Monday, September 18, 2017

Missing Towel and a Jungle Cruise Guide

9/11/2017

This week was a pretty interesting one. 
Well first things first. I mentioned in my last email that our Kiev Temple was getting a new Angel Moroni. This week they told us that they were going to do it. So from the first of the week we were watching intently, checking up on the progress of the scaffolding and such every once in a while. But it was on Wednesday that things started looking interesting. We saw that they were putting scaffolding way up above the Angel Moroni and were seeing if they would change him that day but it didn't happen then. But the very next day we get up and get out a little earlier to go take pictures of this historic event as part of our responsibilities as Office Elders. We were walking and then once we turned the corner onto the street were the temple is located we look up and see that they had already taken the old Moroni off and was half way down the spire. We ran as fast as we could to get into the office and grab the camera so we could take pictures. We ended up not needing to hurry all that much because it was a pretty slow process moving the Angel Moroni. So for the next little bit we were out in the rain and taking a whole bunch of pictures of the whole thing. It was a very interesting thing to see. We got to see the unboxing of the New Angel Moroni and him get put up and the old one come down and get set on the ground. After that we got to see more up close what happened. His arm,face and ankles were all blackened and even had a gash in his ankle. That day we had a training for the new missionary who just came in. So when it came time for the them to put on the Angel Moroni we let them know and they all came out and watched him be put on. 
We had our English Practices as usual but what was unusual was the fact that we had Elder and Sister Foley come and help with our English Practice. At the end of our practices we usually had a story we tell in English and have one of the natives translate. So this time Elder Foley got up at the end a told the story. He told us about how he was for a few years worked at Disney Land as one of the Guides on the Jungle Cruise ride at Disney Land. Every one loved it. 
We had an exchange with our Zone Leaders and had some interesting experiences. Elder Lundquist and I came here to the ward building early to help with a baptism that the Pechersky Elders were doing. It was fun trying to deal with all the little problems that kept coming up. Like for example the power kept going out and we didn't have any towels in the building for the baptism. AS far as the towels go we looked and looked and could't find anything. So in the end we just put a couple extra jump suits out for them to dry with. What was interesting though was the fact that after the service we went into the changing room to grab the suits and only the one that the recently baptized person wore was wet. It is still a mystery what they dried themselves with. 
Yesterday we went to go help a member get to church. Everything was fine for the fact that she never showed up to our meeting spot or ever answered our calls. We waited for a while and  tried to get a hold of her but eventually had to just leave if we wanted to get to church. When we got there she was already there and had a disgusted look on her face that she shot at us. We still don't know where on earth she was waiting for us to take her. I gave a short talk in church which was a huge success because there are so many members in this ward that the missionaries get drowned out most of the time. Afterwards every one would come up and congratulate me and compliment me on how good my Russian was. I have a feeling that the only reason why they all complimented me on how good my Russian was because they all think that I am just fresh out of the MTC. In that case my Russian would be really good. 
So another week here in Ukraine and the work is going forward. The Book of Mormon is the best ever and being a missionary is one of the sweetest things a person can do. I love this work and the Lord Jesus Christ. The office is fun too.

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson


p.s. I don't think I can send pictures of the New Angel Moroni yet because it hasn't apeared on the official church sites yet. 

Traveling in Time and Metting a Viking

9/18/2017

Hello everyone!
This is Elder Clawson again. 
You probably already knew that since my name probably comes up before you opened this email.
Or you might have seen the beginning of the email just in your inbox before you opened and saw my name in the beginning of the email. 
This week I got sick for a day, we went back in time, then back to the future, and met a viking. 
Sunday was great. Besides the fact that I got a cold that luckily only lasted that day. 
We went on splits with the Zone Leaders because they had too many lessons that day. I went with Elder Burek and that was the first time I met a viking. The first look at his front door made me think that we were going to have some kind of special experience and then the door bell confirmed that impression. The door opened and there was a viking standing in the doorway. Super blonde and hairy. He was shirtless and had Long braided hair and beard. He was super nice though. 
On Monday we went for P-day to something called an escape room. Basically it's like one of those puzzles online where you are stuck in a room and have to figure out how to get out but in real life. The one we did was pretty cool. We went back in time and had to find a mind reading device and then go to the future and read someone's mind and then get out. We had an hour to solve it and we finished with six minutes left.  That was fun.
Things felt kind of slow this week but things were still good. And despite things feeling slow here we saw many many miracles. 
Also I got some pictures finally from last week. So yeah, here you go. 

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson


We had a family home evening and we acted out some of the Book of Mormon stories. (They couldn't find their "Nephi hats" so I wore a regular hat). I was Lemuel and she was Nephi



Here is the picture of us after we escaped the room (It was actually two rooms). I am holding the mind reading device (they called it the "Milophone"). 




