We met with three investigators - Raad, Tolu, and a new one, Leonid. Raad is still the same. We're probably going to stop meeting him just because there's no progress happening. We will try to meet once more with Akbar on the lesson and go from there. He's super nice, just very rooted in the Muslim faith. Tolu is still very busy with school so we met on the street and read a verse from the Book of Mormon. He wants to invite us over this week to play us some songs on piano since he's a music major so hopefully this works out. Many people here are just super busy with school which is understandable. And Leonid is the husband of an inactive sister. The sisters ran into him on the street and passed him to us. We dropped by last night and got to know him a little bit. He answered the door with his shirt off (pretty common here lol) and invited us in. He's in his sixties and his wife actually started going back to Provoslavni church and was at their dacha. He was very nice and well, Ukrainian. Grew up atheist, went to church like one time to get his kids baptized by the priest there, and that's about it. Mostly we just talked about our lives and what we do as missionaries. We talked a little about prayer as well. He said we could come back again in September because he's going to their dacha until then next week so we'll write a record for him for the future missionaries. Unfortunately Anton has been super busy and Natasha has been as well. So our work seems slow right now. However, yesterday we were going through our area book and calling former investigators and I called one who seems very promising who wants to meet again Tuesday so we're really hoping this will be good. This last Monday we had Family Home Evening at the Arnesons and took Anton with us. He seemed to like it and talked to the Arnesons quite a bit. It was also Paddy's birthday, so several brothers came as well. Anton was supposed to come to church yesterday but something came up and he couldn't anymore so we really hope he can make it this week.
Saturday we had final interviews with President. It wasn't my real exit interview but basically was in a way. It was a great conversation with President one on one. He asked me if I was happy and then the question, "How was your mission?" 'It's been a dream,' I said. 'The best two years for my life.' We talked about some experiences I've had, trials I've faced, and then he told me "Elder Keown, I consider you one of the best missionaries in this mission. You have grown so much since the start and it is evident in who you are today. I love you." I didn't expect these words but am very humbled by them. President is one of the biggest role models in my life. He and Sister Campero came to Alekseevka yesterday for their final Sunday in Ukraine. Sister Campero bore her testimony and President talked. It was actually a miracle because tons of youth and less-actives came to see them speak. President encouraged everyone to get their kids to Youth Conference in September, which will be in Western Ukraine. Seminary, Institute, and Youth Conference prepare the youth for missions, marriages, and leadership in the church. And then this morning we watched the worldwide broadcast as a zone called "The Work of Salvation." President and Sister Campero came in at the end and gave final hugs to us before they left for Donetsk. It was sad to see them go, they love this mission, these people, and us with all their hearts. I felt like a part of me left with them. But all will be well with them in their future, they have done so much good for so many people. The new Mission President and wife will be here a week from today, and then next week we'll have another Zone Conference with them and President Malm from the Area Presidency. Should be awesome!
You all should watch that broadcast called "The Work of Salvation" by the way. Brynn told me she watched it but you guys should too. You can find it on lds.org. With a whole new wave of missionaries come new ways and responsibilities to do the work. They placed a big emphasis on member-missionary work and don't want missionaries to be finding as much anymore. I really liked the broadcast but honestly it was hard to relate to because I haven't done a lot of member work on my mission. Members have helped on lessons and baptisms which has been awesome but I've never received a referral or invitation to teach someone's friend or family member with that person present as shown in the broadcast. But the mission is taking a huge turn towards members. The new president is coming and President Campero has prepared the mission to make the change. It's hard to explain so just wait until I get back.
I love you all so much! Everything you have done and do means the world to me. Know that you're in my prayers and I think about you every day. Have a great week and I'll talk to you next time!
Украинская Донецкая Миссия