First Zone Conference!

So this week, I had the wonderful experience of going to Simferopol for Zone Conference! Under the new system, zone conferences are only quarterly, rather than every transfer. It was our "Mission Tour", so it was very good. Every mission is visited by a general authority at least once a year. We had Elder Lawrence, who came from Moscow. He is in the Eastern Europe Area Presidency, but he is actually from Fresno.

We had an 8 hour bus ride from Nicolaev to Simferopol. Thank goodness we got a train the way back! When we got there Tuesday night, we went to the branch building there because they were having a member fireside, and Elder Lawrence was speaking. When Elder and Sister Lawrence came, he walked in, and I was right by the entrance. He looked at me and said "Oh, Elder McClintock! Nice to meet you, you are the Elder who President Hawkins sent out here!" It was slightly intimidating to have a GA shake your hand, look you in the eye, and you feel like he already knows everything there is to know about you! ha.I talked to him one on one for about 20 minutes, and then with his wife for another 15 or so. That was pretty neat, he gave me some solid personal advice that I have been applying already over the last week. Along with them, were President and Sister Nielsen, and Pasha. Pasha is the President of the district in Dnepropetrovsk. He works for the mission helping with translating, and just other things that need to be done, but mostly translating. He is way cool. It was great to see President and Sister again. We didn’t get much chance to talk to them when I first got here, so it was good to get to see them again. The member fireside was very good. I really enjoyed Sister Lawrence’s talk. She shared a story from President David O. McKay. He was talking to some primary children once, and he asked them how much he could by their mother for, then their father, sister, brother, grandma, eyes, ears, nose, legs, etc. The point was, is that we are all millionaires when we look at the value we place on the things we love. It was very good.

That night we had 10 elders sleeping in one apartment. It was sooooo packed. haha. It was Elder Walton’s apartment, which I was very happy about. He is my best friend on my mission so far, he is great. I really miss getting to talk to him and see him every day. So it was great to see him. Zone conference on Wednesday was amazing. We had talks about the gathering of Israel, and just missionary work in general. We have high goals set for next year, that we are all fired up and ready to get. We are shooting to have 60 baptisms next year, which is almost double what we had this year. Yes, Ukraine is far from Brazil, or the Philippines. haha. But, one thing Elder Lawrence talked about is that Ukraine and Russia are slightly ahead of where Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines were 20 years after the church began there. So where we are now, to where we will be, is amazing. It really is starting to pick up and grow. We are getting a full on chapel built in Dnepr! That is pretty exciting news, it will really be nice to not have to have a rented place to go to church. He talked to us a lot about what we need to do to change our mindset and get those goals we have set. Along with the baptisms, we had 60 reactivations, and to average 535 people at church every week. They are lofty, but we are gonna do it.

After the conference, we got on a night train and headed back home. I completely lost my voice being down there, so it was pretty difficult to talk for a few days. On the way back though, it started snowing! Finally. It has since all melted, and it is pretty warm again, so it’s still not the "Ukraine" people kept telling me I was going to freeze in.

We got two contacts this week, who said they wanted to come to church and check things out before they had a lesson, and they actually came! It was great. It was branch conference, adn they both really enjoyed it, so it was really good. I am starting to understand pretty much everything at church, so things are looking bright at the whole "be fluent in Russia" thought. Sister Nadezhda is a bed ridden bob (grandma) who we take the sacrament to every week. Last week she said she wanted to help us by making calls to people who aren’t coming to church and talking to them. We got her a list on Saturday, and she called everyone, and set up lots of appointments for us. It was great! She really helped out a lot, she got a lot of new updated information from people, so it was really really good. After church on Sunday, during lunch I was laying down in our room during lunch, and our land lady came. I was trying to take a quick nap because my head was all stuffed up. She heard me cough, and she told Elder Berndt that I needed to drink an egg white, mixed with sugar and milk and it would make me better. haha.

Funny story time to finish off! She asked what we are doing to do for Christmas. We said probably just make a good meal at the branch, since the Sisters can’t come over. She (moustache and all) offered to come over and make a good dinner for us. I am very excited at that, btw. So anyways, I came out right when she left, I had heard the whole conversation. I told him that I had a weird dream that it was Christmas, and Olga was at the branch making dinner for us. He started flipping out, because Olga had just been there and they had talked about that…….he still doesn’t know 🙂

Elder McClintock

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