Monday, October 29, 2012

A Week of Miracles in Daky

Privet family!

Thank you for your letters and love, it always means a lot to me to hear from you. This past week has been awesome, we're truly being blessed for our service and diligence in the work here. We received 16 new contacts, got 5 new investigators, and gave out over 10 copies of the Book of Mormon. Wednesday we gave out 8 copies alone, it was crazy! We're just doing our best to talk with everyone we can and people are just showing a desire to know more about the Church and why we're here. I don't know what has changed with people all of a sudden listening more but I think it has to do with our attitude and faith. Makeevka is just a place of miracles right now. During district meeting this week Elder Packard told us that after transfer meeting he was talking with President Campero and he said that he purposely put all the best missionaries in Makeevka because we're going to work some miracles here, and he tossed a greenie in to give us some fire haha. Basically this is all coming true. I don't even know where to start so I'll go from the beginning of this week.

A few weeks ago during morning finding we found a man on the street named Sergei. He was kind of in a hurry to work but stopped and talked with us. We've been trying to get a hold of him since then and work something out and we finally did that this past week. I thought we were going to just teach him by a bus stop because that's where he wanted us to meet him but it turned out that he just wanted to meet us there so that he could lead us to his house. We walked in and met his wife Vera then sat down and started talking with them. They have three sons- Denis is 32 and lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Yaroslav is 20 and is studying math in a university right now and Dima is 18, a professional swimmer and is deaf. On the lesson we taught Vera, Sergei and Yaroslav. They were very accepting of the first lesson and the whole time they seemed like members already. MIRACLE! Unfortunately they couldn't make it to Church yesterday because it was the election but we have a lesson set up for tomorrow and will have Brat Nikitenko with us. We are planning on putting them on date for the end of November. We feel that they're ready for baptism already. This is the first family I've taught on my mission. I feel very blessed to have met them and want to do all I can to help them come unto Christ.

Elder Fish and Efoshkin found some Africans from Cameroon on the street a few weeks ago named Bonaventure and Sage. They're both here for school as all Africans here are. Bonaventure knows English and French and even came to the service project last Saturday as well as Church twice already. Sage only knows French so Bonaventure translates for him. He has also come to Church twice. The Elders found out this week that before coming to Ukraine they were part of a gospel congregation that gets together to just read the Bible. It isn't a church or anything, just a religious group that meets and doesn't know which Church to join. Before leaving for Ukraine they prayed with Sage that the very first Church he found would be the true one. After two days of being in Ukraine Elder Fish and Efoshkin found him with Bonaventure on the street. They told their congregation in Africa that they found the true church and so now we're going to send a huge referral to the Cameroon Mission with a huge congregation of Africans ready to receive the gospel. MIRACLE! Bonaventure is on date for November 10 and Sage still wants to think everything out a little longer. Bonaventure also shared his testimony yesterday in Sacrament and it was amazing. He talked about how he's only been here three weeks and usually stays in his apartment but not lnog ago all of a sudden had a strong desire to go for a walk. While on the walk he ran into Elders Fish and Efoshkin. He feels like he's found a new family here away from home and is already doing missionary work by inviting all of his friends to meet with us and come to Church. It's amazing!

I feel that I should share this experience with you as well. Saturday night was a very special night. This whole week as we've been seeing all this success I've also been in a weird mood because lots of the people we find on the street tell us that Daky is one of the most dangerous places to be at night and that we shouldn't be talking to people as we do. It kind of messes with you when people tell you crazy stuff that goes on and tell you to go back to the apartment, so to be honest Saturday night I was kind of doubting going out. But we prayed as always that we'd be protected and see miracles. We had set up a lesson with a former investigator named Valentina so we stopped by her house. It turns out that her husband is less-active and Elder Rallison found her two years ago. She has a testimony that Joseph Smith is a prophet but something is holding her back from baptism. We just left our testimonies with her and will be going back this week. We are grateful we could teach her and receive a new investigator. While we were walking back home Elder Harrison stopped a man who I pre-judged because he looked sketchy. We started to talk to him and something changed about his appearance. He was really listening to what we had to say and was touched by the Book of Mormon. He asked why we would choose him out of all the people on the street to talk to and I said that God brought us together. He then told us he was a bandit and had too many sins to repent of. We testified of the Atonement and repentance to him and he was really touched. He then told us that we were the bravest, kindest people he's met in his whole life and wanted to pay us back somehow. He pulled out a huge wad of 200 grieven bills from his pocket and wanted us to take them. I said we didn't need that and just wanted to give him the Book of Mormon and get his number. He accepted, gave us his number, and we found out his name is Aleksei. He's not sure when he'll be in Daky because he travels a lot but I pray that we can work with him. He wouldn't let us leave without taking something so he gave us each a SuperSnickers. This experience was an answer to my prayer because although this area has some sketchy parts God truly is with us and watches over us. I'll never forget this experience.

And finally last night was full of more miracles. I ended my fast and prayed that we could find everyone on the street that needed the gospel. We left and the first person we met was Richard from Washington DC and a member of the Peace Corps. He said he's seen us before but never really had a chance to talk. We got his number and went on. We stopped by a less-active who has started attending a different church. She was so grateful we hadn't forgotten her and told us to come back again during the week. And then I had the thought that we should ride transport and talk to people instead of walking down the streets. So we went and waited at the nearest bus stop. A lady walked up and asked "What's with the book?" We explained a little bit and found out that she's a member of a church called The Word of Life. We rode the bus with her and got off several stops down. We ended up teaching the first lesson at the bus stop even though it was raining. It wasn't the best environment but she listened and seemed interested. At the end she said she didn't understand some of it because of where we were but we set up an appointment with her tonight to meet again. Hopefully all goes well with this. Her name is Irina. We then talked to a kid named Maksim at the same bus stop. He accepted a Book of Mormon but we didn't get his number. That's alright! We had planned on coming in early to get the training hour of studies in so we got on the next bus and were heading home. It wasn't the bus I thought though and turned before our house so we got off at the nearest stop and talked with a man standing there. It turned out he has always wanted a Book of Mormon but never had a chance to get one. He lives in Elder Fish and Efoshkin's area so we'll be passing him but it was just cool to meet him. Then we talked with a Muslim at the same bus stop. He wasn't too interested but I noticed as we were talking with him that the lady working in the store nearby stuck her head near the window to listen. So after the conversation we went to the little window and I said "We noticed you were listening. Are you interested in religion?" She asked if we were Jehovah's Witnesses (we get that a lot) and we said no, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She didn't know what that was, so then I said Mormonski church. "Oh the Mormons! Yeah ok" She told us her history of church attendance and how she's gone to the word of life, Jehovah's witnesses and baptists but is disappointed with each one and how its run. I then asked her "Do you want to find the truth?" And then she said "Yes of course, I just don't know where to find it." WOW I said to myself. That's D&C 123 right there! So I told her we'd be back in 5 minutes with some things to read because she would be working a 24 hour shift. We ran home, grabbed a restoration pamphlet, marked Moroni 10:3-5 then returned. We left our testimonies with her and she said she'd start reading. We got her number and hopefully soon will meet with her. Her name is Tanya. MIRACLES!

Now really quick some comments/tidbits. Happy Birthday Mom! I love you and hope that it's a great one! As far as my birthday, just send me some money to buy some souvenirs. And also, what souvenirs do you all want from Ukraine? I know I sent some of the nesting dolls home already. Do you want those Russian hats? More dolls? Clothing? Tell me and I'll see what I can do. That's crazy it snowed already, it hasn't snowed yet here. It's definitely gettnig colder though. I'm glad to hear your girls' trip was fun. And that's amazing news about mission calls. The Church is seriously going to flood the earth with missionaries, no joke! Awesome stuff to hear.

Well family I love you very much and hope that all is good with you. Have an excellent week and know that I love this Church and this work. I know it's true with all my heart and am so grateful for all that you did and do that I may be here. Talk to you later!

с любовью,
Старейшина Каун
Украинская Донецкая Миссия

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