Elder Lundquist had us take a selfie as we were helping the Temple Accommodations here on the temple grounds to make all of their beds. 





Just another 9-5 day at the office

9/04/2017

I never thought I was going to have a desk job. Let alone on my mission. I guess it has its perks though. I mean I get to know tons of stuff. And I also get to work a lot more closely with President Kumferman. 
This week I came up from Cherkassy and met my new companion. Elder Glade is from Washington state and is like an old grandpa with all of his terrible puns and dad jokes.
After I met Elder Glade, Elder Mattina grabbed Elder Johnson whom I was replacing and then they head down to Cherkassy, after they had Domino's. 
At first it was kind of awkward for me because I had these things to do but I didn't really understand exactly what I was supposed to do. That was mainly due to the fact that my companion had other responsibilities as well and therefore wasn't able to help me a ton. But the next day I read the little PDF manuals for us Office Elders and a few videos and then got to work. Now I know what I am supposed to do and what is expected of me. Even though the assignment of office elder is pretty cushy it is pretty crazy and involves a lot of work. A lot of work, as in trying to complete all of our different assignments, complete weekly and monthly reports, help the office senior couple what whatever they need help with as well as every one else,  translating things, setting up for meetings and things like that. And by cushy I mean that we have probably the nicest missionary apartment in the mission and the biggest ward and the most on fire members. We also have comfy office chairs too. 
Here in this area we are at the mission office almost everyday from about 9-5 but on Saturdays we get to weekly plan and do some good proselyting. This past Saturday we went out with our district which consists of us, the Zone Leaders and the Sisters along with five other members from our ward and went balloon contacting. Balloon contacting is when you contact people on the street with balloons. We went to this big park that had lost of kids and families and handed out a ton of balloons. One of the members that came with is was a recently baptized eight year old boy. He is the smallest cutest thing, and he is the best missionary out of all of us. He would always come up to us and ask for a stack of cards and then we would see him run of into the crowd and hand them all out. No one could say no to him. 
Here in this building we have the only building where two units meet in this mission if not in Ukraine. We have the International Branch and the Borshagovsky Ward. We go to both so we get double the fun. Usually what happens is that a senior missionary or another non-Russian-speaking person comes and we have to trans;ate for them but what happened yesterday was the opposite. We were at the International branch and one of the members of the regular Russian/Ukrainian ward came and then I had to translate everything that was going on to him in Russian.
In other news. The Kiev Temple is getting a new Angel Moroni. What happened what a little bit ago the Temple got stuck by lightning and it hit the Angle Moroni. After that the under side of his arm and the trumpet got blackened. So for the past week while the Temple has been closed for cleaning, they have had workers up on top putting scaffolding up to prepare for when hey will replace him with a new one. Other than that it is pretty quiet here most of the time. We do English practice as normal and District meeting and even had my first Office Staff Meeting. Life is good as a missionary. 

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

   Companionship Unity.
This is with Elder Mattina when we went down to Smela to that crazy hospital. Don't freak out that we aren't wearing name tags. It was just not allowed down there. 




Monday, August 28, 2017

Pita Bread and a Cross Stitch

08/28/2017

That was one of the most stressful weeks of my life.
Let us begin.
So I had the super cool cross stitch project that I was assigned to complete before our Jewish Cultural event on this past Saturday. It was this cool picture of the Star of David with some Jewish embellishments and the word "Shalom" in Hebrew in the center. Everyday it was getting closer and closer to being Saturday and everyday I saw more and more the amount of time it was going to take to complete it. So what had to happen was I had to start devoting every spare second I had to this project and that even didn't seem to cut it. Then came Friday. The day we planned to finish up all of our cooking and preparations for the event the next day at 3:00 pm. So what we did was from the earliest time we could get there, we went to the church and Elder Mattina put on his Italian pants and got cooking. Then the sisters came and started doing the same. All the while I was in the corner embroidering away. Evening came and there was a lot of pita bread left that couldn't be put off because of the stage it was in and we won't even mention the cross stitch project. So what happened, and now, we realize that this was probably not the most missionary like thing to do, was we stayed pretty. Long after the sisters left for home Elder Mattina and I where still going full bore. He on the Pita for everyone that would come the next day, and me on my cross stitch assignment. Then the time came that Elder Mattina finished all of the pita bread and we left for home at 3:00 am. At this point I had a decision to make. My cross stitch was still too far from being completed to do it in the morning. So I settled down for a nice long cross stitch session. The whole time I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to finish it in time for the party and for getting ready. But I kept going despite the pain in my arms, the sleepiness in my eyes and the growling in my belly. This was one of the craziest experiences I have had in my life. Looking back on it I saw a lot of miracles of God taking pity on me, a little apostatizing missionary (not really). It was good and evil warring around me in my head. I was probably mostly delusional because of lack of sleep and food but it was a very interesting experience. Then what happened was I was on my final stretch but still a ways off and the time was ticking on on my clock, but I was either determined or just plain stubborn. Elder Mattina was cheering me on and getting things ready so that as soon as I finished I could immediately hop in the shower and get ready as fast as possible and shoot out the door. The time was getting closer and closer and I was having a panic attack. I was on my way but my thread wouldn't stop knotting up which cost me those precious seconds. But then it happened. I finished it at 2:25 pm and then got ready faster than lightning and was out the door.
We got there even a few minutes early and had a great time at the party. We had our Branch president, president Kokorev give a spiritual thought on the history of the church in Israel and then a musical number by us Elders and president Kokorev. Then the sisters led us as we learned some Jewish dances and songs and then we played a game called "Three Sticks." It was fun and everyone enjoyed it. But the whole time I was just glad that I didn't have to do anymore embroidery work. After the game we all piled in and ate the delicious Israeli food that we all prepared. We had Pita bread, Fallafel, Humus, Salad, and some coconut covered dates that was all done by us missionaries. It was all super good and everyone was super impressed, especially with what Elder Mattina did. But the thing was, none of the people who came knew how to eat fellafel with pita and humus so we had to show them after they already started. After that it was all over and we cleaned up and went home. I went straight to bed as soon as I ate something. I had stayed up for 36 hours and 30 of them were consumed solely by cross stitching. 
So that is the story that I ran a timed marathon of cross stitching and became apostate. The End. Ha ha. 

Other than that, We had an awesome day at church and even had Elder Podvodov of the area seventy visit and speak after I spoke. Oh yeah. So this transfer was a five week transfer because of the missionaries who are going home a little bit early to get to school so we got our transfer calls. So to our surprise and despite what President Kumferman told us, someone from our District is leaving. It's me. I guess President Kumferman found out about my midnight project. But I will be heading up to Kiev again, but this time I will become one of the Office Elders who serve in the Mission Office. So in our mission we have a set of missionaries who are assigned to do all of the computer work besides the finances for the mission as well as lots of other little responsibilities. That's me now. And what is funny is that the Elder I am replacing is coming down and taking my place here in Cherkassy. He's British so everything's fine. And also on Sunday we finally got to meet with Vanya who we have been trying to meet with for forever. The lesson was a little bit all over the place but it was still very good. He has lots of questions and lots of desire. Oh yeah. My companion will be Elder Glade. 

That's it for this week folks!


Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson







Monday, August 21, 2017

We're going Jewish

08/21/2017

   It felt like we were super busy but I honestly don't have a ton to report on. So this email might be a shorter one. 
   This last week we got a call from the Sisters here in Cherkassy asking if we would go with them down to a place called Smela outside of Cherkassy. After a long bus ride, and a super drunk guy dropping his alcoholic beverage that emptied all over the floor of the marshrutka and my pants, we got to Smela. There we went with the Sisters to visit a less-active and then we realized why we were brought along. Our less-active friend is a patient in a mental hospital. Now if you can imagine in your mind an old scary looking mental hospital from the Soviet Union, with crazy looking barred rooms inside, you would have imagined that hospital we went to. Luckily right before we went in we got a call from someone that decided to talk for a long time. So while the sisters went in to talk to the less-active in the crazy soviet hospital, we got a new potential investigator. We eventually did go in but it wasn't for very long at all. Good thing we have good, brave sisters here.
   We have coming up on this Saturday, our Branch Jewish cultural night. it is going to be so much fun! We have been working like crazy on top of our regular missionary activities to prepare for this event. We are going to have games and songs and even food. Sister Slight lived in Israel and actually finished school there before going on a mission. So we have so good sources to make this Jewish night as pumpin' as it can get. 
   We were planning on going down to a place called Znaminka this week to meet with some less-actives and some potentials investigators, but that got vetoed due to the fact that we have our interviews with president Kumferman this week. So we'll see what happens with that.

   Das it. 


Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

ps - Today as part of our assignment from our mission president, in our weekly email we were to choose our favorite quote from President Monson to celebrate his birthday. The one I chose was one that I have liked for quite a while. "May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong."


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

But to our disapointment, science has not made a huge discovery and our member friend is only fourty seven.

