Another week has come and gone, as well as another transfer. I am now starting my eighth transfer, it's pretty crazy to believe. Sixteen transfers is a whole mission, fifteen if a missionary comes home one early for school or other reasons. So I'm getting up there but not quite yet. This past week was pretty crazy because Elder Harrison went to Bulgaria which left me in charge of stuff in the office and the area. I also served with two different companions so that was pretty interesting as well. Monday night we went to a FHE with a family in the branch. They are the Grebnev family and are pretty cool. The dad is less-active but still participates in FHE, they have a son who will be a Priest this month and a daughter going into young women. They said we can come as often as we want so we'll probably go there again. After this I started my first mini-split. From Monday night to Thursday I served with Elder Withers. He is in his fourth transfer and found out Thursday that he's training a greenie! President likes having young trainers. My time with him was mostly spent in the office doing work because we work Tuesdays and Wednesdays. But we taught two lessons as well and did some finding on the streets. He's pretty cool and is from Idaho. Maybe I'll serve around him someday in the future, we'll see. Thursday was transfer meeting and the office was pretty insane haha. Lots of missionaries coming in to be transferred, lots of packages and mail to give out and send to different parts of the mission, passports needed to be copied and scanned, Sister Irina running around and yelling at me in Russian haha. Our district now has a new set of elders- Elders Rooney and Moss! I'm excited to have Moss in my district again. He was in my district in Saltovka for one week and then there was that whole emergency transfer thing with the Armenian elder. But, we have been brought together again. I've been blessed to serve a lot of my mission around him and see him. He's definitely one of my best friends on the mission. Elder Rooney is a pretty awesome elder. He's from California and is half Persian. He is the oldest elder in the district by two transfers. The rest of us stayed- Elder Harrison and I and Elder Robison and Bolingbroke as our ZLs. Remember when I served with Elder Robison for one transfer in Cold Mountain and then he got transferred? Well he's been in this area as a ZL ever since then. Basically forever haha. Our district is awesome though, it's going to be a great transfer. So lets see, after transfer meeting Thursday I got a new temporary companion who is a greenie. His trainer was also in Bulgaria for the visa trip so he stayed with me until Saturday night when everyone got back from Bulgaria. His name is Elder Kumferman and is also from Idaho. His dad actually teaches Russian at BYU-I but he didn't learn any Russian before coming here. So I was a trainer for a couple days, that was fun. I took him finding for his first time on the street and on his first lessons. It would be fun to train, maybe someday I'll do it for real. On my little split with him we met with a member family in the branch who are translators so it was a good first lesson for him to have because it was all English and we taught Vladimir so he had a Russian lesson as well. The translators are named Bitali and Olga and they have a newborn baby and young girl. We talked about the importance of the Restoration with them and challenged them to pray about someone with whom they can share the message of the Restoration. It really got me thinking about just how important it is to know and understand that the church was restored and that a restoration was needed. I was talking about this with Elder Harrison after he got home and he brought up a cool idea about this. Everything in the gospel kind of relates to a restoration. After this life we'll be restored to life with Heavenly Father, the life that we left to come here onto earth. After our missions we'll be restored to our old lives that we left for two years. As we repent we're restored and cleansed. The church itself was restored back to its original state. This idea has been blowing my mind haha.
Time for a new paragraph. As far as investigators go, we really only met with Vladimir this week. And I've told you a little about his progress already talking back and forth but here it is again. We met with him twice this week and both times we just felt he wasn't ready to be baptized just yet. Wednesday I asked him if he's specifically prayed about the Book of Mormon and he said no so we committed him to do so by Saturday and then we'd talk about it. He didn't pray specifically it turned out and he still kind of thinks that it's a really interesting book but doesn't know if it's true or not. He is sometimes forgetful so every lesson we remind him what we learn if the Book of Mormon is true (Church is true, Joseph Smith was a prophet, we have a prophet on the earth again today). He is a really sincere man and I know he'll receive an answer soon. We have moved his date to August 11 and are going to work towards that date now. He says he wants to be baptized and I think now understands better the importance of receiving an answer before baptism. He always has lots of questions so teaching him is sometimes hard because we're trying to answer questions/teach him at the same time but he's doing good. This week one of the senior couples is doing a free concert (they've been doing them in every branch building around the mission) and Vladimir wants to come so hopefully all will work out with that. I hear the concert's amazing (He is a professional baritone singer, she played flute in a symphony, and they're playing with the professional piano player from center Kharkov branch) I'll tell you how everything goes. I'm excited to hear a concert, it should be awesome.
Now for some comments/tidbits. I passed my 10 month mark in Ukraine on Saturday. I've hit the double digits now, it's pretty crazy. The elders who got back from Bulgaria passed me a hello from Elder Seymour. They got kicked out of Turkey for a few months and need new visas or something. So they're back in Bulgaria for now. From what they got from Gerrit members in Turkey have been teaching them Turkish and the work is pretty crazy there. About 90% are Muslims and he said it's a very Middle-eastern country.
Family, I love you all very much and am grateful for all that you do for me. I wish you a great week and tell everyone I love them. Talk to you next week!
украинская донецкая миссия