Monday, April 16, 2012

Stayin' 6 More in Saltovka

Privet family, kak dela?

This past week has been good, it was a busy week as usual but I wouldn't have it any other way! To start off we had a lesson with a brother named Immanuel. He is from Camaroon and is a contact passed to us from some other elders. He also attends the Church of Christ but is interested in the gospel. We met with him and had a good first lesson. We asked him what it means if the Book of Mormon is true and he said "It means I've gotta be baptized and follow the Mormons!" We were hoping to meet with him again later on in the week but he was too busy so we're meeting him again this week. We have had a lot of investigators but many of them are not progressing so we have dropped them. We are really trying to find new people to meet with because many investigators we have right now aren't really going anywhere unfortunately. We keep meeting with Cody but we don't know where it's going. He seems to be interested in our doctrines only, not in being baptized. He invited us over for dinner this upcoming week so we're going to go over there and eat with his "team" so that will be interesting. They seem to be interested in what Mormon missionaries are and how they act so I'll tell you how that plays out. We do have another investigator though who is kind of progressing. His name is Ivan and Elder Lambert met him with his trainer. He comes to Church like every week, he's seriously been like over 10 times and he came to conference but he doesn't want to be baptized. But he's not against baptism so he's hard to figure out. He's about 60 years old. We just want to find new people to meet with because it seems like the same old with some of our investigators right now. We're grateful for them of course but it's just hard to figure out how to help them progress when they haven't been for a long time now.

Transfer calls came out last Friday but Elder Lambert and I didn't receive any so we are staying together for another transfer! I'm pretty excited, he's my first companion since Elder Schoen that will be with me for more than one. We have been doing good work and I'm happy that we get to serve with each other again. He's awesome and teaches me a lot every day. My district is staying the exact same as well, except that Sister Ward finished her mission and went home so we will be getting a new sister. And we already know who it is and her name is Sister Lobonova from Rostov, Russia. She is really cool, she actually already served in Saltovka but has been called back. So my district has basically three Russians in it now- Elder Efoshkin, Elder Tadevosyan (he's from Armenia but knows like perfect Russian) and now Sister Lobonova. It will be a blessing to have so many natives around! This past week we had a final district meeting with everyone and it was awesome. We talked about success and then I had Sister Ward give her final speech of her mission and what she learned. I really liked how she said this, she learned to "accept the Lord's will humbly and cheerfully" Sister missionaries are the best missionaries hands down haha. And any sister who serves in this mission is seriously the best of the best. I only knew Sister Ward for a transfer but she was awesome, probably the best missionary in the whole mission! I'm grateful that she was in my district. There's a whole group of sisters going home this week, as well as the Burr's going home. Sister Watts is also in Sister Ward's group so maybe you'll see her sometime.

Also this past week we went on another split with the Zone Leaders. I went with Elder Solin. He is from St. Petersburg and has two more transfers left of his mission. It was a great split. He has a cool conversion story. I don't remember if I already wrote about this or not but missionaries tracted into his house when he was young and his family was golden and got baptized within 2 months. He went less-active but because of friends he got active again and has now basically served his whole mission. And because of his mission his older less-active brother has gotten active again and is going to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood soon. So awesome! I love seeing how the Church changes lives in this part of the world. The Lord works in mysterious ways. Elder Solin has learned English on his mission just from missionaries so it's way cool to talk with him in English and help him and then talk in Russian and receive help. We taught three lessons on our split, one of which we put a 9 year old boy on date for baptism in May. The Zone Leaders are having two baptisms in May so that will be awesome.

Elder Lambert got me sick this week so that was no fun. I woke up Thursday with a sore throat and cough and then Friday was just awful. I'm pretty much over it now, just have a runny nose. It sucks being sick on the mission. But on a better note, conference was great! We got together yesterday and watched it in English. We watched Sunday Morning, Priesthood, and most of Sunday Afternoon. Unfortunately the last two talks didn't work because we were watching on Elder Bailey's iPad and the connection was just really bad. But its all good though. I really enjoyed everyone's talks, they were awesome. I learned a lot. But I'd probably say that President Uchtdorf's talk about forgiveness was my favorite though. Everything he said just answered my prayers. I also liked Elder Bednar's talk in Priesthood session about how if we really have the proper authority on earth to act in God's name then why doesn't everyone act like it? It was very good. I think that the theme of conference though was raising a righteous family. The stats that Elder Ballard shared were crazy. 1/2 of kids born are born out of wed-lock and 1/2 of marriages end in divorce. Only through the gospel can we be happy in life. Thank you Mom and Dad for raising us in the gospel!! From being on my mission thus far I've really learned the truthfulness of this.

Now for some tidbits/comments. I'm glad that you all enjoyed conference. I'm excited to watch it with all of you when I get back. But that's not for a while so don't be getting too ahead of yourselves haha. I got a paper to do an absentee ballot already from Elder Frandsen. I have to fill it out and then send it in to Salt Lake. Tomorrow I'm sending home a package with many different things in it. There are gifts from Armenia and some of my things that I don't need anymore/don't want to carry around on my mission. So it should get to you in a few weeks. I haven't got your package yet, I'm hoping I can get it this week when the transfer bus comes up from Donetsk. I'll tell you when I get it. That's good you're cheering for the Thunder. You'll have to keep me posted on any games you're able to see. Basketball isn't very big here unfortunately. I miss it a lot. I've been playing on a hoop around our apartment in the mornings for exercise but it's just not the same as home haha. And I have a future request for a package- rootbeer extracts and instant oatmeal. Those would be awesome!

Well, I best be getting on with my day. Thanks for your email and love as always. I love all of you and hope that all is going well. Have a great week and keep on keepin' on! Mother's Day is around the corner. I'll tell you when I get details about skyping again and whatnot. I can't wait! Talk to you later!

с любовью,
старейшина каун
украинская донецкая миссия

ps- pics this week- the district, elder solin and I and how we watched conference!

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