Monday, November 6, 2017

Blessings of the Temple and Member-Missionary Work


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

From left to right on front row: Emanuel, Blessing, President Kumferman, Anthony, Mercy (Blessing's sister who is getting baptized in two weeks!), and Emmanuel's wife (I do

Monday, October 30, 2017

President Martino, Sloppy Joes, and a huge wall of Dimitri


There is a special place in my heart for those who serve down in Odessa. Their trials and travels are no alien thing to me. I know because I have experienced it myself.
This week we had another special Zone Conference. But this time the special Zone Conference was extra special. We had not only both Kiev Zones together but also with the Odessa Zone. Those poor Odessa missionaries had to get on a bus at 3:00am and ride for 6 1/2 hours up here to Kiev in order to make it here by the conference at 10:00 am. I understand this because this was me. But it was awesome for me because I could pay attention probably unlike them. 
Also what made this a super special all mission conference was that our Area President, President Martino came and taught us. That was a really neat experience. And then for lunch we had sloppy-joes which was made by Sister Mitchell as one of her last hurrahs that would continue even after she left. She made everything and then froze it about a month ago and then left and then we got to partake of her dedication to us. Another one of her "last hurrahs" was completing (we actually did most of the work) the cook book for the Senior couples here. The title is "Family favorites with a touch of Ukrainian". Probably my favorite recipe in there is called "Sloppy-joe meat for a 100 people". 
After that there wasn't much that went on. I got sick and was out for four days and am still by no means in the clear. But despite that I was so sick we still didn't get home form the office until after 6:30 pm which probably aggravated it.  
But one thing that is noteworthy is that among all of the many special conferences and meetings we had a special area broadcast on Sunday. There we heard from Elder Golden on the Area Presidency, Elder Martino the Area President, Sister Bingham the Relief Society General President, Elder Kearon of the Presidency of the Seventy, and finally President Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
This week while at the office we got word that there was "a big man who wants to learn more". We walk over front he office to the church part of the building and the first thing we see is this huge wall of person. The guy was a giant and not exactly thin either. We talked with him for a little while and for a little longer while with Brother Rudenko our MCL. Dmiti (the guy we are talking about) came on Sunday and watched the broadcast with us. While Elder Glade was doing something I got cornered by him and he just talked to me. He has a lot of strange ideas but there are those little glimpses of promise. So we'll see what happens. 
Before we watched the actual broadcast on Sunday we heard from our local leaders. During this period the International Branch and the Borschagovsky Ward were together and we first heard from the Branch President of the International Branch who spoke to us in English while our Borschagosky Bishop Translated into Russian, then President Podubny our Stake President Spoke to us in Ukrainian and the same Bishop who translated before translated for him into English. That was pretty impressive.
Elder Glade is Elder Glade. He made me chicken noddle soup. 
Things are going to get pretty difficult here in a little bit due to the fact that we are loosing even more missionaries and not getting enough in return. But as a mission in response to that have decided that we are going to need to compensate somehow. And that some how is Spiritualhow. So we are all going to read the Book of Mormon from Nov 1st to Orthodox Christmas. This is going to be a really cool experience for us.
That is all.

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

New Missionaries and a Whacked Head


I hit my head pretty hard this week. We were doing English practice and I dropped something and went to pick it up and while standing up I hit my head on a shelf pretty hard. And it still hurts pretty bad even today. 
We got new missionaries this week and they are the best ever! Even before we met them the Spain MTC called us just to tell us that we are getting the best they've got. And we saw that immediately when we first met them. In our district we have one of them now. Sister King. She's pretty cool. It's kind of exciting to have this kind of opportunity to work along side a new missionary. 
This week end we had Stake Conference and since we have some new Senior Couples we lead them to the different buildings where the meetings were at. So Saturday we were traveling with them as well as Sunday.
In our ward building there is a keyboard right by the bathrooms. So whenever Elder Glade has to go I practice. I started learning an Organ Fugue by Bach. It isn't the easiest for a binning piano player. 
Last week the weather was very much Autumny. But this week felt like January came early this year. Last winter I somehow managed without a scarf. I am not sure how. But with the new weather we have been having we went and got me a scarf today. 
On Wednesday we are going to have a special mission conference with Elder Martino the Europe East Area President and we are all super excited for that. I'll let you know how it goes. 

