Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Coming Full Circle

Privet family! Man I feel like I haven't written in a really long time. Thanks for your emails and updates, they mean a lot to me. Glad to hear that things are relatively good, minus craziness with school. This past week and a half has been crazy, not really sure how to explain it. Last week was my final full week with Elder Jones. I think we worked our hardest yet, but unfortunately didn't see the success we wanted. All we've wanted to do is put someone on date but it hasn't happened. It's been a transfer of ups and downs. Many investigators that he and Rooney met with haven't been able to meet and the ones we've been meeting haven't gone anywhere. We spent lots of time on the streets and only had two lessons total, both with Vadim young. He also isn't progressing and we have told him now that if he drinks anymore we will stop meeting with him. We met and worked out in the morning Saturday and that night he came to the member meeting for Kharkov District Conference drunk...we explained that this isn't fair to the members who have changed their lives to have someone come drunk to the church, let alone it is disrespectful to God. He agreed and so hopefully he can kick the booze. We're following up with him daily so we hope he can stay strong. Last week I also translated for another brother to get his Temple Recommend, his name is Michael or his nickname is "Apostle of Laughter 13" haha. He passed so now all the brothers have recommends! Their temple trip is at the end of June. 

Thursday we went on a "super split." One of the assistants, Elder Coakwell, came with Elder Harrison (yes, the Harrison who I trained). They were with us for two nights. It was super weird to be with Harrison again, this time as my Zone Leader. He has changed a little bit since I trained him but is still about the same haha. He truly is filled with charity for everyone around him. He is the type of missionary that literally talks to every single person, for example, we were on our way to district meeting and were already late 10 minutes and he stopped a guy on the way and we talked another 10 minutes. He is a good Zone Leader and is striving to do his best. And now his Russian is on fire (it was already better than mine when I trained him) serving with the native after me pretty much perfected it. We got 4 contacts on our split total but none of them have turned out yet. We'll see what happens with them in the upcoming week. All in all it was a good split. 

Friday President Alosha threw Elder Moss a going away BBQ. They have a BBQ at their house (we call it the Seev Cave) and President loves barbecuing so we got together and had a great time. We were just talking about how time has gone by so fast. A year and a half ago I was a greenie at his other house with Schoen not knowing anything lol and now I am serving in his branch, understanding and speaking Russian. President's a pretty sweet guy, perhaps one of the strongest members in Kharkov. That night Elder Jones and I were contacting and wanted to get one more before coming in. We walked by some guys playing basketball and we remembered one of our transfer goals was to teach the gospel through basketball. We both looked at each other and said "I'm down if you are" so I walked up to them and said "Hey, we have a proposition for you. We will  play you 2 on 2 and if you win we'll buy you juice and candy. But if we win then you have to listen to our gospel message." The one guy looked at his friends, then back at us, and said "You're gonna play in those clothes?" Yeah, we'll play in them, don't worry. "OK, let's play." haha so me and Jones played against them at this court right in front of our dom. We played to 15 and ended up winning 15-7. It was weird playing basketball again, haven't played in so long. The guys were mad they lost haha but agreed to listen to us. They all sat on a bench and we taught them a short restoration lesson. We offered them Books of Mormon but they didn't really want them, they're content with being Pravoslavni (Eastern Orthodox). However we got their number though to play again sometime so this is good. Saturday was a Zone Meeting in the morning, then the first session of Kharkov District Conference in the evening. Zone Meeting was amazing, I haven't felt the spirit that strong in a while. the Zone Leaders talked about the principle of accountability and responsibility, the Atonement, our callings, and faith. I have a set a goal for my last transfer to really be accountable for all that I do through daily prayers. So many times I just get into the motions and forget why we need prayer. The evening session was good, all the members watched the training videos from the church that came out recently about the Priesthood where some church leaders are sitting in a circle and discussing how to use Priesthood. I had to translate for the senior couple which was really hard cause of the fast speakers on the videos for 2 hours but I think I got the main points across for them. If you haven't noticed I seem to always get stuck translating haha because I'm the oldest in Alekseevka and Kharkov. It's sometimes scary stuff but I've had many good learning experiences doing it. This is definitely a spiritual gift I've developed on my mission, gift of interpretation of tongues.

