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.
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.
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