Monday, November 28, 2011

Donboss/Gorlovka Letter 3

Monday was a good day, that night for "FHE" we went to one of our investigators and had talked with him. We are waiting for First Presidency approval until we can baptize him. We were talking with him and his friend was there and then his friend started asking some good questions and we started teaching him. We talked about the Book of Mormon and prayer and what it all is. He was asking how we pray because we said a prayer before we started the lesson, that's what started the questions. People here when they are done praying say " the name of Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost, amen." It's a bit awkward hearing that but they are all Russian Orthodox and that is how they pray. So he was asking why we only say in the name of Jesus Christ. Then we asked him how did Jesus pray? We pray in the name of Jesus Christ because he told us to and that is the way. He was in agreement with that and said that it was right. Then he asked why there are so many churches and we tried to explain to him the reasoning but he wasn't  so interested in our answers he really liked asking questions. Then he went off about being with girls and having sex before marriage and doing not the best thing and he wanted to know what our stand was. It was a bit awkward talking about that because he was using a lot of slang that I didn't understand and so we just said what we knew simply and left it up to him to decide. He said that he was interested and would like to meet some more so we are hoping that this week we'll be able to meet with him and help. 

Tuesday night we started a split and I went to the other Elders area. We have three sets of Elders in the District, Elders R and F, then the zone leaders-D and Z, and finally Elder H and I. I went to Elder F and we had a good time. We taught that night a lesson to a wife of a member who is an investigator (confused...the wife isn't a member but the husband is). I was 'junior companion' for the split and so I sat there and talked when I had to talk. We read a scripture and then Elder F was about to close the lesson, but before he closed it I started talking and we talked more and more about Christ and his purpose and what he did so we all could return back to him. I'm grateful for the member that he spoke up and started answering the questions that his wife had. She was a bit confused about the purpose of Christ and the Atonement. Her husband made the analogy of the debtor and creditor and made it super simple and it was awesome. We learned more about the investigators needs brought the Spirit. Then we came home and talked about the lesson more and then made some more food to eat. 

Wednesday we had some lessons and talked some more. The area that I was in was really small but yet they have a lot of members in their area and so we met with some members and did some work. We met with an older woman. We met that night with a less-active youth, who is really cool. He got back from a vacation and he said that whilst on the vacation he and his girlfriend broke up. But the way he said it in Russian (translated) my girlfriend quit. Elder Fr has been on the mission for a while, five transfers, but didn't quite pick up what he was saying and said 'cool'. NO NO NO NO NO!!!! NOT COOL!!!! Then the youth looked at him and said 'cool?' then I told him what he said and he was a bit embarrassed about that. Good 'ol Russian making us have some hard times not understanding, sure do love it!!! We talked about the parable of the talents and talked about what talents we had. He was still feeling a bit depressed but when he started talking about his talents he seemed to lighten up a bit and everything turned out  better. He wasn't feeling so depressed by the time we left. 

Thursday we planned on having district meeting later because we were gonna have to be at the church later that day and so we didn't want to go in the morning and then leave and then come back so we planned that we could stay at the church for a while and everything would fall together. We had a good district meeting in the chapel. I'm glad that we had it there because we were a bit more reverent and it felt better. Elder R talked about being the best you can be and not to worry about what other people think about it. He gave an analogy of a doughnut and how they cut out the hole and then the doughnut is then unique. He was telling us to be you and be grateful for the differences that you have and to not worry about it. It was a good lesson. Then after that we played some SET and talked a bit. We ended a bit early and we had an hour before our missionary night was about to start. We decided to go and get some food and then come back in time for it to start. We left and grabbed some food and then came back and waited for members to show up. About 10 minutes of waiting since it was going to start, no one shows up; more time goes by, still no one shows up. We realize that no one is going to come and so we talk some more and then it's late and we come back home. 

Friday we go to Donetsk for a special meeting for all the missionaries. How we got there was a bit interesting. We walked down the street and found a guy who yells "car to Donetsk" and told him that we wanted to go to Donetsk and had us walk over to a car and hop in and then we paid the driver and then he drove us to the edge of Donetsk. It was pretty interesting we rode with some other people and eventually got to Donetsk. In the back of my mind I was a little bit afraid that I we weren't going to Donetsk and the driver was going to drop us off in the middle of no where and scam us for money. Luckily that didn't happen and we got to the edge of Donetsk and then we had to ride a really crowded bus into Donetsk and then hop on another bus and ride to the mission office where the meeting was going to be. It was good to see all of the other Elders again and to talk with them. We talked about being a good mission and working hard and doing the work. We had President Bennett come by earlier this year and a question was asked about winter time and what to do because it gets dark around 4:45 p.m. or earlier and then everybody is inside and no one is on the streets. We got a return letter from the head of the missionary department and they said that we need to be proselyting from 6 to 9 p.m. everyday. It's a bit of a heartache because that is a long time to be outside in the cold doing work, but we will do it. The rest of the meeting was good and we discussed as missionaries what to do better and about the work. It was cool to see us all come together and talk about a topic and work with one another. Before we left to come back to Gorlovka I met with President Compero and talked with him about how my life is going and what not.  He's a wonderful man and is super spiritual. 

Saturday morning we woke up early again and went to the little city a ways away and met with a member. We take a small little train and ride it for about an hour. When we get there we take our tags off and we can't proselyte because we don't have government permission so we walk to the members house and then after that get something to eat and then come back to our area. We talked about the Articles of Faith with the member, we read them to her because she is blind. At church she wears sunglasses because she has a big hole where her left eye should be and her right eye is closed shut. It was a bit weird and I felt awkward for staring but then I remember what Elder Harris said about staring, you can stare all you want because she won't know. How true it is. The member is awesome and isn't afraid of anything and is pretty self supported. She boiled some water and brought it in and we had some tea and then we read to her the Articles of Faith. She said that they were all good and true and liked them. Then we ended by singing a hymn and left a word of prayer. We knew when the next train was going to leave but when we looked at our watches mid-lesson the train was leaving so we had some time to kill before the next train was going to leave. It was fun, we walked around the small city and found a big outdoor market and walked around and saw the masses of people buying things. Then we bought some food from a grocery store and then found a park bench and ate our bread and drank some Coca-Cola light. Oh it's so good. Then we went back up to the train station and looked at the board for our next train. The next train back to Gorlovka wasn't until another two or three hours but there was another train that almost got back to Gorlovka but we were unsure if we had to take a bus to get back home. We asked some train-station people and they said that we could get back home. When we tried to buy some tickets they told us to run outside because the train was there and was about to leave in two minutes. So we quickly get out and run to the train and then when we get in and find a seat and sit down the train starts to leave. We bought a ticket on the train and then waited to get back close to home. We eventually had to take a bus home but, we got home earlier than the other train would have gotten us home. I was grateful for that because being in that small city is cool but we can't be missionaries and so that isn't so much fun. Then we went to the church for a music night and that was interesting because it was a member who can shred on the guitar and Elder Rooney who can improvise songs really easy. So it was them who played together and we listened. There were a few members who showed up and we had one investigator come. The members were a bit upset because the music night lasted about 40 minutes and they wanted it to last longer, beggars can't be choosers right? Then we talked with the investigator and asked him to come to church tomorrow and he said that he would because he wanted to see how we did church. That was cool and then it was late and we all went home. 

Sundays are getting better for me. We went to church early because since I'm the district leader we get to meet with the branch president and talk with him about missionary work. But he was in a meeting and when we heard through the door he was meeting with the district president and some others. So we didn't know if they already started Branch Counsel without us or what. So we sat waiting for them to finish. Then Elder Harris said that we should probably be in there and so we knocked on the door and they let us in. They were talking about this and that and then they turned to us and had us report on missionary work. We told them of a baptism that is coming up and then the district president told the branch presidency that there is now a lot of work to do so that everything will work out. Then the meeting ended and we waited for our investigators to show. We called the guy who is supposed to get baptized soon but he said that he forgot about church and said that he was going to be late. I felt that we should move the baptism because he was going to be late. So I told the branch president that if our investigator doesn't show up, don't announce the baptism because it'll be moved to another day. It wasn't too fun saying that but when we were planning this date of baptism I had in the back of my mind that it was too early for him and that he wasn't going to be able to make it that early and that we were gonna have to push it to another date. Then towards the end of Sacrament meeting he showed up but it was a little bit too late. We met with him after Sunday School and talked with him about the reason for us changing his baptism date and asked him how he was going following the Word of Wisdom. He said that he is doing a lot better and that he's sorry that he came late to church. He's a good guy and knows that he needs to be there at church and then he can get baptized. After church we walked the blind lady back to the train station and dropped her off in front of the train doors and then walked away. It felt really really weird leaving her there but that is how the procedure happens. Then we came home and made a good dinner which was 'steak', mashed potatoes, gravy, veggies, and happiness. It was probably the best meal that I've had in a really long time. It was good. Then we had some study time and then we talked about the companionship and how we are doing. 

Elder Frank 

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