Monday, July 23, 2012

They Live on Which Floor?!

Privet cemya, kak oo vas dela? Ya ochen rad slishat, shto vsyo horosho oo vas. Menye kazhetsa, shto Bog na samom dele blagoslavliyaet vas potomy, shto On voisteny loobit vas. Spasibo za vashi molitvie i loobov ko menye. Ya vas loobloo!

Translation: What's up family, how are you doing? I'm glad to hear that all is well with you. It seems to me that God really blesses you because He loves you. Thank you for your prayers and love to me. I love you!

This past week was awesome. I learned so much and had some great experiences. To start off, here's an update on Vladimir. We only met with him on Tuesday and we had a new member with us named Brat Trunov. The Trunov family is really cool and very strong in the gospel. We had hoped to teach him about tithing and fast offerings but instead talked again about receiving an answer about the Book of Mormon. Brat Trunov explained to him how each truth we learn through prayer becomes a foundation on which we can build and learn more. He also shared his testimony with him about how he came to know that the church was true. He has been a member since the mid-90s and he said that for the first several years he was only going on faith! He just felt it was true because he felt the spirit testify to him that it was but he hadn't received that conviction. And even after he joined the church he still went to other churches to compare doctrines and stuff. He met with the JWs a lot and said that while he was meeting with them everything just made sense about the Book of Mormon and that it had to be true because of their strange doctrines. But the basis of the story is that at first we don't know everything we need to about the church but through our faith we learn and grow. It wasn't the lesson we had planned but hey, now Brat Trunov and Vladimir are pals so all is well in Zion haha. We still need to teach him tithing, fasting, and the law of chastity before baptism, and then just review the plan of salvation and gospel of Jesus Christ. He's doing good though, all is looking in order for August 11! The next thing I had this week was my interview with President. We talked about happiness and my progress since first getting here and about how the Lord has truly been helping me to grow. It seems to me that ever since I left my greenie area I've grown a lot. I've had lots of experiences with different companions and investigators and the mission itself has truly become a different place than it was last September. All of these things together have helped me to learn and grow and really understand my purpose as a missionary better. Every day that we're given is a blessing from God given to us to bless the lives of others. I can't really explain all my thoughts but it's just really cool to look back and see progression on the mission. I'm happy because I am a missionary and am in this mission. It is truly the mission that I signed up for in the pre-earth life. And I'm happy that I still have time left on the mission and can continue to grow everyday. I also talked to President about my release date. Our group's date has been changed to July 23. Some missionaries in my group are coming home a transfer early to get ready for school and stuff because school will start very soon after this date. I was thinking that I will want to get back early enough to get back into the swing of things and also get things set in stone with my scholarships. And I'll probably want to get back early enough to do drumline since that's part of the scholarship as well. I've been praying and I feel that I should come home one transfer early, which would be June 11. President said that he agrees and that school and scholarships are important. I just need to find out exactly how everything can work out so he gave me permission to write an email to the U (probably to Danny) and see what he says. I'll keep you posted on the status of everything of course. It could turn out that coming home at the normal release date would still be okay but I feel it would be better to come home June 11. I'll see what I hear from the U and tell you more.

The main highlight of this week though was Zone Conference on Friday. It was a great conference. The mission just keeps getting better and better. You may have remembered me saying that our mission baptism goal this year is 300. This turns out to be every companionship having a baptism every month. I prayed when we first set this goal to know if it really was what God wanted from us and I received an answer that it was. This was at the time that President Lawrence came and visited the mission. As of this week, the goal has been changed to 90 baptisms. President, the APs and ZLs all talked about the 300 goal and decided that we needed to change it. They prayed about it and came up with 90. It is more reasonable and I feel that we can achieve it. As a result of the 300 goal though, the mission changed 180 degrees. We became more unified, we learned to sacrifice and value our time better, and we learned to rely on the Lord. But now that we have the goal of 90, our efforts can't stop, we've just got to keep going strong as if we'll achieve the 300. We're at 28 right now but we've been having more and more each month. I truly believe that we will achieve it by the end of this year. The focus of this conference was about how we can find new investigators and work better with members. The amazing senior couples of the mission all taught parts of Preach my Gospel and came up with ideas that we are going to start using, especially about teaching members how to be missionaries and giving them ideas about how to share the gospel. I'm really excited to start doing this because I feel up to this point on my mission that I haven't been the best at working with members. But it's never too late to start. These ideas for teaching will really help the members. I can't wait to see the results! And I am going to apply all this stuff to when I get home and share the gospel with everyone I already should have. Basically Zone Conference was amazing. The mission is truly led by the Spirit.

We had a pretty crazy moving experience as a district on Saturday haha. Elders Rooney and Moss have been looking for a piano to have in their apartment and they found a member who had one and told us that we could come and move it. The only problem was that the member lived on the 9TH FLOOR of the apartment building so we moved it down 9 floors, it was insane! And then we rented a moving truck and moved it up 3 floors to their apartment. We waited a while for the truck to come and we decided to play the piano in the street. It was pretty cool and lots of people stopped and just asked what we were doing so were able to talk about missionary work and also invite them to the Brallier's concert that was the same day. There're always missionary opportunities around us, we just need to find them. Moving the piano though was definitely one of those experiences I won't forget on my mission. I'll show you vids when I get back it was crazy haha. By the way, the moving truck cost 64 grieven, $8. After we moved that piano we had to move the office piano to the branch except this one was way easier. We then attended the Brallier's concert at the branch. It was a great concert, very professional. I found out that Sister Brallier taught flute at BYU and Elder Brallier sung musical theater all over. They sung Russian classical pieces and the piano player from Kharkov branch played some piano pieces as well. At the end of the concert they played some music about Joseph Smith and other LDS hymns. The turnout was awesome and Vladimir was able to come and enjoyed it very much. Their concerts have been a success and they're going to go to the Kiev mission now and play in a few cities.

Now for some comments/tidbits. Sounds like everything's good at home. I have a request for the package you're sending me - send me several pairs of new socks because most of the ones I have are getting worn! Other than that though everything else is good. I love you all! Have a great week and keep on keepin' on!

с любовью,
старейшина каун
украинская донецкая миссия

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