WOW thanks for your emails, I'm pretty trunky right now, not gonna lie haha. I'm SO glad to hear you got to go to Moss's homecoming. That punk didn't write me yet and then I saw on President Alyosha's iPad yesterday that Moss posted the time and date on facebook so I thought there was no way you'd make it there but everything worked out perfectly I guess!
This past week has been a great start to my final transfer here. It seemed like it was super long but every day was filled with great experiences. Elder Kumferman and I are keeping pretty busy with everything since we're the only Elders in Alekseevka. President Alyosha doesn't have counselors so it feels like he just relies on us a ton to do stuff, mostly translate/help with the brothers but we do more than that. We told him he needs counselors but he disagrees haha. So we're pretty involved in the branch, which is good. It's keeping me busy. At the end of this month the brothers will be taking a Temple trip, June 27. Hopefully there will be 9 brothers going. But they need to figure out money and tickets pretty quick here so we had a meeting after church yesterday. It ended in them just arguing in pidgeon with each other (pidgeon is brother English) and was kind of dramatic but hopefully things will be in order by Wednesday. Kumferman and I also are dealing with three apartments in Alekseevka (his old one, mine, and the Seev Cave) so this past week we had to deal with an angry landlady since that apartment got closed. We gave her the money and stuff for the final rent but it wasn't pretty. I'm really not sure if we as missionaries should even be dealing with closing apartments and stuff but it's whatever. Just add it to the list of crazy things I've done. The mission at this time is putting a focus more on meeting with members than getting contacts. Maybe I already talked about this, don't remember, but it needed to happen. We met with a solid member family last night, Sasha and Irina Gorski. Sasha's dad has been Branch President twice and was one of the first members in Kharkov. However, Sasha didn't join the church until 10 years ago when he was like 21. His parents fasted EVERY SUNDAY that he would join the church and after seven years he finally joined! Crazy huh? We had a great visit with them, just got to know them, showed our pictures, saw their pictures, heard their conversion stories, and then we almost forgot we hadn't left a spiritual thought because they gave us cake and compote haha. They want us to come over again, which is just what we want. President Campero wants the missionaries to push for referrals and helping members share the Gospel. This upcoming week we are hoping to work with more members. However, despite contacts not really counting anymore, we got 9 this week which is the most I've got in a long time, one of which seems super promising, Sasha. He randomly came to English thanks to an invite from his friends, really liked meeting us, and even stayed for the spiritual thought (no one ever stays, its sad!) He reminds me a lot of Artour. He's 21, knows ok English, was impressed by the church and our temples, and wants to meet this week. We can for sure see him being baptized if he can come to church.
As far as investigators, this past week we met with three - Kingsly, Aleksander, and Tolu. Kingsly is from Cameroon and first met with sisters. He is pretty cool, just doesn't have time to read Book of Mormon. He believes in the Bible but doesn't see the importance of Book of Mormon so we talked a little about the importance and asked him what his favorite verse was from the Bible. He said John 1:1. We talked about that and then the thought came to me to show how the Book of Mormon teaches the same principles. So we jumped to 3 Nephi 9:15-22 and this really brought the Spirit into the lesson. We left him with 3 Nephi 11 and hope that he can read that. Aleksander is the man that Elder Jones and I met with. Used to be atheist, but progresses a little bit each time. He has heard all the lessons now but goes to his cottage each weekend and has never been to church. This week we'll hope to talk about baptism with him and the importance. And Tolu is from Nigeria. He is here as a music major and plays piano. He is very close to God and believes that all churches are good, doesn't matter which one you go to, all lead to God. So we talked a little about church organization (Ephesians 4:11-14) and the importance of authority. He too doesn't have time to read the Book of Mormon, but if he did and prayed he would for sure get an answer. We didn't make progress with Natasha this week but are hoping to meet at the end of the week. She could potentially be baptized before I go home if we can get her on a date.
We are working with several recent converts and less actives right now. Last Monday we met with Crazy Lena. She is 60 years old and LOVES missionaries and LOVES pictures, especially with flowers. So we went and helped her get water from the free fountain and then took some pictures with her. She is a great member, just less active because of working on Sundays. She knows Natasha very well (Natasha and her daughter Karina are friends) so if all works out we'll be meeting Natasha with Lena. Ken is a brother from Nigeria, got baptized in December. Out of all the brothers he understands the most but is also super sneaky haha. Like he only meets with us if we make deals (we have to give him candies, or chocolates, or planners lol) He is a punk but pretty solid. And we had an excellent lesson with Apostle 13. He got his nickname from his friends because he's religious and is actually a comedian that gets hired for shows and stuff. He talked about the difference between before baptism and after and its just really cool to see. We helped him choose two friends that are ready to hear the Gospel, so hopefully things go well with them and he can refer them to us. And we also met with Henry, another brother from Nigeria. He messed up his toe and had to get surgery so has been at his house because he can't walk too much on it. We found out it was his birthday on Saturday so we called him up, wished him Happy Birthday and found out he wasn't doing anything for his birthday. That's no way to celebrate! So we went over and brought a cake with us and met. We also gave him each a tie. He was so happy to see us because he didn't want anyone to know about his birthday, but at the same time wanted to celebrate. Hopefully he can come to church this next Sunday, as his toe is doing a lot better. This past week I have really been praying for service opportunities each day and just striving to do something good for someone. So far each day the Lord has given us opportunities and it's been awesome. Sometimes big things, sometimes small, but through helping others in a time of need or just to make their life a little easier is truly the way to happiness.
This upcoming week is gonna be crazy, we already have things planned out for each day, so it's gonna fly by. And this next Sunday, June 16, we're having Mission Conference in Donetsk! So we're leaving Kharkov Sunday morning at 3:30 am, busing down there, then we get to go to the Donetsk District Conference (gonna see all of Donetsk members and Mariupol!) then there will be a lunch with President and Sister Campero, President Bennett, and Elder Ulisses S. Soares from the Quorum of the Seventy. And then we will have our conference with all the missionaries, bus back up to Kharkov, and hopefully get back by 9:30. It's gonna be awesome, can't wait!!
Well, that's about it for this week. Know that you're all in my prayers and that life is good. I miss you all a ton but I'm keeping busy and can't wait to see you all pretty soon! Tell everyone I say hello and pass my love to them! Have a great week and I'll talk to you later!
Украинская Донецкая Миссия