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: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ub90u2mp5j5fwf4/AACttAtuPn970OoRbXhYe58Ba#/
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!