06/26/2017

 Goodbye President Packer. You will be missed. But we are also excited for President Kumferman to come. We know that this next period of our lives will be amazing. We trust int eh Lord's servants.
 This week The Packers return home and we will welcome our new mission president here. 
 This week we had the Vogelsbergs come to our Kherson branch. They spoke and everyone loved having them here. Since we have so few people here I get to do lots more than I would normally have to do. Sacrament meeting is particularly stressful at times as I am Leading the music as well as blessing the sacrament and also translating what is going on for the Vogelsbergs. I think it would look kind of funny sitting in the congregation and to see this missionary running around trying to pretend like he can multitask.
 We got to meet with some of our members here and one of them gave us an apricot. When we met with her she showed all of these pictures and talked with us about anything and everything. We told her that we wanted to read a little bit in the Book of Mormon with her. Then like she didn't hear us just went off on another tangent. Then for the next ten minutes or so we try to bring it back and read but she wouldn't have it. She just kept going off on random things. And then even after we read one verse with her she went straight back to talking about the northern market around here or about her son in Colorado. But she gave us an apricot. 
 Most people here in Kherson don't like us very much for one reason or another. Either because we are missionaries or just because we're alive. I don't get it. I mean I haven't bitten someone for at least three weeks now. I don't know what their problem is. However there have been a few times where people don't run away from us as soon as they see us or try to set their dogs on us. We had some pretty awesome conversations with great people though. It is some what of a rare thing to find normal people here.
 English Practises are doing great here actually. We actually fill up the room with people almost every time. Last time though not as many came put these two awesome guys came and after wards they really wanted to throw around with us the Football they got. Not just any old European soccer ball. But an actual American Football. 
 We also helped this one member with moving some things around in his apartment. His sister and mom were there too and they kept trying to speak to us and explain things to us in their very limited English. We told them that we speak Russian but they didn't believe us. That is a pretty common thing that there are quite a few people here in Kherson who can't wrap their minds around that we can speak Russian. I haven't had this problem before really.
 While meeting with one of our other sisters in the branch we told her that we were going to have to leave soon to go help a member move things around in his apartment, she told us that he was ninety years old. I have seen this person before and can say that he is not ninety years old. And if he is than that would mean that modern science has officially reached the point of making someone immortal. And this sister was completely serious. But to our disappointment, science has not made a huge discovery and our member friend is only forty seven.
 Other than that. I can't really think of anything that happened this week. I mean other than the usual craziness that is always present. 
 Till next week. If there will be a next week . . .

Старейшина Класон  / Elder Clawson

Preparing for a musical number in the last zone conference with the Packers.


Elder and Sister Voglesberg are a wonderful senior couple that keep a great eye on the missionaries in the Odessa area. They took Elder Clawson and Elder Edwards out to dinner.




Kherson is a crazy little city that has crazy things happen all the time

06/20/2017

What a week. What a week.
This was one of the craziest weeks I have had so far on my mission. We'll start from the beginning.
Wednesday morning we wake up and head down to center Odessa to the Автовокзал (bus station) with all of my bags to meet my new companion and head to my new area. It was kind of surreal leaving my area this time. We get down to the bus station and meet the other missionaries. I leave Elder Merrell and head with Elder Edwards to the buses. We hop on and start riding. And then we did that for five hours. That wasn't the most comfortable ride I have had but it wasn't bad. Elder Edwards and I were getting to know each other and he was telling me about the area and then this guy sits down next to us and starts talking with us. We love it when people want to talk with us because they usually don't. But this time got a little bit difficult. Once we started driving it got really loud and he kept talking at the same quiet level he was before. He talked to us the entire time barely audible to us and we got tired of it really fast. 
Once we get to our apartment Elder Edwards realizes that he doesn't have any type of keys with him at all. He makes some calls and realizes that he left them in Odessa. So we find a tarp and put my bags under it and head to our branch building. There We do some little odd jobs and wait for our landlord to call us back. Eventually we are able to get a hold of our landlord and have him come and open our apartment. Our apartment is kind of cool. It is not like a normal one that you would find in an apartment building but is more like a little house. Like the little houses we have here in Ukraine. 
I am here replacing a missionary who ended his mission here and from the state of the apartment that was very apparent. But good thing I am a clean fellow.
Elder Edwards is he Branch President of our tiny little branch and I am his second counselor. We had a great Sunday and I got to speak and meet all of our members here. 
I'm not going to describe all of our little antics, but let's just say that they occurred often and it just adds to the flavor of the area here. 
Kherson is a crazy little city that has crazy things happen all of the time. 
So far we got to meet with a couple of members and have an English practice. We probably would have been able to do more if it weren't for the fact that we had to go back down to Odessa. It wasn't for the keys, they were mailed up to us. But we had a Zone Conference yesterday in Odessa with the Packers. 
Sunday evening we hop on a bus again and head back to Odessa. We stay with the Suvorovsky Elders over night. It was kind of funny that I was back there within a week of getting transferred out. Monday morning we take a super hot marshrutka ride to center and have an amazing Zone Conference with the whole Packer family. That was the last time that I will see them here. Next time something like this happens, it will be with the new mission president. I am definitely going to miss them. After that we trey to catch a bus going back to Kherson but are only able to get one going latter than we wanted. It was already full and our only other option was to take another one even later. But the lady offered to take us anyway. So for the bus ride back we were riding on a full bus sitting on wooden stools in the middle of the isle. That was not very fun. Probably the most uncomfortable ride I have ever had and probably will have. But all is well and we are back in Kherson. 
Other than that we contacted a ton and did normal everyday missionary stuff and stuff to live like eating and sleeping. 

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson




Kherson is known for their watermelons

06/12/2017

What an interesting week.
You are probably going to want to hear this sooner rather than later in this email so I will tell you now.
This week is transfers and Elder Merrell is going to be staying here in Suvorvosky with Elder Horton. And I will be serving with Elder Edwards in Kherson.
I started my time here in Ukraine in Pechersky, the dead center of everything. Then they decided to exile me down here to Odessa. Then as if that wasn't enough, I have been exiled even further out to Kherson. The only things I know right now about my new situation is that Elder Edwards was a weight lifter before his mission and that Kherson is known for their Watermelons. Also it is right next to Crimea.
This week we gave some more service and in the process of cleaning out this terrifying old shed thing we found this old canvas bag and we opened it to find about ten Soviet era gas masks. Yeah the really creepy ones in the movies. That was those.
You remember Sasha? The branch president's step son? Yeah so he has a baptismal date for July eighth! Just in time for me to leave. It was great. Last time we met with them we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Their eyes were glued on us the whole time and we felt prompted to extend a baptismal date again. We always thought that Sasha would just follow whatever his mom would do but then without hesitation he just said Yes. Nadya still is a little bit unsure. She has accepted the invitation to be baptized but still wants to think about a date.
Church was fantastic yesterday. We had Elder and Sister Voglesberg attend as well as the Temple President and Wife, President and Sister Roth are just awesome. I remember when I was in Pechersky and they came and did a little fireside. After church President Roth grabbed us and had us practice with him a musical number for the fireside he was going to do that evening.
That evening after we finished up all of the branch business went down to center. We had a great fireside wit the Temple President. Every one said that our men's quartet sounded pretty good.
Next week I am not going to be having my P-day on Monday because of Zone conference. So if you are looking for an email, it will come on Tuesday.
Other than that, nothing special.
This week has been a little more mild as far as temperature. But it is still pretty darn hot here.
That is all

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson


A funny billbord and a view from the lookout place we found.
The bill bord says in Ukrainain, Don't look for adventure. Refuel Quality.

(I am sorry. I can't get the picture up of me holding the gasmask)



Monday, June 5, 2017

We challenged a Ukrainian basketball team and won!

06/05/2017

So last monday the water for or city got shut of. I still have no idea why. It was a little bit challenging, but we had enough drinking water. It wouldn't have been such a problem if it hadn't been so hot and if we hadn't played sports that moring in Center. We kind of overheard someone talking about it that said that it was going to be out until the eighth. We didn't hear it clearly though but that still didn't help the situation. But luckily they mean eight-o-clock and that night we had water again. It would have been a little bit of a problem if our city didn't have water for a week. If that were to happem anywhere, it would be here.
Then our power went out. Again. But then we got it back.
Other than those fun happenings we had a great family home evening with the Volkov family that ended up just being with the dad. He reminds me exactly of one of my companions. The way he talked, laughed, and all of the facial expressions he has.
Nadya and Sasha are doing so great right now. Especialy Nadya. Last week we wanted to give them a baptismal date but they siad that they didn't feel ready for that yet. But we have a feeling that they will accept one this week. Nadya has taken it upon herself to be the unoffical birthday celebration coordinator for our branch. She is making this calendar to post in the board when you walk into the branch that has everyone's birthdays for that month, and then she is going to hold a mini celebration every month celebratng all of the birthdays in that month. Sasha and and President Zhaloba are going to go on the District camping trip coming up. I think that that will be great for them. Nadya and Sasha are doing just fine. It helps when your husband or dad is the Branch President.
Ruslan helped us prepare the sacrament on sunday. Next week he is going to pass!
English practice is going great. We have lots of new people coming and people who invite their friends. People are often super suprised to find out that there is free english practices availible here, I am suprised more people don't come.
We had interviews with President Packer this week! Our last interviews wih President Packer . . .  They were great and I am glad that there is still a little bit of time to serve under him. I am sure the next Mission President will be great as well. It will be interesting. He will be the third mission president that I have had and the fourth that I have been assigned to serve under.
Today's time playing "Gatorball" with the other Elders was very eventful. We had a lot of people come and it was a little crowded. But it was still fun. Since the court is a first come first serve type court, we often have lots of other people who show up to play on it. We are always first because we get up at 6:30 while the rest of the country sleeps in. Today we had a basketball team come in the middle of us playing. I say team but it was more like a club or something. They tried to argue a little bit about how they wanted to play on the court too and then we let them have half of the court to be nice. But then we had some elders get together and chalenge them to a game of basketball. It was hilarious to watch. These mostly short american missionaries just creaming these jersied Ukrainians. After that we went back to playing half court.
I can't really think of anything else to report other than what I have already written.
I guess Elder Merrell and I are still doing great here. This branch is great. Missionary work is great. Life is great. Read the Book of Mormon.
Also, I have finished the Old Testiment and am trying to read through the New Testiment again before the new mission President gets here.

