and we will talk more this week. I really hope that they decide to be baptized and receive an answer! I think I said this already but I believe that they will, just maybe not while I am here. But it will be awesome when they do!

This past week we had Zone Conference. It was a really good, like always. The main subject of the conference was Obedience and working together to understand the white handbook without any concerns. We also talked a lot about how the Lord knows that we can't be perfect all at once. That's why we have a mission and the rest of life to pursue it. But even in this life we will never be perfect. Our perfect example never called Himself perfect until AFTER his resurrection. There is a reference from Elder Christofferson's conference talk about repentance that I learned from this conference. And that is that we can pray for the time and opportunities to improve ourselves instead of just simply praying to be able to do everything at once. I am hard on myself sometimes and this is exactly what I needed to hear. One elder going home soon related Elder Uchtdorf's talk about the golden ticket. I think that I've been focused too long on my golden ticket (being that missionary that I always want to see myself as) that some days I forget to taste the chocolate. I'm on my mission and that in itself is amazing! Every day is a new day and I can always improve and do better than I did the previous one. And of course all of this is possible because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to be able to repent daily and to come to know Him better. We also talked a lot about what President Bennett told us and President Campero laid the foundation for some different things he wants to do. There are many new things we will be doing to improve the work here, but one of them is a new daily schedule. It is really awesome, I am loving it so far! We get up at normal time and then are out the door by 7. We find and talk to people until about 8:30, then come back for exercise, shower, and breakfast. 9:45 is personal study, 10:45 is comp study, and then we're out on the street again by 12. We're back at 1:30 for lunch, then we study Russian at 2:30, 3:30 we do some Area Book, 4:00 is dinner and then 5-9 is on the street or teaching lessons. We're the only mission doing this right now. It wouldn't surprise me if other missions start the same schedule eventually. But I really enjoy it because it just splits everything up and there's a greater purpose to work towards it feels like. President Campero is an inspired man.

Elder Robison and I found a very prepared man on the street this past week named Nikolai. We were headed off to our usual spot to find people but I suggested that we turned right down the opposite road since it's part of our area as well and we had never really gone there. (Plus I wanted to check out a store down that way and see if they had pizza seasoning haha. We can't find that stuff anywhere here anymore!) So we went walking down this side of the street and we tried to talk with everyone but no one would even give us the time of day. But we just kept talking with people and we approached a man probably in his late 40's and we quickly realized that he had been prepared to meet with us. He said that he has read all of the Book of Mormon and thinks that it is a very good book. He has a very strong faith in Jesus Christ and he loves the Bible. He likes the Bible better than the Book of Mormon though he said. He had very interesting views about religion in general, and he told us that he's been searching for the true church for 20 years. We asked him if he prayed about the Book of Mormon and he said no, but that he wants to meet with us and talk more. He said something like "It's written in the Bible that there's one Lord, one faith, one baptism but I don't know where that is." So we testified to him about the Church and said that we have a living prophet on the earth as well. He really liked this and was glad to hear it. We are hoping to meet with him this week. We believe that we were led to him and that he is very prepared to hear the gospel. President Campero has been changing the outlook of this mission in many ways, one way is instead of saying "we're going contacting" we say "we're going to find the elect." (D&C 29: 4-7) In my patriarchal blessing I am told that I will find people that are deemed the Lord's elect, who are ready to hear the gospel through me. It's so awesome to be here!!

In my personal study, I have started to read the New Testament as well as Jesus the Christ. I am loving it! I just finished the Sermon on the Mount and I am really excited to be reading Jesus the Christ alongside the New Testament. I am planning on reading the Old Testament as well and then leaving D&C until the end of my mission. It's a great opportunity to study the gospel everyday. I am grateful for it and for everything that I learn everyday. That is definitely one thing I have learned from my mission so far, the importance of daily feasting on the words of Christ. Truly, they tell us all things that we should do. The gospel is true. I know it with all my heart. I'm so grateful to be here on my mission and to help these people come unto Christ. There's nothing better than this work on the earth. I am just a servant of the Lord and I am learning that this isn't my mission, it's His.

I love you all very much! Tell everyone hello and send them my love. Have a good week and stay strong!

с любовью,
старейшина каун
украинская донецкая миссия

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