It's been another quick week here, can't believe it's time to write again. Things didn't go exactly as planned for us this past week (we wanted to achieve more of our goals) but I had some great experiences that I'd like to share with you. I'll start off with Vladimir. We met with him and taught him the Law of Chastity. He has no problems with it because he's already been living it for forty years haha so he committed to continue to live it no questions asked. Unfortunately he wasn't able to make it to Church yesterday, we were bummed. Saturday night we even made banana bread for him to give to him at Church because last week he gave us some pears from his pear tree. SO after Church we called him and asked if we could stop by and give him something. He said yes, we got his address, and then stopped by. It was a very humbling experience to go to his house. He was ashamed to have us over because he lives in poor conditions. He, like many older Ukrainians, is on pension and receives money from the government but it's not enough. We sat down and talked and he told us lots of things about his life that we didn't know. He has had many trials in life because of unfortunate events but through it all he has trusted in God and lived by faith. He has an amazing testimony of faith and how it gives us power to live our lives each day. With everything he's gone through he's never been angry at God, but grateful instead for his life and family. This upcoming week we will hope to have his baptismal interview. Everything is looking OK for August 11. I'm very excited for him, he deserves all the blessings that Heavenly Father has ready for him. I'm grateful for the small part that I can play in God's plan for him.
We went on a split with the APs this past week. I went with Elder Mironchenko (this is my third split with him now, 2 in Cold Mountain) It didn't turn out as planned because we had to help President with some things for the majority of our time but it was a great split though. We got talking about how sometimes on the mission we lose sight of our purpose as missionaries because there's so much that goes on and we can do better at remembering what our main purpose here is- to teach the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, find people ready and help them come to the waters of baptism. I re-read my call letter and found that many promises written there have been fulfilled already on my mission. One is that my knowledge and testimony of the restored gospel has grown so much, as well as a better understanding for the teachings of Jesus Christ. Another is that I am more happy than I ever have been before because I'm a part of this great work. Nothing I did before my mission really compares to this. And something that really stood out as I read was that this work is a "labor of love" that everyone truly is called of God to do. A mission isn't fun and games for two years, it's pretty far from that. Every day is a labor and while here we really learn through our labors and hard work how to love everything in our lives, especially the people we serve. I have developed a greater love for these people since I first got here and am very grateful that I can serve them. I am also grateful for your love to me and for all that you do for me.
And on Saturday many missionaries in Donetsk got to participate in an Institute activity here. It was like a scavenger hunt but with missionary work. We went off in threesomes and went to different parts of Donetsk (parks, statues, etc) and had to pass out so many invites or talk to so many people. My group was Elder Harrison and Brother Orlov. He works upstairs in the office and is in charge of Institute in Ukraine. He served a mission in Provo and is a pretty cool guy. So we spent some time with him and it was awesome to see how he talked with people on the street and tied the gospel into whatever he was talking about. It helps that he knows Russian haha but I learned a lot from this activity about finding people and tying in the gospel. I'm really excited for after my mission when I can just talk in English and share the gospel haha. Russian makes things a little more difficult. But all in all, it was a cool activity and I heard after that they're trying to make it a district activity and have all the members go out in groups talking to people. So stay tuned in the future if that happens.
Now for some comments/tibits. The shirt I'm wearing in that pic was from Elder Rooney. Not sure who it is, just a spare shirt he had in the apartment. I didn't know that the Olympics started on Friday... that's really cool about the percussion performances, I'll need to check those out after the mission. Keep me updated about the Olympics. It sounds like the ward is doing good, lots of changes going on. And I'm glad that you're learning a lot from the Book of Mormon, it truly is Another Testament of Jesus Christ. There is so much we learn from it every time we read, I know this is true. I'm reading in Russian right now and am almost to Alma. It's amazing to read in a different language because you learn the same concepts but with a different approach. It's awesome. And last but not least, I got a response from the U and they said don't worry about coming home early, just come home at normal time and everything will be OK. So I feel that this is an answer to my prayer which means I'll be seeing you JULY 23, 2013! In about one year from now, crazy to think about. It will fly by so don't blink.
I love you very much family and am thankful for all that you do for me. I know the Church is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, as well as the Bible. I know that Christ lives. His gospel has been restored. What marvelous truths these are!! Have a great week and I'll talk to you later!
украинская донецкая миссия