Христос Воскрес!

Воистину Воскрес!

That is what I heard all day yesterday at church and on the street. It is an Easter tradition to say that as a greeting and farewell. It translates to: "Christ is Risen!" and the reply being "Verily he is Risen!".

It was very exciting to have such a large branch at church yesterday. All of the members seem very excited and are glad to have such a large group of people each week at church. I think Luba Gilmeeva (the music coordinator) was most excited to have a bigger choir, and she just about cried tears of joy when she was able to have us sing in parts. It was a great Easter program, complete with Easter Cake. They have a traditional cake that they only make at Easter, and that is what got used for the sacrament yesterday. It was pretty tasty, I might add.

Our new attack on working our area is going well. We have been having a lot of good conversations about the gospel, and are increasing our presence in the areas that haven’t really been touched too much lately by the missionaries. We had a great lesson on Saturday with a man named Anatoli. He is a very religous man who studies the Bible and understands it better than any nonmember I have ever met. He was talking about things that he believed because of the Bible that in my opinion, he thought were going to thwart us off, but were completely doctrinely correct with the teachings of the church. He is very interested in the fact that the church is organized the same way that Christ established. He had a 200 year old Bible that is absolutely gigantic that he studies. It is written in Old Slavonic, and is very interesting to look at. He said that he had a run in with the church before, and borrowed someone’s personal copy of the Book of Mormon but only had it for a few days and didn’t really give it a solid read because of lack of time. He said he his a Baptist, but not in his soul, and that the Baptist church is just what he has found closest to his interpretation of the Bible. I am very excited to keep meeting with him and see how he progresses. And to boot, he fed us borscht afterwards which is always a plus. I will never turn down free food unless it is holodyets.

George, our 21 year old investigator is doing well also. We have him on a soft commitment to be baptized on May 21st. When we gave the commitment, he said that it was a very serious step, and he didn’t come right out and say yes, but he did pray and ask for help to prepare for baptism at the end of the lesson. It was very good. We also met with him earlier in the week to teach him the Plan of Salvation. It was great to walk into the branch and see him playing ping pong with Zhenya Boboshko. They have known each other since they were 8 or 9 years old. George agreed with everything about the lesson, and when we asked him about reading he said "If I know that it is all true, do I still need to read? I don’t like reading". It was funny, yet very promising. He also asked if he was still allowed to talk to Hari Krishna people. When we asked what he meant by that he said "I don’t believe in their weird religion, but they have free yoga classes at their temple and there is always free food afterwards." He is a funny kid, I am glad to see him on the path.

Victor is doing well. We had to rearrange his bed for him, but now I think he is happy with how comfortable he is. I gave him a copy of the picture we took together and wrote a note on the back. He called to thank for me for such kind words, and say that he was going to give me his "small manipulator" which is the nickname he gave to his little stick with a hook on the end that he grabs stuff with. He also has a medium and large manipulator. We called him yesterday to wish him a happy Easter and he was very confused. Then he called back and said he thought it was still friday, and wondered why I was celebrating Christ’s death, but then he realized it was Sunday and wished me a happy Easter. And then he called back again to tell me to say hello to Elder Adams for him. He is a funny guy with a good heart.

Saturday was Sister Roach’s birthday, so Adams and I threw her a surprise party. Well, really it was just our companionship and she and Elder Roach. We told them there was an Easter Activity at the branch, and to come, but really we just made them Plov and brownies. It was very good. Plov is the national dish of Uzbekistan, and is delicious. It is kind of like a pilaf, sort of, but it is very good. If you want a recipe ask and I’ll send it. It is one of my favorite foods I’ve learned to make here.

We were tracting yesterday and this old lady invited us in for Easter cake and brought out a bottle of juice. She said she made it herself…in 2009. I took a whiff of the now wine and just avoided eating it. Adams took a swig and make quite the face as it burned going down. The look on her grandkids face was pretty funny. Thankfully, that lady spoke in clean Russian. Where we have been working is full of farms and every old person speaks Ukrainian. If we get off a gospel topic, it is a fun challenge to try to understand them. Thankfully, I can just speak Serjic, aka use Russian words with Ukrainian grammar (or vice versa) and they seem to get the hint of what is going on 🙂

Last Monday I got a hair cut. I told her what I wanted, and pointed to a picture in the book of styles thingy. She buzzed me. Ugh.

I have realized that since I have started my mission, my appreciation for holidays has greatly grown. Hearing everyone say Христос Воскрес! yesterday really made me think about how great the knowledge of the resurrection is. It truly is the real battle of good and evil, so to speak, and because of him all will receive the gift of immortality. I can’t really put into words my thoughts or feelings about it, other than sheer joy and gratitude. In a talk yesterday, a lady quoted a very popular song that I like a lot and said "Любовь спасет мир" which means "Love will save the world". It got a chuckle out of the congregation, but it is a true statement. Look up the song if you’d like, though if you watch the music video, it might be scandilous, it is from Eastern Europe. haha.

Thank you for all of the love and support!

Elder McClintock

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