Ice Ice Baby.

I really hope you are all staying warm over there in your half of the world. This week was cold. Really cold. We are talking -23C (-10ish F) with 10-15mph winds cold. The sea is freezing over. Last night we were contacting and I walked five or six feet out over the water.

I am glad to report that this week has been a good one. We found a lot of new people to teach – all of them men! I read chapter 9 in Preach My Gospel a few times this week, and as I applied the things it said I felt more and more comfortable talking to people on the street.

The biggest change has been getting into the habit of jumping straight into testifying about the Restored Gospel rather than saying “Excuse me, can I ask you a question?” etc. I taught about doing this and we practiced at district meeting, and with great success. We realized while discussing, that the times we get excited about contacting are when we either had a great conversation with someone, or actually got a contact. We also realized that the common thread in those two situations is the fact that we shared a testimony. We felt that it goes great lengths at keeping our morale up if we are putting ourselves in a situation to feel the Spirit, even if the person doesn’t want to talk to us. We also feel that it is much more effective because asking someone if they can talk for a few minutes doesn’t take from a 1 to a 2 or a 5 to a 6, etc;seeing as they didn’t hear anything about the church nor have any concrete idea who we are. (Note: The missionary department has done studies and figured out that the average person comes in contact with the church in a positive discussion 7 times before being baptized.) It is funny how much more effective missionary work goes when you apply the little nuggets found in Preach My Gospel.

We met this week with Dima, a man we pulled out of the area book. He is very orthodox in his beliefs, but is open to listening to us. I don’t see it as a quick change with him. He came to church yesterday and everybody seemed to know him. It appears that he came to church for a very long period of time, but this wasn’t mentioned at all on the teaching record. He did say that he doesn’t think it is random that we called him when we did because he is having quite a few problems in his life. His biggest hump to get over will be praying to icons. And the “contradictions” he sees in the Bible that are easily explained by church doctrine….

We did a surprise visit to the family, because the mother hasn’t been answering her phone. When we were there, we met her husband, Alexander, and taught him for the first time. He is the most sincerely interested out of all of them. The mother and grandmother haven’t been reading at all, but he was full of questions. He is a very good family man. His biggest worry is his teenage sons falling into the typical college-aged Ukrainian lifestyle. He owns his own company giving work to invalids. He said he started this company because it allows him to control his own schedule, so he can be with his family, and helps these invalids have interaction with each other and feel needed in the world, because unfortunately many people just write them off. I think he is the key to the entire situation.

We also found a former investigator named Yevgeniy while tracting. We were unable to find a teaching reacord for him, but he seems to be mostly interested in learning about our culture. He is an older man, who is on crutches because of having polio as a youth. We told him that we would love to share with him parts of our culture, but our purpose is to teach people about the church. He accepted our invitation, and we will meet with him again this week.

A man came to English on Friday, as a result of our advertisements. He also came to church yesterday. He asked after English what our church taught. He said he doesn’t associate particularly with any religion, but he feels that something is missing in his life. He is on a Russian Military Pension, so he doesn’t work because he gets enough from that. He came to church all three hours and also offered to help clean the building with the rest of the members. He had good questions and it seemed that his lack of an association to one religion is because he feels that they all lack something, where is it totally left to guess work.

We met again with Alexander, the Orthodox faith healer. We watched “On the Lord’s Errand” and he enjoyed it. After the film he said that he is starting to think the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. He said in his personal prayers he is now only praying in his own words. He is moving slowly, but we added him back to our teaching pool.

Things with Elder Garrett are going great. He is probably my favorite companion to date. We are very different, yet very the same. Just the right amount. We have been working very hard and now have a solid teaching pool to show for it. Things overall are just chiki-piki here in Yevpatoria.

I am glad the Giants beat the Pats again. I hate New England. How is BYU Basketball doing? And Jimmer in Sacramento? It is weird to think how little time is left. It is like a two week cycle- a month mark out then a month mark left. I don’t like it. 5 months seems like no time at all, but it goes by so fast. I have already been in Yevpat for 3. Time is money.

Pictures:
1. Snow covered Palm Trees. score.

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