After Masha's baptism, we have a lot more time on our hands because we aren't doing as much preparation for it and we don't need to teach her nearly as often. This week we spent a lot of time on the street. The beginning of the week wasn't exactly super successful. Though we were on the street doing our thing for so long, we just couldn't really get anything going with anyone. Thankfully, things changed closer towards the weekend. We spent a loooong time on the streets Fri/Sat/Sun and were finally getting a lot of good conversations and finding people who seemed interested in our message!
On Sunday after church we contacted six hours in the snow. Sometimes it fell lightly, sometimes it fell pretty darn hard, but the people here in Ukraine are totally used to that so they were down to stop and talk to us despite the weather! I know that some of our conversations will lead to meetings and lessons and we will have baptisms soon enough. We are working hard, and God sees it. We're trying to do our best to show God that we're ready for Him to put prepared people in our path, and we know that they will come. Nothing feels better than fulfilling that which the Lord asks of us :)
Hope everyone is doing well!
We had a super warm week out of nowhere and all the snow is melting and basically the roads and sidewalks are just a chain of little lakes. Spring is probably a good month or two off and this is just a little heat wave, but I guess there is a 5% chance that spring has come early!!
Anyway, so the weather has been kind of gross, but the more important stuff went well. We had a really great week of contacting. I'm not sure why it was so great this week, we did the same thing we always do, but we just kept having great conversation after great conversation. We met an 18-year-old kid named Dmitri and had a lesson with him that went really well. He prayed at the end and is excited to read the Book of Mormon, so we're hoping that goes somewhere!
One hard thing that happened this week is that Saturday night we called many of the people with whom we had great conversations throughout the week, and 8 of them said they would do their best to make it to church. Not one came. That was pretty hard and also pretty frustrating to be honest because sometimes it feels as if all our work is for nothing. But then I talked with our Branch President about it for a bit. He told me that he said he'd go to church 4 times before he actually went, and now he's Branch President. So I guess we have to be patient.
So for the first half of the week we kind of just stayed home because Elder Baggaley came down with a fever and we probably would not have been to effective on the street. But there were things to be done so every now and then I was forced to drag him out of the apartment. I felt bad. Thankfully, Elder Baggaley pretty much healed before we took a train Wednesday night to Kharkov for our exchange with the Zone Leaders! I served with Elder Rodgerson and Elder Baggaley was with Elder Rasmussen.
One cool thing they do to introduce people to the Church is stand outside their church building and ask people as they're passing by, "How many times have you seen this building?" And then, after the person replies by saying something along the lines of "every day," they offer a tour of the inside of the building to the person who is now suddenly curious. We can't exactly do that here in Sumy because we don't have a building, but I love how missionaries are thinking of any way possible to spread the truth to those who are looking but don't know where to find it.
We then had Zone Conference, and we talked about how we can more effectively work with our awesome members of the Church here. My favorite part of the whole conference was when the District (small, not-yet stake [think diocese]) President stood up and bore his testimony of how the church will grow here in Ukraine--especially if the missionaries will work hand in hand with the members. He then offered the constant help of all the members in his district which is basically all of eastern Ukraine. So we've got some work to do! Haha! The church will grow here in Ukraine.
On Sunday one of our friends who we're teaching, Dmitri, came to church for the first time and enjoyed it. Masha, who was baptized a few weeks ago, gave a talk and it was actually super good. Elder Terry and I also gave talks, and though they were good, I can't say they matched up with her talk. She is already a great missionary! She brought two friends to English practice who are reading the Book of Mormon and praying now, and also brought a friend to church to listen to her speak! If the members and missionaries work together, we're going to need to buy some more chairs for all the new people coming to church!