A Party with FDR, Churchill and Stalin.

Hello all!

I have lots of pictures to send, because we WENT TO YALTA THIS WEEK! Going on a tour of the Livadiya Palaca where the Yalta conference was held was probably one of the coolest things of my life. I have lots of pictures that I will be slapping on here. Other than that, here is my week!

We met twice this week with Oleg. He is an interesting guy. He has lots of interesting ideas and I think he may be somewhat crazy in the head, for lack of a better term. He said that he went inactive because he didn’t know what to think and he couldn’t understand what was what, as a result of studying both our doctrine and literature, as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses. He also somehow had a copy of the old handbooks of instruction, including Book 1, which I asked for and he gave. Those will be destroyed the next time we are in the branch. He says that he has received revelation through the Holy Ghost, but the entire church isn’t ready for it and that is why President Monson hasn’t said anything about it yet. These revelations include (but I am sure are not limited to): The second coming ocurring in 2036, because of something related to the Chinese New Year and that being the year of the Dragon, Enoch, Moses and Elijah were taken from the Earth to be reborn as Melchizedek, Elisha and John the Baptist respectively, and the two olive trees spoken of in Revelation 11, represent the church, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses as the two folds of God’s sheep in the last day. The biggest indicator, I feel of our ineffectiveness in working with him is that he asked how we liked our "Learning Session" at the end of our last meeting. He feels like he is teaching us and doesn’t want to listen to what we have to say. He is always demanding proof and won’t believe anything unless we have a scriptural referance or a quote from one of the brethren. President Nozhnikov is planning on meeting with him to do an interview. We will see how that goes, Oleg told us he doesn’t like President Nozhnikov because he kissed his wife in the building, which is "clearly stated as a sin in the New Testament". Needless to say, I’m sure you can tell how I feel about this one: It won’t be easy, and I worry about what his effect could have on a branch this small if he becomes vocal about all of his opinions during church meetings.

Our schedules once again did not aline to meet with the family we are teaching. But we should meet again with them this week.

We met with a man named Val, who is a contact we received from the time we went to the AA meeting. We are not sure what he is really looking for in meeting with us. He said he just wants to know more about the church, but he also brought up wanting to see if the church will fund part of a video project he is working on about how various religions view the law of tithing. I explained to him that we didn’t use tithing money for that, but if he wanted I could track down the phone number of a PR person for the church who would be more knowledgable of the policies and so forth.

Our lesson with him included Anti-Mormon literature. Well, better explained, I should say Anti-Everything literature. It was written by a man who just wanted to "expand the history of every cult to show people what to beware of". Val said that he has read about the church in the book, and therefore felt that he had already known somewhat of the teachings of the church because the author "really knows his stuff". I looked at the book and started laughing because of how ridiculous the statements were the he was making, many of which were flat out lies. I told Val not to trust that book and I would throw it away, not because it speaks badly about the church, but about all groups of people who are trying to live the best they can, and that this man wasn’t trying to expound the history of religions, he was trying to destroy them. He asked what I meant and I showed him the testimonies of the 3 and 8 witnesses. Then I compared that to this book which said "John the Baptist alledgedly appeared to Smith after a question arose about baptism while translating to Oliver Cowdery from the golden plates (which were never shown to anybody and nobody ever saw)." I realized that the more people write int those books, the more they really dig for something to make them sound half way coherent. I really do find it comical.

I really don’t like being in a branch presidency. Dealing with problems isn’t fun, but yet it is great to see members progress. Having to study the handbook of instructions is really interesting. There is SO much stuff in there, the Brethren have really thought, pondered, and received revelation about every situation possible.

We found out transfers again today. I will be staying one more with Elder Garrett. I am so excited. There are no Elders going home this transfer, so it was the smallest transfer President Nielsen has ever had. It is so weird the Sister Smirnova goes home tomorrow. She went into the MTC with us and will be on a plane to Moscow tomorrow morning. She added me on Facebook before we went into the MTC, so you can track her down and skype/talk to her if you want. We both greenied in Nikolayev and she speaks perfect English. It is just strange that in 5 1/2 months I will be drinking a Dr. Pepper with In-N-Out in one hand and J-Dawgs in the other.

So the Internet Club we are in is being ridiculously stupid, so I will send lots of pictures next week. I really want to throw this computer out the window right now.

I love you all!
Elder McClintock

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