Monday, March 27, 2017

In Odessa


Well then. No more Metro I guess.

   There once was a little boy whose name was Elder Clawson. He served in the middle of Kiev for the begin of his time in Ukraine, He had it all. The Metro, the sites, the big ward. It seemed like things couldn't get any better. Then one day that little boy got a very special call. He found out that he would be leaving! How could this be? How could he leave everything he knew and loved? But then he remembered what it was like leaving home. He felt very many of the same feelings as he was felling now. So he decided to go and do as he read in the Scriptures, and be brave. He packed his bags and left. He hopped on a train and saw lots of exciting things. "Hey, this isn't bad at all!" he thought to himself. He thought that for only a short time though. For the ride down to his next area began to be very boring. A rumble from his tummy told him that he needed something to eat. Luckily the train he was on wasn't just any train. It was the best of the best. The newest of the newest. He searched and found a small cafe where he found something to munch on. Then he setteled down for a long nap. Next thing he knew, they were stopped and it was very dark outside. He wondered what was going on. He asked one of the other little missionaries on the train with him and then he found out that they were there! He got everything together as quickly as he could and hopped off the train and met the mystical "Odessa Missionaries". These were a different type of missionaries that he had never seen before. But it was all okay. Because he was going to be brave. He met his new companion and hopped in a taxi. He was still very sleepy from his long nap but it was alright beause it was already bed time. the next day he woke up and got ready to work hard. He still didn't know very much about this strange place, but he wasn't afraid anymore. But he found something out that day . . . No more Metro.
So as you may or may not have realized. I am in Odessa Now!
It was definitely an adventure but everything ran very smoothly. I only had to travel with one of my bags because I was wise and sent the others through Нова Пошта (Nova Hoshta). And the next day after I arrived, so did my bags. I am so good.
My area is called the Suvorovsky area (Cуворовский), and it is wonderful!
We have a small branch of about 30 people but they are all great. We have the Black Sea pretty close here and it is still chilly enough that it is still safe to go contacting on the beaches. But once it gets to be short sleeve weeather, it will have been already too late.
Our companionship and the Sister Training Leaders are the only ones in our area which is far away from everyone here in Odessa. And the Sisters aren't even in this area but in Center Odessa for five days out of the week. So we are pretty secluded here in Suvorovsky.
On Saturday we gave service to one of the members in our branch. We tilled and prepared the ground for planting which is coming up soon here. And then afterwards we had some tasty borscht.
We had Ukrainian daylight savings on Sunday and it was a little tough for us all that day to stay awake.
Today we woke up and got ready to got right away. We rode down to Center Odessa and met the other Elders and played some "Gaterball". I didn't know what it was when Elder Merrell told me about it but then we started playing, I remember a game from school that we played that was the exat same thing.
Oh yeah. I have a new companion. His name is Elder Merrell. He is from Kaysville, Utah and is coming close to the end of his time here. We are both very much alike. We like to do many things the same way.
All in all. Everything is just dandy. We have a pretty nice apartment, a great branch and lots of work to do.
Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson


Staying in Kiev or Not?


Hey everyone!
   So we got our transfer calls this past Saturday and we found out that I will be leaving and heading down to Odessa (Одеса) to the Suvorovsky area. It is right abouve Center Odessa where everyone speaks Russian and the Wards and Branches are run in Russian. And also my area has a beach right on the Black Sea. My comanion will be Elder Merrell and things should be pretty cool. Except for the fact that I will be far away from everything. Exiting times. But getting down there is going to be a bit of a pain from what I can tell. And in April when Elder Holland will come to our Mission, all of the missionaries in Odessa will have to wake up super early and hop on a bus to get to the mission office in time. And now that includes me. Hurray! 
   One of our investigators who we have met with several times is named Anton. I don't know what to say about him other than he is "mysterious". He is a Freemason and practices "Martinism" which is a branch off of Freemasonry. He invited us to check out one of his meetings. For the sake of showing that we are intereted in him and what he does in the hopes of helping him become more interested in the Gospel, we went. We took a long metro ride followed by a long marshrutka ride to get to a town called Irpin (Ирпин). It was very strange. Nothing bad or blasphomous. Just Strange. They talked about things in the Bible and briefly talked about God and the Holy Ghost, but not Jesus Christ. Just another testimony that what we have is straight from God. 
   I made a hat for Elder Western, one of the Zone leaders, but I forgot to take a opicture of it before I gave it to him. So hopefuly soon he will send a picture of it to me. 
   This last week we had an exchange with Elder Isom and Roylance again but this time we just switched. 
   We were able to make Elder Konstantynov's idea of having a "movie night" happen. It was kind of short notice but we had some investigators come and we watched "Meet the Mormons" and had some snacks. It went pretty well. 
   It was kind of tough this week because it seemed that every one in Ukraine had their phones turned off and didn't want to meet. But maybe it was just because "Pi day" was this last week. We'll see what this week holds.
   The wheather has been pretty nice here except for the past couple of days where it was rainy and cold. I actually had to start using my big coat again and wool socks. It would have been fine if we just sat inside and enjoy the gloominess, but that's not what we do. 
   Church was great. And we had a great Ward Council where we discussed the needs of those whom we work with. Looks like things are going to be picking up more here. But I won't be here to see it. 
   Things have been very interesting this transfer. Consistancy has flown out the window and has made me reavaluate things. But one thing I have always kept is my Gospel Study. You can't go a day without it. As part of prepering for when Elder Holland comes, we have been asked to read or re-read the four gospels in the New Testiment and four selected talks by Elder Holland to study. It has been truly amazing this time aroud re-reading the gospels and finding out so many new things that I haven't seen before. Especially as I pay close attention to the footnotes and the Joseph Smith Translations. 
   If you are strugeling with your testimony or lack a desire to go to church or whatever, just read the scriptures. Especially the Book of Mormon. As it is stated in the Introduction to the Book of Mormon:

Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”

Thank you all for you support!

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

Ukranian BBQ

This week was crazy, which seems to becoming a trend. 

Life is always interesting with a native Ukrainian Comapnion.

This week we were able to give service to a family here in our Ward. Their home caught on fire and burned a whole lot. We helped chop up wood and stack it and move around rubble and such. And then afterwards we went and bought some meat and had a mini BBQ Ukrainian style.

We had an awesome Zone Conference like I mentioned last time. And many of us have lots of ideas of how we can better use our talents to bless others and find people to teach. So far we havn't really had a chance to pursue them yet, but hopefuly we will in the future.

We were able to meet with a few people this week and had a great time talking with members and investigators. We visited Sister Margarita one evening and she taught us (me) how to make vereniki. So good! She also read to us poems/versus she wrote. and then started reciting them to music. It was super cool, but she used lots of big words that I didn't understand. 

We had a Family Home Evening thing with Katya and Sasha where we watched "Meet the Mormons". Elder Konstantynov made a "Fruit Pizza" as he calls it (It's wasn't really a Pizza to me) and gave it to them when we visited. One fun thing that happened was how we got picked up by Sasha in his car and he drove us to their house. In the car he started playing music. The first song that came on was one of my absolute favorites from my absolute favorite bands. I don't know how he knew. But hopefully I won't fall out of the Church now because of that. 

There really much that happened other than what I already wrote. We did however get a little bit lost at one point trying to find a member's home one evening. But everything worked out fine.

Other than that, I don't have anything else to write besides my experience of how imprtant it is to learn how to communicate. I believe that that is one of the many reasons I am here on a mission is to learn how to communicate. I have come to realize it more and more, but especially as I have served with Elder Konstantynov my Ukrainian companion. Just start now and learn how to really communicate with poeple so you won't have to hurt in the future. 

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

You get what you go for!


I appologize for being a day late. But there simply wasn't any time yesterday. Since it is a rule to email family every week, I get to do it today. 
This last week was fun. The Weher is pretty nice right now for Ukraine. Spring is just right aroun the corner. I can feel it and I can see it in the people here. 
We had a great exchange with the Zone Leaders where I was with Elder Western, And Elder Konstantynov with Elder Heybol. It was fun and we got to talk with a lot of cool people. We also got to meet with the Pahilkos and teach English. Elder WEstern and I both lived here in eastern europe before our missions teaching English with he same program, so we were able to work a little better with each other than peherps others might. But we taught the two kids of Brother and Sister Pahilko who was recently released as the Stake President here in Kiev to Serve as a Mission President in the Saint Petersburg Mission. 
We had the chance to give service to Katya and Sasha by helping them move furnature aroud since they moved from the smaller to bigger side of the house they were living in.. and guess what? Katya finally finished her Diploma! Hopefully she will have time for more imporant things right now. 
We had a Zone Conference today with the Zone Leaders, Sister training Leaders, Assistants, and President and Sister Packer. It was awesome and we talked about having a vision for where and what we want to see in the future our branches and wards becoming. And we also talked a lot about how to make English lass better and how to use the talents of us missionaries and of members and investigators. Elder Konstantynov and I are oing to start up a Knitting class here soon. So watch for pictures!
Besides that we had a pretty average week. But one thing that I have seen more of is that if you want a miracle to happen. You pray in faith and then act. do what you can to make it happen. And then it will happen. This is an If, Then statement. IF you ask in faith with real intent (meaning you intend to act), THEN the miracl will happen. Often times we either don't pray for it and just expect it to happen or ask with our doing anything. In the words of President Packer and is one of our new Mission Satements, "You get what you go for."

That's all

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

The debate is settled

Also on 02/27/2017

Every single Elder I have come in contact with has comented at some point that I look like Robin Williams. There have even been missionaries who honestly think that my name is "Elder Williams". So here you go.

