Sunday, August 31, 2014

My family,

Amanda, to start off and answer your question, if I could sum up my mission in one word, I would use the word Blessing. I don't know of any other word I could use to sum it up.

Some of the highlights from my week include:

Zone Conference: We in L'viv this week. Our Conference was a huge blessing. President Lattin talked about Baptism, Sister Lattin talked about flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon, and then we talked a lot about our mission culture. It was very uplifting. I was also given a chance to bear my testimony in front of the mission because it was my last conference. I got to sit by the Bodell's which was really nice. I am really excited for you to meet them. They come home at the end of January. We will all have to go to their homecoming!

Bus Ride: The road (if you can call it that) from Luts'k to L'viv is horrible. It felt like a roller coaster. We were all just very thankful that we were able to ride a train home!

Hotel: In L'viv we got to stay in a hotel because there were to many missionaries and not enough space in the four mission apartments in L'viv. It was really fun. For dinner we ordered sandwiches from room service!

Song: At Zone Conference my MTC group of elders along with six sisters sang a song that was written for our Mission by sister Garret's mother (one of the missionaries in our mission). It was very special. The song is about praying, building, and expecting and waiting upon the miracles of the Lord.

Baptism: The Branch had a baptism on Saturday! One of the sister's investigators, who happens to be the wife of a member, was baptized. Our branch president baptized her and confirmed her.

Independence day!: After the baptism we had a little branch lunch for independence day, which was actually on Sunday, but we did a little celebrating on Saturday!

Conducting Sacrament: I got a chance to conduct sacrament meeting this week. It was a lot of fun. I think I did a decent job. It is not as hard as you might think.

This week on Sunday, after church, we will leave for transfers to L'viv. I will be serving in L'viv until the 10th of September in a threepanisonship.

Dad, thank you so much for your email. You know exactly what to say.

I love you family! I hope you have a great week!


Elder Hadfield

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Dear Family,

We got a letter from our mission President today and it started out like this:

Dear Elders and Sisters,

Elder Holland talked about the frustrations associated with missionary work. He said, “Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font? You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane.”

When we are going through our own personal Gethsemanes we can the example that Alma set as a Father when he spoke to his son in Alma 39:7 and said "And now, my son, I would to God that ye had not been guilty of so great a crime. I would not dwell upon your crimes, to harrow up your soul, if it were not for your good." Alma, as a Father did not do anything, except it would be good fro his son. Our Father in Heaven is the perfect Father. We can find comfort in some extent in knowing that everything He does is for our good!

Pictures from this week:
The Video on there is from L'viv if you were wondering.Here are some of the things I did this week (this should explain most of the pictures):

Ukrainian Checkers: For family home evening we went over to the home of the first counselor in our branch and enjoyed time with him and his wife. We ended up playing checkers for an activity. Great.. I know how to play checkers.. or so I thought. In Ukrainian checkers there are a few different rules that really threw me off. You can jump backwards and kings can jump as many spaces and move as many spaces as they want. I did not know that starting out, though even if I did I don't think it would have helped. Brother Mykola is a pretty seasoned player. We stood no chance.

Rivne Trip: We went to Rivne for two days to do exchanges with the zone leaders. It was a lot of fun. On the bus ride (Rivne is an hour and a half from Luts'k by bus) home there was a huge storm. I don't know how to explain it through an email. But just take my word for it. Lightning was so close to us and all the sudden it stated hailing. Then came a downpour of rain and a lot of wind. We got home safe so that is what matters!

Elder Randell's Bag: We got into Rivne at about 10:20 or so on Tuesday night. Our bed time is 10:30. However, once we got to the apartment of the zone leaders Elder Randell realized that he left his bag (with all his money and documents) on the bus. So we rused back to the station in a taxi to try and find it. We said a prayer before we set out. We didn't find it that night. The people at the bus station recommended us to come back the next morning at five am. So we did. We got to bed at about midnight and then got up the next morning at 4:30 to find his bag. The first few buses leaving the station didn't have it, so while we waited for the next one we went on a walk in a nearby part with some soviet union tanks and statues. That was pretty cool. Then at 8:30 that morning we found the bus with his bag. It still had all of his money and documents in it!

