Sunday, March 30, 2014
"I love tall people because they are closer to heaven than the rest of us!" - someone told me that this week and it made me smile, so I thought I would pass it on. I am sure each of you feel the same!
This week was a very special week for me as Olya was baptized on Wednesday and confirmed on Sunday. I spoke at the baptism about gues what? Baptism! It was really hard for me to make it through the talk because I am prone to getting emotional when I talk, plus it was such a special moment anyway. I talked about meeting her dad on the street and the first time she came to church and how it has been a privilege to see her conversion. And of course I shared some verses from the scriptures explaining the significance of baptism. Elder Ward baptized her (he was with us in Uzhhorod and him and his companion taught her there). Then on Sunday she asked me to confirm her, and I did. She is so great. After getting the Holy Ghost she gave her first talk (on faith) and ended up saying the closing prayer in sacrament meeting. She is going to be a terrific member of the church.
Mom, I am glad that Yuri got in touch with you. He asked me "should I send a message to your mom?" And I told him "Yes, of course!" He is such a nice man. I am really glad to be his home teaching companion. Going on splits with him will be great. We have four families on our list. I know two of them, so we have some work to do. On Sunday we sang "I'll go where you want me to go." Brother Yuri got the inspiration from this video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ov9OoBM8GPw And that it was pretty close to the version that we did with all the different parts. We had a few rehearsals this week to get ready. It went really well. Brother Yuri called me last night and read the message that you sent him. That was a nice treat!
I spent quite a bit of time with the branch president this week going to inactive members with my companion. We all have a really good time together. President Roman is always really eager to help and let us help him!
Yes, we did get two Ukrainian missionaries who were serving in Russia. One of them is in L'viv and he only has a few more months left on his mission. He is a very sharp elder.
What else did I do this week? I got a hair cut, worked in the office for a bit, and did some planning. This week on Sunday we will be going to ternopil again so we had to get everything set up with that. This week we also have a sports day that was set up by the second counselor in the branch presidency for Saturday. He is 19 and a way cool guy! He speaks really good english.
That's all I really have to report from the week!
I hope you have a good week!
Elder Mitchell Hadfield
Monday, March 17, 2014
This week we found out about transfers. I will be staying in L'viv for another transfer and I will be staying with Elder Vandermark. I really like L'viv and Elder Vandermark is an awesome elder so I am very excited. It should go very well.
This week has gone by really fast and has been a bit of a blur to me. Let me do my best to try and tell you everything that I did. Here I go:
-well first off we had five lessons. That may sound like a pretty lame number, but we were really happy with it as it has been a very big struggle to find people and have meetings lately. We were able to find a few new investigators this week which was a huge blessing.
-we went on splits with the branch president and were able to visit a number of less and inactive members of the church. President Lattin even came with us. At one less active older woman's house she was having one of her rooms remodeled so we were able to help lug out a bunch of trash to the dumpster for her. One inactive family that we stopped by was surprised because we ended up coming by on the wife's birthday. We had been planning to go to them for about a week, but every time we tried to before something came up and we couldn't go. So that just goes to show that God is mindful of his children.
-with transfers this week we have been very busy in the office with a few different projects. Just getting everything ready for transfers is a project in and of itself. Other things we have been doing in the office include putting together a Family home evening manual for the missionaries from the area presidency, making DVD's for the branch presidents of a message from the are President on Family home evening, ect... It is really insightful if you want to watch it. Here is the link: http://lds.ru/fhe_calendar1 . You can watch it in a variety of languages haha. Don't worry it is in English too. You could watch the Ukrainian one and think to yourself "wow... Mitchell can understand this."
-we have been practicing a musical number under the direction of a really talented branch member (the one who added mom on facebook). We are going to sing "I'll go where you want me to go" either this Sunday or next Sunday, I am not really sure. Either way it is starting to sound really good. We have also been having some language studies with the same member as well. He is really helpful. My Ukrainian is coming along very well. I feel very confident in saying pretty much whatever I want to.
-we took the sacrament to an old lady in our branch who has trouble walking (because of age). She made us some really tasty borsh and tea with cookies. She only speaks Russian, because when she was growing up that is what they spoke. I pretty much understand the meaning of what she is saying, however, certain words I do not understand. We are serving in a threesome until transfers and the old woman had me translate for her because one of the other elders was having trouble understanding her Russian. He is a newer elder, so it is no fault of his own, I just thought it was really funny.
-we had a really fun "friendship night" at the church on Friday. It is basically like family night that is not on Monday. We made a cake. At first it was awkward because no one came, but like fifteen minutes after it was supposed to start people showed up and we had a good time.
That is about everything I did this week that is worthy of mention. I do have some upcoming plans that you might be interested in hearing. Here they are:
-we are going to a family night at the Bodell's with a member! We are way excited for that.
-today we are going with president Lattin to check out a service opportunity and see how the church can help.
-Olya is getting baptized this Wednesday. I am going to be giving a talk on baptism.
That is all I got for this week.
I miss you all very much.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
This week was a pretty busy one.
When we found out that some missionaries were going home early we only had two days to put together a going home video for them (as a gift from the Lattin's to them at the end of their missions). So we spent most of our P-day last week and all of Tuesday helping Elder Bodell do that. It was a lot of fun, and we got the last of the DVDs burned Tuesday night at nine o'clock. The next day was the missionaries last day. We were pretty proud of ourselves.
We had zone conference this week, so we had a bunch of missionaries in L'viv. It was nice to see everyone. Our conference went really well and I learned a lot.
On the 8th of March was Woman's day. So we (the elders quorum of the branch) put on a suprise activity for the relief society sisters. They had an activity planned, we came and set up ours for after theirs got over. We brought some food, flowers, and we prepared a few songs. It was a lot of fun. You might have seen one of the videos on one of us singing on Facebook. The brother who put it up knows English and he wanted us to sing that song with him. It was kind of like karaoke haha. We also sang a really famous Ukrainian song called "Chervona Ruta (Червона Рута)." I really like it. Mom, he asked me to ask you to add him on my facebook as well. He called me last night and said that you had him tell me that you love me. Thank you so much. He also called me a second time to tell me that Jessica liked the video. He is a very nice man. We have became friends over the last few transfers.
We have a family home evening set up with him (and hopefully his wife who is not active) at the Bodell's (the senior couple) next Monday, so I am excited.
Here is a cool phrase that I heard this week that I used in my talk on Sunday:
"A sinner is not someone who sins- a sinner is someone who does not repent."
I had an opportunity to give a talk this week at church. Someone had backed out on giving a talk because they were sick so I was very happy to fill in for them. Plus when you are a missionary you can't really say no, even if you get asked to speak at church and you find out about it Friday night. That's no big deal though because the spirit does all the work anyway. As I thought about what topic to speak on, I thought about forgiveness and repentance. I gave a talk on how they go hand in hand. It was a pretty powerful experience for me. I shared a lot of scriptures, and also, going along with what I shared last week, I shared a story from conference that really touched me about forgiveness:
"Corrie ten Boom, a devout Dutch Christian woman, found such healing despite having been interned in concentration camps during World War II. She suffered greatly, but unlike her beloved sister Betsie, who perished in one of the camps, Corrie survived.
After the war she often spoke publicly of her experiences and of healing and forgiveness. On one occasion a former Nazi guard who had been part of Corrie’s own grievous confinement in Ravensbrück, Germany, approached her, rejoicing at her message of Christ’s forgiveness and love.
“How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein,’ he said. ‘To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!’
“His hand was thrust out to shake mine,” Corrie recalled. “And I, who had preached so often … the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.
“Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. … Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.
“I tried to smile, [and] I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.
“As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.
“And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”
Corrie ten Boom was made whole."
Repentance and forgiveness are both easier said than done. But I guess the more valuable thing is our actions over our knowledge. You could have all the knowledge in the world, but unless you do something with it, it will not render you anything. I mean take for example Satan. I am sure he know the bible way better than I do,but does it do anything for him? No, not at all. I know that as we forgive other we are promised that we can receive forgiveness. And I know that as we pray for forgiveness and love for others, God will give us His love and forgiveness for them.
The Saviors plea is to each of us, "Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? (3 Nephi 9:13)."
Have a good week!
I am glad that President Lattin has done such a good job staying in contact with you during these trying times for Ukraine. Just so you know how I am doing, here is a little update about me. In L'viv (and pretty much our whole mission) everything is pretty quiet. We are still allowed to wear name tags, teach, and preach. We have been told to be careful with contacting and many people are very tense with the things that are going on. I am safe. I have plenty of money and food if anything were to happen. So don't worry about me too much. I am doing great! We had one day this week where we were confined to our apartments, but that was during the time when the brethren in Salt Lake were trying to asses the situation and gather all the information on what was going on. The told the mission presidents that each of them could now choose to do what is best for their respective missions as each mission is in different parts of the country and has different factors influencing them.
I want to tell you about a choice experience that I was blessed to have.
With the situation in Ukraine the way it is, it is causing a divide between people. Both members of the church and non-members. There are many different political views and opinions that people have and differences in views and opinions have become thorns in the relationships of many people. We have one brother in the branch who does not share the common political view here in L'viv. It is hard to see people say bad things about him because of his views. It became particularly hard for him, he didn't become bitter, but he distanced him self a little bit from these people who were hard on him for his thoughts. We met with this brother this week and just through talking with him we could see his countenance lighten up and a part of the weight he was carrying seemed to be lifted from his shoulders. Over my time in L'viv I have became very close with this fine brother.
I wasn't sure if he was going to come to church as from my view it might have been a little awkward for him. But he came and we were very happy to see him. It was fast Sunday so we were privileged to hear many strong testimonies. One of which was by President Lattin, in very fine Ukrainian if I might say. Toward the end of the meeting I felt a prompting that I needed to stand and bear my testimony. I felt that I should share a few words of the Savior from the Bible. So that is what I did. This was my testimony:
"I think sometimes it is hard for God to see conflicts among his children as he is the father of us all. He loves each one of us the same and wants us each to be happy. It pains Him when His children do not have love one to another. In the book of Matthew in the fifth chapter the Savior gives each of us counsel:
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Brothers and Sisters, I ask each of you to follow these words. If someone says something bad about you, please say something good about them. If someone Doesn't love you, please love them, for that is what our God does. I know God loves each of us, in the name of Jesus Christ Amen." I went back to my seat and sat down.
At the very end of the meeting this brother stood up and expressed his love for everyone in the church (in L'viv) and said that his prayers are with them. It was a very special moment.
The meeting ended and I walked over to his side of the chapel where he was, and he walked up to me with tears in his eyes. He gave me a big hug, then looked up to me and said "Thank you." I could see the joy and happiness in his face that only the love of the Savior Jesus Christ could bring. He understood the words of the Savior and he followed them. I am so grateful for his example and for the example of our Savior.
This fine brother learned that "When He (Christ) tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself" ( https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/wilt-thou-be-made-whole?lang=eng).
Moments as strong as that are rare. But when you have them, the only thing you can do is thank God that you were allowed be there and witness first hand that God's power is real. I know it is. He has the power to soften hearts, to stop the rivers of pain, and to mend any rip or tear. He is our Father. He loves us. He is always there for us.
Have a good week!
Elder Mitchell Gregory Hadfield