Христос воскрес! (That means Christ is Risen in Russian and is what everyone says to you on the street for Easter.) Thanks for your emails, they were great. It sounds like you had a pretty good week so I'm glad. My week was awesome. Crazy of course but I wouldn't have it any other way. I'll start from the beginning. So last Monday we had a lesson with Roman at a member family's house. We started to teach the Plan of Salvation and like five minutes into the lesson he was like "Hey by the way I'm leaving tomorrow to go to Italy for two months." It turns out that his family lives there and he goes there every year for two months to visit them and whatnot. So unfortunately Roman has left us. But he wants to meet again for sure when he gets back so I'm faithful we'll meet up again. As long as I don't get transferred anytime soon I'll still be here so that'll be cool. He's a great kid. We had a lesson with one of our brother investigators on Tuesday. I can't remember if I've talked about brothers or not. It is just a term we use for the black brothers that are here for school from Africa. So we have an investigator named Richy who is a brother. He doesn't like the BOM because he found tons of anti stuff online so he only likes us to teach him with the Bible. So we taught the Restoration to him using the Bible and then at the end worked in the BOM. It was really an awesome lesson. Everything just fit together perfectly and I know he felt the Spirit. He still wants to stick to the Bible but we committed him to pray whenever he's ready to know the truth. And we also had a lesson with Cody, the Church of Christ missionary. We had Elder and Sister Bailey (a senior couple here) with us on the lesson because not very members know English. We answered some of his questions, mainly why God has a body and how we know that He does and how the Priesthood works and how it was restored. I thought it was a good lesson. He understands our views on things but he just believes differently because that's how he grew up and that's what he reads in the Bible. But he wants to keep meeting with us though which is great. He is reading the BOM and asked a few questions about it as well. He thinks it's really cool how the only way for him to know if it's true is through prayer. He said that he had no idea what to expect from meeting with us but that this really surprised him. He has a positive view about Mormons and just wants to know about our doctrine. It would be awesome if he got baptized no doubt. I don't know what would happen after though haha. We'd probably just tell him go back to California, find your nearest building, talk with the bishop and get going haha. He's a great guy.
This past week we also had Zone Conference. It was a great conference. I received many answers to prayer and learned ways that I can improve. President Campero is amazing. We're so blessed to have him as our mission president. My favorite part of conference though was being taught by the senior couples. They are awesome! The Burr's gave their final talk as they are going home next week. They are troopers, they've been in country for 23 months because they only had to do 1 month at the MTC. So they've been here longer than anyone. I feel very blessed to have known them and to have started my mission right next door to them. Elder and Sister Bailey taught us an awesome lesson from 1 Nephi 2-5 though. Elder Bailey used to be a math teacher so he made a graph with Time on the x-axis and difficulty of the task on the y-axis. And starting at the very bottom point was 1 Nephi 2:16. Nephi received a change of heart through prayer and faith in the Lord and THEN was able to receive the plates. Elder Bailey mapped out the process and showed how each thing Nephi and his brothers did was harder than the previous but helped them to grow and eventually get the plates. We then applied this to our mission goal of 300 baptisms this year. As of right now there have been 8 this year. President asked us if we knew this goal was the Lord's or not and if we didn't that we should pray about it. I've been doing some studying on a change of heart and I see it as wanting to truly serve the Lord with all of your heart, might, mind, and strength without receiving anything in return. It is evaluating yourself at the end of the day and striving to reach your potential. I know that 300 is the Lord's goal and that through a change of heart and doing the Lord's will we can achieve it. It won't be easy but it will be possible. So in summary Zone Conference was awesome. They happen every three months and it just puts us back on track. I love it.
On Saturday this week we got together and watched General Conference in English. We saw both Saturday sessions and they were great. I loved several talks from it, mainly President Packer's, Donald L. Hallstrom's, President Eyring's, Elder Holland's, and Elder Scott's. There isn't time to talk about them all haha. We will finish conference next Sunday and I can't wait. My attitude towards conference has changed 180 degrees since before my mission. I've gone from watching a few talks here and there to not getting enough of it haha. Conference is good stuff. We're blessed to have a living prophet and apostles on the earth today. And yesterday was Easter as you know. Church was normal except that they did everything reverse order so Sacrament was last. Members gave talks about the Atonement as well. I learned a lot from them. I know that Christ lives and that through His Atonement we can repent and become more like Him. We will all be resurrected and be able to return back to Heavenly Father. He is my Savior and yours. He loves us more than we can imagine.
The Saltovka Branch Presidency got changed yesterday as well which was a big surprise to everyone. The new president is like 24 or 25 with a pretty old first counselor and Vitali (the one that served in Cold Mountain in our district) as the second counselor. Saltovka is on its way to getting stronger. It's a good branch. After Church our district got permission to do a little Easter lunch so we had hard-boiled egg sandwiches and funeral potatoes. It was pretty tasty. And then we had interviews with President. My interview was great, I learned so much and received answers and guidance from President Campero. He knows each one of us like a son and knows how to help us. I love him.
And now for some tidbits/answering to emails. The weather has been amazing this week. Spring is coming soon I'm pretty sure. We've been wearing short sleeves. It feels so weird because I've been wearing a hat, scarf, and coat everyday for the last four months haha but it's great though. Elder Lambert and I have received several contacts from other missionaries and still have lots of people to call to meet so we're hoping that this week we can get some new investigators. Also this Friday transfer calls are coming out again. I swear they just came out! So it's possible that I could be going somewhere new soon but I doubt it. I do think though that Elder Lambert's out but we'll see. I'm excited to get your package! I'll most likely receive it when transfers happen because that's the next time that things will be brought up to Kharkov from Donetsk. And as far as I know we will be skyping for Mother's Day. I don't know when though. I'll tell you as that gets closer. I can't believe it's almost Mother's Day. Christmas was last week!
I love you all and hope you have a good week. Stay strong and keep on keepin' on!
украинская донецкая миссия