Thanks for all the love and updates from the week. Send everyone my love and that I'll be seeing them pretty soon. This past week was our best yet so I'll start from the top.
NINA GOT BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!!!!
We didn't even plan for this to happen but here's the whole story. So we met with Nina on Monday night and had President Gushin with us. We talked about temples and family history work, especially baptisms for the dead and sealings. (She's been wondering how to go to the temple and what goes on there) It was a good lesson and at the end we brought up her baptism again and how she felt. She said again that she wanted to still inform her children about it and wait. At this point on the lesson President had to go so he left and we stayed. During this period of time we racked our brains for a scripture to share or something that would move the lesson forward. I remembered that before leaving the house I had looked at Alma 7:14-16. I had forgotten this the whole lesson but when it came back to memory I turned there and suggested that we go with it. So Nina came back into the room and we shared these verses with her. She really liked them. Elder Sanger then said something like "Nina, you are ready for baptism and the longer you put it off the longer you live without the gift of the Holy Ghost. But when you get this gift though, it will be easier to talk to your kids and explain everything." She agreed then I added "Yeah, and the longer you wait the more time you give Satan to tempt you to fail." Then Sanger added "So waiting is from Satan, getting baptized soon is from God." The Spirit was strong and testified to her right there that she needed to get baptized and was ready. She then said, "OK, you're right, I've just been putting it off and putting it off but I've just been living without the gift of the Holy Ghost. I want to be baptized." It was one of the most spiritual lessons I've had on my mission. We put her on date for Saturday, March 2, then after the lesson called branch President and the mission leader and got the service organized. Friday night the APs came down to interview her and start a split with us and she passed everything fine then Saturday was the baptism! Brat Valeri Gushin baptized her and there was a great turnout and spirit present. Elder Sanger and I gave her a picture of Christ and some flowers, which she was very grateful for. And then yesterday she was confirmed the newest member in Mariupol! This makes 4 baptisms in Mariupol this year already, and last year total they had 3. She even bore her first testimony afterward for Fast Sunday as well as Brat Valeri about missionary work and Preach My Gospel. Awesome stuff. The work is starting to take off here. From this experience I've learned a few things. One, the importance of involving members in the whole baptismal process. Brat Valeri introduced her to the sisters, they taught her the first half and we finished the second half. We had members on every lesson and had Brat Valeri baptize her. And now she's getting ready to go to Kiev and do baptisms/submit names. She's an amazing lady. I feel very blessed to have played a small role in her baptism. The second thing I've learned is something that Elder Mironchenko told me about on our split. As you serve your companion and really focus on having Christlke love for him, then He'll bless you with people to teach. As we serve and do what we can the Lord blesses us.
We also are soon hoping to get Denis baptized. His mom gave the OK for him to get baptized but he can't come to church until it gets warmer in several weeks. We will start re-teaching the lessons again just to review and go from there. Also this last week on our split with the APs we were able to get in contact with some former invetigators that Elder Mironchenko taught when he was a greenie here. We are hopeful that we can start teaching them the lessons again and get them to church.
Now for some comments/tidbits. President Campero is doing good, he's waiting for his results and then will probably have surgery. In his place is President Podvodov, President's first counselor. He was mission president in Saint Petersburg and got back right when I came into country. This Wednesday I have Zone Leader's Council again so we'll be making the trip to Donetsk. And the meeting will only be in Russian so it's going to be interesting because the Podvodov's don't know any English! I did hear about all the new missions created. Did you hear that there's a new one in Ukraine? It will be the Lviv Mission, it is Western Ukraine and will balance out Kiev a little bit. Also Elder Bolingbroke's greenie is finally coming to Ukraine tomorrow. He's been serving with a native from Kharkov and we're happy to finally have a full district of English speakers so we'll have a new member of the zone/district this week. I went on a split with the Kharkov elder last Tuesday, it was fine it's just super hard living with a Ukrainian I'm not gonna lie. There is just a different mindset about everything. And Happy March! I realized that at the end of this week will be my 2 year mark of opening up my call... that was quick. So celebrate for me by getting a Wendy's frosty or something haha. And I will order that egg for us.
I love you all so very much and wish you a great week! Know that you are in my prayers always and I think about you often. I'm so grateful to be here at this time and for the experiences I'm gaining every day, every transfer. This truly is a marvelous work that we are all involved in. I know that God lives. Jesus is the Christ. And His church has been restored through Joseph Smith. I'll talk to you next week!
Украинская Донецкая Миссия