My dear family,
How blessed we are to know about the gospel of Jesus Christ! May we never take for granted so many simple truths that so many of the people around us in the world are living without.
Let me share some of the highlights of my week with you:
The Flood: In the middle of the week after workouts we got a call from one of the sets of sisters. They informed us that their apartment was flooding and that their land lord was not picking up his phone (he was probably still asleep). They asked us to come over and check it out. So we did just that. After five minutes of trying to figure out what the problem was we decided to go home and change into sports clothes. After we returned (with towels and blankets to help soak up as much of the water as possible) we did our best to figure out what the problem was. There was a huge clog in one of their drains that stopped any water from getting out of the apartment. And no matter which appliance they would use with water, it would cause water to flow out of the drain for the washer (I think because it is the lowest drain and the easiest gravity wise). The land lord called, and sent a plumber over to snake the drains and pour some chemicals down them. After that all got fixed their electricity went out... I think that is fixed by now too.
New apartment: We found a new apartment to move into (our one right now is pretty bad, I will leave it at that). However we found out that we could not move until the end of this month. So I will just tough it out until the end of my mission. I don't really have any reason to complain. I have a place to sleep, food to eat, and a very important work to do!
Salt of the Earth: The Branch President owns a business of water filters. He ordered three tons of rock salt for one of his stores because they also sell stuff for water softening (the water in Luts'k is really hard). He gave us a call to see if we could come and help him unload the semi truck of rock salt. It was a great chance to serve him and meet his employees. It reminded me of when I worked for Bill and did landscaping and would load his trailer up with hundreds of bags of mulch. As we unloaded the salt I thought of the scriptures and the references of salt. D&C101:39 "When men are called unto mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men." Our righteous choices, actions, and prayers have a preserving effect on the world. They give our brothers and sisters who are living in sin more chances to repent and mend their ways. Alma 10:23 "But it is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared." Keep being true, continue being the salt of this earth, and never lose your savor!
https://www.dropbox.com/s/pfm0k795sft2t6w/IMG_1160.JPG -pictures of us in the shirts that the Branch President brought us so we would not get our white shirts dirty.
Arnesons: I didn't know what else to call this one. The Arnesons are a really nice senior couple who work with seminary and institute in our mission. They came down to Luts'k this week. We met with them and the Branch President after church and on Saturday we tolk them on a lesson with us.
Skype: On Sunday night we had a skype lesson with Germany and Dieter! We are trying to help him find some names so he can go on the upcoming temple trip and be baptized for his family members. Also we went over to Brother Zhuck's home this week (he says hi). He has a tablet and he asked us to help him set up skype so that he could do his home teaching. One of the brothers he home teaches lives a ways away and it is long and expensive to get there. So we helped him. He thought it was the greatest thing ever. He is a really special man. The patriarch is coming to Ukraine soon, and we are excited to tell him about the opportunity to get his patriarchal blessing.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/8cgldremeo7lt1t/IMG_1162.JPG -picture with us and Brother Zhuck!
2nd Counseling: My new calling is a great opportunity to be able to serve more people in the branch. Our branch is so strong and filled with many noble, worthy men and women. I am blessed by their faithful examples no matter what situations they might find themselves in. It is interesting to see the workings of the church from another side. The leaders in each ward and branch sacrifice so much time and effort to receive revelation about how to lead, guide, and help the people under their stewardship. Our Branch President is a father of four, a business man, and still gives his all to the Lord. He loves the branch and loves each person in it. I am blessed to be able to learn from him. We had a lot of meetings on Sunday and we had a little break in between a few of them. There were six young primary kids who were waiting for their parents (who are in the branch presidency) and so we ran around and played with them. They sure wore me out. I love children!
Basketball (always a favorite): We live by a stadium and had a chance to play a little basketball this week. We met a really cool guy who was about 37 and was money from down town! He is a physicist and travels a lot for his work. He speaks English because that is the international language that he uses for work. He was really happy and had a light about him.
President Lattin: President Lattin came to our city this week for a few hours on his way to another city. We were each able to have an interview with him. It was a really good opportunity. President Lattin is our mission president, but he also is the Stake President over all the members in the L'viv mission. So he has a lot more responsibility than just missionaries. He was in Luts'k to also do a few interviews with members. I had to sit in and translate for one interview. I have a lot of respect for priesthood leaders because they are often left to have the "hard conversations" with people. The interview started off with "I am going to speak very forward." I don't really want to share any details, but I am sure you get the picture. I am very impressed in watching my priesthood leaders with the gift of discernment that they have. That is a testimony to me that the spirit is with them.
Do you know where I could get a free Book of Mormon?: Finding people to teach has been a general struggle for a lot of companionships here. But a cool miracle happened to us this week. On Saturday we were walking down the street and a girl and guy (in their 20's) walked up to us. The girl with excitement in her voice asked us "do you know where I can get a free copy of the Book of Mormon?" We always have a few books with us so we gave her one. She was very happy and said thank you. She then asked if we could tell her when we met as a church. She knew where our building was, but she wanted to know the time because they tried to go to our building before, but when they showed up it had been locked. We told them that tomorrow (Sunday) would be church at 10 am and invited them to come. Then as quick as they walked up to us they were gone. I looked over at Elder Randell and we both kind of wondered if that was real or just some kind of joke. We were both kind of unsure if they were really going to come to church. They next day at church after sacrament meeting they showed up! They are really interested in the church and the sisters talk with them and are going to meet with them to teach them the lessons!
This week I have been really grateful for the counsel and guidance of living prophets.The fact that we have living prophets is a big sign for me that God loves me. I have been thinking a lot about goals that I want to set for myself as I will be returning home soon, to keep my life on the right course. I have tried to base these goals off of the scriptures and the words of our modern day prophets. The future is a scary thing, but I am comforted by the Lords words about Joseph Smith, which I think can be likened to any modern day prophet:
4 Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
5 For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.
6 For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.
This week I listened to a great talk given by President Hinckley that I would highly recommend to you (especially my sisters)! https://www.lds.org/new-era/2001/01/a-prophets-counsel-and-prayer-for-youth?lang=eng&query=gordon+b+hinckley+counsel+and+prayerfor+the+youth
I love you all! I miss you! And I am looking forward to seeing you soon! Keep up all of your hard work and preparation. Follow the Prophets, read, pray, and all things will work out for our good.
Have a good week!
Elder Mitchell Gregory Hadfield