Archive for February, 2011

Watch this!

Here is a video of the cultrual celebration for the Kyiv Temple Dedication.

It is amazing.

https://lds.org/youth/video/kyiv-ukraine-temple-cultural-celebration?lang=eng

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If You’ve Had a Birthday Shout Hurray!

So last week was my neice, Chayse’s, birthday. And tomorrow will be my sister Lisa and nephew Tate’s birthday. It is quite a crazy time of year in that house.

Things are going well here on Pobyeda. Elder Adams and I are still getting along better than ever. Every day is hysterical, and I look forward to each day more than the last. Our district is great, Elder Merkley and I talk a lot about BYU basketball (I hear rumors of a #1 seed!?!?!?!?!?!) and Elder Hagee is still the funniest, most sarcastic person I have ever met. I was able to be on exchanges with Elder Hagee for a while on Saturday night, and it was amazing how far we have both come since that first day in the MTC 7 months ago. People on the street are simply stunned when they find out that we have only been in Ukraine for 5 and 10 months respectively. The few American’s I have met here that aren’t missionaries can’t speak or understand nearly as well. Just a further testament of the work we are doing that Heavenly Father truly does bless us with the gift of tongues to do his work here on the earth.

Last night, Elder Adams and I were having some good pillow talk, and were talking about the language, and how it comes. It seems that, especially on lessons, if we kind of don’t understand what is being said, or don’t understand perfectly, the thought is placed in our heads, and we know exactly what they are saying. There have been many times were I have heard a word, not understood it and had no way to figure it out from context, yet the thought of what it means comes to my head, and when I look it up later, the correct definition just came to me. It is an amazing and very spiritual experience. Moroni wasn’t kidding when he said that we can learn the truth of all things by the power of the Holy Ghost, even if it is a random Russian word.

Now to the bed bugs: they are back. Whatever our landlady did, she didn’t do well enough, and I got bit 3 times on Saturday night. We called Vova (the mission visa clerk/apartment dealer-with’er) and he said he would send over some professionals to fumigate it. So we will be out of our own place for a few days while those little critters are getting killed. It will be nice to finally have those things gone.

Lessons this week were slim. We had a lesson on a door step with a lady while we were tracting. It was in one podyezd, that we got four contacts out of in 45 minutes. A podyezd is "entrance" to an apartment building. Here there will be gigantic buildings with 4 or 5 podyezd’s. Basically, it is a stair well. haha. I guess that is easier to describe. It was a great day of contacting.

We met again with Victor, the physically handicapped man just outside of town. We meet with him every Friday. He can’t say McClintock, so my new name is just "Elder Mackle" because that’s easy to say. haha. We fixed his closet for him, along with the regular empty of his bed pan, and filling up water bottles for him. I made Elder Adams do the bed pan :). He is a really nice guy, and loves the Book of Mormon. It is very humbling to meet with him, and see the way he lives.

That was pretty much our whole week, not a whole lot happened. Every day I love Ukraine more and more, and love the people more and more.

I do miss In N Out though. And Dr. Pepper. There is a store that sometimes has it (so our Area Book says) but we keep checking and they never have it. It is depressing.

J.K. Livin’

Elder Mackle

TGI P-Day’s.

Hello Family, Friends, and Fanatics:

Things are going amazing with Elder Adams. We have a lot in common, and I would have to say that we have gotten along the best (right from the start) of any of the companions I have had. He is from Mesa (aka "Little Utah") and went to Mountain View. We know a lot of the same people, (Mountain View feeds more people into BYU than any high school outside of Utah) and we talk about sports….a lot. He played corner and strong safety in high school. It is so nice to have a companion who loves football as much as I do.

Right now we are living with the APs. It is fun living with them but we are ready to move back into our own place. We talked to our landlady yesterday, and she is cleaning and caulking everything, and we should be good to go tomorrow to move back in. Oh yeah, the apartment I’m in got infested with bed bugs last month so that is why I’m not in there yet. Vova (the mission visa clerk/landlord talker-to) said that if the bed bugs come back, that he would just make sure it gets taken care of, because our landlady has already done so much. He doesn’t want her to find out and go through any more work. She really is the perfect landlandy. She loves the missionaries, and spent ten or so minutes asking us how different missionaries were doing and what we have heard about people who have gone home. She is just about the nicest lady of all time. She also told me this ancient Tibetian secret to make you fall asleep in 3 minutes. Still haven’t tried that one out. haha.

We didn’t have any investigators when I got to the area. We went tracting and got in a door and taught an older couple though. We taught them the first lesson, and it went farely well. The wife was very Orthodox and didn’t want to listen, but the husband kept saying "look, they gave us a book about Jesus Christ, they are good kids. What is reading a book going to hurt?". He gladly took the book and said he would read, so we are planning on following up on that this week.

We also met with a less active member out in Prineprovsk, a little village outside of the city that is in our area. He is bed ridden, so we have to go fill up water bottles for him, and empty his bed pan (Elder Adams did that one) and then he teaches us what he is reading about in the Book of Mormon and asks any questions he has. The question he had was the difference between the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, and the Tree of Life in Lehi’s dream. In the lesson I made a connection that I had never thought of before. Alma says that the Tree of Life makes man live like God without end. Lehi sees and describes the tree as the "Love of God", or partaking of the Atonement, which is the very thing we must use to reach the state that is resultant of partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Life. The scriptures are full of symbolism, and the ties between different stories and symbols show the true wisdom of God. While things may be hard to grasp here or there, when we put all of the writings of various prophets together, we have a powerful metaphor that is impossible to forget.

I was really bummed about not being able to teach Nik and Nina anymore. The day after transfers, Elder Hammon met with them (he is with another Elder, his greenie got sick and is still at the MTC). They taught the 7 Steps of Salvation. 1. Faith, 2. Repentence, 3. Baptism by water, 4. Baptism by fire, 5. Priesthood (for men), 6. Temple Ordinances and 7. Enduring to the End. Only Nina was there, and towards the end Nik walked in. She taught him the whole lesson, and he was actually interested and asking questions, he is usually very passive and really just there to be supportive. Elder Hammon asked them what they need to do next, and they both said "Be baptize by the proper authority". They committed to start reading and praying together. Elder Hammon is shooting to set a baptismal date next time they meet. After the lesson, Nina asked if he knew any English teachers because she wants to pass the class she teaches Sunday mornings to someone else so she can come to church. I am very excited to keep hearing about them.

After English last Tuesday, I was talking to Nik and Nina about how I wouldn’t be able to meet with them anymore. They asked where I would be going and I told them I was staying in Dnepr, but just moving to Pobyeda. Nina got REALLY excited, and told me that her mom lives in my new area, and she wants Elder Adams and I to start meeting with her. Receiving that contact strengthened my testimony that I know where I am supposed/needed to be and these things are just random. Everyday I realize more and more the work the Lord is doing to prepare people to hear our message, and he is controlling things better than Bobby Fischer playing a game of chess.

That is pretty much everything that happened for the week. I didn’t get left out in the cold for 2 and a half hours this time moving, so that was less exciting. I am very glad that Elder Hagee is in my district. It is like the good old days of the MTC. I also love having a senior couple. Every Sunday (and Thursdays at district meeting) we get fed a home cooked meal. On Sundays we take our lunch and dinner hour back to back so we have 2 hours to go help Sister Roach make dinner and then we enjoy a fine home made meal cooked with love (by far the most important ingredient mind you).

The District wide fast is going well. There was some confusion with one of the members, and she starting fasting at the wrong time, on the day before she was supposed to. So I fasted last Monday (with all the missionaries) and again on Wednesday. It was really hard on Wednesday. We were out contacting all day, and I was getting really dizzy and light headed. I didn’t drink hardly any water Tuesday, so I was extremely dehydrated and it was no bueno. But all is well, and the chain is still going. I got a letter this week from Elder Selland, my roommate and #1 homie from school, it made me very happy to read. Things are good back in Texas it sounds.

Oh, so last Monday we went to TGI Friday’s for dinner with the APs and the missionaries who were going home. It was good, and then this guy walks up and Elder McClure starts talking to him. Apparanently he is the head of FIFA Ukraine, and he loves the missionaries. He gave Elder McClure a full Ukrainian National team uniform (warm ups and everything) that he grabbed as he left work, it was Elder McClure’s birthday adn last day in Ukraine. I guess every time a team comes from western europe to play in Dnepr, this guy calls the missionaries and they take all the players and coaches around the city and translate for them. The guy is ridiculously wealthy, and he covered all 8 of our tabs at Friday’s, which is one of the most expensive restaurants in the city. That was pretty cool.

I love you all, thank you for the support.

Elder McClintock

Victory is Mine!

Well, sort of.

Well, yes, it is.

I am getting transferred again! Elder Hammon is training next transfer. I’d like to tell myself that I prepared for it, but that would be a funny joke. I am going to be serving with Elder Adams on Pobyeda this upcoming transfer. These last 6 weeks have absolutely flown by, I cannot believe it. We have seen a lot of success, and had a lot of good things going. I will be sad that tomorrow will probably be our last lesson with Nina that I am there, but I am excited to serve on Pobyeda. It is a great branch, full of families and returned missionaries. The rest of my district will be Elder Merkley, Elder Hagee and Elder and Sister Roach, the CES couple. It will be wonderful, because every Thursday after district meeting, and every Sunday after church, we get fed a home cooked meal made with love. There is just nothing like it 🙂

Oh, and the reason I say victory is mine, is because Pobyeda means victory. I have joked I wanted to "die" (your final area) there, because of the symbolic nature of the name. Maybe I will settle for Russian fluency instead. One of the members in the branch, Vladik, served in St. Petersburg with Tyler Whitezell. So even 6,000 miles away, the church is still a small place.

Other great news…..HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! I hope that made your day special. If not, well, there is nothing I can do, so you’re gonna have to figure something out on your own. Maybe go by yourself a cheesecake and some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and watch a Lifetime movie. That just might take the pain away. I know that always worked for me whenever I was depressed about something. (Except for the fact I have never down that….well all three of those things at the same time that is.)

Also, Happy Birthday to Elder Travis Selland! I know you are in Texas, and I am in Ukraine, but I didn’t forget!

So our week was a pretty exciting one. We got dogged on a lot of lessons, that was pretty lame. Nina was the only one we met with this week. She took a step back, which is sad. She read a magazine about religions coexisting, and that brought back her "All churches are get you back to where you need to be" stance. After reading that, she decided to restart the Book of Mormon, and read more into it. This led to her having a problem with Nephi killing Laban. We talked about it, and answered her question and she understands the reasoning, however it is apparent how Satan is trying to keep her from get where she needs to be. We are meeting with her again tomorrow before English, and are possibly going to put her on date then. She also went to the Relief Society activity at the Hardy’s and liked it a lot.

I was able to go on splits with Elder Belnap, one of the APs for a day. He is a stud. It was a really good day, we went tracting in an area with some actual houses and got three contacts. One sad thing though, was when we were tracting a dome (apartment building). This guy invited us in, and then his sister came and started yelling at us. Basically, it was like this: We are always supposed to ask people if they need help if we see them doing something. She had been asked by the missionaries before, but always just said no because she didn’t really need it. The one time she saw them, and asked them if they could help her with some boxes, they pretended they didn’t speak Russian and started laughing and walked away.

Elder Hammon and I baked her cookies the next day, and left them on her porch.

The snickerdoodles were good enough to whisk away anyones sour feelings.

The Dnepr District (not big enough to be a stake district…not a missionary district) is starting a 40 day fast today. The next 40 days have been divied up between members all over the city, to make 40 days of continuous fasting for the people in the city to find the missionaries. We had an amazing fireside last night to kick it off. It was one of those "not a dry eye in the room" sort of deals. President Kavrilov, the District President spoke, as well as a member and Elder Bayles (his is the ZL here, and also serving in the District Presidency). President Kavrilov’s talk was like something straight out of General Conference. He spoke about the need to bring ourselves as a whole together, so the powers of heaven can be poured out more abundantly upon us.

The Europe East Area has a theme scripture for the year. It is Alma 6:6 –

6Nevertheless the children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves together oft, and join in afasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God.

The Area Presidency has asked that every prayer said this year include these people. It is amazing how all of Eastern Europe is taking off with success, and how our mission is changing. It is a miracle, and I am so grateful to be a part of it.

I am really learning to value how much a companionship inventory can do for your companionship. Of course we have been doing them every week, but we had a long one this week. We had been having our tension here and there, and we both couldn’t really figure out why. We just talked and ended up having a 45 minute or so inventory that really made everything so simple, and outlined exactly what we needed to change. It is amazing how much the Lord just nudges you the right way enough to get what needs to be done, done. One thing I have really learned on my mission, is that I don’t really do anything on my own, it is just that the Lord pushes me here or there in the right direction, and I don’t realize it. I am grateful that I have been able to recognize this and give the Lord the proper thanks he deserves for his effort in my life.

Once again, happy Valentine’s Day. I love you all, and wish you the best.

С Днём Святого Валентина!!!

Старейшина Маклиньток

O January, where art thou?

We had zone conference this week. It was amazing, simply put. We had a great emphasis on using the scriptures, and getting more member lessons. That is something that is needed more of throughout the world. So if you have some free time, get your butt out with the missionaries and help them! Missionaries come and go, but members are a lot more stable. Investigators need friends, people! We also had a wonderful talk from Sister Nielsen about English grammar. Particularly Early Modern English Grammar (the use of thou, thee, thy, and thine) and praying. It was really, really good. Interesting note from it: In Primary they always told me it was more respectful and formal to talk to Heavenly Father that way.

LIIIEEESSSS!!!!!!!!!!!

In Russian, there are two second person pronouns: Ты & Вы. The first being the singular/informal, and the second being the plural/formal singular. Basically the same as Tu vs. Usted in Spanish. Okay. So Thou, etc. are the singular informal in English. As people became for polite in speech, the formal singular/plural just phased it completely out of the language, thus we only have you, your, etc. today. In Russian, when we pray, we speak to God informally, because he is considered a person with whom we have a deeply close relationship with, and it is rude to speak to him using the formal singular, which is used when talking to strangers who are older and than you, out of respect.

Very interesting I thought, that the reason we pray using Thou, Thee, Thy, and Thine, is because we are showing Heavenly Father the reality of our understanding that we are his sons and daughters, and he is literally our Loving Heavenly Father.

Elder Hammon and I have been practicing up on our Biblical language because we think it is quite humorous to speak that way, and also because it just sounds so classy and sophisticated.

Nerd time over 🙂

Things are going great in the Rabocha area. Elder Hammon and I are getting along great. Our new apartment is working out extremely well living in a foursome, and we have a very good pool of investigators. The closest to being to baptism is Nina Fisenko. We met with her on Friday night, and I’d say it was the lesson I have taught that has had the strongest spirit of any to date that I have taught. She is reading for an hour and a half every morning, and says that she is not only reading, but looking for ways to apply it to her life. She says that she knows that any time she has a bad day, she just needs to pick up the Book of Mormon, and read a few verses and it will turn her day around. We talked extensively about baptism as well. She is very open to baptism, and she is just waiting to receive a solid answer about the Book of Mormon. Tomorrow we are meeting with her to talk about prayer and receiving answers.

She also told us a wonderful story. Two weeks ago, we met with her while on exchanges with Elder Jessen, just before FHE at the Hardy’s. She stayed for FHE, and seemed to enjoy herself. Elder Hardy spoke about President Uchtdorf’s talk from the last conference. The theme of Elder Hardy’s message was "Slow down and focus on the things that matter most". Now here is the background information. Nina has a university degree in English, so there is here English education. Her father was a pilot in the Soviet Air Force, and she grew up in Germany, so she speaks German as well. She was offered a job to work as a translator for the Football Association of Ukraine in Kyiv. After the lesson, she said she felt something tell her that she shouldn’t take the offer. She went home, and told Nick, her husband, that she needed to slow down, and focus on the things that matter most. She told us that right now, those are 1. Her Family. 2. Reading the Book of Mormon and 3. Meeting with us to discuss the Book of Mormon.

After telling us this story, she bore a powerful testimony of how she has seen her life change and the joy and happiness she finds in the pages of the Book of Mormon. It was a wonderful lesson. Tomorrow when we meet with her, we are hoping to put her on date, I am very excited.

Our other investigator who is showing the most progress is Maksim. He is a young married man and has a baby. I feel really bad for him, because he is constantly working, just to make ends meet. He is reading, and using his breaks from work to meet with us. It is going slow, but he is doing very well. We are still trying to meet with him and his family together, but he said that he hast so little time with them, that he just wants to be able to relax and enjoy their company; which is very understandable.

We also have Michail, an investigator we picked up yesterday. We met him on the street, and he said he would like to meet, but that he was very busy because his mother just passed away. We talked to him about the Plan of Salvation a little bit, and said we would get in touch with him. He came to church yesterday, and seemed to enjoy it. He is a devout 7th Day Adventist, and when Elder Piccolo and Hammon began teaching him after the 3rd hour it kind of became a Bible Bash, but they found the root of it. He has had a lot of meetings with people from other churches, and he said everyone just tells him that his beliefs are wrong, and he needs to change, so he had a defensive guard up from the get go. Once that was rooted out, they taught him a good first lesson, and he said he would like to meet again. I was on Pobeda with Elder Belnap for church, so I wasn’t on the lesson, but it sounded like it went very well.

I have been reading the New Testament, and trying to finish it up this week. As I read through I have noticed so many different topics or doctrinal blips that are talked about, that as far as I know, we are the only church that supports. As I reflected more upon it, I realized that taking away the Restoration, our church would still be the only church with the same organization as Christ’s church. Down to every minor detail, there is a spot for every doctrine taught in the Restore Gospel. Very interesting.

Zone conference was great, I loved being able to see everyone and now I have officially met every missionary in the mission at least once. I feel so popular! 4 of the 7 Elders from my group were there, and it was great to be together. There is a special bond you get after being stuck in the same room with each other 10+ hours a day for 11 weeks 🙂

There was a baptism on Saturday. One of the office Elders’ investigators Arthur was baptized, there is a picture of that. His older brother is a member who lives in the Donetsk mission (Elder Hazen, he said he knew you!), that was really great to have him be able to be there. Right now we are a 4 out of 60 for a goal of baptisms this year. The work has really taken off since the first of the year. We have 16 more baptisms scheduled already for the rest of February so we are doing work.

I guess I should explain the pictures I sent last week! The one with the money was when I had $1000+ dollars put on my account to pay for our first and last months rent, etc. for our new apartment. So far this transfer, Elder Hammon and I have had about 10,400 greevin work funded from the office.

Yes, that is a mission record.

The one with all of us was celebrating Elder Hammon’s birthday. The ZLs were over on splits, and they have a 3rd companion (Elder Davis has bad asthma and had an attack and almost died, so he was released early this transfer because it was his last one, so Elder Knight is with them for the rest of this transfer) which made for 7 people in one apartment for a day. That was really fun. haha.

And then the tie burning. No explination needed.

Here is a picture of the baptism, as well was Elder Mills, Myself, Elder Hansen and Elder Rhodes at zone conference together.

Thank you for all the support, and please keep the love coming!

Elder McClintock