Happy Maslenitsa


Yesterday was the start of the week long celebration of Maslenitsa (Масленица). Also known as the pancake festival. So time to make Blini!!
This week it seemed like we were just running around with our heads chopped off. Not knowing what was going on. 
On Monday we visited Sister Vera (Faith (you address the members here by Brother/Sister and their first name) ). One thing that we didn't think to check on was how far away she lived though. It ended up being closer to the Temple than we thought. It took quite a long time. . . but it was a great evening in their home. If I learned anything that night, it was that Sister vera knows how to bake! She gave us a loaf to take home and ohhhh was it goood!! I don't know what she did but I can't live without her bread! 
Usually for English practice on Wednesdays we have three companionships out of the four teach the three english practice groups we have. When I was with Elder Carr, we taught while Elder Roylance and Kovalyov did other things. Since being with Elder Konstantynov, we haven't taught English Practice. This last Wednesday we had a lesson with Anton, our investigator who I have only met with once before hand with Elder Carr. He is very knowledgeable and seems to understand a lot about how God works and our Purpose here on earth. He actually runs a Philosophy Society thing and talking to him it was very prominent. He uses lots of big words and make lots of big analogies. It was a little bit hard to not fall asleep while in the lesson. Even in English it's difficult, not to mention in Russian. 
that evening we got a strange call from a man whom I could understand at all because he was either mumbling or the phone was muffled. Thank goodness for Native companions! Long story short, later that evening we met with "Yuri" and he is now our new investigator. He is so humble and ready to receive the goseple. On thing he kept saying was that he recognizes that Satan is trying to tear his family apart and that he just wants to serve God. 
We got to meet with on of the Sisters in our ward who is deaf. She and her husband both are deaf and use Russian Sign Language to communicate with each other and their daughter and granddaughter. It was a humbling experiences to be in their home and to not be able to communicate they way we would like to. This week We also came in contact with, on multiple occasions, deaf people. both in groups and alone. I got prompting to start learning Russian Sign Language (РЖЯ). So far the only helpful resource I have found was a Provoslovny Priest Handbook thing for the Provoslovny Priests learning РЖЯ. In the beginning it was all mostly basic things like "Hello." "Nice to meet you." "I serve here as Priest, and you must call me 'Father.'" Then it started going into the more sensitive doctrine parts. For the most part it was all pretty good. like "Christ died so we can get back to heaven." and "We need to keep the Commandments." But it eventually turn a little bit "sour". I now know what the Provoslovny people do to receive forgiveness of sins and all that. Right now, when I don't know a lot of РЖЯ, I've got to be careful or else I might Sign someone out of the Church or something. The professional level translator in our ward who translates for our deaf Sister gave me an address of where I might find some more useful materials. Hopefully I'll be able to find them soon.
yesterday on Sunday, our investigator Vladimir came to church! I was so happy. We haven't been able to meet with him for a while and now he seems a little more open now. 
Also. One day this week, I don't remember which day. We met with a Potential Investigator named "Sigismund" (Сигисмунд) (Pronounced "Sihismund" in Ukrainian). We met with him on a bench on Khreshatuk Street. He spoke all of of Ukrainian which I didn't understand at all. It was very hard. Right after that when we said goodbye, we bought some honey from a lady on the street. While Elder Konstantynov was paying, A man walked up and started commenting to me about some of the items the lady was selling. After Elder Konstantynov finished, we ended up talking with "Fyodor" for quite a while and ened up helping him find his lost telephone. He is pretty cool and spoke 100% Ukrainian. I had no clue what so ever about what he said. But I still have grown to love him and hope the best for him. 
All in all everything went well this week. Nothing too crazy outside of our normal level of craziness. 

 Till next week. 

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

Scottish Clans


Well this week was fun. 
None of our investigators or anyone were able to meet. 
Maybe because it was the one month anniversary of 2017 or something like that. 
Elder Konstantynov is a crazy goof ball. If it wasn't for him this week would have been super tough for me. I really haven't been sleeping well all this past week and it has messed with my schedule which, if you know me, bugs me a lot. 
Some exciting things coming up.
We now have a senior missionary couple assigned to our area two times a week to run the family History Center in our ward. On Saturday we had a meeting with Sister Bigham, the senior sister, where we talked about what we can do and how to get people into the Family History Center and how we can get them to know about it in the first place. So every Tuesday and Saturday the Family History Center here in the Pechersky ward in the Kiev East stake will be open. So come and check it out!
This also meens that us missionaries will be helping a lot more with Family History work here. Not only translateing for Sister Bignham, but other work as well. As part of our "Training/Discussion" we had on saturday, we all kind of started exploring our own family trees. I alreaady know a lot about my own family tree, but it was fun going back and exploring it again. All of my work as basically done one my tree. So I can only see the Family History work to do is to help others with their's. On Saturday as I was doing some exploring, I went back as far as I could on my Clawson line. The farthest back I could go was to a man named Steven McClay Clason. Steven McCaly Clason is my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather (10 greats). he is from Scotland and not too much is known about him. But I did some research of my own and if everything is correct he was part of the Maclea clan or also know as the Livingston clan. I was able to find out what why clan tartan is and clan badge is. very interesting things. 
Other than that there wasn't anything else that I think would be interesting to write about. I wake up every day. I do missionary work. I go to bed.

Thanks for all of your support!

Старейшина Класон / Elder Clawson

All the food: