Thank you all so much for your letters, love, and prayers. It means so much to me to hear from you every week. It sounds like you all are doing well. Dad, I'm so proud of you for finishing the marathon!!!! That's awesome! I'd like to ride that with you after my mission. This week has been good, Elder Harrison and I are getting used to the area now and have met with a handful of members/less-actives. I will talk about them now. Brat Aleksei Nikitenko- basically he's the most solid member here in Daky. In the early 90s he met with Jehovah's Witnesses for a few years but grew tired of meeting with them because he knew the Bible better than they did. Then on the street he met missionaries. He had an amazing experience coming to know that the Book of Mormon was true and was baptized quickly after that. He has been branch president twice and now works in the Kiev Temple with his wife a few weeks a month. He knows like every single person in Daky so he's been telling us who to go to and stuff. Awesome guy. Sestra Looda Matveeva- She is a nice older lady who lives by herself. Very active, really smart too, works as a chemist. Brat Nikolai Timohin- Inspiring man. He joined the church and went through the temple about six years ago and right after that lost his sight. He has a really strong testimony and comes to Church every week with Brat Nikitenko's help. He blessed the Sacrament last week and that's something I'll never forget. Sestra Natasha Habenko- Really humble lady. Walks with a cane and does what she can. Likes family history, scriptures, and her grandkids. She's the only member in her family but that doesn't stop her from doing anything. This upcoming week we'll hope to meet more members. Several appointments fell through so we'll see what happens this week.
Elder Harrison and I have definitely seen some miracles this week. At the beginning of the week we didn't really have anyone to meet with, no investigators. During morning finding we ran into a lady with a huge dog. We stopped and talked to her and asked her name. She said it was "Sestra Lena." And then we were like, Oh wait are you a member? And it turns out that she is a less-active member. We got her number and she said we could come back on Friday. So we dropped by and it turns out her husband and daughter are not members of the Church. We had Brat Nikitenko with us on the lesson and we taught them the Restoration. They said they'd start reading the Book of Mormon so hopefully they do! We're not sure how often we'll meet with them, they seem really busy, but we have ourselves a part-member family to work with now so it's awesome. That same night we held English club. Four people showed up, one of them is named Ruslan. He is 22 and already a lawyer. He is interested to meet with us so tomorrow we have a lesson with him. And this is way cool, so earlier this week on Monday Brat Nikitenko invited us over to his house for FHE because his daughter is basically professional piano player and Elder Harrison plays piano at church because no one else can and Marina Nikitenko (his daughter) is less-active. So he invited us over to hear her play and share a little thought. We got talking and they asked what we did before our missions so I told them I play drums/percussion and studied in university. Then Brat Nikitenko was like, We should get you together with Marina and Yury (Yury is a less-active musician in our area) and do a concert to get people back to church. I'll start working on that. We're still trying to get a lesson with Yury to meet him but I am faithful that we can work something out and do a concert. Some really good things are happening in Daky and we're just at the beginning! We have also received a few good contacts off the street so now we just need to meet with them. Elder Harrison is an amazing elder already. He's basically already trained, I don't feel like I'm doing much haha. He speaks good enough Russian already that I sometimes forget when we're talking to people that he understands very little so then I have to translate and get him out of sticky situations haha. It's going great though, I love training so far. He's basically training me by his example of everything. He has no fear of talking to people, even on buses which I am not very good at. I'm learning a lot from him and striving to be a good example to him.
General Conference was excellent, I enjoyed every talk. I really can't get enough of that now and I feel that's because my testimony of the Apostles and Prophet has grown immensely since coming on my mission. These are the Lord's servants people! The Restoration really happened and you can hear for yourselves what God has to say to us today! Watching Conference on the mission is awesome because we just all get together, eat tons of food, and feast on the word. Everyone got together at the Donetsk Center building (our building) and we watched in English upstairs and the members in Russian downstairs, just like in Center Kharkov last time. My favorite talks were basically all of the First Presidency's in all of conference, Elder Holland's powerhouse talk about Peter, Elder Nelson's talk about missionaries, Elder Bednar's about the difference between testimony and conversion, Elder Don R. Clarke's about Sacrament (he was just here a few weeks ago) and Elder Oaks' about family relationships. During the Sunday Afternoon Session this guy came in off the street and had tons of questions. He came thinking that apostles would be there in person. We met with him with a member and tried to answer his questions but he wasn't listening. His main question was about baptism for the dead. We ended up talking for an hour and a half. I had the impression early on that we should just watch conference and talk to him after but we kept talking. It was only after that I learned that Elder Scott apparently gave a powerhouse talk about baptism for the dead and authority and stuff, basically everything we talked to him about. So the lesson I learned was that we should watch conference because questions are always answered in ways we don't know. After my mission I want to invite friends who aren't members to watch conference with me. It's awesome stuff.
And Saturday was Nadezhda's baptism! I actually got permission to attend it since I taught her. It was a great service, she was super happy to be getting baptized. Elder Nuzman baptized her and the members that worked with us came and participated in the service. And Brat Vladimir that Elder Harrison and I baptized came so I got to talk to him and sit with him. He's doing good, he also came to conference yesterday. I really love Center Donetsk, the members are so helpful with missionary work and there is just a good spirit. Nadezhda is golden, she also came to conference and loved it. And I saw Artur there. Awesome!
Well family, my time is up. Have a great week!! I love you all! And Happy 50th Birthday Dad!!!!! Talk to all next week!
Украинская Донецкая Миссия