Thanks for all your emails, it sounds like things are going good at home. This upcoming week the weather's supposed to be in the negatives so we'll see what happens. It's been pretty warm, like mid 30's or something. I'm glad you got the furnace figured out, that's a miracle the second guy was smarter/cheaper. Our past week was good and bad, mostly good though haha. None of our investigators could meet BUT we did find two new ones- Svetlana and Sergei. Svetlana is a former investigator and has read the BOM already. She is probably like 55 and is a teacher. We're not sure what she really wants from meeting us, we had a very short lesson just to get to know her. More about her next week. And Sergei is 26 and works for a door company near our apartment. We see him everywhere and finally got his number to set up with him. He's not the most religious guy ever but is interested to know more about the Church.
Last Tuesday we had interviews with President. Before our interviews though the Southams got permission to make us a lunch and invited us over to their apartment. They are amazing people and love having missionaries around. They have added a new level of spirituality and fun to our district as well as the branch. Elder Southam is very knowledgable with the scriptures and can answer basically any question. He's written several documents, one of which is called "How the Book of Mormon proves the Bible is true" I need to send you a copy, it's very well written. He also does magic tricks so all the kids in the branch love him. I sent some pictures from our lunch so enjoy. My interview with President went well. I asked him two questions- 1) How to get investigators on date when they don't accept a date and 2) How to stay focused for the final push until the end of my mission. He basically told me to get tons of investigators and think about them all the time to stay focused because if I'm focused on them then I won't be concerned with matters at home. President is a great man, I love him. It's weird that I only have one more interview with him and then my exit interview. The time is flying!
This last week we made some cookies and took them to some investigators we haven't met with in a while, Oleg and Valentina (the old Valentina, not smoking Valentina) At Oleg's house we didn't know the code to get in so we prayed that we could open the door. Right after we said amen two little kids ran up from playing in the snow and opened it! I asked the one for the code and he told me. It was pretty cool. And then at Valentina's she wouldn't let us just drop by and so she offered us some food. After lots of hesistation we finally said OK, we'll eat something really quick. So of all things she gave us each some holodets. This is the meat-jello stuff that's really nasty. Elder Harrison liked it and downed it pretty quick, I only ate like a fourth and couldn't do it anymore haha. I don't think I'll ever try that again. Ask Lena about it, maybe she could make you some :)
We've been doing lots of tracting (knocking on doors) in the night time because it's cold and it's more effective than walking the streets. We pray that doors will be open and walk around in the areas we pray about until we find an open door. Inside each stairwell are 15 doors. We walk to the top then knock all of them until the bottom, then find a new stairwell and repeat until about 8:00 because people hate it when you knock after 8. I don't know how many doors we've knocked, maybe like 300, and of all of those we found 1 lady who took a BOM. We still need to go back there and see if she wants to meet. I can't really explain tracting that well in words, but I actually like it though. It takes some luck, skill, and the Spirit but is rewarding when you find someone.
And yesterday morning we got up and Elder Harrison felt that we should go finding before Church. I told him I've never been finding Sunday morning my whole mission and didn't want to. But then I changed my mind and said "Alright let's go but we've gotta be quick though to get ready for church." Elder Harrison in his prayer prayed that we'd find someone ready to talk and that they'd be wearing red clothing. So we went out and after 10 minutes stopped a nice lady. It turned out she is a missionary as well from the word of life church. And she was wearing red! We talked for a while but her main concern the whole time was that we can't prove that the BOM is an inspired book. We bore testimony, read Moroni 10:3-5 and explained the whole prayer process, but in the end she rejected it. The whole time I was trying to find 2 Corinthian 13:1 but forgot where it was and felt like that would've backed up the BOM but really it just comes down to people's free agency and sometimes it's really hard to find someone that seems like they would accept it but then reject it. But next time she finds missionaries perhaps she'll have a change of heart.
Now for some comments/tidbits. This Saturday Sage will be baptized! Thursday I'll be going on a split with Elder Efoshkin to interview him but all is in order for Saturday. Our district is doing good, we've made amazing progress since the beginning of the transfer, it's cool to see this.
I love you all and hope you have a great week. Know that you're in my prayers and that the work is moving forward every day. I know my Savior lives and loves each us personally. Talk to you next week!
Украинская Донецкая Миссия