Monday, August 29, 2011
Another photo from a Russian member...
and here is the e-mail...Hello! It's me again! How's everyone doing? This was probably the hardest week of my mission! But I got to baptize VXXX on Tuesday!!!! He is the most golden investigator I've ever met on my whole mission!!!! I don't know if I even talked about him. About a month ago, I was at church and these members came up to me with their 13 year old cousin named IXXX, who's not a member. I talked to him and he's a gr8 young man. His cousins invited us over that night because IXXX's dad, VXXX, was living with them and having a really hard time in life. Sister IXXX offered that he could get a priesthood blessing if he wanted, and he was down. So we came down. We taught him the first lesson, he really opened up, and by the end of the lesson he was smiling and laughing. I'll really never ever see a man so prepared to receive the gospel. You should see the way he treats IXXX. He had some crazy stuff going on with his wife and moved out to live with his cousin, and he took his son with him. When we first met him, he was slumped in a chair, wearing a bathrobe and boxers, with this crazy dark sad countenance. That's IMCOMPARABLE to this Tuesday when he was wearing church clothes and he couldn't stop smiling. He didn't even physically change that much, but he somehow looked like a million bucks. He even still had some beard-scruff. But it was like there was a beam of light coming out of his face. He was all in, too, because he had a ton of stuff that could have easily stopped a regular investigator from getting baptized. Half a week before he got baptized, he moved back to EXXX, the city across the river from Saratov, and Elder CXXX found out that he and his wife were not officially married. So they had a meeting that night and talked about how he either needed to move out, or he wasn't going to make his date. There weren't big problems other than that, because the whole month we had been teaching him he had been living with his cousin away from his wife. The wife was on the meeting, and that was a miracle too because she just said "I don't want to get in the way of anything. I'm not going to stop you from doing this." Miracle, because the first time he mentioned it to her she lost it a little bit. But then he left some literature laying on the table, and she picked it up and started reading, and now she loves the church and has made some big changes and is a candidate for baptism herself, in the coming month. I can't get over how amazing VXXX is. I called Elder CXXX on Saturday and he was getting ready to start a meeting with VXXX, so VXXX grabbed the phone to have a little chin wag with me. He said "I get the Gift of the Holy Ghost tomorrow. I'm going crazy! I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight because of how excited I am." So IXXX is getting baptized in about a week. He would've gotten baptized with his dad, but he was gone at a camp until the end of the month. VXXX just gets everything. He understands it all. On one of the meetings he talked about how he's like a pioneer and all these people after him are going to get raised in the church now. I kind of hope that there's some possible way for me to go see them get sealed in Kyiv after my mission. I totally know he's headed there with them. When we were teaching him he was running at "baptism or bust". Quit smoking: sure. Move out from girlfriend: no problem. Come to church: I'll come for the rest of my life. He did whatever it took! What a champion! I love that family so much.
So that's the good. I was out of the city a lot again. I went down to a little village called Marx to go on splits for a couple of days. It's crazy down there. Everyone knows/doesn't like the missionaries because it's such a little town and the church has been there forever, relatively. Also, yesterday, we went down to Zavodskoy to help out some of the Elders down there. That's also a tough area, I think. It was fun though. I love Elders FXXX and EXXX. Our own area suffered because we were out of the area a lot. Kind of like the whole month. But it's all good. I'm STILL settling in after having the whole zone heaped on my shoulders when Scott left. I can call him that now because he's home. Or Bro. HXXX. Povtoryash!! Zdrastbuduslav!! Because he's working at the MTC apparently. Those aren't even real words!! We just always used to joke about him purposely teaching horrible Russian in the MTC. And we'd all still be out here in Russia and suffer whenever a HXXX missionary comes out to the field. So things here are still going good. I'm probably going to be in Saratov again next cycle, but I'm most likely going to have a new companion. We'll see. Just 2 more weeks left in the cycle--that's scary. I've got a couple really good friends finishing out this cycle, and it's going to be sad to see them go. They're District Leaders so we end up working together a lot. It's been a lot of fun. Dangit, all the kids are growing up!!
So that's all from my end. Thanks for letting me rant! I got a chance to read most of what you all wrote but I didn't get to write a lot about it. Dangit! But it's so awesome to hear that things are good. Pass on my love to all the family, I love them all dearly. And hang in there Megan! We'll be praying for you. The first cycle is the worst thing in the world, but that fact just makes the rest of the mission that much better! Keep on keeping on, boys, you'll all be amazing missionaries. Okay my time's up. But I LOVE YOU.