Wednesday, July 27, 2011

MTC - Week Four

Hello Family!

Another week has flown by down here! Time is very weird here, days are like weeks and weeks are like days. What's crazier is that next week we will be the Russian elders that we looked up to when we got here and 40 new Russian elders will come in. I have heard that they are just flooding the Russian speaking missions right now because visas are in good standing or something like that. Our teacher Brother Eckersley who went to Donetsk told us that he thinks that something big is about to happen in these missions and that missionary work is just on the edge of exploding over there. It's awesome!

This past week we've been focusing a lot on using The Book of Mormon in our teaching. (Or Kniga Mormona in Russian) It is absolutely essential in conversion because if the investigator knows it is true, then they know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, which means that the Church was restored, which means that we have a living prophet on the earth today and that Jesus Christ lives and directs His church through prophets. Elder Moss and I have been trying to find scriptures that really apply to our investigators' lives so that they will want to read more and understand the importance of reading. Our branch pres. on Sunday said that he will never understand why missionaries just suggest 3 Nephi 11 or Moroni 10 and call it good. We must apply it to investigators and encourage them to start from the beginning. These verses we suggest for them will spark their interest but ultimately the book must be read from the beginning. We teach Anya and Valera like three times a week total now. We are all on a schedule. We are getting better at teaching, testifying, and following the Spirit especially. We have learned to bag our lesson plan during the lesson and just speak from the heart as best as we can. For example, we planned to talk about Eternal families with Anya last week and we ended up talking about The Book of Mormon the whole time because she had questions about it. Following the Spirit is key and having the Spirit in the first place is one of the most important things on our missions. The Spirit truly is the one that converts, not us. We're just there to invite them to come unto Christ.

I felt like I hit a wall this past week in learning the language and just trying to do everything I need to do. I would compare it to Harry Potter where Platform 9 3/4 is closed and they run straight into it and crash hahaha. There is just so much to learn and it's hard to figure out what to study. I have been praying so much and so long for help to know what I'm supposed to be doing and I've felt that I haven't really progressed much. So last Saturday Elder Moss and I came up with a sweet plan in companionship study to help us out. We role play our lessons for Anya and Valera in Russian as best as we can and write down unknown words during this. We then look them up and role play again using the words. It is helping tons for our lessons and language study. We have a book called Sila that is written by RM's for Russian missionaries that has all of the grammar rules and how to use them. I'm studying that more for my language study now. I wish I had been studying it more than I have but it is okay. We learned last night in Devotional that we must have faith in the Lord's timing of things. If we do all that we can then He will help us get to where we need to be.

Every Wednesday we have a thing called TRC. Not really sure what it stands for haha. But we show up with our district to a building and volunteers who speak Russian/served Russian missions come in and we teach them. We don't know if they are members, non-members, or investigators until the lesson starts so we have to change our lessons accordingly. Last week we taught about the Restoration to some other missionaries. They have been here 10 weeks and are going to the Gibbons' mission, Novosibirsk. They said that we did good and that they weren't even teaching at three weeks. I think that this language immersion program is good, although it is a shock sometimes. Sister Alletto always speaks Russian, no English so class with her is frustrating because we have important questions sometimes and they are answered in Russian. Brother Eckersley speaks both and explains things better. It is good to have a mix though. Anyway, tonight for TRC we are teaching about The Book of Mormon and how to receive personal revelation from it. We will see how it turns out. We did out first official SYL yesterday as a district. That means speak your language. It's pretty humbling to have to look up everything you want to say. I want to do more of them because you learn a lot. Elder Hunsaker in my district has been taking Russian for a year and a half now and has really been frustrated because he knows how to get around and can understand about 90% of what is said to him. However they told him to just stay here because they can't really bump him up or anything so he is a great help to us. He taught me yesterday how to use the verb "to need" and "to have." At our 6 week mark, we want to to try and be doing everything in Russian. This is what Sister Alletto told us she did when she was here. Some of the Russian elders leaving really soon wear signs under their tags that say "Sorry I don't speak English anymore" Elder Moss and I want to do that! It's so crazy to think about but it is very possible. It will also help us not to be so shocked when we get to Ukraine haha.

To answer your questions in your dearelder, I would like to start taking vitamins. Elder Moss's older brother served in Dniprpropetrovsk and so Elder Moss has crazy stories about what happens to your body when you get over there. All missionaries are required to take a de-worming pill when they get back to the states... I will leave it at this haha. So vitamins would be a good thing. The microfiber towel washes just fine. I would like another one before I leave and I will send the other ones back. They dry in like 1 hour of just hanging up and are pretty slick. The other elders in my district just have one towel I believe. And you may choose to forward whatever you like, that's fine. Tell people to write me dearelders because it's a pain reading emails right now because we have no time and can't print them out haha.

I love you guys so much! Hope you are doing well! Tell everyone that I love them!

Love, Elder Keown

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