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson 

Gatorball and interviews

The Vogelsbergs are a senior couple serving in Odessa. They ocassionally post photos of our missionaries. Here are some from a recent gatorball match - seemingly the most popular game the missionaries play.



President and Sister Packer are being released in July and have been conducting interviews with all the missionaries before they go. They were in Odessa last week and caught this photo of the district. 



Balloons and the Black Sea

This was actually two different days.







We took a road trip!

05/22/2017

So Elder Merrell got sick this week. I guess it was his turn. Last transfer I got sick. This transfer he got sick. And both times we don't know how.
We blew up a ton of baloons that had printed on them "Семьи навеки могут быть вместе" (Families can be together forever) and handed them out to kids and gave their parents pamphlets. Kids love us. And we made the mistake of wlking over to a playground and handing the rest out. We got attcked by a pack of those little beasts. I feared for my life. In like three seconds, the rest of the balloons were gone out of my hands.
We had some pretty good english practices this week as well as awesome spiritual thoughts afterwards. Elder Merrell and I had a little bit of free time while he was sick and we made a type of "Choose your own adventure" that we used in one of our english practices. They thought that that was pretty cool.
I was cooking dinner one night and then I hear this Police car with sirens on and telling people to get out of the way. I went over o the window and now have a new version of "Popcon Popping". it goes like this. "I looked out the Window and what did I see? Lots of army trucks hauling artilary!" I don't have the rest of the song but at least there are the same amount of sylobles. So yeah. There were lots of trucks driving down our road that were hauling these covered peices of equipment that had long barrells sticking out the back.
Last week we found that we had run out of sacrament cups and had just barely enough for that week. After that we searched all around trying to find some more but were unsuccessful. We call the other branches near by but only found out that they were in the smae situation as us! However we found out that the Illichyovsk Branch had some to give us as we wait for our order to go through. But at this point it was too late to have them sent up to us through Nova Poshta (a mail service). So we took a Road trip! We sat on busses for five hours that day. It wasn't what you uld call an ideal situation. We had an interesting time coming back. We passed by this block that had military everywhere and then a government building that had tons of military standing guard. And then a little bit later our bus got stopped and soldiers boarded and pulled off random people and checked their documents. That was interesting. I didn't see it but Elder Merrell said that there were also lots of tanks stationed around.
We had another sevce project that we did for Sister Raysa in our branch. We had the Zone Leaders come up from Tairova to help us because last time we did service for this Sister it was just Elder Merrell and myself and it was really rough not having at least another set of Elder with us. And it was a good thing that we had them with us this time because as well as doing what we did last time, we also moved these giant pieces of metal.
Sunday was another very long time at the Branch. We had a meeting before hand at 10:00 that was acually very very productive and then church and then Elder Merrell had to do tithing and other first couneler-y things and another meeting. So basically it was like a fast sunday expect for the fact that it wasn't our choice not to eat. Nadya and her son Sasha came again and had what seemed to me a good time. I didn't get to really talk with them after wards because they left pretty soon afterwards.
Ruslan, our recent convert got interviewed and next sunday will be receiving the Aaronic Priesthood! This is huge for him. And we think that we may have a good calling for him after he receives it. Speaking of callings. It is possible that I will be called as the Young Men's President.
Other than all of that, it was a pretty normal week. I am almost done reading through the Old Testament. I am excited to go to the New Testament and then the Topical Guide!
If there is anything that I have learned so far, it is that you just need to read the Book of Mormon. Just do it!
Also. I just found out that the Mission I was origonaly assigned to and the one next to it, the two biggest missions in the world, are being combined!

