Monday, January 30, 2017

Almost there!


Well, I almost out of training. I'm only coming up on month number seven. It's alright though. Being trained twice is fun. And i should theoretically be the best missionary ever because of it. Right? 
This week was a little crazy. We finally had the New Missionary training meeting (Mini MTC, as it is called here). It was three days at the Borschagovshy ward by the Temple. Literally three days. We would wake up and get ready as fast as we could and leave and barely make it on time, and then get home late in the evening (late at least for us missionaries). I was amazing though. My double training plus this should mean that I have now become a super missionary. Right? Had a lots of training by President and Sister Packer as well as the Assistants. Lots of the Spirit felt, lots of ways to improve, and lots of good food. On Thursday we watched the world wide missionary broadcast where some changes were made to the Missionary Daily Schedule. We now have a little more wiggle room where we can have a little more freedom to create our own schedules. Probably one of my favorite parts of the changes is how we no longer do our Daily Planning in the evening at the end of the day! That honestly was my least favorite part of the day. but now we do it in the morning before we go to work. And in addition to the every day schedule changes, our P- day has been changed. We now have a lot more time to get the things we need to done. As before, we almost never had time to do everything we need. 
Today we are oing to be having a little party/lunch/dinner in memory of Elder Kovalyov and SIster Bulseco who are leaving at the end of this transfer which is in about a week. Elder Kovalyov is a very intense person, so we will see how it goes . . .
Despite having the Mini MTC this week and not really have any time to proselyte, we still have seen success. We were able to meet with Oleg and it was sooooo goooood!!! We came prepared to talk about the Word of Wisdom with him because we think that if he will start living those commandments, he will start seeing more of the blessings that come from living the Gospel and desire more to progress. But after we prayed he simply asked if it was alright if we could read a chapter or two our of the Book of Mormon with us and talk about it. We just said "Absolutely!" We started reading from where he is currently in the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi in the Isaiah chapters. He didn't understand very much but I don't blame him. Isaiah is hard enough in English, let alone Russian. But as he was reading about the prophesies of the Savior, we felt the Holy Spirit flood into the room. We then asked him if it was okay if we could pray again and ask Heavenly Father to help us understand what we were reading. After that, he read another chapter and related back what it all meant with the most sound understanding of what was written. That truly was a miracle. There was no doubt that he felt it too. We committed him to study the scriptures very day the way we did together. Praying for help and then reading. Oleg is so strong it what he has come to know and believe. He has upon our request invited his wife to learn more. But she is very sarcastic about it and almost ridicules him for it. But he still presses forward.
We were finally able to meet with Katya for just a little bit on Sunday. She is staying in a dormitory in Kiev for the time being because the internet at her home in Moschun is down and she needs to work on her diploma. She said that she has stopped reading and praying so she can work on her diploma. It's very said that she hasn't made the choice to put the more important things first. We can only pray the she either finishes her diploma quickly, or comes to realize that these things of an eternal importance need to come first before we can help her more.
This week was probably the first time that I have gotten a Church Headquarters refer that wasn't some crazy person. Our new investigator. Aleksander, was meeting with the Missionaries in L'viv and was interested in Baptism but had to go of to war. but now he is back and living in Kiev and we are teaching him. This week we also go another refer from church headquarters but we called the lady and she sounded pretty young, so we handed her off to the Sisters. 
On Saturday, after thinking that we wouldn't have to go back to Borschagovsky for a while, we went back upon the request of Sister Svetlana to sing in the choir for the concert the stake put on. It was good. Kind of strange but good. 
Elder Carr is as great and goofy as ever. This is still he best place for me to be right now. 
Ukraine is cold, but I don't care. I am a missionary.

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

Elder Carr just said when we saw these tracks on our balcony, "Raptors!"

