Monday, July 1, 2013

The Quickest, Hardest, Most Rewarding, Craziest, Scariest, Best Two Years For and Of My Life

Privet family!!! So basically this is the final email I'll probably be sending to you. Where has the time gone, right? Well maybe for you it's been long but it's seriously flown by for me. It is super weird to only have one more week left. Lots of stuff is going through my head, so sorry if this email is all over the place.

This past week was the best one so far of the transfer. Elder Kumferman and I taught 11 lessons total and got 3 new investigators, plus met many of our goals. Here are the investigators/progress with the ones you already know.

Chris - He is a former investigator we met on the street. He is from Nigeria. We hope to put him on a date and get him to Family Home Evening soon. But we can't go to his apartment anymore because the guard hates us haha.

Igor - He is a street contact, about 50 years old. Born in St. Petersburg. He invented a street fighting technique and is a certified fighter/instructor. We met him in a park and he gave us his "propaganda" like fighting DVDs and cool soviet pins. He wants me to look into getting his business into America. He took a Book of Mormon and wants to meet in a few weeks.

Stanislav - He is a former investigator from a few years ago. He has heard all the lessons and had a baptismal date but then had some concerns come up like betraying Russian Orthodox/faith of his forefathers, the church being a business, and the word of wisdom. He is very well off money wise, he owns two businesses and is a diving instructor, certified fencer, and his family lives in Norway. We met and just got to know him. One of the Elders who taught him sent a calendar to him through the office and so we used that as a way to meet. He wants us to come over this week and drink some tea and stuff with him. We need to probably get President Alosha with us because he has some tough concerns. He has also gotten into anti-Mormon stuff so yeah. But he's very cool though and will be a solid member.

Kingsley - We met him last night and were thinking of dropping him but he said that if he gets an answer that he will be baptized. He is just lazy and never reads or progresses but read a little bit and wants us to pray for him to receive an answer. He could potentially be baptized soon.

We also met some amazing members. 

Gorskiy family - Sergei has been Branch President twice, is a Temple worker, has shaken hands with Gordon B. Hinckley and almost all the Apostles. He is nicknamed among missionaries as "The Kharkov Healer" because he gives amazing Priesthood Blessings haha. Very solid member. We shared a short thought about miracles and they proceeded to tell us some miraculous stuff they've seen as members of the church. His wife is very faithful and loves missionaries. And their son got baptized and married in the Temple like 5 years ago. Sergei is very proud to be from the tribe of Judah, the same tribe that Jesus is from.

Chetverikov - We met them last night and got to know them. They were baptized in '96 and their oldest son served in Moscow, youngest is on a mini-mission right now in Donetsk. Just a very solid family.

Crazy Lena - I love this lady! We helped get water for her at the big community fountain then we met and sat in a garden and had a lesson. She is a little crazy but not too crazy. She loves taking pictures and spending time with missionaries.

Wednesday we had a cool experience. All of our lessons fell through which left us in a down mood. Kingsley dogged but after this we realized we were by an inactive brother named Femmi that President wanted us to find so we dropped by and found him home and talked for like 45 minutes. He promised to come to church yesterday but unfortunately something came up so will come next week. And then our lesson with Chris fell through since he was sleeping haha so we decided to just contact on the street and met a man named Nikola. It was his first day in Ukraine and was from Italy. He knew very little English and hardly no Russian but somehow we understood each other. He has a friend that is Mormon and he wants an Italian Book of Mormon. So it was just cool to see where we were supposed to be instead of these lessons working out. 

And Saturday was my TWO YEAR MARK on my mission! I spent it on a split with my Zone Leader son, Elder Harrison, in center Kharkov. We contacted many people and talked with an old babushka named Lidia Fyodorovna. She was out walking her dogs and stopped to talk with us. She has read like every book about religion out there, including the Book of Mormon, but doesn't believe any of it. She was a professor of science for 30 years and so everything we told her she just said "You don't know that. You're only 20 years old and it's just because you grew up in a believing family." We testified that God loved her and she said "You don't know that! If He's so loving then why does Ukraine suffer so much? Why do bad things happen? You don't know that! Also, if you expect to convince people with how bad your Russian is then you're also wrong!" hahaha so we were feeling kind of frustrated with this conversation and walking back to the center apartment experienced a tender mercy - a taxi drove by us and the man in the passenger seat yelled out the window to us: "God loves you!" It was so awesome to hear those words because I almost never do from people on the street! The rest of the split was great, Elder Harrison is an exceptional missionary. I'm very proud of him.

Well, here's some final comments/tidbits. President and Sister Campero have left and President Lochhead and his wife have arrived. He is a lawyer and was in Moscow for the last while for the church so knows some Russian. And from what the Assistants say, he is very loving, his life is filled with the Gospel, and he teaches like a General Authority. After 14 hours on the plane and 5 hour meeting with President Campero he just wanted to go talk to people and teach a family. And apparently he got a contact on a marshrutka by himself yesterday! He sounds like a very good man. This upcoming week we have interviews with him on Wednesday and then Thursday is a Zone Conference with him and President Malm from the Area Presidency. Should be awesome. And then next Monday I'll get on a train and go to Donetsk, have final interviews, dinner with him and Sister Lochhead, and then begin my journey to the Promised Land!! So weird. It's gonna fly by faster than I can fly back home to you all! But I'm excited and ready for my final week. 

Family, I love you so much, words can't describe it! THANK YOU for everything - for love, prayers, support, encouragement, letters, skype calls. You mean the world to me. I know that this Church is true. Thomas S. Monson is a living Prophet in our day. Through Joseph Smith the church was restored and the Book of Mormon was translated. God lives and answers prayers. Jesus is the Christ. He guides His Church today. This work is the most important thing that we can ever do. And the Ukraine Donetsk Mission is the greatest on the earth. 

I wish you all an awesome week and will see you in 8 days!!!!!!! Tell everyone I love them and am grateful for their influence in my life. And please tell America Happy birthday on the 4th for me!! And save some snappers or fireworks, ok? 


с любовью,
Старейшина Каун
Украинская Донецкая Миссия