This week has been a turn of events in our area. Elder Nuzman and I were blessed with 11 contacts from finding on the streets and we received 6 more from sisters that have been living in the area temporarily while waiting for a new apartment so that comes out to 17 new contacts in one week!!! Some of them have been passed and some of them have turned out to not be that interested, but still, 17 new contacts is amazing! We have set up several appointments for this week so hopefully they all turn into new investigators for us, that would be awesome. Tuesday morning during finding President Campero came with us. It was a cool experience to talk to people on the street with him and see their reactions. There aren't too many mission presidents from Bolivia who know Russian and are as cool as President Campero haha. He is amazing, I don't know how he has the energy to work all everyday! This past week we met with Aleksei again. Unfortunately we basically came to a mutual drop. He understands everything that he needs to do but he just has no desire to act. We explained everything very clearly, that everyone has an opportunity to accept the gospel and partake of the blessings it brings through Christ's Atonement, but he says that he is good where he stands. It was hard to let him go but everyone has their own free agency and can choose whether to accept or reject the message. I believe that he'll join the Church several years down the road when he finally decides to act on the knowledge he has. I still love him though and wish him the best.
I don't remember if I wrote this or not but we have been praying to find someone completely ready to accept the message of the gospel and actually have the desire to read the Book of Mormon and know if the church is true. Well, this prayer was answered this week through a lady named Nadezhda (hope in Russian) This is her story. Nadezhda is a former investigator and met the missionaries about a year ago when she saw them on the street during the middle of winter and invited them in to warm up. She accepted the message of the restoration and started reading the Book of Mormon. She has 4 kids and a grandson with some sort of disease that requires lots of surgeries. She sold her apartment to pay for his surgeries and now lives in a one room hostel working two jobs to pay off the loans she acquired for her grandson. All of her family abandoned her except her one daughter because she decided that the Russian Catholic church isn't so true. She came to church one time and loved it. After this though missionaries lost contact with her because she didn't have any time to meet. Elder Harrison and I called her often but she never had time. Desire yes, but no time. Well Elder Nuzman and I called her this week and were able to meet with her on Saturday. She is a Saint, I don't know why she isn't baptized yet! She understands everything perfectly. She loves the Book of Mormon and is probably the most humble lady I've ever met in my entire life. We had a very spiritual lesson with her and put her on date for September 29! Unfortunately she wasn't able to make it to church yesterday but she is coming this Sunday. We dropped by again after church though with the relief society president (who is the best member missionary ever) and they are best friends now, it's amazing. Sister Albina (relief society pres) already invited her to FHE and to Artour's baptism this Saturday! We are really hoping she can come see the baptism, it's going to be a great service. Basically this whole experience is nothing less than a miracle. I feel like on my mission I've done nothing to come in contact with the Lord's elect here. They are just ready to accept the gospel, it's that simple.
Also this week we had a Zone Meeting. We were reminded of some good principles in Preach My Gospel and things that we've been taught recently in Zone Conferences from members of the Area Presidency. We have a goal to baptize 15 people as a zone this transfer and we all agreed that it is very attainable. The mission is just booming right now, tons of people are accepting baptismal dates. There were 3 more baptisms this weekend and there's like 15 still on date. I believe that we will reach our goal of 90 by the end of the year. The mission isn't the same one I came into a year ago. We are more unified and are doing our best to find the Lord's elect and He is blessing us for our efforts.
Now for some comments/tidbits. I got my package this week, thanks so much for that! There's nothing better than getting a package from America with love from home. The sister who is in my group is going home early November. And of course my year in Ukraine mark is this Friday. Time flies! That's cool there is another temple in Utah, we'll have to visit that one when I get home. And Elder Nuzman and I found out that we're closing down the current apartment we're in and moving out at the end of the month so that should be fun. I don't know if I told you this or not but our fridge stopped working more than a month ago, maybe month and a half, I don't remember. The landlord said he'd get a new one for us but is pretty flaky so we still don't have one. And chances are that we won't have one since we're moving out soon. The good news is that I have been living off of manna ever since the fridge stopped working haha. Manna is cream of wheat I think back in the states but they call it manna here. So basically I have been living off of manna in the office, no big deal. We'll be happy to get a fridge sometime soon though.
I love you all and wish you an awesome week. You are all in my prayers! Keep on keepin' on!
Украинская Донецкая Миссия