by Douglas Malloch
The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.
The man who never had to toil
To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.
Good timber does not grow with ease:
The stronger wind, the stronger trees;
The further sky, the greater length;
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.
Where thickest lies the forest growth,
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
This is the common law of life.
President Monson shared a part of this poem in the last general conference. I really like it and I thought I would share it with you. Our struggles, trials, and our greatest efforts are blessings that will strengthen us, fortify our faith, and our character.
Ok.... wow. I have so much to share this week but I am not really sure where to start. Let's see, a rundown of what happened this week.
On Tuesday morning we worked with Elder Bodell in the office on the going home video.
On Tuesday night we got to go to a basketball game. The L'viv Lions played a team from Mikolayev. this is part of the Super league, which is 14 professional teams in Ukraine. We went with a less active member and the branch president. Our branch president had never been to a baskatball game before so I spent much of the game explaining the rules to him. It was very fun and I enjoyed talking about basketball. On an even better note we had the chance to talk with some of the players. Two of them happened to be from the states. They had played in college and then decided to continue playing ball over seas. One of them was named Miles and we talked with him, his wife, and his little son. They had only been in Ukraine a short time and we invited them to church, told them we could translate into English, and told them we could help them find anything in L'viv helping them with the language. So that was cool. I hope something good comes from it.
On Friday we went out with the other elders to a Harry potter cafe. It was really fun. The only sketchy thing was that on the menu you could order mushrooms from the forbidden Forrest. We had a fun time.
On Friday night we gave the spiritual thought at family night. We played three songs. 1. A rap song,2. "Don't worry be happy", and 3. "Come thou fount." As we played them in sequence we told people to pay attention to their feelings. Then we told them that music is a great tool from God to bless our lives. As we know how music affects us, we can use it to protect us rather than harm us.
On Saturday we went trackting and contacting for most of the day. My companion is still not allowed to preach, so I had to do all the talking but I was ok with it. It was nice to let people know that the gospel has been restored. On Saturday there was also a conference of young members of the church in our mission in L'viv. I got to see a lot of my friends from other cities which was a huge blessing.
On Sunday we were in Ternopil for church. On the train there we met a really cool young couple from east Ukraine who were on their way home. We gave them a family proc and they gave us their information to send to the missionaries where they are from. What a cool blessing. The husband did not really speak Ukrainian, but we were blessed to understand him and even be able to talk with him. His wife spoke some Ukrainian, but most of our conversation was in Russian.
Great News, a husband and wife (members) from central Ukraine are moving to Ternopil this week. They were there on Sunday looking for an apartment so they came to church. This should help speed up the work in Ternopil.
In Ternopil the lake was frozen over, so we were able to go walking on it. An ice fisherman even let us take pictures with him!
Our trip back from Ternopil was great too. A man who we sat next to just asked question after question about us and the church and what we believe. There were about five other people on the bus who listened attentively to the whole conversation. We made a lot of friends and shared our message with a lot of people.
I think that is about it for cool things that happened to me this week. The weather here is pretty nice. The snow that you got looked really fun though!
I hope you have a good week. I love you all and miss you a lot.
Elder Mitchell Hadfield