Monday, May 26, 2014
Today we just came from a lesson with one of our investigators named Volodimir. He has a really cool nike bag and he came to church for the first time on Sunday. We watched the restoration with him and went over how he can know for himself that Joseph was a prophet. He says he feels a lot like Joseph Smith because he sees so many churches and does not know where to go. He says that he feels like there is something more out there for him and he wants to find it. He is very sincere.
In my few weeks in Lutsk I have became very close with a brother in the branch named brother Zhuck. I sent a few pictures of him home today. He is a very sweet, spiritually attuned man. Over a seven year period of inactivity due to having to take care of his wife (see the story below) he told us how he continued to read the book of Mormon and how it has answered every question that he has had and kept him strong.
Here is the story about what happened with brother Zhuck last week:
Sister Zhuk had been sick for seven years. She could only lie on her back in bed and suffered quite a bit of pain. She loves her husband, and he loves her very much. He spends his days taking care of her. He couldn't come to church, because he can't leave her beside except to go and buy food every so often.
We had just finished skyping with our families, and since Elder LeBaron had a hard time getting everything connected, we were running a bit behind. We decided to contact instead of going straight to another appointment. We were walking along the path behind the church, just trying to contact and find some people to teach, when Elder Hadfield expressed that he was having a hard time stopping people, and he didn't know why he let a couple of people walk past him without trying to share anything. He then felt the need to talk with a woman who was playing with her Grand-daughter.
Instead of talking about the gospel though, he decided to ask her about directions. He asked her the fastest way to the street on which we lived. She showed us a different way than where we had initially planned to go. So, being awkward to completely ignore her adviced, we went that way.
This route took us past Brother Zhuk's house, as opposed to going around it.
As we were walking past, a woman was trying to get in. She recognized us as being from the same church as Brother Zhuk. She called out to us, and asked if we knew Nadia (sister Zhuk). I responded yes! I was the only missionary currently serving in Lutsk who had been by to visit the Zhuks. She expressed to us that Sis. Zhuk had passed away that very day. We had Brother Zhuks number, and we were able to call him to come and open the door to the apartment complex in which they lived.
This made a great opportunity for us to come in and comfort Brother Zhuk, by singing hymns with those who were there. We shared a bit about the Plan of Salvation. We talked about families, and shared pictures of ours. We made plans to bring the other two elders over the next day to help carry the casket and help with the funeral services the next day. Elder LeBaron was able to have a full conversation with Brother Zhuk while Elder Hadfield was talking about the plan of salvation with another woman, and he truly felt the gift of tounges help him communicate with him. It was incredible.
We did all of this, and then we left, hugging our Brother, and promising to return. As we exited the door, we were met by the Priest of the local Orthodox Church. He was going in to perform some ritualistic something or whatever. We were glad that we had a chance to invite the spirit and to comfort those who were there. Because of the spirit leading us, we had been there first. The Lord led us to help our Brother in his time of need, and it was absolutely incredible.
Brother Zhuck is now getting ready to go to the temple to be sealed to his wife. His wife wanted to be baptized while she was alive, but the doctors would not allow her too because of her very frail condition. Brother Zhuck feels much comfort in the fact that his wife is now resting from her physical pains and ailments. He knows the gospel and he lives it!
Man, there are so many more cool miracles that have been happening in my life, I wish IO could share them all with you right now. I love the city that I am in and I really feel like God is working through me and my companion to bless His children in Lutsk!