Thanks for all of your emails to me, it really means a lot to hear from you and feel your love. This past week I had some great experiences that I'd like to share with you. First off we have been meeting with a former investigator named Aleksei. Elder Harrison and I met with him at the beginning of June but stopped meeting with him because he wasn't going anywhere and fell off the face of the earth. I can't remember if I've talked about him or not but he is around 25, is a web designer, and has perfect english. He has been an investigator for several years but hasn't really acted on what missionaries have told him. Last Saturday he prayed with us for the first time and it was an amazing prayer. Very humble and sincere. We then met with him Wednesday and Friday this week. Wednesday we found out he read the wrong chapter assigned so we had to change our lesson plan. We've been focusing on faith and what that means exactly but have noticed that he really isn't interested in reading the Book of Mormon because he doesn't like reading in general. So Elder Nuzman and I during comp. study had the idea come to mind to make an equation how to get answers to prayers using Moroni 10:4- sincere heart, real intent, faith in Christ. We taught this to him on Friday and he liked the lesson but his problem is that he just doesn't feel the same spirit at home compared to meeting with us so he doesn't have any desire to act. We talked about this in our district meeting and we also decided to fast for him to know how to better help him. We have decided to teach him the Word of Wisdom this week and start following up and keeping in touch with him everyday. From this we're hoping to see his real intent show and we can establish a better relationship with him as well through daily contact. So I'll tell you how this all goes next week. He is our main investigator at the time. All the contacts we were hoping to meet with didn't work out, we were pretty sad. We were hoping to meet with a couple from English but they haven't been answering their phone and the same goes with everyone else. Often times we meet cool people on the street who seem interested but then they just turn out to not be ready. I'm still trying to figure this out on my mission- how you can have amazing contacts that turn into another number in the area book. But nonetheless, we are faithful we will find new investigators this week.
We met with Vladimir on Thursday and he is doing alright. His family still isn't too interested in the gospel. By family I mainly mean his wife because his daughter is autistic so will have a free ride to heaven. His wife isn't very faithful but he is, so I wonder sometimes how they worked everything out up to this point. He has been coming to church regularly, except last week he didn't make it because he's getting the flu. After the lesson we asked him if he wanted a blessing and he said yes so I was able to give him a Priesthood blessing of health and it was an awesome experience. This is the first blessing I've given in Russian on my mission. I have anointed oil several times but never given the actual blessing. I don't really remember what I said but I know it was what he needed to hear. And he came to Church yesterday and is feeling fine so it's a miracle!
So about a month ago I went on a split with Elder Moss and it was a Wednesday night to Thursday night. Wednesday night while finding on the streets we stopped a younger kid named Artour (Arthur) and it was the fastest contact of my life. It seriously went like this: "Hey can we talk to you for a minute? ok. We're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and we have an awesome message about how God restored His church on the earth today through a living prophet. And we even have twelve apostles, just how Jesus Christ set up His church. Would you be interested to know more about this? ok. What's your number? Great, when can you meet? tomorrow. Awesome, well we'll call you tomorrow Artour. See you then." This happened in about one minute, it was super quick. So Elder Moss and I sure enough met him the next day and had a good first lesson with him. Well since then, he has come to a service activity, several family home evenings, and is good friends with one of the members now. He has been meeting with Elder Moss and Rooney and this past week they were able to put him on date for September 14th!!!!!! I was so pumped to hear that he's getting baptized, it's just amazing! My testimony grows more and more about the fact that no effort is wasted, ever. The mission is on fire right now, it's not the same mission I came into almost a year ago. There were three baptisms this past weekend, including a couple! which brings the count to 38. AND 15 are on date at the moment. The Lord is blessing everyone for their efforts and desires, our companionship included. We feel that sometime soon we will find someone prepared to listen to the message and actually want to read and pray. We just need to have the faith to find.
Something else I wanted to include are some topics I studied this week. In Jesus the Christ I'm reading about parables and there is a detailed description for each one. I studied the wheat and the tares and had no idea that it's in D&C 86 as well because it's so important. And D&C 50:24 which talks about light is linked to this parable because we all need to gather light until the very end and we gather light by keeping covenants and living the gospel. Then at the last day we will be as the wheat that is gathered first while the wicked tares are left on earth to burn. Something else I started to study is blessings promised in my patriarchal blessing about my mission that I haven't seen yet and what I need to do to be ready for them. I'm not done yet but I am learning a lot already. There's so much to study and not enough time! I have definitely learned to love studies on my mission. There's just no substitute for studying the scriptures everyday and writing down the things learned. They are truly written for us.
Now for some comments/tidbits. That's interesting that Elder Welch is learning Ukrainian. Here there's no need to learn Ukrainian because Russian is the dominant language. Members know Ukrainian but speak Russian. And apparently there's been lots of protests going on about which language should be the national one spoken here but I haven't seen anything. I'll have to look that up after I get home. That's awesome you're doing a study group with the Dent's, tell them hello for me. The Book of Mormon is amazing, I'm sure you'll learn tons. Mormon 8:35 has been coming up a lot this week. It truly has been written for our day. And I'm keeping my eyes open for my package! Hopefully it comes this week. I'll let you know when it arrives.
Well, that's about it for this week. I love you all and pray that all continues to be well for you. God is our literal Father who answers our prayers. Jesus Christ lives and loves us more than we can imagine. What an awesome time to live on the earth- we have the fullness of the gospel! Have a great week and I'll talk to you later!
Украинская Донецкая Миссия