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

Special Conference and Special Transfer


This transfer was somewhat of a strange one due to the fact that it was a seven week one and the end of the transfer was going to be on a Monday instead of the usual Tuesday. And that was already strange because we as a mission were used to transfer day being on Wednesdays. It was also an exciting transfer getting to be here in the Mission Office and finding out that we are getting a new group of missionaries coming in! Our mission has been really struggling with departing missionaries and none to take their place. Yesterday was that transfer day and we had eight end their missions and leave this morning. But the good thing is that we have nine arriving today from the Madrid MTC which is a huge blessing to us. 
Yesterday we had a special missionary conference that involved most but not all of the missionaries. Just those who could come and were coming up from outlaying areas for transfers. This conference we had Elder and Sister Golden from the Europe East Area Presidency come as well as Elder Kearon from the Presidency of the Seventy. They spoke to us and we had a wonderful time there with them. It was kind of fun because they all had British accents and it was a relief for one of our missionaries who was departing who was from the Isle of Mann. 
Right after the meeting our transfers went into effect. I as expected am staying here in the Office with Elder Glade. A lot has changed here in the mission but not much between us in the office. We are probably going to switch roles though so I can get trained on what he does so when someone new comes in I will be able to cover all bases. 
This week we got our new office couple in to replace the Mitchells who leave on Thursday. Elder and Sister Andrus are from Orem Utah and are so great. 
Other than Monday, Saturday was a crazy day for us. Earlier in the week which was yet another crazy day, one of our members brought her neighbor who is deaf to learn more from us. I having been trying to learn Russian Sign Language was able to talk a little bit with him but we were so busy that day that we couldn't really do anything else besides give him some pamphlets. But we planned to have a meeting with him on Saturday morning. It didn't end up happening because the man came about an hour and a half earlier and then left after not finding us here we later learned. 
Church was good as usual and we had the Cherkassy Elders come up and stay with us again over night because Elder Mattina's companion Elder Johnson (the one from the Isle of Mann) was going home. 
Things are going to get busier and more stressful but that's all part of the fun. 
I just want to say that I have a firm testimony that Jesus is our Lord, our Savior and Redeemer. He is the way. A testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ is the first gift of the Spirit and Charity is the crowing gift of the Spirit. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and it contains the fullness of the Gospel. Missions change people and this work saves lives.

Love you all!

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Gen. Conf. Rockets and a Baptism plus a few Miracles.


So today I started wearing my thermals, boots and coat again. It's kind of weird because when I first came here I was wearing these things and now here I am again. 
This week was fun because we had a few events going on. On Saturday we had a ton going on. Seryozha the Zone Leader's investigator got baptized! He has changed so much from when I first met him. He is an example of how the Gospel changes lives. His baptism was a ten-o-clock which went that we had to be here at eight to start filling up the font as it takes about two hours to fill up. We got here with the Zone Leaders and we realized that the font was in desperate need of cleaning. So we vacuumed and moved it and then started filling it. The problem was that because we took the time to clean it we didn't have as much time to fill it up so when it came time to perform the actual ordinance, the water wasn't quite up to the waist like it should but more like upper-mid thigh. And due to that it was a little tough for Seryozha to bend down low enough to get all of the way under the water and had to do it again. But it worked out the second time. After that he was just glowing and had the biggest smile on his face. After the baptism we as a ward were going to watch the Saturday Morning session of General Conference. So during the time before the baptism we were setting up chairs and the big projector screen. In the room where the projector is we found that from the last event they did in this building that they had not yet taken the sound equipment back to the center Kiev ward building. At that point we got an idea. We set up the big speakers and pulled out the mixer and everything so our movie night would be even more of a movie night. And so General Conference and the movie both had good A/V (Audio/Visual). It was a happy moment for me to do that kind of stuff again and everything worked out perfectly. Between us watching General Conference and watching Meet the Mormons for our Movie night we had English Practice. So basically we didn't do anything else besides what was listed on Saturday. 
We had a miracle day on Thursday. While we were busy working in the office at three different points random people off the street walked in and wanted to learn more about the Temple and our Church and what we believe. The coolest ones were Nadezhda and her son Roman who came in and said that they tried to go into the Temple but someone told them that they couldn't go in unless they were members and had a temple recommend. She asked after that, "How does one become a member of your church?" And after that she was tearing up when I started to explain everything and show her around and when I showed her the Book of Mormon and the little video on temples that we have. They were both so awesome. And later that day there was a guy named Valeri who walked into the temple and we got a call from the front desk asking us to come over and talk with him. He wanted to stay in the lobby and talk but we explained to somewhat of the relief of the temple worker who was talking to him that we try and keep the quietness of the temple there and keep it a holy place but that we could talk in the church. We had a mini lesson with him but after that we sensed that he really wasn't super interested but still a super nice guy. On Sunday Valeri, Nadezhda and her son Roman and her other son who wasn't there on Thursday Rustam all came to church. That was a huge miracle. We couldn't stay the whole time because of other responsibilities but we had another member who is super excited to "relive his missionary days" to sit by them and become friends with them. Yeah, this week we saw lots of cool things happen. People came to church that got to watch Some of General Conference and see someone (Seryozha) get confirmed a member and receive the Holy Ghost. Members brought their non-member friends and less-active friends to the Meet the Mormons movie night and I got to mess around with expensive sound equipment. 
So a pretty successful week I might say. 
Another cool thing was during Elder Rasband's talk on Saturday he talked about this Granddaughter who was taking some kind of church tour on the east coast who realized that she was going to be in her brother's mission. They asked her brother's mission president if they could meet up but even after he said no they by chance got to see each other for a second. We were watching this with the Zone Leaders and Elder Lundquist shouts "I was on that bus!". So apparently he was on that tour with that granddaughter and then he told what he remembered form that. Then on the talk they showed a picture from that event and I realized that I had a part in this to of sorts. That missionary was my first Zone leader and then Second District leader in the field! That was crazy. 
Also, Elder Renlund showed some cool stuff at the beginning of his talk. The first rocket he showed is called the Soyuz which is one of my favorite ones. So yeah. 

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

Seryozha's Baptism

Our set up for General Conference
This already after we cleaned up a bunch so it isn't the whole thing. And behind all of the rows of chairs we had the couches from the foyer for the old people. 
I was excited to play with all of the equipment.

General Conference . . . and basically nothing else


This week was pretty all over the place. We had some days were we practically had no time to breath because of all of the things we had to do. 
We had interviews with President Kumferman this week which were amazing like they always are. President Kumferman is so funny, he always is saying to Sister Mitchell that he doesn't need to schedule more than 20 minutes for each missionary when she asks him if he wants more time, but he just goes over on almost every single one anyway. Maybe there is some mission-president-thing that we don't get that makes us think that way. 
We were supposed to have our office staff meeting on Wednesday but that didn't work out due to President going over on his interviews. But we did eventually have it a couple of days later. 
One of the saddest things happened to us this week. We were in the office like usual on a normal Tuesday and we were finishing up somethings that were kid of urgent the next day so we had to stay a little later. The Zone Leaders in our district called and asked if we could order some pizza or something so when they came in about 45 minutes we could all eat and then go home for the night. This was a very exciting time for some of us and we leaped on this opportunity to order Domino's. And it was even Tuesday where there are really good discounts at Domino's. So we used our computer skills and order online and were attentively watching the pizza tracker they have on the Domino's website like a pot of boiling water. Perhaps it was because we were watching it but it never moved from the "Processing order" to the "In the oven". Then the Zone Leaders got a call from Domino's and they said that unfortunately they would only be able to get it to us in an hour and a half. At that point we would already have to have been home and we had to tell them to say no. After that we went home and cried ourselves to sleep. But there might be a chance tomorrow to let Domino's redeem themselves.  
Sunday was great. There were a lot of great testimonies born that were carried by the Spirit. We went to the International Branch as usual. But we had one of our recent converts from the Borshagovsky ward come and he asked me to translate for him. It was kind of weird translating for someone into Russian instead of English. It was especially hard once the very wise and seasoned members got up and started telling a story from their life and unseeing words that only an 19th century professor would have known. But other than that everything went great. Unfortunately due to the fact that we aren't in America we didn't get to watch General Conference. We have heard all about it and are super excited for next week when we can watch it. But perhaps we might try to sneak a session or two here and there. 
Fall is basically here. You can not only fell it but see it on the trees and on the ground where the trees dumped all of their leaves. This is the awkward time were it is not cold enough yet to were your normal winter coat but definitely to cold to go outside with only a shirt on. 
We got roped into yet another choir performance but this time it is the whole stake. I am fine singing but I don't like it when I get signed up left and right for things like this without asking us beforehand. And then get super mad when we try and explain that we have other plans. "Yeah just use the missionaries. I mean they don't have anything else to do." I am sorry. I really do like singing and helping them out. But I just wished that they would organize it a little bit differently. 
I feel like my emails are getting more and more boring each week and you would probably understand if you read this far. I guess I'll try and do more interesting things each week so I can report on them. But there isn't a whole lot of exciting things that go on here in the office. 

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

Here is something interesting. Some of the pictures of the Kiev Zoo.
I found my people (the sheep and llama)

And also My companion with a snipe. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Zone Conference and Zoo


So there were two major highlights from this past week. Both of them start with a ZO. One ends with ne Conference and the other o. 
On Monday we were invited to go to the Kiev Zoo with a family in the ward for one of their kid's birthday. So that was fun. And what was even funner was the fact that the Cherkassy Elders were coming up to stay with us for Zone Conference and they just "happened" to be there as well. IT was all super fun. There wasn't a ton of people there at the Zoo which meant that we could do just about whatever we wanted to. It is somewhat of a small zoo compared to what we have in Salt Lake but it was a good one none the less. The highlight of the zoo for me was probably when I got to see the Alpacas and Sheep. It was like I was returning home. At least with their heir. I just wanted to hop into the alpaca pen and sheer all of their hair off and start spinning. 
On Tuesday we helped with the Kiev East Zone Conference and had an awesome district meeting. 
On Wednesday was our own Zone Conference, the Kiev West Zone Conference. The only thing I can say is that President Kumferman is a wise man. It was a wonderful time to have the Spirit there in abundance and be taught be a wonderful teacher. 
This last Saturday was President Kumferman's Birthday and us missionaries wanted to do something special for him. So each Zone during their Zone Conference did something special. For example our Zone had each missionary companionship find something under 15 Hrivna that remind us of President Kumferman. Elder Glade and I gave him some Grammcrackers that Sister Mitchell got from America and some milk. Because when we had our first Zone Conference with President Kumferman he told us a story of how when he was considering getting baptized his friends were trying to talk him out of it and one of the things they told him was that if he got baptized that he couldn't have grammcrackers and milk anymore. And apparently this caused some serious second thoughts for young president Kumferman as his just absolutely loves grammcrackers and milk. As well as each missionary's individual gift, all of the missionaries in the mission pitched together and bought him a nice suit case. President Packer in his last little bit before returning home bought this same suit case and was known for saying how he wished that he had bought it sooner on his mission. So we with the help of Kolya the mission secretary got the same suit case for President Kumferman. He was absolutely ecstatic when we presented it to him and took a little glory walk with it around the chapel, waving his hand and smiling like he was royalty. a day later we were talking to Maggie and Emma, President and Sister Kumferman's daughters her in Ukraine and they were telling us about the that night after we gave him the suit case and all of those other gifts. They said that he was so excited about everything and was showing them everything. One companionship gave him a potato with a face drawn on it and said that it was him as some kind of joke that went along with an other gift and his daughters said that he excitedly pulled it out an said "Hey look, it's me!" 
From Zone Conference to Saturday we were busy with the usual things but one thing that was special was when we got to do a Temple Tour. Elder Glade's neighbors in Washington had an Foreign Exchange Student live with them for a year who was from Ukraine. And for his whole mission he has been trying to set up some kind of meeting with her to not just meet up but share the Gospel. And this last week we got to do just that. She came and had invited her friend as well and we had a great time showing them around the temple, the family history center, the mission office and the church here and they seemed to be pretty interested. And just today we got a Viber (a messaging company here) message from her thanking us for the awesome tour. 
Saturday was super busy for us. We as a district planned to surprise President Kumferman on his birthday with breakfast. So the night before we got everything set up and the morning of got the food all ready. We were collaborating with Sister Kumferman to get him to the church and 10:00 and what we didn't realize was that she had told him that the Sisters needed him on a lesson that morning as a way of getting him there but she forgot to tell them that she had said that. And on Friday he had made a comment to our sisters about how he was excited for the lesson the next day. Their confusion led to his suspicion. But none the less we had a great time putting on breakfast for him. Right after that we set up for a Baptism that Pechersky was having and then immediately went in to English Practice. Then immediately after that we had a quick practice and sung for the Stake Concert that they do every month. It was a busy day but of all good things. 
We had a good and mostly calm Sabbath day with attending the International branch and the Borshagovsky ward. 
So we had a busy week. lots of things were learned and lots of things given. I just can't wait for tomorrow when we get to have interviews with President. It is always a very special experience. 
Until next week!

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

Monday, September 18, 2017

Missing Towel and a Jungle Cruise Guide


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


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


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


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


   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.


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.


 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 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


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


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


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


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.


 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.