I think it is a pretty huge blessing to have a temple here in Ukraine. We are the only ones with a temple in all of Eastern Europe. So that is a pretty giant blessing to be here and serve in this area where we see it and walk by it everyday. Another great thing that comes from having a temple here is that everyone who drives or walks by also sees it. The temple here isn't exactly in a discrete spot so everyone sees it and knows about it. And that means that almost every week we get some one who just walks in because they felt something or were just attracted by the beauty and cleanliness of this place.
This last week we got a call as is usual from the temple front desk saying that there was a man there who wanted to know more. So we hurried and put on our coats and walked on over to the temple and met Armen. Armen in Armenian which fits his name and he is probably the coolest guy I have ever met. He is so nice and so humble. He looks a little like a member of the mafia but he is the kindest person ever. He told us about how he has relatives who live in LA that know about our church and told him about how we are all really nice and how we don't smoke or drink or any of that stuff. And after he was in a pretty serious car accident he was told by doctors that he was going to be paralyzed for the rest of his life. But through some sort of miracle he said "I walked here on my own to feet." He also told us about how he has found that he is happy when he serves other people. When he sees someone who is in need and helps them not expecting any compensation. We game Armen a tour around the grounds and inside the church and talk about what we do and what happens here during Sundays and what is the Book of Mormon. He seemed really genuinely interested and we have great hopes for him. On Sunday he came to church and was talking with the Temple President, President Roth. Armen came in a suit but didn't have a white shirt on, but a black turtle neck which made him look even more like a mafia member. But it was good to see him make an effort to come prepared. He stayed for sacrament meeting and he was very interested in everything that was going on. We introduced him to Bishop Aleksey and everything went perfect that day with him. He said he is going to come next week and hopeful if not on Sunday but during the week as well we are going to meet with him. Another thing he said was. "Yeah I like reading the little books (Brochures) but I like talking with you guys more."
Another awesome thing that happened was that we had two baptisms on Saturday where two investigators the other Elders were teaching got baptized. Now every baptism is special but these were extra special because these baptisms were in the Kiev International Branch where all of the temple missionaries and Senior Couple attend. Anthony and Blessing are a couple from Nigeria who live and work here in Ukraine as Doctors. Their friend Emmanuel who is a member and also from Nigeria living here helped them get interested and then eventually they got baptized. Another cool thing is the connection between them and President Kumferman. President Kumferman's son on his mission baptized Emmanuel, Anthony and Blessing's good friend. So it was a great honor for President Kumferman to be apart of those lessons and to baptize and confirm them.
Sunday was an interesting day. Since it was the beginning of the month that meant that there should have been fast and testimony meeting. But we only had fast and testimony meeting during the Borschagovsky ward. But during the International branch we had branch conference instead. That was okay though. There was one talk that was pretty funny during branch conference. President Podubny got up to speak at the end and introduced a scripture in John 1 talking about Nathanael. "45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses int eh law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, come and see."
upon reading this President Podubny explained that it wasn't normal to have some spiritual thing come out of Galilee, and then he said "Like an Apostle from Odessa." We all got a big laugh out of that.
There weather is getting a lot colder here but today we actually have blue skies. Ukraine is a strange place but is filled with lots of wondrous things.
Elder Glade is a great missionary and friend. He is going to be leaving soon for home and he will be greatly missed here in Ukraine and especially here in the office. But he needs to get on with his life.
Thank you all for your love and support.
Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson