Spring is in the Air.

And slush is on the street. They have about 292093750293752093852395 holidays here, and if "Melting Snow Day" isn’t one of them, it should be. It is nice to see the ground, and not freeze when I walk outside if I don’t have my huge coat on.

This week has been a good one, most notably with finding an investigator. Her name is Elena, and we were able to meet with her at a member’s apartment. We "taught" the lesson at Leonid and Natasha Pigulevich’s apartment (the 2nd counselor in our branch presidency). I say "taught" because it was great to have them be able to answer questions much better than we can and really relate to Elena. When we first met her, she said that she would be most comfortable meeting at a member’s so she could meet some people from the branch. Natasha and Leonid have always been very active in asking us when we had lessons, or how they can help us, and they certainly did. We met at their house, and were able to teach a wonderful first lesson and commit Elena to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Elena also gave herself the commitment to come to church this Sunday, but was called into work yesterday morning. When I called her, she said that she was called in, but told them she wouldn’t work next Sunday, because she already had plans. She is really striving to find the truth. She had a very typical Ukrainian life, and had an abortion when she was young. She told us that shortly after the abortion, she had a vision or visitation of an angel of some sort, and she has been trying to find a fulness of the truth ever since. She currently attends a protestant congregation, but she doesn’t agree with everything that is taught or done. The way she described it was along the lines of "it is the best I have found so far, but I am still looking". I am very excited to keep meeting with her.

I also now have an even stronger testimony of member missionary work. Having two returned missionaries, who both taught using Preach My Gospel was extremely helpful. I have always felt that members want to help, but just don’t really feel like they know how. I truly feel like the fruits of the switch to Preach My Gospel will become even more manifest as now missionaries who used it will now be in positions to really work with their coworkers, and help the current missionaries. These two members are amazing. They have both been members for a long time and know the Gospel very well. They met serving together in St. Petersburg and got married shortly after Leonid got home. It was amazing when at church Natasha came to us and said "I didn’t see Elena. We have nothing planned during the week. Call her and schedule a lesson at our place ASAP". If there was a member missionary draft I would take them in the 1st round. The best part about the lesson may have been that Natasha pulled a cake out of the oven as we walked in 🙂

One thing from the lesson that Natasha started with, has been on my mind for the last few days. When we first started the lesson, she started by bearing her testimony, of the truthfulness of what we were going to teach. I have never done that before, but it instantly invited the spirit. The part that has been on my mind especially, is that she said "I love the gospel because it has the answer to every question". She followed that by using the "How to begin teaching" phrase concerning the missionaries not having all of the answers. She said that she doesn’t know everything, and won’t figure everything out in this life, but she knows that the Gospel has the answer for every question, and if we seek an answer and need an answer, Heavenly Father will always give it to us. It was an incredible way to begin a lesson, and I had never thought of the all encompassing nature of the knowledge we have of the Restore Gospel.

We have decided to make an effort in the area of less/inactive work. Their are many young(er) people who have just seemed to fall away. We have been stopping by a lot of them and have set up a few appointments for the upcoming week. We had a good lesson with Vacili Klezhnyov. He came to church yesterday, which was very good to see. When we met with him, he said before we even began that it is time for him to come back to church. He has a 4 month year old daughter, and I think that may be weighing on his mind. His wife is not a member, but we found her information in our area book and she has been worked with a little bit. He has not been endowed, but his immediate family has been sealed. Unfortunately, on the mother, and his little sister are currently active. We are going to make a push to work with that family.

I’m sure you are all aware of Victor, the handicapped member we meet with each week. He is really struggling right now. He doesn’t feel like he is worthy to talk to Heavenly Father and ask him for help understanding the scriptures. In our last visit I committed him to pray for understanding, and told him I would call the next day to check up on him. When I called back he said that "Americans can ask God for help with spiritual things, because they have all of the physical things they need and Ukrainians are still trying to get the physical things". It was very saddening to me, and I told him we would talk to him about that on Friday. I just did my best to assure him that life is far from perfect and what he sees on TV.

Things are turning around in Pobyeda. I am very excited to be here, and very excited with my progress in the language. I can understand and talk freely, and do not feel hindered in any way. Yes, I understand there is a long way to go, but I have seen the fruits of my labors in studying Russian and am starting to feel the language barrier slowly fade away.

I have sort of in the loop with the earthquake in Japan. That is really scary. There is an elder from Japan here, it was a big scare because he didn’t know about his family for a while. I also know the status of my Cougars. [Thank you Elder Roach! Senior couples are the greatest!] We are having a district bracket challenge. I’m going to really have to realy on the spirit for that one.

Here are pictures! I know it has been a while! The first is a shot of me on the balcony of my old apartment. The second is at FHE my last night in my last area.

I love you all! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Pray for Jimmer Fredette to take us to the Sweet 16!

Elder McClintock

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