Monday, August 14, 2017

Zone conference, and church with the Kumfermans and friends.

08/14/2017

This week we went up to Kiev and stayed overnight with the Elders in Pechersky, my first area in Ukraine. It wasn't the apartment I lived in but it was fun getting taught the Bible by a slightly crazy babushka. The next day we had an amazing Zone Conference. President Kumferman knows his stuff. It was one of the most mind blowing Zone Conferences I have been to. After that we went immediately on an exchange with the Zone Leaders since my companion is the District leader here. And guess where we stayed over night? That's right my first apartment here in Ukraine. It has been a while since I have been there and it was really weird going back and staying the night there. After we had one of the shortest exchanges of my mission, we went and got some quick food at the Kosher food truck by the synagogue that Elder Carr and I would like to go to. There we met these Jewish guys from New York one of which looked like the Jewish/Gangster harry Potter. The reason why we had to end our exchange early was so we could get back to Cherkassy in time to do English Practice. So we get on our bus and head down. One interesting thing about serving in Cherkassy is that the only way to get into Cherkassy is on a bridge that goes over the Dniper. And the said bridge is the only one and is currently under construction and is only open two times a day. One in the early morning and once for about two hours during the day. So you might see the problems we run into sometimes. So we head down on our bus but right as we are about to approach the bridge the driver tells us that it is closed and that we will have to take a detour that will add another hour and a half to our trip. So we didn't make it to English Practice that time but we did get there barely in time to do an awesome spiritual thought. Fun.
My companion was sick for a little bit this week so that compounded with everything in Kiev meant that we didn't get to do a whole lot of work this week. 
Sunday was awesome. President, Sister and Maggie Kumferman came down as well as Elder and Sister Bingham and Kolya. That also happened to be the week I was conducting sacrament meeting for the first time. President Kumferman talked for a bit and not only introduced himself but also went into some deep stuff about the Savior's Atonement. That is a wise man that President Kumferman. After all of our meetings we had a short lesson with our investigator Andrey with President Kumferman. I think it went very well. President Kumferman told us afterwards "You get that man baptized. He is going to be a strong member here." 
Coming up in two weeks our Branch will be putting on a Jewish/Israel cultural night. We have been planning up a storm and it is going to be awesome. 
That's about it for this week. Love you all and I want you to know that this Gospel is the true gospel of Jesus Christ and this Church is his Church. There is no other greater work than this work. 

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson


We were waiting for the Elders to get to their apartment and found found some graffiti that our recent convert probably would have liked. And also the Temple.



Monday, August 7, 2017

Our Branch president was a bartender on TV.

08/07/2017

HOT HOT HOT!
 Yeah so this week was apparently the hottest week in Ukrainian history.  
 I recently got some new shoe polish because the stuff I came out with finally ran out. While I was polishing my shoes I noticed that it had a very strong smell. But it polished fine. But when I put them on and started out on the streets my feet started to get pretty warm. By the time we got half way to the church building my feet where burning! So we got there and I had to take my shoes off. My feet didn't stop burning for a while after that. We got home after that and I had a little pity party in the bath tube sitting on my stool trying to get the videos to work on the little player we have to learn more Russian Sign Language. 
On Friday we decided to spend the day outside and it just so happened to be the hottest of all of the days. We went down to one of Cherkassy's many squares and with chalk drew English practises advertisements. I have never had my shirt get so wet without putting in the washing machine as it did that day from sweating. It was pretty awesome though, lots of people were interested even while we were drawing them. 
 On Saturday we headed out to a village outside of Cherkassy to help on of our members repair his roof. We got there and we had others there as well to help. They started working on putting more boards on the roof and securing them. We went with Brother Yuri to buy some more supplies while they were working on securing the boards. We grabbed our little cart and headed off. We went to the hardware store and bought lots of nails and two big heavy rolls of tar shingle stuff to put over the boards on his roof. We paid and loaded up the cart and waited at the bus stop for the marshrutka to takes us back to the house. We waited for an hour and a half and when it finally came we were so relieved. We muscled the cart up onto the marshrutka but the driver got made and yelled at us to throw it off. So we got off and started on foot back home dragging the load behind us. Eventually the roads got too bad and one of the wheals broke on our little cart. So Elder Mattina and I each grabbed one of the heavy rolls and swung them onto our shoulders and started off. By the time we got back we our shoulders were so sore from the two kilometer journey. But we got it done and everything is great. The next day however wasn't too fun for us. 
 Church was awesome and we had awesome testimonies born. Our investigators came and they had great time. Our Branch President is so awesome. He is not only super funny and talented but also understands his calling and fulfills it. He served his mission is Saint Petersberg and is n actor and a musician and lots of other cool stuff. 
 Anyway. Cherkassy is great and so is Elder Mattina. 


Старейшина Класон /Elder Clawson


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Cherkassy!

07/31/2017

 Cherkassy is awesome guys! It is a pretty small city but everything is great here. The people are awesome here and our Branch is Killer! Elder Mattina is an Italian goof ball. It's just great here. And even better it has only been cool weather since I have been here which is a big contrast coming from Kherson. 
 Elder Mattina and I are now the oldest companionship in the mission. 
This week was kind of crazy just in the fact that I was traveling a ton but not really in any other sense. To pick up where I left off in last weeks email. After we finished emailing our little temporary trio went out and ended up wandering around for quite a while. The next morning Elder Neuffer and I got up pretty early and headed to the train station. We actually almost missed getting on. Then we rode for eight hours up to Kiev. After that we finally get to the Mission Office and meat our new companions. It was kind of funny seeing Elder Edwards there after I already said our good-byes in Odessa and parted ways. Elder Mattina and I hopped on a bus and took a long ride to my new area. This time the bus ride was only four hours as opposed to the five hours from Odessa to Kherson. As soon as we arrived we went straight to the church building and within the hour from arriving we did English practice which went great!
 This city is great. Everything seems so bright and great here. 
 We have an awesome Investigator named Andrey. He is so awesome. He had a baptismal date for next week but he felt that it was too soon for where he was. So he is thinking about another date right now and is just doing great. Within the past two days we had two lessons with him that were awesome.
 Hopefully next week will give me more things to talk about but for now we'll leave it at that and some pictures that I could finally get uploaded. 

Thanks for all of your support!

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson


Pictures from Kherson with Elder Edwards. (I' slow so there aren't any in Cherkassy yet)







Monday, July 24, 2017

They will live on as legends

07/24/2017 

This week we had fourteen missionaries go home after serving an honorable mission. They were wonderful missionaries that will be missed. They will do great things. Our mission isn't the biggest but we had  good number of missionaries here. But now we had all of those leave and none to replace them. The mission is a much smaller place now. They will live on as legends.
 This week we found out our transfers. Elder Edwards is headed up to Kharkivsky to be the next Assistant to the President. And I am headed to Cherkassy to serve with Elder Mattina who was actually Elder Edwards' MTC companion. All I know about Cherkassy is that it is int he dead center of Ukraine is far away from everything. It is becoming more of a habit now on my mission of being exiled away from everything. 
 This week we found out officially that our area was going to be closing so that meant that we not only had to pack our things, but clean out the apartment. That was a huge project that took forever but in the end our landlord was happy and we made him a spicy egg burrito thing. 
 My bag started ruining my shirts so I had to get some new shirts as well as a different bag. And my watch stopped working too, so that had to be taken care of. 
 On Sunday, President Cherniga came and spoke and announced to the Branch what was going to be happening. Missionaries will not be there anymore and the first counselor is going to be acting Branch President while the Area Presidency makes a decision. We had a non-member lady there who gave me a Orthodox book of prayers. That was thoughtful of her. 
 Right now I am in Odessa with two other missionaries who are waiting for their companions to come down from Kiev. It's kind of weird. This is none of our area but we are just going around and stuff. Today is a pretty strange Preparation day. Tomorrow morning I head up to Kiev and then meet my new companion and then head to Cherkassy. Lots of traveling. 
 Other than that I don't know what to write on. It was just a crazy week and tat the same time it seems like we didn't do very much. I guess I'll say hi from Cherkassy then!


Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

Friday, July 21, 2017

Elder Edwards Almost Got Converted

07/17/2017

What a week.
I don't want to forget writing about this so I'll just tell the story now. The story of how Elder Edwards found out his ethnicity. 

This week we decided to do something a little different. So we went to the Synagogue down the street. Elder Edwards' mom is Jewish so this was going to be not only a cool thing for me but a visitation of his heritage for him. We go in and every one looks at us confused and every person we talked to asks "Are you Jewish?" And every time I answer no and Elder Edwards answers half Jew. We talk to the secretary lady and she tells my companion that if his mother is a full Jew, then he is counted as a full Jew. Elder Edwards had his mind blown. He said "My whole life I thought that I was only half Jew, but now I know that I am full Jew." We took a short tour of the Synagogue and saw some interesting things. But the best part is yet to come. We motioned that we were interested in buying a Torah (The Jewish book of scripture  - Five Books of Moses) and then she took us back down stairs. She had us wait for a little bit while she went into an office to talk with someone. Then she came out and had us go in. This is where we met Yoseph. This guy is the exact image I have in my mind when I think of anything from Fiddler on the Roof. He spoke English really well but with a pretty heavy accent and everything just made me think of that musical. Yoseph tried so hard to get Elder Edwards to join his Synagogue and was using every word in the book. His main things that he was wanting Elder Edwards to do was to try on "Tefillin". Tefillin is what the Jew put on to connect with God. Yoseph pulled up on Google Images tefillin to show him because hi didn't know what it was and he got kind of freaked out. Yoseph was pulling out all kids of things trying to convince him. Things like "You're a Jew . . . it's in your blood, you can't take it out." "You and me, we are the same (Then addresses me "No offence") "Don't you want to connect with him (pointing up)" "I was sent here in 1995 and have always wondered why there was one spot empty in our congregation, but now I know. Come home Bryson." " You think that you just by chance walked into the Synagogue? That doesn't happen. He (Pointing up) has a plan". Elder Edwards is a pretty intense guy and knows how to stick to his guns. But he said afterward that he was pretty intimidated by Yoseph. After we "talked" with Yoseph for a few minutes they sold a Torah to Elder Edwards but claimed that they didn't have any more. But I am pretty sure that they just didn't want to sell one to me, a gentile. So that was a fun experience. Elder Edwards found out that he is a Jew and Elder Edwards sold me his Torah that he bought. 
Other than that not much happened this week. But things have seemed to be going a little better this week than previous weeks. Many more people are a lot more open to talk with us and we had a couple of lessons with non-members. 
The Nikaliev Elders came down this week and we had an awesome exchange with them. 
This week we actually didn't need to go to Odessa so we were here the whole time. 
Church was great this week. Elder Edwards spoke and it was awesome. After Sacrament meeting our First counselor gave the lesson and it went great. And he did a good job at helping the non-members there feel a part of the branch. 
We were out on the streets quite a bit this week and I actually took pictures with my own camera. I apologize that I can't send them. We can't use usb or other things like that on the computers here. But at the first chance I get I will send them.
Yeah so things are pretty good here. it's going to be interesting to find out on Saturday how President Kumferman is going to do transfers. 
Also, I hit my year mark. woo hoo. 

Старейшина Класон /Elder Clawson


A 5K and Zone Conference with President Kumferman

07/10/2017

So we took another bus to Odessa. Yes it was hot. It's always hot. We stayed with one of the Center Odessa Companionships. That was awesome. And it got even better once another set of elders showed up to stay with them as well. We had an awesome Zone conference with the Kumfermans. They are so awesome! You know how they say the third is the charm? It's true. You think you first mission president is great. Then you think how could you have a better one than your second one. Then the third arrives. President Kumferman knows Russian  so well. He was a Professor of Russian actually. He also knows the scriptures so well. That's because he was also a professor for that as well. He is a convert. He was baptized when he was about nineteen years old. He told us that his friends where trying to talk him out of being baptized by telling him all kinds of crazy stuff. He said that the one thing that was holding him back from being baptized was that he was told that if he became a member that he wouldn't be allowed to eat graham-crackers and milk anymore. But as you can probably tell, he figured out that it wasn't true and got baptized. He then served a Mission is Belgium french speaking. Sister Kumferman is from Alaska and is one of fourteen kids. Maggie Kumferman is their youngest daughter and is with them on their mission. They are all awesome. 
The next day we woke up and for our exercise time went and ran a 5K! it was so awesome. The Elders in center did a good job picking the route. It was awesome and we got got to see lots of cool stuff.we then had interviews with President Kumferman and they were just awesome. Elder Edwards and I were actually the first missionaries to get interviewed by our new mission president. 
After that we took our usual five hour bus ride to Kherson again. 
Sunday was super rainy. Because of that and the fact that a few of our members were out of town we were pretty sure that no one was going to be at church that day. But right before we had ten people show up. One of them was that lady from last week who randomly came in and asked about the Book of Mormon. After our meetings we got a call from a guy named Denis who often likes to just hang out with missionaries. We try to avoid it most of the time because it really isn't worth our time. But this time we felt just to say yes. So we talk for a little bit at the branch with Denis and then out of the blue a white crossover and a family hops out and walks in. They were all like hey elders! ( in Russian of course) and shaking our hands and we were just wondering who on earth were these people. The explained that they were from the Brovary ward (one of the wards in Kiev). They said that they were visiting the dad's parents in the Kherson Oblast and just decided to stop by our city and see the branch. They were so awesome and they were just beaming with the light of the gospel. They were so happy and friendly and just made you feel good just being around them. And then next we find out that the dad (Roman) know the guy that was talking with us when they came in (Denis). They talked for while and everything was great. The whole time though I was wondering why on earth would they want to come to Kherson. But I am glad that they did. 
I can't really think of anything else to report from this week. But I just want to say that being a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ is one of the best things you can ever do. Just read the Book of Mormon. 

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson


Here is our Picture from the Zone Conference in Odessa with the Kumfermans. (My companion Elder Edwards is on my right and my previous companion Elder Merrell is on my left and Elder Carr is the third person on my right with the glasses and Elder Konstantynov is the bald one in the back. Just in case you wanted to know what my companions is Ukraine look like.)


Monday, July 3, 2017

President Kumfermann and Odessa

07/03/2017

Man Odessa again. We just don't have the money. 
So if you didn't know Kherson is about fife hours by bus from Odessa. You would think that we wouldn't have to go down very often especially due to that fact that it is 500 Hrivna for a trip down. But no. We get to take the wonderful journey down almost every week this transfer. And even better that we don't have any money now! Hurray!. I am sorry. I shouldn't use so much sarcasm, Ukrainians don't get it. 
So not only did we have to got down to Odessa again for me getting registered, but we have another Zone Conference this transfer this week with President Kumferman. 
Yesterday was fast Sunday and church was alright. We had some none members come to sacrament meeting without being prompted beforehand. And after the meetings another lady came in asking about the Book of Mormon and our Worship Services. We had a short lesson with her and gave her a copy pf the Book of Mormon. 
Today we met with guy named Chris. Yeah I know that that doesn't sound very mush like a Ukrainian name. It almost sounds American. That's because Chris is American but decided to forsake everything and permanently move to Ukraine. He is a pretty cool and knows Russian pretty well, but with a noticeable accent. He invited us over and he made us fajitas and kvas. Mexican and Ukrainian. We helped cut up all of the peppers and found out that they were actually spicy as we mistakenly touched our faces after. Nothing is Ukraine is actually spicy really. All the Ukrainians will say that one thing is spicy but when you go to try it you are highly disappointed. But these peppers were the real deal and they were very pleasing unto me. We talked for a little bit and then had to leave to go help a member out. But upon calling the member as we approached the branch building we found out that he didn't need our help anymore. So we got on another bus and headed over to this Internet Club to wright home. On the bus we met John (actual Ukrainian). He was so awesome. And he instantly became our friend. This was super cool because almost every one in this city hates us. But John is different. He is normal which isn't normal and he is a younger guy which i awesome. We need younger people in the church here in Ukraine because about 80% of the members here in Ukraine are old grandmas who are a third of time not all the way there. Anyways. We walked around for a little bit with our new friend John and bought some Ice cream together. 
After that we came here and started writing home but now it's turning into a paradox because if I go any further I will be writing about what I have already written and no one likes repetition. So I'll just end here. 


Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson