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 familysearch.org. 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!
Украинская Донецкая Миссия