Archive for June, 2011

One Week in the Office Down

Well, more like three days. Basically, my schedule will be filled with working in the mission office from 11-5, Tuesday thru Friday for the next few transfers. It’ll be something different, and I’ll be "in the know" about things. I even get to go do exciting things like be at "Executive Meetings". yay for me!

This week was an interesting one, with all of the transfers, being in a threesome, having to pack and meet up with a mini-missionary in the process of it all. Needless to say, we didn’t have much time to work on Pobyeda before the transfer, with my packing, and getting the area squared away to be white washed we didn’t have much time to be outside on the streets. Elder Boboshko also had a few family things to tie up, which I felt were okay for him to do seeing as he dropped everything to serve a mini-mission in 3 days. He will be a great companion for Elder Stanford, and will be an amazing missionary when all of his documents get squared away and he can leave full-time. He is always willing to help, and is always asking questions about how he can improve and what he needs to do to be a better missionary. He is a great example of an active learner who is trying to soak up all he can from the current opportunity that he has to serve this transfer.

I am really excited for our district this transfer. I have finally been reunited with Elder Walton! We have only talked to each other twice since we got into country 8 and a half months ago, so I am glad to be in the same district with him. We will make sure we get to spend our year mark together on splits, since he will be the district leader. I am also excited to be back in the center branch. It needs some help, but I love the members that are there week in and week out.

Yesterday at church, Vova Davidenko, the mission visa clerk, spoke about why families are important. Vova is one of my favorite people I have met in Ukraine and will be a rock in the future church leadership in Ukraine. He told a story about his oldest son, Daniel, who is just over 2 years old. It has been rainy for the last week, and the storm was really bad on Saturday. Vova left to run into the mission office to work on some things, and Daniel watched him from the window. He called Masha, Vova’s wife, over and said "Mom! There is thunder and lighting outside! Dad is out there and it’s scary!" Masha told him that everything would be okay, and that Dad would be okay. Daniel grabbed Masha’s hand, led her into the bedroom, and knelt down next to the bed, folded his arms, and bowed his head.

Vova said that hearing his wife tell him of that, was the most rewarding thing he had ever. This is a guy who has served a mission, is fluent in 3 languages and working on a 4th, and played professional basketball. While all of that was great, knowing you are raising your kids well meant more than it all.

I’ll slap on some pictures for you all. The first is me in the Ukrainian costume I got. I had a member in my branch sew it all for me. The next is a picture of me next to the Macaulay Culkin graffiti I saw one day. Another is me by the lock bridge. They have a tradition here where when you get married, you have a lock engraved, you lock it on a bridge, and chuck the key into the water running under the bridge. The last is Elder Walton and I.

A group of churches got together and put on "Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat" and we got invited. They did it for free for the whole community. It was really fun and the entire thing was translated. All the missionaries got together and were able to go, it was a good day. So that was the highlight of my week.

I hope you are all doing well, and I want to congratulate (Sister) Karissa Bosco who will be serving in the Cordoba Argentina Mission! You will love it!

Elder McClintock

С Днем отцов!!!

Literally: With the Day of Fathers!

To start off, I am getting transferred, and Elder Ditto already has been. He will be finishing his mission in Cleveland, Ohio. I am very excited for him, and I know he will slay it there. He is an amazing missionary with more faith than all the faith healers on TV combined.

I will be serving in the office with Elder Parkinson. So basically, I will have a part time job sitting at a computer doing stuff 11-5, Tuesday through Friday.

This week has been an interesting one to say the least. We didn’t get a whole lot of work done after Wednesday afternoon when we found out about Elder Ditto’s reassignment. We did have a day of stopping by inactives, as Elder Hagee and I went on splits so Pobyeda could get worked and not the ENTIRE week taken over by packing, souvenier buying, etc. It was pretty somber, but I know Elder Ditto will run with this opportunity.

Nothing happened in our area this week of note. I am excited to be back in the center branch and talk with the members there much better than I could 5 months ago when I served there with Elder Hammon. The office will be a different experience, but someone needs to do it so I guess the lot fell on me. I am excited to serve with Elder Parkinson. One thing I have noticed about him, is that he is one of the most conscientiously obedient missionaries in the mission. The thought of being obedient is always on his mind, and I am excited to learn a lot from him this transfer.

Some funny things that happened this week…I ordered a traditional Ukrainian costume from a member in our branch. That should be done this week, so I’ll get y’all a picture soon. It is getting sewn in a blue and yellow pattern, gotta rep those clear skies and wheat fields! Yesterday at church, a lady wore a shirt that said "You wish your girlfriend looked this good". I thought it was hysterical.

On Friday, Elder Hagee and I went to the Relief Society activity at the Roaches’, we needed to translate. It was fun to hear all these old Ukrainian women talk about the word of wisdom, and their CRAZY health ideas. It was kind of awkward being at a Relief Society activity as well. haha.

Yesterday, for "Family Dinner" at the Roaches’, we invited over Leonid and Natasha, who you’ve all heard so much about. Here is a picture of them and I, and I’m wearing a new tie I bought this week, I hope you all thoroughly enjoy it.

I love you all!

Elder McClintock

“Jesus said it was….in the Bible”

Logic fails some times for a lot of people. Yesterday, a man told me "Only the Apostolic Orthodox church is true!" and then asked about that "Book that John Smith made up". I said "You mean the book of scripture that God gave to mankind?" and he said: "Well who said that it’s scripture? Joseph Smith? Of course he’d say that, he wrote it!". I inquired about his testimony of the Bible, and why he thinks it is scripture. His response is written in the above subject line.

I’m not one to "Bible Bash" but when all you do is contact all day, and don’t have much success, it is nice to actually have a real conversation with somebody, even if you are just stringing them along.

Our finding efforts are still not producing results. I don’t know what I can do better. I talk to people, but we see the same people everyday. I often tell myself "oh I’ve already talked to them this transfer", and then when I see someone who I haven’t talked to for a long time, I say "well maybe they are ready now", and they get mad at me for interrupting whatever they were doing, again. We try going to different areas, doing different things, but nothing works.

I haven’t spoken with Yulia since she left last week, I plan on calling her either today or tomorrow to see how things are going. As for Dima, he hasn’t come to our branch the last two weeks, so I don’t know what he is feeling or thinking about at the moment.

That is about our entire week. A lot of contacting, little results. It has been very discouraging for me, and I spend a lot of time thinking "what am I doing wrong?". I don’t know what I can do differently to spark the current situation.

As for Natasha, she is doing well. She is handling everything and I have seen her out and about on the street a few times and she is doing well. It is amazing what knowledge of the plan of salvation and the temple can do for you.

We are making a big push to go through and meet every member of our branch by the end of the month. A lot of inaccurate information is all we have for a lot of inactive members, so that has been good. We’ve been stopping by and doing little lessons with active members as well. We went to our branch president’s place to visit he and his wife. She made this cake that was the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten. She told me yesterday at church that she’d get me the recipe…So Sisters of mine, I know how much you enjoy baking, I will be sending that your way!

I feel like I will be getting tranferred in a week in a half. I just have had that vibe lately. So we will be doing a lot of "goodbye" spiritual thoughts with members, so I can say goodbye and get a picture with them. I’m super excited to go to Leonid and Natasha’s on Saturday. They are the amazing young married couple in our branch that I have told you all about a few times. Well, anyway. Leonid showed up to church yesterday, in a cream colored pinstripe suit, and had gotten a haircut….buzzing the sides, basically leaving his curlyish mop on top and had not just steps on the side of his head, but two GIANT lines that when from his sideburn, around his ear and all the way down his neck line. I said "Leonid! You’re in the branch presidency, and you have a REAL job!". He just laughed and said "Well, I think it’s funny, and my wife thinks it’s hot." It was hysterical.

Our Elder’s Quorum meetings are much more lively than at home. IE: People actually talk. and here it is more of talk over each other and get off topic. If you’ve heard the Sons of Provo song "Spiritchal As Me", that is the epitome of a Pobyeda 3rd hour. Leonid drew a picture depicting a war involving tanks and people in the branch fighting over who was right. It also made me laugh.

So…I met a lady. I don’t know her name, but the missionaries know her as "I LOVE JESUS!" Lady. That is the only thing she knows how to say in English. It is a very long story, so I am copying and pasting for Elder Stanford’s email home and then adding my own thoughts in it (if you wondered why it doesn’t soudn like me).

Ha okay so there is the straight up CRAZIEST human being in the world in this city. The first time I met her was when I was signboarding. This old lady just walked up to us and rested her arm on the sign board. And stared at us. It was rather awkward so I was like… "Uhhhh… do you know how to talk?" Which sounds abrasive in English but that is just how you say it in Russian. And then she just blew up. She said "Christ was not a Mormon! Christ was not an American! Christ was the son of God!!" And we were like yeah… we agree… and Christ was not a Ukrainian either right? Ha but then she accused us for worshiping Mormon and we told her like a thousand times that we worship only Christ but she didn’t hear us over her own shouting. She spent like twenty minutes trying to convince us that Christ died for us and we were just like, "WE KNOW!!" The only words she knows in English are, "I LOVE YOU JESUS". So like mid-conversation in Russian she will randomly throw that sentence in in English even though it makes no sense in context. Aww I love it. She is the most devout Jesus worshiper ever so I guess I can give that props to her. We have ran into her a couple of times and she always just like runs up to us and sings a song about Jesus and then tells us that we are going to hell and then she runs away. Once she tried to throw away my Book of Mormon. She said that every night she prays that our church will burn down so we will start worshiping Jesus and not Mormon. [my thoughts] She said that she knew God answered her prayers when the Topol branch was closed. She also tried to tell me that she read the Book of Mormon 50 years ago….in Russian. Which is impossible, I might add. This woman is just nuts. She will not listen to us, we say we are preaching the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and she just says that we are AntiChrists who are trying to get people to worship Mormon. And then she adds that we will stand before God at the judgement and tell him we are saved by Mormon, and then we will be thrust down to hell. Someone walked up and gave us a magazine with antiMormon stuff in it (that I was really excited to read) and she stole it from me. So much for a saint. That lady is crazy.

