Monday, April 2, 2012

Saltovka - Week 4

Privet family!

This past week was great here in Saltovka. The Lord blessed us with two new investigators. The first new investigator is Cody, the missionary from the Church of Christ. We met with him on Thursday and had a good lesson. He has several concerns that we're hoping to clear up next time: God having a body of flesh and bone, Priesthood authority/baptism, and Lehi leaving Jerusalem. He also said that all of the lesson just sounded really random to him but that he's all about praying to know if this is for him or not. From what I've heard the Church of Christ is a break off from the Baptist Church and he was explaining to us that there are different levels of the church or something. We are going to meet with him with Elder Bailey next time, who is here on a senior couple mission right now. He's been a bishop and will be our member on lessons with Cody. I think that he could end up getting baptized but at the same time it would be crazy if he did since he's here on a mission from his church. We'll see! And our other new investigator this week is named Roman. He is a contact that the sisters passed to us and is 15 years old. They found him and his mom at a bus stop and got their number. They wanted to meet with them together but Roman ended up calling the sisters and setting up a time to meet. So they met on Wednesday after district meeting and Roman brought chocolates and roses for the sisters haha. So he got passed to us. We met with Roman on Friday and had an AWESOME lesson with him! He understood everything we talked about and especially liked the fact that we have a living Prophet and Apostles on the earth today. At the end of the lesson we felt impressed to ask him to be baptized. He said that he was already baptized and therefore didn't understand the need to do it again. So we explained the authority of the restored Priesthood again and he understood. He said that it is a very serious decision but that he will pray and keep reading the Book of Mormon to find out. He's so cool. He also came to Church yesterday for all 3 hours and was at the end of 2 Nephi in his reading! We're meeting with him tonight with a member family as part of their FHE and teaching the Plan of Salvation. I really hope it's a good lesson. There aren't many youth in Saltovka so him joining the Church at this stage of his life would be awesome. Since he is under 18 his mom has to give us a written and signed paper that it is OK to teach him because that is Ukraine and Russian law. We're really blessed to be teaching Roman.

Also this week the sisters passed us another investigator. His name is Fyodor. He and his wife Loodmilla have been taught almost everything over the past six months but they don't feel ready for baptism yet. A quote from Fyodor on a previous lesson was "It's not a question of IF I get baptized, it's when" However, Fyodor is very prideful and wants his baptism to be some huge event. Loodmilla on the other hand is ready but she doesn't believe it. She prays and reads her scriptures which her husband doesn't do, but she wants to be baptized with Fyodor. So this past week we had a lesson with them and got to know them a bit. They are in their mid-60s. Fyodor had to leave halfway through so we talked to Loodmilla for the end of the lesson. She knows she needs to get baptized but doesn't want to choose a date without Fyodor. So we have made a goal to help them get on date this month. And a man in the district presidency will be with us on lessons so we'll see how this all turns out. The Lord is blessing us with several awesome people to meet with in our area. It's amazing!

On Tuesday last week we went on splits with the Zone Leaders. Our Zone Leaders are Elder Smith from California and Elder Solin from St. Petersburg, Russia. They are awesome. My split was with Elder Smith. We did some tracting and witnessed several miracles. We found an apartment building and started from the top knocking/ringing doors. We got about halfway down and rung a door. An older lady answered and we started to talk to her. She didn't understand anything we were saying. She called her daughter to come and talk to us in English because she thought we were speaking English, not Russian. Her daughter came out for a few seconds and looked at us then went back to her room. So we tried talking to the lady again and she understood a little but not really anything. Then to both of our surprises she said "Come in, sit down and we'll talk." I've never heard of anyone getting let into a house from tracting. This was the first miracle. So we came in and she asked us "What's the difference between your Church and all the other ones?" So we basically just dove into the first lesson with her and talked about the Book of Mormon. However, within like five minutes she didn't want to talk to us anymore and was about ready to kick us out. She said that she'd learned what she wanted to. But then Elder Smith said "To be honest, the difference is that our Church is true." And then something changed. She wanted to know more and allowed us to keep talking. So we continued the lesson and got talking about prophets and apostles and Priesthood. She found it hard to believe these things but then saw on the back of a paper we had given her the Articles of Faith. She started to read them outloud and ask us about them. She got to "we believe in the gift of tongues" and said something like "How is this true? You can understand me but I can't understand you." I didn't know how to answer that question so Elder Smith said "Well we haven't been here that long but it's a miracle that even though this language is hard you can understand our message and feel the Spirit." I was praying a lot during this visit that the Spirit would be there and that this lady would understand our purpose. Then she said "Wow. That's right. You truly have the gift of tongues. I want to know more about your Church. It's interesting. Can I come to Church? When can we meet again?" So we gave her the address and everything and got her number. This was an amazing experience. I learned from it how the Spirit changes people's hearts. This lady went from not understanding us to telling us we had to gift of tongues and wanting to come to Church and meet. I'm so grateful the Lord allowed us to find this lady. And did I mention that Tuesday night was the only night she was home at that time from work? The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Now for some little tidbits/comments. No I did not see conference yet. We get to see Priesthood and one Saturday session this Saturday and then the rest on April 15th because next Sunday is Easter. Sounds like it was awesome though. I'm excited to watch it! This past week I had my 9 month mark on the mission. I have had my first mission baby haha. And this is crazy, Elder Moss got a tapeworm maybe from Armenia and had to take the pills used for the end of our missions for killing off any worms early. He named it Charles. And Charles is now dead. But don't freak out or anything, I feel fine and can eat without making myself so I'm pretty sure I don't have any worms. Yet.

Have a great week! I love you all! Enjoy Spring Break and the crazy weather at home. Talk to you next Pday.

с любовью,
старейшина каун
украинская донецкая миссия

ps- pics are the KFC in Armenia, my new friend in Armenia, and pictures I got this week of the Saltovka building. enjoy

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