Well, you might have guessed it by now but I received my first transfer call this past Friday. I will be leaving Cold Mountain after 4 transfers/6 months/a quarter of my mission and I will be serving somewhere else in Kharkov! My guess is that I will go to Saltivka where I was for a week and half after Elder Schoen left but I could go to anywhere really. A huge group of missionaries just went home and many of them were serving in Kharkov so that's why there are so many open areas now up here. I could potentially serve with Elder Moss in Saltivka, that'd be cool. But only time will tell now. This Thursday is transfer day and I will find out who my new comp is and where my next area will be. Cold Mountain will always have a special place in my heart. I have learned a lot here, especially about accepting the Lord's will and working effectively. To answer your question why this area has been so difficult, well one, I am in Ukraine haha. People are not very open to the gospel. They have their own beliefs and hold strong to their Russian Catholic traditions. Many people just plain and simple don't believe in God or they only believe in God and nothing else. But you have to remember that 20 years ago this place was under Communism so people were told that there wasn't a God and were forced to believe a certain way. But nonetheless there are tons of prepared people here, we just have to find them and help them accept the gospel. Another reason that this area's been difficult is because it's a chastni dom sector, which basically means there are just houses everywhere very similar to neighborhoods back home. People don't want to talk about the church because they are wealthy around here. We've done lots of tracting but right when we say church the door slams basically. But a very big reason is because many missionaries before me have chosen to be lazy and have not done a lot of work in this area, saying that it's been "dead." But there are no dead areas, just dead missionaries. So lots of what I have done has been getting Cold Mountain revived. There are no bad areas either, each area just has differences. The work is the same all around though. People have a choice to accept the message we carry or reject it. All that we can do is invite. You might be interested to know that the work done here in the first 25 years of the Church being here is 10 times better than what was done in Brazil in its first 25 years. And we all know how the Church's success is there. And there are many prophecies of the work just exploding over here. The work is going how the Lord needs it to. But back to Cold Mountain, it's a great area. I am glad to have started my mission here. I love the people and the members are amazing. Elder Frandsen and I were talking and he told me that the mission just gets better from here. Coming on a mission is the best thing that I ever could've done. I've come so far and learned so much in a very short time and I still have a long time in front of me to grow everyday. It's awesome! I just thank the Lord everyday that I can be here and strive to learn from everything. My comps, the members, the people. It is an amazing work.
And now I've just got time to comment on your emails/add some tidbits. This past week I passed my 8 month mark. I think you know these dates but every 14th of the month is my in-Ukraine mark and every 29th of the month is on-my-mission mark. So basically my mission is 1/3 over. And this Friday is my 1 year anniversary of opening my call. Didn't I just open that yesterday? But seriously though. Time is crazy to think about, therefore I'm done talking about it haha. You might also like to know that only Elder Frandsen will be staying here in Cold Mountain. The other apartment will have two new elders next transfer and Elder Frandsen is probably going to train someone in my place. I'll keep you posted on what happens. So tomorrow I'm going to make a stop to Barabashova, the place that sells ties and lots of other things. They sell luggage there so I'm going to buy myself a carry-on. I still have some US money but everyone has told me to just pull off money instead of change it because I don't know when I might need it so I'm going to pull off $50 tomorrow from my account so watch for that. I have a few more package requests. You should send me several Kool-Aid mixes because we drank some last night and it was amazing, as well as some Ranch packets. That would be awesome. And I don't know if you were planning on sending this but I don't need the hairclippers anymore because the Burr's gave me theirs and I'll just carry them around throughout my mission now. And American candy is always good to get, like Reese's! But that's it though for the package. Just tell me whenever you send it and I'll be expecting it. Don't go too crazy again because that package was just massive last time!
I finished reading the Book of Mormon today in personal study! I don't know if you remember or not but before I left I started reading a paperback copy I had and was underlining all the names of Christ as well as missionary applications. I took it with me here and just finished it today. I counted 1596 references to Christ, which is almost exactly 3 per page. I know that the Book of Mormon is true with all of my heart. I have prayed about it every time I finish and I have felt the Holy Ghost testify to me that it is true. It is evidence that our Father in Heaven loves us and that Joseph Smith was and is the Prophet of the Restoration. It contains the fullness of the gospel and is the keystone of our religion. It was truly written for our day and guides me daily as I study it.
I love you all so much! I hope that you have a great week and that all is well. By the way, how is Dad's new job going? I'm sure it is going good. The Church is true and this work is amazing!
украинская донецкая миссия