Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy November, Well What a Week!

Date: Mon, 1 Nov 2010 13:35:34 +0200
Subject: Happy November
Well What a Week!

It really has been just a great week of hard work and fun.  Because Missionary work should be fun and if you make it fun it will be and then you are more productive and get more accomplished and the blessings just keep coming.  So I'm having the best of times with Elder Hinkson right now and we really are having so much fun.  The work is going and I feel the support of prayers of many.  When the spirit leads you it is just great.

First last Monday we had an awesome family home evening with this way cool family the B------'s.  The have a single mom with 5 kids that very in ages but are so much fun.  The mom gave the lesson purely on thinking about past family nights and thinking about one that was most memorable to us.  It really hit me hard to think about all the wonderful times that I have been able to spend with my family over the years and all the many lessons my wonderful parents have taught me.  I love my family so much and I'm so grateful for the relationships we have in our family, I couldn't imagine it any other way.

Tuesday, We had a sweet lesson with this guy named K-----.  It is always great when someone says that they are looking for something for their soul (because it just so happens we have something to give to help with that).  He is way interested but he travels on business like crazy so we only had that meeting with him but we have one already set up for this week, so I'm way excited!

Then we had Beginning English and it went pretty well.  We talked about Halloween and then I had brought a Cake I made to share for a mini Birthday Party, it was great fun!

Wednesday we had a way good combined District Meeting out by the temple which was great, always good to go out there.  Then we came back and went and met with this partially paralized guy but he isn't too interested and we found out he's had a Book of Mormon for 15 years he just doesn't really care, which is way sad.  Then we had an awesome lesson with the B----- Family and our Mission Leader came with us and it was great we talked about establishing a baptismal date but they wanted to talk about it.

Thursday was a bit of an interesting day with some random lessons and the adventures of stopping by Less Actives (they can be quite the adventures).  We had Advanced English where we just talked about Halloween a little more in depth.

Friday Morning we had a way sweet lesson with just P----- the father of the B----- family.  We found out that he and the kids feel ready but the mom is still hestitant she wants to be sure.  So we talked about how we can help her and just as we were leaving she walked in and he was like "talk to her" so we talked to her about it and said we'd come with a plan for them our next lesson.  Later in the day we had a way sad Less Active visit.  It was way sad because it is just heartbreaking to see someone who has made baptismal and temple covenants go away from what they know is true.  It really is one of the hardest things to see.  We were able to lift our spirits after by visiting with a great member family and talk about their missionary work.

Saturday during study I got a call from my cousin Mark and so then we got it all planned so that we could meet eachother before his temple session.  It was so awesome to see him and visit for a little bit.  The weird thing was just how normal it seemed.  We swapped mission stories and talked about the work here in Kyiv vs where he is in Moscow.  It was such a neat thing to see him!  All of our lessons fell through on Saturday but we were able to create a way tight plan to give to the B----- which brings us to Sunday.

As always Sunday was the greatest day of the week.  It was even greater because we got to have an extra hour of sleep.  We went off Day Light Savings a week earlier than the states so that extra hour was way nice.  We then headed to the church.  First we had the international branch which has just a comfort feeling about it.  Some great talks about gratitude.  J----- the L------- were glad to hear that you are doing well.  

Then it was the Vinohradar Ward which was way good.  The best part I think was the 3rd hour.  It was 5th sunday combined and pretty much ward leader after ward leader got up saying what needed to be done, like missionary work, less active fellowship and all this great stuff.  The greatest part was when the Bishop was like I think we should fast for the B----- family tomorrow to help them journey towards baptism so today we are fasting with the ward for the B----- family.  It is so wonderful to have that support from the ward leaders and all the members.  After church somehow I got dragged into being the pianist for the Holiday Choir they are having for some different service things like singing for the blind and such.  That was quite exciting to accompany as they are telling me different things mainly in Russian.  My piano skills have definitely been blessed by being a missionary.

Then we had a sweet lesson with this babusya (grandma) V--------.  V--- our MCL came with us and she basically understands the Book of Mormon like I have never seen before.  She basically recited the whole 1st chapter of Nephi with explanations.  The one thing she doesn't really understand is that if this is the only true Church of Christ, the one she is currently going to can't also be true but we are working with her and she is awesome.