Sunday was the actual Kharkov District Conference from 10-12 am. It was weird seeing old members that I haven't seen for a year. The speakers were the District President, the District Relief Society President, President Campero, Sister Campero (who spoke Spanish and President translated that into Russian) and the Kiev Temple President and his wife. And you guessed right, I translated for all the English speakers haha. It was super frustrating because we couldn't get the translating equipment to work but finally did halfway through District President's talk. I sat in a side room with the headset and watched a TV with the speakers on it. The topics were sanctifying yourself, daily scripture study, family home evening, the temple, and the doctrine of election (D&C 29:7) This final topic very much interested me because it was what the Kiev Temple President talked about. My patriarchal blessing specifically says that I would be called to serve among the Lord's elect and my whole mission President Campero has put an emphasis on "finding the elect." The Temple President expounded on this scripture and talked about what it means to be elect. The elect are everyone who fought on Christ's side in the pre-mortal life. So even those who died without the chance to have the gospel in Ukraine are elect and their work must be done through their ancestors, the members of the church in Ukraine right now. It was an awesome talk. Sunday night Harold invited all the missionaries over to his house. He gave us playoff updates of course and we just talked/ate with him. He shared his conversion story and said final goodbye to Elder Moss. Then that night we all stayed at the Seev Cave because Monday morning Moss left early for Donetsk and so I've been in a threesome with Jones and Elder Kumferman since Monday. It was super weird to see Moss go/the whole group who left. I have spent my whole mission around them and now they're gone! Elder Moss called us Monday night and gave me some advice for my final transfer. I can't believe it's almost here! So crazy. 

We met with Vadim old yesterday and unfortunately dropped him. He hasn't prayed about baptism and that commitment was three weeks ago. He just can't make up his mind. He believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet and Book of Mormon is true, but that everyone is a prophet and that all paths go to God. He has met missionaries a very long time and hasn't done too much progress. It is sad but he understood fully why we're going to stop meeting so it's good. And last night transfer calls came out.... Elder Coakwell called and we all gathered around and listened on speaker phone. "Can I speak with Elder Jones?" "Yeah, he's here." "Elder Jones, you have received a transfer call. You're coming down on the transfer bus Thursday morning, 6 am. Come with bags packed." "Awwww man, I don't wanna go!" he said. "Sorry Jones, it'll be good though. Now can I talk to Elder Keown and Kumferman?" "Yeah we're here listening." "OK so Elder Keown, you need to pack your bags as well and move to the other Alekseevka area." Wait, I'm moving to the Seev Cave with Elder Kumferman?" "Yeah, you're going to be finishing with him." silence..."Yeeeeeaaaah!!!!!!!"  SO I will be finishing my mission where Elder Moss just finished, in the Seev Cave with Elder Kumferman. My area with Jones was called Pavlovo Poley, this one is just Alekseevka. But we're going to be working both areas because they're not putting missionaries in Pavlovo Pole. So we're gonna be super busy but I'm way excited. It was a bittersweet moment having Jones there to see me learn I'm going to Kumferman but all is well. I don't know what I did to deserve this put I am very grateful and just ready to work this area until the end. I have come full circle because I started my mission in President Alosha's house as a greenie and am ending in his way nice one in Alekseevka. We have air conditioning, a BBQ, all new appliances, and heated tiles, plus a TV to watch Mormon Messages/church dvds on. I am very content with where I'll be ending. Still super surprised but very excited. I was Kumferman's first companion in country when he came in because his trainer was in Bulgaria and I have served around him this past transfer so we already know each other pretty well. He's from Idaho, his dad teaches Russian at BYU-Idaho, and he's now going into his ninth transfer. I'll send a picture next time.

Alekseevka is a super ethnic place, I love it. Yesterday we got a contact in the morning who is a brother here from Maryland studying medicine, met with Paddy in the evening (from Cameroon) then after went contacting and talked to people from Turkmenistan and China (there's tons of students in Alekseevka) and throughout the day spoke Russian! It's awesome.

And to end this email we found out that the Elders who left yesterday morning (Moss and all them) didn't get out of Ukraine because their flight got cancelled from Donetsk to Kiev in the morning which messed up all the rest!!! So they got new flights to Kiev, stayed there in a hotel and probably went to the Temple. I'm pretty sure they're on their way to America right now so keep them in your prayers. We'll see now what happens to my group in 6 weeks!

Family, I love you all so much. Thank you all for all that you do and tell everyone I say hello and send my love. Know that you are always in my prayers and I am doing well. Have an awesome week and I'll talk to you on Monday! 

с любовью,
Старейшина Каун
Украинская Донецкая Миссия

Monday, May 20, 2013

20 Months in Ukraine!

Privet family! Thanks so much for the letters and love, it really means so much to me. So unfortunately we don't have any new investigators from this past week but I have several experiences I'd like to share with you. First off, here is some investigator progress. Only two invesigators could meet this week, the others we couldn't get a hold of. 

Oleg - I don't know if I've talked about him before. He was found in January by the missionaries here and is very nice. He used to be a Baptist preacher but has since stopped being religious. We met with him and his friend in the branch who is a member, Brat Maidan. We wanted to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ but ended up talking about the importance of the Book of Mormon and sharing our testimonies/how we came to know that it was true. He asks lots of crazy questions, most of which are psychological, and Brat Maidan said "Oleg, we can answer your questions really easily, but it's not going to be the answers you want until you read and pray about the Book of Mormon and get your own answer." I really liked this. So many times members on lessons just get off on crazy tangents but he told him how it really is. So we'll see if Oleg has read and wants to continue meeting.

Vadim - We're not super sure what to do with Vadim, but know that we need to just keep meeting with him often or else something crazy might happen. We work out a few mornings in the week with him and then read the Book of Mormon after. On Friday he came to the church looking really down and sad. We did some working out, then really had a spiritual lesson reading from the Book of Mormon. I don't even remember where we read, just that he felt the importance of it and the Spirit. He left the lesson with a smile.

I went on a split with Elder Kumferman this past Tuesday, he's a pretty sweet Elder. When I was in the office I actually served with him a few days while his future trainer was in Bulgaria. This is Elder Moss's final week in Ukraine, he's going to Donetsk this Sunday and will be out early Tuesday morning, so we'll be serving in a threesome with Elder Kumferman next week until transfers. It's super weird seeing Elder Moss go, just because I started my mission with him. 

Since there are many brothers in the branch President Alosha relies on us to translate for them/help them out with branch callings and stuff. So every Sunday I've been translating the temple prep class for them and this last Wednesday I translated four interviews to get temple recommends/callings in the branch. One brother in particular, Paddy, made me smile. He's been a member for like a year and a half and just got his first Temple Recommend. After receiving it, he ran down the hall shouting, "Everyone, I just got my first temple recommend, I'm so excited! Jones, take my picture so I can put it on facebook!" It has been really cool working with the brothers and getting to know them so far. They're planning on going to Kiev at the end of June so this next week we'll be helping them get their family trees done and registered on And Harold (you remember him) moved so we helped him with this and he gave us playoff updates haha. His cousin plays for the Thunder so he was bummed about them losing as well. Definitely an interesting turnout in the playoffs it sounds like. 

Now for some comments/tidbits. We started a new English program last Friday so we'll see how the success goes here in Alekseevka. Not too many people came but maybe more will come as the weeks go on. I'm not really a big fan of the English program but perhaps it will get better with time. Next week P-day is on Wednesday so I won't be writing until then. Transfer calls are coming out Tuesday night. I don't think I'm going anywhere, but anything can happen. Jones might get transferred but everything's just up in the air. The APs told me that I'll like what happens so we'll find out what that means. And Saturday was a baptismal service in Saltovka.We took Vadim and attended the service. This is a lady that the Alekseevka sisters found and then passed to Saltovka. She is kind of a crazy lady, like twenty years she wanted to be baptized but the branch said no but she passed all the baptismal questions and the district leader in Saltovka saw her ready for baptism. There was some drama between missionaries and Branch President there because she was ready but Branch President didn't want to baptize her but in this case it comes down to the District Leader so she was baptized. It was good to go to a baptism, I haven't been to one of those since Mariupol. I really want to help one more person to the waters of baptism. Sometimes it seems that everything you do just doesn't do anything. We're really hoping these last weeks of serving together that we can put someone on date. And count your many blessings that you have hot water! Once a year in Kharkov it gets turned off to save money or something, not really sure, but most doms here don't have hot water at all, including ours. So cold showers until June 15, yea!! And finally, yesterday at Sacrament Meeting a guy from Colorado showed up. He knew some of the members and was talking it up with them but I didn't have a chance to meet him before meeting started. When it came time for speakers, President gave him the pulpit and explained that he was one of the FIRST Donetsk missionaries 20 years ago. So this guy got up and bore his testimony (in Russian, still knows it, very respectable) and just said basically "Wow. I can't believe I'm standing here right now. We started with four members and now you have ninety. It's good to see that you have very strong testimonies and that the work we started hasn't gone to waste." It was awesome to hear this man testify. It really strengthened my testimony that our efforts are all used for good and the church will continue to grow as the Lord sees fit.

Family, I love you all so much. Know that you are in my prayers and I think about you often. Thanks so much for everything, you are the best! I know this church is true and changes lives. Have a great week and I'll hear from you next Wednesday!

с любовью,
Старейшина Каун
Украинская Донецкая Миссия

Monday, May 13, 2013

Only 26 Baptisms by June 30th

My dear Missionaries,
I resend you the letter that the Area Presidency sent this morning. Now you know who is leaving and who is coming as your new Mission President. Remember our goal till the end of June – 51 (we need only 26 baptisms in the coming 7 weeks) You probably read already my last e-mail regarding the new way to report progressing investigators On Date. With that in mind and anticipating One baptism of two On Date, we need to have 52 On Date. The good news is that this should be done during the next 4 weeks since the baptisms usually become true about three weeks after the investigator accepts to be baptized. Since we have 35 companionships we should try to have, in each companionship, 2 On Date (rated 7 > 10) by June 9th. You probably are saying ‘that is easy’; If you think, pray, visualize and teach families, 2 is even much easier. Dear missionaries, Be Smart, work with the church members and especially the District and Branch leaders. Now you have the lists of almost all of the active members. Their relatives and good friends are the Low Hanging Fruit that we want to bring to the church first. Contacting should continue if you don’t have planned lessons. 15 quality contacts per companionship per week will give you the basis for the baptisms that we are seeking. Remember D&C 4:4 The field is white, ready to harvest.
I testify that the Lord and His angels will be with every diligent and obedient companionship.
With love,
President Campero
7 May 2013
Dear Mission Presidents, Stake Presidents, and Area Seventy of the Europe East Area:
We are writing to inform you that President and Sister Vladimiro Campero of the Ukraine Donetsk Mission have been released from their service by the First Presidency as of July 1st of this year. President Campero has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and the Brethren have instructed him to devote his time, energy, and faith to fighting this cancer. This is a huge loss to all of us in Eastern Europe. There is no one more beloved than the Camperos. They have served admirably and effectively.
For your information, Brother Robert Lochhead, our Area Office of General Counsel (OGC), and his wife K'Lynn, have been called to preside over the Donetsk mission starting on July 1st. Brother Lochhead will be leaving the OGC office next week and will be replaced by Brent Belnap, who has been working with the Kirton and McConkie law firm in Salt Lake City for the last year. Brother Belnap has been consulting on EEA matters for the last several months and will be well apprised of the issues all of you are facing.
We thank, say goodbye, and wish well the Camperos, and let them know that they are in all of our prayers. We congratulate and welcome the Lochheads to their new role. We thank Brother Belnap for his willingness to assume this challenging and valuable assignment.
Europe East Area Presidency

Long Time No See!

Privet again family! So basically this email will probably be a little short since we talked about tons of stuff on Skype. It was AWESOME to see you all and catch up a little bit. I know that Heavenly Father truly watches after you. Here are some other highlights from the week that I forgot to mention.

Family Home Evening/Eating Monday - the Senior couple here in Kharkov, the Arnesons, hold FHE every Monday. It is open to all to come with their investigators who know English so we always go with Vadim and most of the brothers come as well. The brothers call FHE 'Eating Monday' because the Arnesons make a ton of food for everyone haha. This past Monday we played a game called Chinese Writing. Brynn probably knows how to play this. You have four butter knives and choose someone to go out of the room. The remaining people in the room choose one person to be it, and then use the knives to make a "pattern" on the ground to show the person who went out who has been chosen. But really the knives don't mean anything and it's all an inside game where someone mimicks the body movements of the chosen person haha. So basically the brothers couldn't figure out how we knew who it was every time and it was tons of fun. 

I went on a split with Elder Moss, probably my last split with him. He is going home in two weeks and is pretty trunky. Bags are packed and is ready to go. Our lessons dogged on us so we pretty much just contacted/found this cool private home neighborhood in a forest by his area. Elder Moss is known around the mission for being a gospel genious. He knows the scriptures and ancient/modern history inside and out. So our studies were very inspiring to me. Companion study we talked a lot about the temple/marriage and in personal study I was pondering about Lehi's vision and applied this to being a returned missionary, always have the temple in sight. I was looking for a picture in the Liahona of this vision and came across the article by President Uchtdorf called "Always in the Middle" from July 2012. This is something I needed to be reminded of, that we are always in the middle of life, no matter where we are. A missionary at the end of his mission is still in the middle of things. Elder Moss is one of my best friends here on the mission. He is like a brother to me.

And finally, some investigator progress. Johnson is no longer on date since we can't get a hold of him. We'll keep calling but unfortunately I think he's off the map. Vadim young is doing okay. We work out with him a few mornings in the week and read the BOM with him. He is the one with schizophrenia so sometimes he's excited to meet, sometimes he's very depressed and lonely. We asked him how we can best help him and he said to just continue to meet and read. And Igor read the first 8 chapters in the Book of Mormon but has had many doubts about the apostasy and restoration. Jones and Kumferman taught him while I was on my split so I don't know exactly how the lesson went but this week we will be teaching the Plan of Salvation. And we got a referral from Elder Jones' MTC teacher that wants to meet this week so we'll see how this goes. Her name is Sasha. Basically we need new investigators!!!!

That's about it for this week. I love you all very much and thank you for your prayers and love. Have an awesome week and remember who you are and share this testimony with others!! Talk to you next time!

с любовью,
Старейшина Каун
Украинская Донецкая Миссия

Monday, May 6, 2013

Two Instead of Three

My beloved Missionaries of our Ukraine Donetsk Mission.

This morning came to my mind a few scriptures and I will explain why I mention them to you.

Our Area president, President Lawrence, called us and read a letter that the First Presidency sent him stating that President Campero and Sister Campero will serve two years instead of the original three. This change is only because President Campero should take care of his health, at this time, as his first priority.

The news was initially distressful but soon after we understood that this is another expression of the love of our Heavenly Father, He knows us personally and he is mindful of our real needs, regardless of our best wishes, so, Ecclesiastes 3:11 applies to us, too. To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven,

In the Lord’s vineyard He calls us and He releases us, so that means that after we have been called we should do our very best and also prepare ourselves to be released. Every single action of our Lord is for our good. Alma 42:4 And thus we see, that there was a time granted unto man to repent, yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God.

I shared this news with our family and also with my Assistants; they said, very inspired, President, Now what is your goal until the end of June?

I ponder about it during the night and this morning after my prayer I opened my eyes and in front of me was an empty piece of paper. A strong thought came to my mind, “Today is the first day of your future, now you can start with renewed energy.” Yes, I can see my life from a new perspective.

The goal that we should accomplish together in the next two months is to achieve the goals that we already established together, 100 baptisms during this 2013 year, that means that by the end of June we shall bring to the feet of our Savior at least 51 brothers and sisters. We should do this for the correct reasons not only for the numbers. I strongly believe and know that we have all the resources needed. Elder Holland taught during the last General Conference that it doesn’t matter how big or little our faith is, we should apply to the fullest the Faith that each of us have. Our Master said, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

Are you ready to accomplish our promise?

A long time ago, I said to our President Bennett that he is to me like Moroni and our missionaries are like the Stripling warriors that Helaman taught and guided. You are the Stripling warriors that need this nation. Today in Ukraine we and our members of the church are not at war in the straight sense, but we are all at war with the toughest enemy of our souls. Consider the verse in Alma 46:12. We all have to defend our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children in memory of our God. This is our time to act with the power of God and His angels. D&C 4:4 For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;

The new Mission President will arrive probably on July 1st and it would be great if he can start with a positive mission, one that achieves what promises to our Lord. Read once more D&C 4:4. Yes, the field is white already to harvest.

I testify that to save souls (invite to come and abide with our Savior Jesus Christ) is the most important work that any man or woman should do on this earth.

With increased love. President and Sister Campero

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Privet family, kak dela?

Yesterday was Orthodox Easter here so we're a little behind on the holidays. But actually a little Ukraine fact, almost every day is a different holiday but they are holidays for orthodox kings and queens/icons. The next holiday coming up though is May 9, Victory Day. This is when Nazi Germany was captured by USSR in WWII. It's a pretty big deal here and already kids have been on break and there will be tons of parades and stuff. Maybe I'll get some pictures, we'll have to see.

Things are picking up a little bit in our area, we found three new investigators this past week - Johnson, Erik, and Igor, and JOHNSON HAS A BAPTISMAL DATE! We found him on the street coming home Tuesday night. He is a brother here from Nigeria and knows one of the brothers in the branch already, Michael. We had a great first lesson with him and he said 'Of course I'll get baptized!' So the date right now is May 25 but we found out yesterday that we're having Kharkov district conference that day so we'll probably have to move it back into June. And he didn't make it to church yesterday which was a bummer so hopefully he can come this upcoming week. He seems pretty promising and should get along great with the other brothers. 

Erik is the boyfriend of a less-active in the branch named Aliona. Aliona is friends with Anya who we just helped get active again. His lesson was mostly just asking questions about the church and why we do what we do. We're not sure exactly how serious he is but he took a BOM and wants to read it. We found out yesterday that he and Aliona broke up now though so this might effect if we meet again or not. Aliona might have forced him to listen to us haha but that's not a bad thing.

And Igor is a former investigator. He's a really nice guy, in his 40s and divorced. He is unemployed right now because he does some type of industrial work that isn't needed anymore. He wanted to rent us his apartment which is super nice but it's too expensive for the mission. When he was meeting with the other elders before me (Jones already knows him) he said that he feels God is too busy to answer his prayers. Elder Rooney (Jones' previous comp) told him that this isn't true and that he should pray. He finally prayed and claims to have seen Christ and talked face to face with him. He says that it's all thanks to Rooney and pretty much worships him now. I asked him what Christ told him and he says that Christ told him to love all people and that there aren't any bad people on the earth. I don't know if I believe his vision or not, I think it's possible he saw an angel but I don't know. Lots of people I've talked to say they've seen things, even members. We taught him about the BOM and he said he'd pray again and start reading. We stopped by yesterday since he didn't come to church and gave him the Del Parson picture of Christ and he invited us in to have some Coke and hard boiled eggs. (By the way, Ukrainians dye their eggs using oil peels. You boil the peels then add the eggs and they come out a really pretty dark red.) He's a super nice guy, we'll see where he goes.

We also met with some brother members, Paddy and Herold. So Paddy got baptized when I was a greenie and he's doing great. We helped him make plans to share the gospel with his family since he's the only member. All the brothers are getting ready right now to go to Kiev Temple for the first time so it's gonna be sweet. And Herold got baptized back in 2007 and is married to a Ukrainian with three kids. He fed us great food and brought us up to date about all the crazy stuff going down in America right now. He moved to Utah not too long ago and I found out he might just live in our stake! His kids go to Cottonwood Elementary and he said that he knows President Little. He's going to med school right now through the U of U but is also doing some studying/working here because it's way cheaper and he knows Russian. He's way sweet, I'm gonna need to find him when I get home. 

Progress with other investigators- we only met with the two Vadims. We were going to drop Vadim old but then had an alright lesson about prayer with him. He said he knows the church is true and that the Book of Mormon is true but doesn't want to get baptized. He is very unsure about everything. We might need to drop him if he hasn't prayed about baptism. He's just met with missionaries for a long time and so if he's not progressing than we've got people that are/can find people that will. And Vadim young. We worked out with him on Friday morning and he was doing ok, then Saturday there was an easter activity at the center branch. We invited him to it and he wanted to come, but it got to be half an hour late and he still hadn't shown up. So we called him again and he said he was almost there so we went out and waited for him. He walked up pretty drunk, like we could smell him from a mile away and he had buzzed his hair off. (He used to have really long and curly hair) He came up to the door and we're like "Vadim, what happened man?" He said that he was remembering his dark past and needed to forget it so he got drunk. "Where did you get the money?" 'The barber gave me money for my hair'....This was so sad to see. He then said, 'So can I come in? The members have seen me drunk before, they won't mind. But you're my friends, you're the missoinaries. I trust your decision.' Wow, I really felt a slap in the face from his words. Sometimes I forget just how much we mean to people. I don't know Vadim that well and would consider him an acquaintance, but he really depends on us. And then I got to thinking that if I was really his friend then he wouldn't be drunk right now. Elder Jones and I decided that he shouldn't come in but that he should go home, sleep off his decision, and then we'd see him tonight at FHE. He agreed. But from this experience I have been reminded of just how much I mean to these people. Too often I get caught up in the motions of missionary work that I forget why I'm really here. Vadim needs our help right now and the Lord has seen fit to trust Elder Jones and I with him. This was a hard lesson to learn but I feel that it was needed. 

And now I have some pretty shocking news. President Campero sent out an email today that he will be finishing his mission at the end of June as ordered by the First Presidency due to his health issues. We will be getting a new mission president on July 1. I forwarded you his email so you can read it. He really wants us to achieve our goal we set together, 100 baptisms before he goes home. I feel a very increased desire, almost burning duty, to do all I possibly can to make this happen and do my part, sacrificing more than ever and giving it my all. President will be coming to Alekseevka on Friday and doing some training with our district so I'm looking forward to this very much. 

I love you all and pray for you always. Have a great week, tell everyone that I send my love, and I'll SEE you Saturday on Skype!