Monday, March 4, 2013

6 Months Down!

Elder Groothuyzen is doing better, but the sickness is going around here. Everyone has seemed to come down with something. We went to give a blessing to my favorite youth in the branch, Danil, the other day. He was baptized a couple months ago, and is 15 years old. When we got there, he had some homemade IV thing hooked up, with tons of medicine everywhere. He has one of the biggest testimonies i've seen, and I'm sure that he will be better in no time.
As for the missionaries here, one thing I have always been stressing is how great every missionary is, and how through faith in Christ, motivation, and obedience we can bring miracles into this land. I think it's true. I went on a split with one companionship last week, and we set really high goals (in comparison to what they were getting), and every chance I'd get I'd say "Pray about it, think about it, do it". My motto here has been "Why not?" Why can't we get a ton of baptisms? Why can't we bring tons of people to Christ? Who cares if it's Ukraine. You can imagine my surprise when last night they called in with their numbers, and every single one tripled. They went from averaging 1-2 lessons to having seven, and from getting 5-8 contacts to getting 22. I am a firm believer that if we have faith, as long as our will is lined up with God's we can do anything. Even teach people in Ukraine. 

Dad will be interested to know that we were confronted by baptists on the street, who went on to try and ridicule our faith by throwing out Bible verses to try and discredit us. Luckily for us, I just happened to have gone to a Baptist elementary school. To put it nicely, they had no idea what hit them. They were pretty embarrassed that a "devil worshipping cultist mormon" knew the Bible better than they did. I left with a smile on my face. Just like Elder McConkie said "We, as mormons, don't bible bash! And if we do...we win!"
As for stories, oh boy. Do I have a lot. Anyways, there are two examples that I have that happened within the last couple of weeks. One: We were walking home from a lesson, and it was dark. Most of our area isn't lit up, and we forgot our flashlights at home. As we were going, a bunch of guys sitting outside of an apartment complex were yelling at us. We kept walking, and they started throwing beer bottles at us, glass ones. the bottles would fly by us, and shatter on the ground around our feet. As much as I wanted to turn around, yell at them, throw something back, or just run away ( 99% sure they would have chased us if we ran), I didn't. I can't even describe how frustrated I was. It was cool to feel like samuel the lamanite though, and be dodging all of these things as we walked by. We definitely felt protected. The other experience would be our many encounters with some of the Pravaslavnie people here. We have had people crossing themselves (like catholics do), praying because they think we are demons, etc etc. Many of these people come up to us, yell at us for nothing, condemn us, threaten us, and leave. It's amazing to see how God has softened my heart, to just laugh at it and shake my head rather than get mad. Before my mission, I most assuredly would have condemned them right back, and had a Jonah "fire and brimstone" attitude towards the people here. Now, I've been blessed with a personality of "Alright man, whatever. ". Occassionally I smart off to them (I can't help it!), but I definitely have gotten a lot better at letting things go. I read Matthew 5:44 during my study of Christ, and it has changed everything.


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