Then came the highlight of the entire week.  We swung by home to pick up the special birthday cake I made and then we met a member T----- to go to meet the B----- with us.  They went to the village so weren't at church which was way sad but we have retaught the importance of them coming so I have high faith in them this week.  We presented them with the awesome plan we prepared for them that has what we want to teach again and then it also has goals, including their baptism on the 20th of November, and priesthood ordinations and a temple sealing next year.  They were way excited for the plan.  I had told them I'd bring a cake for my birthday but it was the first time I had a chance so then we celebrated with them and it was really one of the greatest meetings of my mission.

Wow well that was my awesome week.  I'd like to welcome my new cousin E---- to the family and hope she and Aunt R---- are doing well.  I'll be excited to meet Eliza sometime in the future!  Well I love you all and I love this gospel!  Thanks for your support and love!

Elder Alexander Larsen

Happy Day!

Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2010 12:08:11 +0300
Subject: Happy Day!

It really is a happy day!  And I have had a fabulous week!  Thanks first off for the many Birthday Greetings!  I'm so glad that I have such a wonderful family to support me and send me their love.  Thanks for the awesome Birthday cards too, I have recieved them all and also that hand delivered package mom so thanks so much for thinking of me.  I'm going to take Elder Hinkson out to lunch to celebrate so that should be fun.  So now to my fabulous week.

First I'm working with Elder Hinkson which is like working with one of my best friends!  It really is just amazing!  We were great friends in the MTC spending everyday for 3 months together and now we get to serve together and it is great!  We both want to work hard, be obedient, and just go have fun doing the work of the Lord so that is what we have done.  We are running everyother morning which has been fantastic and praying the snow holds off so we can keep doing that even though it is crazy cold already in the morning.  The cold won't stop us though, haha.  So serving with Elder Hinkson is just grand and it makes the work so much fun!

My Branch (international) and Ward are sweet!  I love the members and the leaders we get to work with, they have just been awesome!  Jeremy thanks for the connection to Brother Luschin, everyone in the mission knows he is the one from President Uchtdorf's talk but that is way cool your family new them in Germany, I'll be sure to pass a hello.  We have had some great interactions with members and I'm way excited to be working with them.

So last Thursday I got to go to the temple with Elder Oldham and it was so nice!  It was so peaceful and just what I needed.  I had such a enjoyable time there and it just felt familiar even though it was my first time for a session there and there were many things in Russian.  They did have head sets for English which was at least nice.  It'll probably be January before I make it back to the temple but I can't wait.  The temple is what it is all about.  I'm so grateful for the covenants we make with the Lord.  I also ran into Elder Mark Larsen's old companion Elder Grover who was here for a visa trip so that was cool.  Hopefully this week I might be able to see Elder Larsen himself.

Okay the best part of the week was working with the Boyko family.  I first met them last Monday and they are such an awesome family.  The dad Pavlo is wanting the truth for his family and they are just the greatest family.  We had some really sweet lessons with them where the spirit was so powerful.  They have three kids a 14year old boy, 12 year old girl and a 2 year old girl.  The kids are great and so happy to learn about the gospel.  The highlight was seeing them walk into Stake Conference.  They hadn't come to church yet and that has been holding back their progress but they loved Stake Conference.  We actually went to their apartment this morning to read the Book of Mormon with them and it all went well.  We should be re-extending a baptismal date with them on Wednesday, so I'll be praying that I'll goes well.  I'm so happy to be working with a family and seeing them progress in the Gospel.  It is the most rewarding thing and I just can't wait to see them baptized and then eventually sealed in the temple.  That is where my focus is now.

Alright so yeseterday was Stake Conference.  It was really good!  Most of it was in Russian but I suprisingly understood most everything (at least the jist of it).  My favourite talk was President Galbraith the Temple President.  He is just wonderful to listen to.  He reminds me a lot of Uncle Fred, which is just fun.  He was in a temple president's conference last week with the first presidency and the 9 of the 12.  He was eating with Elder Bednar and asked him to teach him something, so Elder Bednar did.  He told him to read the scriptures through "temple eyes" he then admonished us to do the same.

Alright well it was just a great week!  I'm happy, I love the gospel and it is true!  Thanks for your love and support family you mean the world to me!

Elder Alexander Larsen