I am very glad that you had a good week. I am happy to hear about Elder Robinett. We had a lot of fun and did a lot of good work together! I am also happy to hear that you were able to go to the Draper temple. I long to be able to go back to the temple to learn and to rest from the cares of the world. We are truly blessed to have the temple so close. Having all these temple preparation lessons has really made me miss the temple even more. Brother Zhuck wanted me to say hello to you from him!
I had another pretty busy week this week. I think I told you this last week, but we have five sisters in our area. We only have two Elders. So this week (before transfers) Elder LeBaron and I had to move into one of the other apartments because our apartment was pretty nice so it went to the sisters. That took a good amount of time.
On Monday night we were walking to a family house through a row of garages when two poliece called us to come over to them. So we did. They ushered us into a garage when one of them was finger print dusting some CD cases. They told us that there had been some kind of crime and they needed witnesses. They assured us it would not take long and then tried to get us to fill out some paper saying we had seen something. They found out that we were not Ukrainians so they let us go because to be a witness you must be a citizen of Ukraine. It was a really weird experience.
Then on Wednesday the five of us (three sisters, myself and Elder LeBaron) set off for L'viv for transfers. We took a bus. It was pretty rainy. Also the road from Luts'k to L'viv is terrible. It was a four hour roller coaster ride. We got in and with a bunch of bags waited a half hour in the rain for a taxi big enough to come and pick us up. Then we went to the church and dropped off luggage.
The next day I met up with Elder Randell (my companion). I served with him once before in L'viv. We went back to Luts'k on Thursday all by ourselves with his bags. It was bumpy again, but this time there were no seats, so we did it standing. We met some cool people on the bus so it was worth it. Some of them added me on Facebook, so I was wondering if Mom could add people on my facebook again? Thanks! We had English practice on Thursday night (we normally do three groups but we combined them all because we were the only missionaries in Luts'k). We had to do English in the basement at the church because there was a yearly cleaning going on upstairs and the floors were wet.
On Friday all five sisters came to Luts'k on a bus (three of them are new to Luts'k so you can imagine how much stuff they had). One of them is Ukrainian! Anyway, we had to go and help them off of the bus and help them get all their stuff to their apartments.
On Sunday the branch president asked me to be his second counselor in the branch presidency. I won't be here for too much longer but it will be a good chance to give service.
Elder Kenneth Johnson of the Seventy gave a talk in 1994 called "We All Have a Father in Whom We Can Trust."https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1994/04/we-all-have-a-father-in-whom-we-can-trust?lang=eng -the link to the full talk. We listened to his talk at the end of companionship study on Saturday. The talk meant a lot to me. I just wanted to share a small story from his talk about him and his dad, after I will explain why. His story is from his boyhood in England after his dad came home from fighting in the war:
"We lived, like many others in those war-torn years, in humble circumstances. Our home was modestly furnished. Dad had many skills and used them to beautify the home. He raised the Anderson air-raid shelter located in our garden to ground level and made it his workshop. He spent many hours there repairing shoes and making items of furniture for the home. I would wander into this workshop and watch him. Just to be in his presence was a thrill for me. He invited me to help him by passing a hammer, a screwdriver, or some other tool. I was convinced that my help was necessary and that without me he would not be able to complete his task. He used a variety of pieces of wood, obtained from different sources and considered by others to be unsuitable for any practical use, and from them created items of great beauty and worth for our family. As he worked he played a game with me, inviting me to determine what he was making. I was seldom able to do so until the components were completed and the object assembled. Then I would declare with great excitement, “It’s a bookcase!” or “a table!” and wonder at his ability to create so much from so little.
As I look back and reflect upon those wonderful memories, I realize that my contribution was not necessary for my father to complete the work he was engaged in. I was the beneficiary, as through these experiences I came to know him and to love him.
How like the association we have with our Heavenly Father, believing at times that the service we engage in is for his benefit, when in reality it is comparable with my handing tools to my father. It is the relationship that develops that is of greater significance more than the contribution we make. As expressed by King Benjamin, “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (Mosiah 5:13.)"
Now John 17:3 makes so much more sense. " And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." While I am doing my best to serve my God on my mission and on my life, I am the true beneficiary, as through my service I am blessed with the opportunity to get to know my Father in Heaven. I am sure in the grand scheme of things my efforts are small and unnecessary for my Father in Heaven to complete His work. However, the relationship that I have developed (and am still developing) with Him means everything, now, and in the grand scheme of things.
As I thought about this I pulled out my picture album and tears filled my eyes when I came across one of my favorite pictures I have( I attached a picture of it on this email). It is a picture of dad and me (when I was a little boy). He is holding me on a ladder so that I can reach the ceiling. I have a paint brush in my hand and we both look as happy as can be. That picture, and my relationship with my father here on earth helps me to understand my relationship with my Heavenly Father. When I was little, and even when I was older, Dad always invited me happily to help him with a variety of projects around the house and yard. He always was happy to teach me the "how to's" of everything and give me pointers. He was never too hard on me when it took me a while to grasp something and he always remembered that our relationship was more important than any of the mistakes I made. Most of all he always made me feel needed and loved, even when I am sure he could have done the job much faster on his own. I am sure God could gather His other children must better, much faster, and much more effectively on His own, but I am glad He sent me on a mission. I love my earthy father and my Father in Heaven and am thankful for their examples. I know that we can come to know "the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" as we serve them. We can serve them by serving those around us. I think that is the the essence of the gospel.
I hope you have a good week. I miss you, I think of you often, and I pray for you.
Elder Mitchell Gregory Hadfield