This week was anything but normal


This week was anything but normal. Nothting worked out as planned. Not to say it was bad, just strange. 
We had a lesson set up with Katya in the begining of the week but that fell through because her computer stopped working so she and Sasha came to Kiev but even theough she was so close, we couldn't meet. She's working on her Diploma and can't meet for a while with us until she finishes it. 
On Wednesday our Zone (Kyiv East Zone) had a cool District leader training with our Zone leaders and the Assistants. It was really great and insightful. It was supossed to be for three hours which even then is quite a long time. But it ended up being four and an half hours. Yeah, that was fun. 
English class later than evening went well. Nothing crazy to report. We decided to just have descussions this time instead of playing games as to give them more chances to speak. 
Now here's where things get interesting. 
So we had planned and exchange with the Zone leaders where I was to be with Elder Western, and Elder carr with Elder Haybol. 
So this is how from Thursday to Sunday should have gone. 
Friday: start exchange in the afternoon. 
Saturday: end the exchange in the afternoon. do missionary work with my companion as normal.
Sunday: go to Stake Connference like a good Mormon.
This is how it ended up being.
Friday: In the afternoon, Elder Western and I started our exchange together with a meeting at the church where we descussed what we want to get put of this exchange and what goals we had. Then we left to meet a Potenial Investigator at Shulyavska Station were we thought we were going to talk with him about the Book of Mormon. We get there and he wasn't there. We call and he said that he is at Vokzol Station. So we went back into the Metro and went to Vokzol station. We found a him and he didn't seem quite all of the way there. And it ended up being just him tring to sell this "American" guitar to us. It was an american guitar, but I wouldn't get the kind he was offering. We hope that his desires to learn more about the Restored Gospel will deepen. After that we had to run back tot he church so thnat Elder Western got Interview someone for baptism . . . over Skype. We both knew something was going to happen. It ended up being that some missionaries messed up and made some poor judgement calls that made it impossible for this Investigator to be interviewed. the desission was made that Elder Western and Elder Carr we to travel together to Cherkasy to Interview this person. So the rest of that day Elder Haybol and I dealt with crazy people and had a strange leeson with one of Elder Haybol's investigators and lots of strange happenings.
Saturday: Woke up and went strait to meet a "Potential investigator". We ended up having to travel quite a bit to actually get to him. More than we origonaly thought. We sat inside a McDonalds and he just started going off almost tot he point of screaming telling us that the Book of Mormon is false and that we aren't Elders or Teachers and Blah ba blah. We did our best to bare our trstimonies to him but he wouldn't have any of it. Both Elder Haybol and I, especially Elder Haybol, came out of that hour long grilling felling somewhat tense ;) But after a good study session we both felt a lot better and a little less angry. I started making Cinnamon Rolls to give to Less-Active members who would other wise not open up to us and also for use in finding New Investigators. For the most part it went alright. Just that we had to substitute a feww things out int he recipe. Namely powder milk with baby formula. But by the time the dough was rising and we keft for choir practice, everything seemed fine. Choir practice was crazy. I have never seen Sister Svetlana as fired up as she was then. It was a hard time for Elder Haybol. When we got back to the appartment, the dough looked pretty good . . . at first. Upon trying to knead it, I found it to be the most sticky dough I have ever come in contact with. But with the help of what endeed up being a lot more flour, it turn out alright. After a few more stuggles the Cinnamon Rolls were pronounced "done". And I've got to say, they are pretty darn good. Not to mention the amount of frosting that the recipe called for. 
Sunday: Sunday was the day of Going in and out of the Metro. I am thankful for my unlimited card. Because if I didn't have an unlimited card for the month, I would be in some trouble. We barly made it to Stake Connference. It was fun trying to find it. The new Stake presidencey was sustained and lots of wonderfu talks were given. Elder Carr and Western finally made it back. And after Satke connference when Elder Haybol and I went back to the his appartment where they were at, we found them fast asleap like two little angles. Eventually we got them to wake up and then we found out hat we had to go help someone in the ward with his home teaching. So Elder Haybol and I suited up and headed out once again. The home teaching lesson we got be apart of was so awesome. The Members here are seriously so great. 
Eventually Elder Carr and I made it back home where he just crashed after his long ordeal of constat train and bus riding and no sleep for two days. 
Yeah it was a little crazy. But it was still good. The Book of Mormon is still true. And it helps you in any situation that you be in. If you just read. 
Things are still going stong over her in Ukraine. Thanks for takingthe time to actually read these emails. 

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

1- After I finally forced the dough to bend to my will.

2- right after I poured the mountain of frosting on them.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Just When You Think Singing Is Done


Just when you think that singing is done, you get roped into another choir event. 

Next week is Stake Connference. And Sister Svetlana pulled out her laso and roped us missionaries into another event. On Sunday we saw her going around and talking woth the other missionaries. We knew something was coming. We almost made it through all of church avoiding her. But in the end she caught us. We had choir practice that night with other stake members. And for the first time ever she said that we sounded good! Kind of ironic though, because in my opinion that was the worst we have sounded. It was quite difecult for me because even though I don't have the rummbly voice of a low voice, I still sing bass. And in the song we practiced, Tenor and Bass parts don't exist. Only men's voices. And it got up there at times. I'm still recovering. 
This week we had a really awesome Zone meeting where President and Sister Packer came. It was great and very insightful. 
We weren't able to meet with Katya this week because we need another person to be there with us. Usually when we meet with her, we are able to because her husband is there. But her husband doesn't really care it seems like. She is super ready and willing. But her husband is kind of holding her back. She can't come to church unless he takes her and he works on sundays most of the time. He even chooses his own schedule. if he really just had a little bit of a desire, Katya would be baptized and Sasha would come back. 
On Sunday, one of the members asked Elder Carr and I to help him with his class. If I learn anything from serving outside of the U.S. it is that the Church is exactly the same where ever you are. Youth Sunday School class is literaly the exact same. There is the one kid who is the know-it-all and doesn't keep quite. The one who you can rely on to help the lesson actually preogress. And the ones that are anoyed at the one kid who is super loud. 
So far in this area we have not been able to find any less-active members who actually live there or who answer. But this week we actually found someone! And she let us in!! We had a short lesson with Tatyana. Again another testiment that those who fall away, do because they stop reading the Book of Mormon!. Read the flippin' book!!!
This week we also got a member to on a lesson with us. We and Brother Aleksander come woth us on a lesson with Vladimir. At this point we are not sure why Vladimir keeps agreeing to mett with us. he doesn't seemed to accept anything we say or explain and just wants to agrue with us. We also started teaching a former investigator by the name of Anton. He is very strange and I don't know what to thik about him. But will do the best we can to be a tool in the Lord's hands and do what He would have us do. 
On Sunday before church Oleg came and we taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Oleg has been investigating for a long time now, but he seems like he is gaining a stronger testimony than I have previously seen. After we taught him we asked him like we always do how he is receiving what we have taught. And like always he just says that it is new info that he is klearning and needs to thinkmabout it. But he also said "You know, I wouldn't still be meeting with you if I didn't like what I'm hearing." I can see God working with him. However slow it may be. This week we wrapped up these Bopok of mormon gift things. We put a copy of the Book of Mormon along with the first three pamphlets and a card with our number and the address to our ward building and wrapped it up like a present and out a cool quote on the front. We gave one of these to Oleg for him to give to his wife. We really want him to bring his family into investigating. He seemed really exicted about this idea. And wants even more, He stayed for Sacrament Meeting. 

Everything is great here in Kiev. Love you all and stay warm!

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

Monday, January 9, 2017

More Christmas!


Hey everyone!

This week was great. we had Christmas again and went charoling like usual but on saturday we did it with the Stake. We got there a little late but it was cool to see all of people singing praises to the Lord. 
Elder Carr found the new Harry Potter book in Russian (which is actually a little difficult, even though almost everyone speaks Russina here, and not Ukrainian, you still can't find things in Russian, English is more common than Russian). He bought it, wrapped it up, and is planning on sending it home as a gist for himself when he gets home. This week we had a lesson with Katya where we read the Book of Mormon with her because she hasn't been reading lately. And at one point she told Elder Carr about the new Harry Potter book and how she hated it and how he shouldn't read it. Elder Carr is freaking out a little bit. So later we found a book store that had some books in Russian. And Elder Carr found a different Harry Potter in Russian and bought it. 
Our ward Christmas party was a huge success! On thursday we had the ward Christmas party where we planned to do all of the cookies and things. About a mounth ago the ward predicted that only about 50 people would show up. But we had more than who usually come to church come. It was great. there were musical numbers and games and a mini quest. A awesome dinner and time to decorate the millions of cookies that we had made. It was truely a success. I think I did a lot in building trust between us missionaries, the ward members and our relationship with our investigators.
There was a day his week were I had to stay home one evening because I really wasn't feeling well. Elder Carr took inititive and called former investigators from a long time ago from our area book and set up a lesson with one of them. It was actually right before the time we sang with the Stake that we met with Bladimir. He is a nice guy but likes to argue a lot with us. The lesson a Saturday probably could have gone better. For one we could met in not the middle of a busy mall, and another he could have desided to not pull out a bottle of vodka and start drinking. But we did meet with him again on Sunday evening and it went a lot better. He still kind of wanted to argue but the spirit was able to direct more and help bring peace into our descussion. Since he has already been taught everything multiple times but hasn't read the Book of Mormon, we concluded that the best thing we could do with him is just read the Book of Mormon. From what we have seen in the past, that's is almost always the best thing to do. We didn't start at 1 Nephi, but went to the Title page and the Introduction. He had many many questions but at the end agreed to read it and even said that "I must have skipped that part." He seems to be opening up a lot more than before and is more willing to change. Moral of the story, Read the Book of Mormon! And don't skip the beggining!
Even though Ukraine is part of eastern Europe and is known to be pretty cold, so far in my time here, it has been pretty mild. That is until this week. . . Starting on Friday it just has been getting colder and colder. We got down to -20 C on Saturday. And that was when we sang outside and travel to Moschun to Katya. it sounds a lot scarier in Celsius but it is really just -4 F. But I still don't want to stand at a book table or hand out cards all day. And Church yesterday was fun when we had to break out the little lap blankets during class and try to pay attention. 
It has been a fun week. It's never boring as missionary. That is as long as you are being proactive and not being lazy. 
Thank you so much for all the prayers and support you give me. I can fell it from half way across the world!

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

Monday, January 2, 2017

Christmas never ends


Who says Chrsitmas has to end when you have New Years and Pravoslovney Christmas? Thtat"s right. no one. Here in Ukraine, New Years is the biggest holiday and when Santa Claus comes.Then the "Believers" have Old Christmas which is held on the 7th. So in reality Christmas never ends here. New Years here was crazy. Here in the center of Kiev, you can expect that the street will be packed with people and cars 24/7. but on New years Eve and New years Day, an then now the day after, there is nobody around. It's a little spooky. Sunday was great. We had Sacrament meeting as usual. But some of us missionaries had to help with the sacrament because almost no one came to church. Thankfully we didn't have to bless the Sacrament because none of us can do it in Ukrainian. But then after that, we all watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. It was great to have a mini conference in anticipation of Conference in April.
This week we sang more at Khreshatik street by Maidan and it was so fun each time. The Sister brought stickers and handed them out to kids as they walked by. And many times we had people videoing us and just listening to us sing Christmas hymns. 
This week we got to meet with Katya and Sasha and talk more about what she will need to do to prepare for baptism. she seems very open and is very accepting. She has lots of questions about things but perhaps unlike a lot of people, doesn't let that et in the way from going forward with what she has found out to be true. we watched the Restorarion video with her and it was wonderful. even when she was morning when they were cutting down the trees oin the video, I think she felt the Spirit. 
This week on the 5th, we have a great ward activity planned where we are going to come and decorate cookies, make paper snowflakes, write notes, and have some kind of holiday program. So this week we have been baking and baking to prepare and it's been fun. 
Elder Carr's grandparents sent him a nice BYU hoody that is apperently way more comfortable than his SUU hoodies. And what's funning is that this makes Elder Carr mad because he was planning on attending SUU but now he only wants to wear this BYU hoody. I guess some people's lives are harder than others. 
This week we have been working hard to stop by all of the Less-Active members with in our ward and see whats going on, if they even live there or not, and to invite them to our Cookie party. So far everyone we have stopped by doesn't live there anymore. 
This month the Church put all of our rent on my card instead of Elder Carr's. when we saw this this made him a little worried incase this means he is being transfered out next transfer. 
Everything is going just Wonderfully here in the Pecherscky Ward. The mission is the place to be. 

Старейшина Класон /Elder Clawson