Suits: I tried on a few suits this week. There is a member in Rivne who sells suits, so we went to visit her at work. I still haven't bought anything yet. The European suits have a very different fit. I like it though. It is much more form fitting!

Chair Maker Man: In Rivne we went over to a potential investigators house because he called us and wanted to show us a thrown that he made for Obama. We thought he was probably crazy but decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and went. Turns out he is not crazy. He is a super talented wood worker. He had a chair he made based off of the US seal and also one based off of the Russian seal. He also had a variety of other chairs he had made. He showed us one that he had sold to the German embassy in Kiev for 10,000 dollars! He wasn't really interested in investigating the church, though we did have a good spiritual thought with him about the Book of Mormon. He shared how the Bible has blessed his life. He is a really nice man. It was fun meeting him. He let us take all kinds of pictures at his apartment.

Elder Vandermark: It was fun to go on exchanges with Elder Vandermark (we served together in L'viv for two transfers). We didn't have a lot of things planned that day so we ended up going contacting for most of the day. We met a lot of people, I got to see most of Rivne, and the weather was nice.

Plan of Salvation: On Friday we took brother Zhuck with us to go to Volodymyr's home to teach him the plan of Salvation. Volodymyr's wife Lilya was really busy so she couldn't be there, but it still went really good. We had taught the plan of salvation one other time to Volodymyr but that was about a month and a half ago. He pretty much remembered everything. Brother Zhuck was able to clear up some of the questions that came up.

Brother Zhuck: Mom, would you add him (and anyone else on my facebook for me?) Thanks! He told me he wrote you notes. If you write him back just put whatever you write into google translate to Ukrainian then send it to him. It won't be perfect grammar, but he will be able to understand. He called us and said dad wrote him but he couldn't read it haha.

L'viv Trip: This week we are going to L'viv for the last mission conference of my mission. My MTC group (without the sisters because they went home a while ago) will be singing a song that a mother of one of our current sister missionaries wrote for our mission. That will be fun.

In Proverbs 13:10 we learn that "Only by pride cometh contention." I came across that scripture this week as I was getting ready in the morning one day. When I thought over those words and some experiences from the week that confirmed the truth of the statement, my mind was reminded of the words from the second verse of the hymn I Stand All Amazed:

"I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify."

We are all fallen by nature. Our job in this life is to overcome that fallen nature. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the only means whereby we can accomplish that task.

Mosiah 3:19 "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."

Through the grace of Christ and His atonement, we can overcome our character flaws and become like Christ. His grace is sufficient for all men who will come unto Him. I know that is true

I hope you have a good week! I love you and miss you a lot. Shout out to Jessica! She is going to be a great missionerka!


Elder Hadfield

Saturday, August 16, 2014

My dear Family,

Here are the highlights of my week:

We taught Brother Zhuck about patriarchal blessings because the patriarch is coming in october so he will be able to get his blessing before he goes to the temple. We had one lesson about the house of Israel and then one about revelation. He has a tablet, so he asked us to teach him how to use facebook. That was pretty cool. He was able to get in touch with the Elders who baptized him 10 years ago.

We have an investigator from the Congo, we had not been able to meet with him for a while, but this week we found out why. By our apartment there are some dorms. He lives there. He is black and some bad things have happened to some Africans by the dorms lately. So he didn't want to leave his apartment alone. We were able to go by and pick him up on Sunday and bring him to church. The members really like him!

On Sunday after church we went to the home of our old investigator Volodymyr. He is the one who had a baptismal date. We taught him and his wife the restoration lesson. Volodymyr had an operation that caused him to be bed ridden for a month so that is why he was not able to come for so long. We got a return appointment with them on Friday (since we will be in Rivne for exchanges for a few days). We are planning on bringing brother Zhuck with us to teach them both the plan of salvation! That was the first time we met his wife. She was very nice and pretty interested in the gospel.

Shout out to the power of clean music! As I was reading the Old testament this week I came across this verse: "And it came to pass, when the evil spirit which was not of God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him" (1 Samuel 16:23). Did you know that good, clean music has real spiritual power? It does! It makes sense. I am sure that Satan and his devils are not just going to hang around and listen to it with you. It bothers them and they leave.