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

Miracles and more miracles

05/07/2017

Miracles are some what of a common thing as a missionary. But that doesn't mean that they are any less miraculous.
We had some awesome exchanges with the Zone Leaders down in Taiorva. It was fun riding down for about an hour and a half on the beloved marshrutka. But it wasn't nealy as bad as the nine hours of bus ridding the day we had the Mission Conference with Elder Holland. I got to be with Elder South for our exchange and le me tell you. That is an awesome missionary. Not only is he fun to be around and good looking but he knows how to listen to the Spirit. We had lessons set up but they all fell through. So our exchange turned into us wondering around and talking with people. Now if I could have seen this before or while I was on my mission, I would have probably had a heart attack. But one thing I found that day is that I actually like it now. I think I have gone insane. No normal person would like going out and contacting people all with a white shirt and tie talking about somehing that not very many people want to hear about. But I have come to feel true happiness from it and man it brings the Spirit! We also had a fun advenure that day as well. We had planned on traveling down to one part of Odessa and finding this less-active family and seeing how they were dong and hopefully have a lesson with them. Just so you know, the week of this exchange was Elder South's first week in Odessa. So he didn't know too much about the area. But anyways when it came time to head down we found where the bus we needed stopped and hopped on. This bus was kind of stange. It wasn't like any of the normal marshrukas, But it was more like a small fifteen passenger van. And it didn't sound normal either. It sounded like one of the pod racers from Star Wars. But we rode for a while and then I found out the Elder South had no idea where we were. We figured out that we had gotten on going the wrong way and had ended up in Center Odessa about half an hour away. And what was even more, we had no idea where we were in Center either. But luckily I have been in Center just enough to figure out how to get to the Branch building there and then we got directions from there how to get home from the other Zone Leader. In the end everything was fine. We talked with a ton of people and gave lots of cards, pamphlets and copies of the Book of Mormon away.
Sunday was awesome. We had a little problem right before church with running out of scarament cups and no one knowing where more would be. But in the end we just improvised for the rest and ended up not needing to use them because we had barely enough. Nadya and Sasha came again! And I think that they had a great time. Nadya is still a little shy but she is just a shy person. And she has really warmed up to us elders. We had a great Gospel Principles lesson where I taught about Developing talents and skills and as a part of the lesson i had baked cookies and gave them to those in attendence. They really enjoyed that part. Especially Yuri. After chuch we had a little celebration where we celebrated Mother's day and the two couples who got married in our Branch. Yaroslav and Ira (both reterned missionaries and Yaroslav was even Elder Merrell's companion), and President Zhaloba and Nadya. They made some pretty delicious treats for us and again Yuri was having a great time. After Elder Merrell finished taking care of branch buisness we walked Sister Svetlana (the old lady with crutches) home. It was literally thirty minutes to walk with her to her appartmet and then two minutes back. At least she is entertaining.
After that it was almost time to skype our families. But what we had feared happend. The internet stopped working in our building again. But after a couple of prayers and fiddling with cords, it started working again right in time to start. We both got to talk to our families and say hi to each others and then after that the internet went out agian.
Life is great as a missionary. But life as an obedient and joyful missioanry is even better.
Thank you for your support and prayers!

Стфарейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

Monday, May 8, 2017

A giant husky attacked Sergey

05/08/2017

Wow! What a week!
It has been getting a lot warmer here. 33 degrees Celcius warm. which means people are happier and we get to stand out even more with our white shirts. I think it is great when people look at us weird.
We did a book table, just the two of us. This was the first one I had done since coming down to Odessa. Elder Merrell said that they usually don't give as many away as up in Kiev here. But that was probably because they didn't have me! Because we gave away all of the copies of the Book of Mormon that we brought with us plus lots of other cards and pamphlets in the space of an hour! During that time I got to talk with lots of cool people.
Nadya and Sasha are doing great. They came to church for their second time yesterday and they seem to be enjoying church more and more. President Zhaloba said that they are reading the Book of Mormon every day now as a family!
We found two new investigators this week. Or I guess refound. Yuri and Galina were investigating the church a few years ago and now they are again. Yuri just showed up to church a couple of weeks ago and Galina finally came back to Odessa and was super excited to start meeting again.
We met with Sergey again. He wanted to meet at the tramway stop again and we were hoping that he wouldn't want to go to the beach again. Because the beach is most likely no longer missionary friendly. But to our disappointment that was exactly where he wanted to go but he agreed to go somewhere else. But now looking back, the beach would have been less distracting that what happened. So we go to this park and sit down and start talking a little bit. Then we decided to start with a prayer. Sergey asked if I would pray and I of course said yes. But right in the middle of praying right when I was asking for the Holy Ghost to be with us, a giant husky jumped on me and start attacking Sergey. Apparently the dog knows Sergey and loves to play with him. After trying to tell the dog to go home, we decided to go and find a different spot but the dog wouldn't stop following us. So we executed a highly sophisticated plan of hopping on the tramway and riding it a couple of stops to lose the dog. After that we found another park bench and talked about the Sabbath day with him.
Elder Merrell is doing just fantastic as ever. He has been having fun figuring out how to be a councilor in the Branch Presidency. He does tithing now and we take it to the bank and he conducted branch council yesterday and is just great.
Elder Merrell and I are exactly what Elder Carr told me when he found out they we were going to be companions, "You two will be like two peas in a pod."
Now looking back on what I wrote, this email probably didn't deserve the title it got. But everything just seems a lot brighter and happier. Also, I did some down and dirty scrubbing of our kitchen appliances that was much needed.
Anyways. All is great and I am glad to be here.

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sophiavska Plosha

Some photos of Sphiavska Plosha
04/17/2017







Lots of eggs and someone getting strangled

04/17/2017

This week was a little bitter sweet. But the sweet kind of out weighs the bitter.
I got a little but sick and had to stay home for a couple of days. But we were able to use that time and finish General Conference and do some other odd jobs.
We had an awesome time on Tuesday night here in Odessa when President and Sister Packer came down witht their family and even Sister Packer's family from home and did a Family Home Evening thing with us. It was really fun. Little sophie Packer was conducting and did a great job. Probably trhe only person who wasn't having the best time was Kolya who trans;ated for them all (Exept President Packer). Especially when Sister Packer's father spoke. We could see the Kolya was having kind of a hard time with his accent and ot the most understanible English, nut that all change when he said "So do you all know what the difference between a Shepard and a Sheep-hearder?". Kolya's face was priceless. There isn't any difference in Russian between those two. But he some how figured it out and effectivly translated.
Last week we gave so much service that this week we put a limit on our selves. But what was funny was that no one asked us this week. So the only service we gave was our English Practices.
No it is time for a sad story.
I started getting some of my things that have needed to be dry-cleaned done a couple of weeks ago. I had it all planned out. I was going to take my blake suit first and then wear that one while my blue was was getting cleaned so I could have a newly cleaned blue suit to wear for our awesome Mission Conference with Elder Holland. So I began. First the black suit which was done a couple of days earlier. Great! That should mean I have plenty of timne to get my blue one cleaned . . .
So Friday came and I headed down to Center Odessa to stay over night with another comapnionship in my black suit. I was really hoping that while were still there in Suvorovsky that we would get the text that indicates that it is done. But it never came. I was a little jumping that day. When ever some one would call or text I would sit in anticipation to see wheather it was the dry-cleaners or not. So we took our 45 minute marshrutka ride down to Ceneter and as soon as we got of the bus I heard a text tone from our phone and heard Elder Merrell just say "Elder. Guess what." It was a cruel play of fate. It was probably karma from something. But I don;t know what I did that would cause karma like this - no blue suit. Maybe it was when I yelled at a seagull in Oslo, Norway a couple of years ago . . .
So what has been alluded to and has been talk about for quite some time now, Elder Holland came to our Mission this week. We had an absolutly fantastic Mission Conference in Kiev. If you're wondering how far away Kiev is from Odessa. It is about 6 1/2 hours by car. So we woke up at 1:00 am and headed to the Center Branch and then hopped on a bus and rode for ever. I'll be honest. It wasn't the greatest experience I have had.
But the Mission Conference was great. We got all learnerized and stuff. It was particularly interesting when Elder Holland started going into the Fall and the Plan of Salvation in ways I haven't thought about before. He also slapped one Elder a little bit and styrangled another. And don't think Elder Calderwood knew what was coming when Elder Holland all of the sudden ran over and rung his neck while he was gong over to the white board. It was so funny.
After that, our Zone (Odessa) got to go to Sophiavska Plosha (Sophia's Square) in Center Kiev and see all of the cool eggs they had there. After that, we left again for opur long bus ride down to Odessa. It wasn't that bad. The bus was nice.
We had some sealings in our Branch recently. But that meant along with Elder Holland being here that there weren't going to be very many people at church.
But some still came and we had 12 people there. And Elder Merrell got called to be the 1st counceler in our Branch Presidency since the previous 1st counceler randemly up and left to Israel.
So a lot happend and at the same time not too much. But one thing is for sure, I am pretty tired.

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson