Thanks for all the birthday wishes and emails, it really means a lot. This week was pretty good, a little trying because we didn't have as much success on the streets as we wanted but nevertheless a good week in Daky. Transfer calls came out on Friday and.... our district is staying the same for next transfer! Not a surprise because we all came in at the same time and President put us here for a reason. I just pray we can keep doing some good work here in Makeevka and keep working with our investigators. Here is an investigator review of this week:
Syhatyoplaya family (Lera and Slavic)- I don't remember if I've talked about this family. They are a part-member family, the mom is a member but is really less-active. We found her on the street and she said we could come over and do the lessons. We teach them with Brat Nikitenko. Slavic is about 50 and works as a driver. He works a lot and doesn't seem too into the gospel. And Lera is 14. She went to Primary but never got baptized. We've taught them the Plan of Salvation and now just need to get them to Church.
Valentina- We met and taught the Word of Wisdom. We tried to help her set a date to stop smoking but she doesn't want to set one yet, just have us check up on her. She was supposed to come to Church yesterday but didn't make it and didn't pick up her phone. We'll see what happens this week.
And the Heyleak family (Sergei, Vera, Yaroslav, Dima)- We met last night on my bday and had Brat Nikitenko with us. Only Sergei and Yaroslav were on the lesson. We had planned to teach about temples and eternal families so that they might see where this is all going after baptism, plus Brat Nikitenko works in the Kiev Temple and could explain stuff. BUT we changed the lesson plan on the spot and ended up talking about how they can receive an answer about the Book of Mormon because Sergei doesn't understand anything he reads. After him and Brat Nikitenko talked for a very long time haha and us sharing our testimonies we ended the lesson on a high note. Sergei wants to read 2 nephi 2, mosiah 2, and alma 42 this week and really start praying. And he said that if he gets an answer he'll get baptized!!!!! The next step with them is church. Hopefully this week that comes true. They're doing good though, awesome family!
And we have a new investigator this week- Yura. So this was a miracle story. We were finding less-actives Thursday night and found the apartment building of a man in the branch that no one knows anything about. We got to his door, knocked, and no one answered. So we knocked his neighbors' door and a nice babushka answered. She said that he lives there but is super hard to get a hold of. But she was interested in taking a little brochure from us and was really nice so we decided to continue and tract the whole apartment building. After getting several doors slammed in our face and yelled at by someone (didn't understand anything he said haha) we knocked another door and a nice man answered. The first thing he said was "You found me! Come on in!" Puzzled, I looked at Elder Harrison and went in. I asked him if we knew him and he's like "Yeah, you gave me two of your brochures on the street but both times I didn't have time to stop and talk to you." WOW. So we came in, sat down, and got to know him. He works as a welder, is 48, smokes and drinks, was in prison for 15 years (not sure why) and has a good taste in music and clothing. He's a very neat, clean shaven guy. He also served in the army and showed us tons of pictures of his family in Georgia and Russia/Eastern Europe. He made us some eggs and salad and we had dinner with him, it was awesome! He is religious and worships icons but believes that our finding him wasn't a mistake. Also, as we ate and talked he blasted some Bach organ fugues! Only in Ukraine on a mission does one have these experiences haha. We did a quick first lesson with him and left him a Book of Mormon. He couldn't make it to church but we're meeting tomorrow. He seems like one who would suddenly give up smoking and drinking to join a church. Hopefully it's a good lesson!
Bonaventure's baptism on Saturday was great. I think it's the smallest baptism I've ever been to, about 8 or 9 members plus our district but it was still awesome. And yesterday he got confirmed in English because the branch president served in London and knows perfect English. The branch accepted him as a new brother and he's doing good. It was a good birthday present you could say!
For my birthday I made myself a cake and we went and bought ice cream at a store near our house. This is where the title of this email comes from haha. I bought a tube of ice cream and the lady working there who has talked to us before said "Oh you're still here huh?" Yeah, still here, didn't go back to America yet. "Oh. What's with the ice cream?" It's my birthday tomorrow. "Oh, happy birthday. But you should put that back and just buy some vodka." haha Welcome to Ukraine. But seriously though, my bday was great. Just what I expected. I can't believe I'm 21 now but it is what it is!
Well family, I love you all very much. I don't have time to comment on your email mom but I agree that through it all, God is with us and truly answers our prayers. I know these things to be true and am so grateful to be here at this time. Have a great week and I'll talk to you later!
Украинская Донецкая Миссия