DandC 25:

10 And verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better.

11 And it shall be given thee, also, to make a selection of sacred hymns, as it shall be given thee, which is pleasing unto me, to be had in my church.

12 For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.

Be aware of the things that you listen to. Would the ministering angels and the Holy Spirit be comfortable to stay with you as you listen? That is a good check.

Sorry for the short letter. I will make sure to write more next week. I miss you and love you lots.


Elder Hadfield
My dear family,

How blessed we are to know about the gospel of Jesus Christ! May we never take for granted so many simple truths that so many of the people around us in the world are living without.

Let me share some of the highlights of my week with you:

The Flood: In the middle of the week after workouts we got a call from one of the sets of sisters. They informed us that their apartment was flooding and that their land lord was not picking up his phone (he was probably still asleep). They asked us to come over and check it out. So we did just that. After five minutes of trying to figure out what the problem was we decided to go home and change into sports clothes. After we returned (with towels and blankets to help soak up as much of the water as possible) we did our best to figure out what the problem was. There was a huge clog in one of their drains that stopped any water from getting out of the apartment. And no matter which appliance they would use with water, it would cause water to flow out of the drain for the washer (I think because it is the lowest drain and the easiest gravity wise). The land lord called, and sent a plumber over to snake the drains and pour some chemicals down them. After that all got fixed their electricity went out... I think that is fixed by now too.

New apartment: We found a new apartment to move into (our one right now is pretty bad, I will leave it at that). However we found out that we could not move until the end of this month. So I will just tough it out until the end of my mission. I don't really have any reason to complain. I have a place to sleep, food to eat, and a very important work to do!

Salt of the Earth: The Branch President owns a business of water filters. He ordered three tons of rock salt for one of his stores because they also sell stuff for water softening (the water in Luts'k is really hard). He gave us a call to see if we could come and help him unload the semi truck of rock salt. It was a great chance to serve him and meet his employees. It reminded me of when I worked for Bill and did landscaping and would load his trailer up with hundreds of bags of mulch. As we unloaded the salt I thought of the scriptures and the references of salt. D&C101:39 "When men are called unto mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men." Our righteous choices, actions, and prayers have a preserving effect on the world. They give our brothers and sisters who are living in sin more chances to repent and mend their ways. Alma 10:23 "But it is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared." Keep being true, continue being the salt of this earth, and never lose your savor! -pictures of us in the shirts that the Branch President brought us so we would not get our white shirts dirty.

Arnesons: I didn't know what else to call this one. The Arnesons are a really nice senior couple who work with seminary and institute in our mission. They came down to Luts'k this week. We met with them and the Branch President after church and on Saturday we tolk them on a lesson with us.

Skype: On Sunday night we had a skype lesson with Germany and Dieter! We are trying to help him find some names so he can go on the upcoming temple trip and be baptized for his family members. Also we went over to Brother Zhuck's home this week (he says hi). He has a tablet and he asked us to help him set up skype so that he could do his home teaching. One of the brothers he home teaches lives a ways away and it is long and expensive to get there. So we helped him. He thought it was the greatest thing ever. He is a really special man. The patriarch is coming to Ukraine soon, and we are excited to tell him about the opportunity to get his patriarchal blessing. -picture with us and Brother Zhuck!

2nd Counseling: My new calling is a great opportunity to be able to serve more people in the branch. Our branch is so strong and filled with many noble, worthy men and women. I am blessed by their faithful examples no matter what situations they might find themselves in. It is interesting to see the workings of the church from another side. The leaders in each ward and branch sacrifice so much time and effort to receive revelation about how to lead, guide, and help the people under their stewardship. Our Branch President is a father of four, a business man, and still gives his all to the Lord. He loves the branch and loves each person in it. I am blessed to be able to learn from him. We had a lot of meetings on Sunday and we had a little break in between a few of them. There were six young primary kids who were waiting for their parents (who are in the branch presidency) and so we ran around and played with them. They sure wore me out. I love children!

Basketball (always a favorite): We live by a stadium and had a chance to play a little basketball this week. We met a really cool guy who was about 37 and was money from down town! He is a physicist and travels a lot for his work. He speaks English because that is the international language that he uses for work. He was really happy and had a light about him.

President Lattin: President Lattin came to our city this week for a few hours on his way to another city. We were each able to have an interview with him. It was a really good opportunity. President Lattin is our mission president, but he also is the Stake President over all the members in the L'viv mission. So he has a lot more responsibility than just missionaries. He was in Luts'k to also do a few interviews with members. I had to sit in and translate for one interview. I have a lot of respect for priesthood leaders because they are often left to have the "hard conversations" with people. The interview started off with "I am going to speak very forward." I don't really want to share any details, but I am sure you get the picture. I am very impressed in watching my priesthood leaders with the gift of discernment that they have. That is a testimony to me that the spirit is with them.

Do you know where I could get a free Book of Mormon?: Finding people to teach has been a general struggle for a lot of companionships here. But a cool miracle happened to us this week. On Saturday we were walking down the street and a girl and guy (in their 20's) walked up to us. The girl with excitement in her voice asked us "do you know where I can get a free copy of the Book of Mormon?" We always have a few books with us so we gave her one. She was very happy and said thank you. She then asked if we could tell her when we met as a church. She knew where our building was, but she wanted to know the time because they tried to go to our building before, but when they showed up it had been locked. We told them that tomorrow (Sunday) would be church at 10 am and invited them to come. Then as quick as they walked up to us they were gone. I looked over at Elder Randell and we both kind of wondered if that was real or just some kind of joke. We were both kind of unsure if they were really going to come to church. They next day at church after sacrament meeting they showed up! They are really interested in the church and the sisters talk with them and are going to meet with them to teach them the lessons!

This week I have been really grateful for the counsel and guidance of living prophets.The fact that we have living prophets is a big sign for me that God loves me. I have been thinking a lot about goals that I want to set for myself as I will be returning home soon, to keep my life on the right course. I have tried to base these goals off of the scriptures and the words of our modern day prophets. The future is a scary thing, but I am comforted by the Lords words about Joseph Smith, which I think can be likened to any modern day prophet:

D&C 21

4 Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;

5 For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.

6 For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.

This week I listened to a great talk given by President Hinckley that I would highly recommend to you (especially my sisters)!

I love you all! I miss you! And I am looking forward to seeing you soon! Keep up all of your hard work and preparation. Follow the Prophets, read, pray, and all things will work out for our good.

Have a good week!


Elder Mitchell Gregory Hadfield
My dear Family,

I am very glad that you had a good week. I am happy to hear about Elder Robinett. We had a lot of fun and did a lot of good work together! I am also happy to hear that you were able to go to the Draper temple. I long to be able to go back to the temple to learn and to rest from the cares of the world. We are truly blessed to have the temple so close. Having all these temple preparation lessons has really made me miss the temple even more. Brother Zhuck wanted me to say hello to you from him!

I had another pretty busy week this week. I think I told you this last week, but we have five sisters in our area. We only have two Elders. So this week (before transfers) Elder LeBaron and I had to move into one of the other apartments because our apartment was pretty nice so it went to the sisters. That took a good amount of time.

On Monday night we were walking to a family house through a row of garages when two poliece called us to come over to them. So we did. They ushered us into a garage when one of them was finger print dusting some CD cases. They told us that there had been some kind of crime and they needed witnesses. They assured us it would not take long and then tried to get us to fill out some paper saying we had seen something. They found out that we were not Ukrainians so they let us go because to be a witness you must be a citizen of Ukraine. It was a really weird experience.

Then on Wednesday the five of us (three sisters, myself and Elder LeBaron) set off for L'viv for transfers. We took a bus. It was pretty rainy. Also the road from Luts'k to L'viv is terrible. It was a four hour roller coaster ride. We got in and with a bunch of bags waited a half hour in the rain for a taxi big enough to come and pick us up. Then we went to the church and dropped off luggage.

