There are a few new things since last Wednesday so here we go. We found a new investigator named Akin. He is a brother here from Maryland studying medicine. And turns out he knows Harold, so small world. He is 21 years old and is going back to America for the summer in a few weeks. He is Catholic. When we first met him on the street we weren't wearing our proselyting clothes because we were coming from exercise. So when we met him the second time in our white shirts and slacks carrying a Book of Mormon he was like "Whoa guys, whatchoo dressed up for? Aww man, and you brought the Mormon Bible too!" Our first little meeting (we sat down at an outdoor restaurant) he said he's not going to convert so don't even try and we basically just talked about a ton of stuff. He can't believe we do everything we do. "Being in Ukraine sucks enough, and on top of that you can't have girlfriends, watch tv, movies, or have fun? And you cook for yourselves? Sounds like prison man!" So we talked a lot about our daily life and why we're here. He respected us for what we're doing but isn't too interested in the Gospel. We found out he plays basketball every weekend so we asked if we could come and play and he said sure. So Saturday we went and played basketball with him/other brothers and Ukrainians in the area on a street court. We were in teams of 4. We won our first game but lost the second, then it started pouring rain so we called it quits. Akin wanted to talk to us again so we went to the same little restaurant place and chatted. This time though he asked us "So what's with the Mormons? Like, how do they live their lives different than mine?" So we explained several main differences, like word of wisdom, law of chastity, tithing, church attendance, and a few other ones. He agreed with all of it. He also asked what will happen after this life according to Mormons, so we talked about a few Plan of Salvation doctrines. Kumferman said jokingly, "So basically Akin, you should become a Mormon" and then he said 'I don't know man, I gotta think about it." It was pretty cool to see his change from the first chat to this one. We haven't set up with him again yet but we want to give him a Book of Mormon this week and try and get something going with Harold.
Since we are working two areas we have some other investigators that Moss and Kumferman were working with as well. One is Sergei. This guy has been coming to church every week for like 10+ years but doesn't want to meet with missionaries. Funny side note, my first week in Alekseevka I went up and shook his hand and asked how long he'd been a member (looks like a member). He said '20 years' so turns out he's not a member after all lol. Only in Ukraine. So we're gonna try and get him meeting with us. Another investigator is Natasha, she is 23 and friends with a member. She should've got baptized already but the member went on a vacation to Kiev last transfer and so progress stopped. She is probably the closest to baptism out of everyone right now. This transfer we've set a goal of 2 baptisms and to work with as many members as possible since most of them live in our area. Member work is starting to become a greater focus than contacting now, which should've happened a while ago. It should be a great final transfer.
Elder Kumferman is the District Leader and we have the smallest district I've ever been in on my mission. We are the only elders and Sister Bull is training two new sisters, Hopin and Walker. May I just say that I fear very much for the new sisters in the mission! There are 10 new ones and are all just really young. I hope they don't get Ukrained too bad. One of the sisters in our district told us she is the youngest in all of Europe East (turned 19 in the MTC). Hopefully they last and stay strong. I don't think it's a good idea to send such young girls here but God knows all so can't argue with that. Also this last week a missionary from Kharkov serving in Kiev got home. He flew into Donetsk and got released then came up to Kharkov on the transfer bus with all the missionaries coming up. So we waited at the branch building with a ton of members greeting him. It was awesome, I don't know him at all but you can just tell he's an RM. This also made me a little trunky haha.
Friday Elder Kumferman and I went and ate lunch with Elder Bolingbroke and his parents. They flew in to pick him up and are touring the mission. That was pretty weird to be honest. Bolingbroke has changed a lot since I served around him in Mariupol, probably just because he's finished his mission, but also because his parents were there. They seemed to be in culture shock at Ukraine, but said it wasn't as bad as they imagined lol. I'll explain things later when I get home. And Saturday the Alekseevka sisters had a baptism. A brother named Richard got baptized. He's been here 10 years and married a Ukrainian so knows pretty good Russian. Michael, one of the members in the branch, baptized and fellowshipped him and bore his testimony about this yesterday, basically just talking about how member missionary work is the way to go. Good stuff. Richard should be a strong member for the brothers. We found out that if all the brothers baptized here were active they could have their own branch. There are several less actives/brothers that have gone missing so President Alyosha really wants us to work with them to do home teaching/find the missing, especially as the Temple trip is coming up at the end of the month. This will probably be a huge focus this month as well.
I love you guys so much! I hope your week is awesome and filled with good experiences. Know that you're always in my prayers and that I'm doing good. The Church is true, I know it with all my heart. If I didn't, there's no way I'd be out here!
Talk to you later!
Talk to you later!
Украинская Донецкая Миссия