Thank you all for the support, you are the best!

Elder McClintock

Contemplation Overload.

This week was a lot like last week. But with a lot more ups and downs. I am starting to understand more and more what Brother Bott meant when he said that a mission is an emotional roller coaster.

The pictures are of me with my land lady and her husband, at Katya’s baptism a few weeks ago and Elder Stanford and I and Sister Luba at Vladimir’s baptism. Sister Roach snapped that one.

I have seen the branch grow over the last few weeks, but the unity is something I still worry about. The members from Topol are warming up from the idea fully quite yet. I think it will take some time but we are on the right track. There are a lot of great people, but it still seems a little too "clique"ish for my liking.

As for investigators, we didn’t meet with Anatolii this week. He called and cancelled on us, but he should be at church next week. He said he was going to be busy all week harvesting his strawberries, and that he would call us during the week to schedule our next appointment.

We also met with a great lady named Yulia. She’s a dentist, so she has flexible hours and doesn’t work on Sundays! Elder Hagee got her contact information, and she went to the Temple Open House last fall. She was very interested in the church, and we had a very good first lesson. It was very powerful. She is going to Western Ukraine to visit her family until the end of June, so I told her I would call to check up on her reading and we would meet to pass her to the sisters when she gets back. She has a lot of potential, and I just felt that she has been trying to leave the gospel, but hasn’t found the fulness yet. When we talked abot prayer, she said "I pray every morning when I wake up, and every night before I go to bed….in my own words. Is that bad?" I started laughing and told her that is exactly what we wanted her to say, because that is what our Heavenly Father expects her to do. She asked a lot of good questions relating to the Plan of Salvation, I am very excited to teach that with the sisters to her. She is on the right track but just hasn’t put it all together quite yet.

We also had an interesting lesson with a man named Dima. He met the missionaries 5 years ago and comes to church quite often. Missionaries have met with him before, and he has straightway openly told a few that he wants to get baptized so he can serve a mission to the states, learn english and then stay there. I dig some digging, because he originally asked if we could meet everyday, which was a red flag to me. We talked about every lesson, checked his knowledge of things, asked why he wanted to meet, etc. I told him that he knows what he needs to do, and when he is reading the Book of Mormon and praying everyday to know whether Jospeh Smith was a prophet, we could continue to meet with him. On the one hand, I feel that if he wants to answer all the right questions, and mock the ordinance, he needs to be allowed to do it so he can be righteously judged. Also, many people are baptized for the wrong reasons, and then figure things out. Yet on the other hand, I feel like I can’t let that happen. I’m not sure what is the correct thing to do in this situation.

So as for the emotional roller coaster.

Monday at FHE. I got a phone call. It was Viktor. He yelled into the phone: "MAKLE I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT!" I was so confused. Then he calmed down and said that he stood up and sat down, by himself. All alone. No help. I was close to crying I was so happy.

On Wednesday we stopped by some members to say hi. Only the wife was home, and she seemed to be pretty distraught about something, so as we talked outside, I found out some awful news. I may have told you about Viktor, a nonmember husband of a lady in our branch. He is Hare Krishna (sp?) but loves the church and has been consistantly coming to church since I got to Pobyeda. After sacrament meeting last week, he went home. His wife, Natasha, went home after 3rd hour, and found him in the kitchen. He had committed suicide. It was a shock to everyone. No note, no anything. He always seemed so happy, it totally came out of no where. I’ll save you the details of what happened, but members from the branch had to go ID him for the coroner, and that night they gave her a blessing. Their daughter is married and lives in Canada, but she was able to come back and they went to the temple and spent all day Friday and Saturday there.

That was a huge blow for me. I have been working with them a lot, and he was one of my favorite people in this area. I am so grateful that even though all of that happened, to know that in exactly 51 weeks and 1 day, his work will be able to be done in the Kyiv Temple.

That sparked a lot of the contemplating that I mentioned. As we came to Vladimir’s baptism last Saturday, he asked me to speak about baptism. As I thought a lot about it, I learned a lot about death. People often compare baptism to a spiritual rebirth, a shedding of the sin attached to our former live and a rebirth into discipleship. It is a spiritual rebirth that is necessary to enter into the Kingdom of God.

Now as we examine death. It is a physical death, but is the beginning of a physical rebirth. It is a shedding of the pain, and sorrow, and temptation of the world and a step into the spirit world where we await the resurrection. It is the first and necessary step to preparing our body to return to live with our Heavenly Father. If baptism is a spiritual rebirth, then death is in the same sense a physical. After the process of baptism, our spirit is perfectly clean, 100%. After the cycle of death, including resurrection is finished, we are completely perfect. The power of the Atonement makes that possible, and available to all who have, are, and will live.

Alma 40:23
The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame.

In short, my contemplation can thus be summarized:

We live to die, and die to live.

Elder McClintock

Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people, that they might have everlasting life.

3 Nephi 5:13

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