The next day I met up with Elder Randell (my companion). I served with him once before in L'viv. We went back to Luts'k on Thursday all by ourselves with his bags. It was bumpy again, but this time there were no seats, so we did it standing. We met some cool people on the bus so it was worth it. Some of them added me on Facebook, so I was wondering if Mom could add people on my facebook again? Thanks! We had English practice on Thursday night (we normally do three groups but we combined them all because we were the only missionaries in Luts'k). We had to do English in the basement at the church because there was a yearly cleaning going on upstairs and the floors were wet.

On Friday all five sisters came to Luts'k on a bus (three of them are new to Luts'k so you can imagine how much stuff they had). One of them is Ukrainian! Anyway, we had to go and help them off of the bus and help them get all their stuff to their apartments.

On Sunday the branch president asked me to be his second counselor in the branch presidency. I won't be here for too much longer but it will be a good chance to give service.

Elder Kenneth Johnson of the Seventy gave a talk in 1994 called "We All Have a Father in Whom We Can Trust." -the link to the full talk. We listened to his talk at the end of companionship study on Saturday. The talk meant a lot to me. I just wanted to share a small story from his talk about him and his dad, after I will explain why. His story is from his boyhood in England after his dad came home from fighting in the war:

"We lived, like many others in those war-torn years, in humble circumstances. Our home was modestly furnished. Dad had many skills and used them to beautify the home. He raised the Anderson air-raid shelter located in our garden to ground level and made it his workshop. He spent many hours there repairing shoes and making items of furniture for the home. I would wander into this workshop and watch him. Just to be in his presence was a thrill for me. He invited me to help him by passing a hammer, a screwdriver, or some other tool. I was convinced that my help was necessary and that without me he would not be able to complete his task. He used a variety of pieces of wood, obtained from different sources and considered by others to be unsuitable for any practical use, and from them created items of great beauty and worth for our family. As he worked he played a game with me, inviting me to determine what he was making. I was seldom able to do so until the components were completed and the object assembled. Then I would declare with great excitement, “It’s a bookcase!” or “a table!” and wonder at his ability to create so much from so little.

As I look back and reflect upon those wonderful memories, I realize that my contribution was not necessary for my father to complete the work he was engaged in. I was the beneficiary, as through these experiences I came to know him and to love him.

How like the association we have with our Heavenly Father, believing at times that the service we engage in is for his benefit, when in reality it is comparable with my handing tools to my father. It is the relationship that develops that is of greater significance more than the contribution we make. As expressed by King Benjamin, “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (Mosiah 5:13.)"

Now John 17:3 makes so much more sense. " And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." While I am doing my best to serve my God on my mission and on my life, I am the true beneficiary, as through my service I am blessed with the opportunity to get to know my Father in Heaven. I am sure in the grand scheme of things my efforts are small and unnecessary for my Father in Heaven to complete His work. However, the relationship that I have developed (and am still developing) with Him means everything, now, and in the grand scheme of things.

As I thought about this I pulled out my picture album and tears filled my eyes when I came across one of my favorite pictures I have( I attached a picture of it on this email). It is a picture of dad and me (when I was a little boy). He is holding me on a ladder so that I can reach the ceiling. I have a paint brush in my hand and we both look as happy as can be. That picture, and my relationship with my father here on earth helps me to understand my relationship with my Heavenly Father. When I was little, and even when I was older, Dad always invited me happily to help him with a variety of projects around the house and yard. He always was happy to teach me the "how to's" of everything and give me pointers. He was never too hard on me when it took me a while to grasp something and he always remembered that our relationship was more important than any of the mistakes I made. Most of all he always made me feel needed and loved, even when I am sure he could have done the job much faster on his own. I am sure God could gather His other children must better, much faster, and much more effectively on His own, but I am glad He sent me on a mission. I love my earthy father and my Father in Heaven and am thankful for their examples. I know that we can come to know "the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" as we serve them. We can serve them by serving those around us. I think that is the the essence of the gospel.

I hope you have a good week. I miss you, I think of you often, and I pray for you.


Elder Mitchell Gregory Hadfield

My Dear Family,

This week marks the start of my last transfer as a full time missionary. I will be staying in Luts'k. My companion however, is being transferred, and I will be serving with Elder Randell. He is a really great Elder. I served with him in L'viv for one transfer and we got along really well. He is very smart, has a very strong testimony, and before his mission was an actor on a few TV shows. He is really good with people. I am excited for all the good work we will be able to accomplish together. We go to L'viv on Wednesday to exchange companions.

We have been very busy this week getting ready for transfers. This transfer in our city we will have two elders (my companion and I) along with five sisters. Crazy right? We are moving out of the apartment we are currently in to give it to the new set of sisters and will be moving into the apartment where Elders Ward and Millard lived. We are in the process of moving right now but a lot of things have came up that we need to do before going into L'viv. We are just hoping we will have time for all of them. Elder LeBaron and I set a goal to memorize all the articles of faith in Ukrainian before the end of the transfer. We are doing really good. We only have one more to go! It gives us really good, short powerful statements of truth to share with people that we talk to on the street. I never realized until now just how great they are!

I have often wondered why so many people persecute us, even when we are doing such a great work that is ordained of God? Some people yell at us, tell us to leave, and even one time a priest tried to cast devils out of us. It doesn't happen all the time, but part of being a missionary is dealing with those unpleasant, hurtful, and painful situations. During Church I was reading my bible and came across a few verses that gave me some comfort.


20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

God knows the things we go through for Him and He is thankful for our love and our loyalty.

Yesterday after church we went to the bus station to wish my two good friends farewell; Elder Ward and Millard, who finished their missions together. In his closing testimony at church Elder Ward shared a scripture from 2nd Nephi 1:

30 And now, Zoram, I speak unto you: Behold, thou art the servant of Laban; nevertheless, thou hast been brought out of the land of Jerusalem, and I know that thou art a true friend unto my son, Nephi, forever.

Elder Ward talked about the importance of friends and how God places them in our lives to bless us. I have been blessed to meet many amazing people, members and missionaries, that I know will be true friends unto me forever.

It was hard to see them leave. But I was happy, knowing that they served faithfully. I am very proud of them.

Sunday was a big day for a few other reasons as well. Brother Zhuck, the amazing man that we have been working with, had his interview with the branch president for his temple recommend, then over skype he had an interview with President Lattin as well. I was able to be there on that one to translate, which made it even sweeter. Brother Zhuck is so ready to go to the temple. On most of the temple preparation lessons we have done with him, Brother Zhuck has taught us way more than we have taught him. We are planning to go over to his house tomorrow night so we can spend a little bit of time with him before Elder LeBaron leaves.

Also, Volodymyr, the man who had a baptismal date a while ago came to church on Sunday for the first time since his baptismal date fell through. It was nice to be able to get in contact with him again.

This week we have also had a few opportunities to do service. On Friday we were in a village not to far away from Luts'k with the other elders doing service at a members home. To make a long story short we helped them collect a bunch of hay rolls (big tractor rolled ones) to store them away for the animals for the winter time. We had a blast. They also fed us a really good lunch after we finished. We all got a bit sun burned. Then we played some soccer with the son of the family and some of his friends before we left to go back to Luts'k. Man I am bad a soccer. But whenever sports are involved I love to get competitive. Being competitive and not very good at something is not a good combination.

On Saturday we went and we took the sacrament to an older woman who lives a ways away. She can't travel, so once a moth we travel to her to administer the sacrament. She was so thankful that we came to her. It was humbling to see just how much faith she had. I have a long way to go.

The following is a talk called "One Key to a Happy Family" that was given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf . I wanted to share it because I was flipping through my journal the other day and I have a little clipping of the story he shares called "The princes Dog" taped in on one of the pages. I go to it often when I feel like someone has wronged me or when I feel angry. It helps me quickly realize that my anger is foolish. The talk itself is about families and I thought it would be good to share with my family! I hope it blesses your life as much as it has blessed my life. Enjoy!

"The great Russian author Leo Tolstoy began his novel Anna Karenina with these words: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” While I do not have Tolstoy’s certainty that happy families are all alike, I have discovered one thing that most have in common: they have a way of forgiving and forgetting the imperfections of others and of looking for the good.

Those in unhappy families, on the other hand, often find fault, hold grudges, and can’t seem to let go of past offenses.

"Yes, but …” begin those who are unhappy. “Yes, but you don’t know how badly she hurt me,” says one. “Yes, but you don’t know how terrible he is,” says another.

Perhaps both are right; perhaps neither.

There are many degrees of offense. There are many degrees of hurt. But what I have noticed is that often we justify our anger and satisfy our consciences by telling ourselves stories about the motives of others that condemn their actions as unforgivable and egoistic while, at the same time, lifting our own motives as pure and innocent.

The Prince’s Dog:

There is an old Welsh story from the 13th century about a prince who returned home to find his dog with blood dripping down its face. The man rushed inside and, to his horror, saw that his baby boy was missing and his cradle overturned. In anger the prince pulled out his sword and killed his dog. Shortly thereafter, he heard the cry of his son—the babe was alive! By the infant’s side lay a dead wolf. The dog had, in reality, defended the prince’s baby from a murderous wolf.

Though this story is dramatic, it demonstrates a point. It opens the possibility that the story we tell ourselves about why others behave a certain way does not always agree with the facts—sometimes we don’t even want to know the facts. We would rather feel self-justified in our anger by holding onto our bitterness and resentment. Sometimes these grudges can last months or years. Sometimes they can last a lifetime.

A Family Divided
One father could not forgive his son for departing from the path he had been taught. The boy had friends the father did not approve of, and he did many things contrary to what his father thought he should do. This caused a rift between father and son, and as soon as the boy could, he left home and never returned. They rarely spoke again.

Did the father feel justified? Perhaps.

Did the son feel justified? Perhaps.

All I know is that this family was divided and unhappy because neither father nor son could forgive each other. They could not look past the bitter memories they had about each other. They filled their hearts with anger instead of love and forgiveness. Each robbed himself of the opportunity to influence the other’s life for good. The divide between them appeared so deep and so wide that each became a spiritual prisoner on his own emotional island.

Fortunately, our loving and wise Eternal Father in Heaven has provided the means to overcome this prideful gap. The great and infinite Atonement is the supreme act of forgiveness and reconciliation. Its magnitude is beyond my understanding, but I testify with all my heart and soul of its reality and ultimate power. The Savior offered Himself as ransom for our sins. Through Him we gain forgiveness.

No Family Is Perfect
None of us is without sin. Every one of us makes mistakes, including you and me. We have all been wounded. We all have wounded others.

It is through our Savior’s sacrifice that we can gain exaltation and eternal life. As we accept His ways and overcome our pride by softening our hearts, we can bring reconciliation and forgiveness into our families and our personal lives. God will help us to be more forgiving, to be more willing to walk the second mile, to be first to apologize even if something wasn’t our fault, to lay aside old grudges and nurture them no more. Thanks be to God, who gave His Only Begotten Son, and to the Son, who gave His life for us.

We can feel God’s love for us every day. Shouldn’t we be able to give a little more of ourselves to our fellowmen as taught in the beloved hymn “Because I Have Been Given Much”? The Lord has opened the door for us to be forgiven. Wouldn’t it be only right to put aside our own egotism and pride and begin to open that blessed door of forgiveness to those with whom we struggle—especially to all of our own family?

In the end, happiness does not spring from perfection but from applying divine principles, even in small steps. The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have declared: “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”

Forgiveness is positioned right in the middle of these simple truths, founded on our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness. Because forgiveness connects principles, it connects people. It is a key, it opens locked doors, it is the beginning of an honest path, and it is one of our best hopes for a happy family.

May God help us to be a little more forgiving in our families, more forgiving of each other, and perhaps more forgiving even with ourselves. I pray that we may experience forgiveness as one wonderful way in which most happy families are alike."

I have seen from my own experience that giving others the benefit of the doubt brings blessings of love and understanding. Even if they really may be at fault isn't it still better to show love than anger? It is a lot easier said than done. I sure have a lot of progress I can make! I want you to know that I love you very much! I am glad that you are my family!

Have a good week!


Elder Hadfield


Germany won the World cup! Brother Zhuck called us this morning to tell us because at church I had a notebook with the German soccer team on it! We have a temple lesson with him tonight. We are teaching the lesson about Symbols. Also LeBron to the Cavs... I was so excited that I turned to Elder LeBaron to tell him, but he isn't really a big basketball guy, so he didn't understand. You'd think he would follow LeBron with a name like LeBaron. He get's called LeBaron James every once in a while haha!

Now I will tell you about some cool things I did this week:

1. Skype lesson with Berlin.
Remember the German man that I baptized at the beginning of last transfer? If not, his name is Dieter. The other Elders meet with him and the German Elders to do recent convert lessons. I was on exchanges this week and was lucky enough to get to be on one of the lessons. Our branch president was also there. The topic was Temples. I was not able to speak a lick of German, but a huge blessing was that I was able to understand everything that was being said in German. I translated for our branch President. The gift of tongues is real and it is manifest in many different ways. The German Elders are way cool and they are really good missionaries. I was very impressed. I told this to Jessica already, but I saw in the background (they were skyping from their mission office) tires. Turns out they drive cars in their mission! Do you know if Jessica's mission is a car mission?

2. Skype lesson with France.
You thought I was done talking about skype huh? Nope! There are two investigators in our district from Congo who are here studying at University. They speak French. We couldn't participate as much on this lesson as we did on the one with Germany, because Dieter speaks some English (little) and some Russian (very little) and the guys from Congo don't really speak either (other than a few English words, but getting a point across is really hard). But it was still a cool experience. It is nice to see how technology is used to further the work of God.

3. Exchanges.
In our city we have four Elders. The other Elders are two of my very close friends who I have served around almost all of my mission. This is their last week on their missions. I want them to come see me when I come home. You will really like them! They go home next Tuesday. It is hard for me to see them go. After they leave I will be the oldest group of Elders in Ukraine. Since our apartment is out of hot water temporarily (for 15 days.. I have been taking ten second ice cold showers), we went over to their apartment for exchanges. It was a blast. We had a lot of fun and worked hard. When they go home our mission will have more sisters than Elders. Right now it is about even, but soon it won't even be close. In January there will only be 12 Elders (I will not be one of them). From about a year ago when were at 30 or so. With the situation in Ukraine they are not sending American Elders or sisters to our mission, only Ukrainian ones. After this transfer we will only have two Elders in our city.

4. Talk
For a little bit of back story. I got a call from Elder Bodell this week (I love him so much! I am really glad we are only going to like like five minutes from them!). And he told me that he had received information from you about our new stake president. Also before I forget, you should tell him who our bishop is because some of his sons might be in our ward! He also told me that his son is on the high counsel and will be there when I give my report about my mission. To be honest I didn't know that you have to give a report to your high counsel. I thought you just had an interview with your stake President. So I asked him kind of what it entailed and he explained it to me. It caused me to think for a bit. I also shared this story with Jessica. I thought of some verses that had for a long time been hard for me to understand from Alma 34:

31 Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.

32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.

33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.

34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.

Elder Bodell's call helped me to understand what Alma is getting at. On a smaller scale I can relate it to my mission. From my mission's view, essentially Alma is saying "Elder Hadfield, once you are standing in front of the High Counsel, it will already be too late for you for you to do good things in Ukraine to report to them. You can't wait until then, because it will be to late. You have to do good now, so that when you stand before the counsel, you will have good things to report to them." That has given me an extra drive this week to my best. It has also helped me look at repentance in a different light. When we repent and change, God had promised that He will not remember our sins. How beautiful! When we stand before Him and the last day to report of our earthy missions, if we have repented, changed our lives through the atonement of our loving Savior, and been obedient to the commandments, then we will be filled with joy and be able to tell God of the good things we have done. The alternative is fear and guilt in front of our Father knowing we did not do what He asked of us. I had an opportunity to give a talk this Sunday, so I chose to speak on this topic.

President Uchtdorf shared an old proverb which says "The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now." The same thing with repentance and change. The beauty of the atonement is that while we are here and the Lord says there is still time, we can repent and change. I am deeply touched by the Saviors plea " how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart" (3 Nephi10:6). I know the Savior has gathered me many times and He still does. I feel as if I am wrapped and protected in the arms of His love against the devil and all the evils of the world. What great joy is mine! I am glad that I am able to help others find the loving arms of their Savior.

I love you very much! I hope you have a good week!

Elder Mitchell Hadfield