|At the train station buying tickets to Khmelninski|
This week has been good. As for the weather.. it's been pretty warm lately. Right now it is -2 C. This week and last week it got up to like 5-9 C, which is pretty unheard of in Ukraine for this time of year. People tell me it should be like -25 C right now. It has cooled a little bit and snowed a little bit more too. But not too much. People are saying that it will get cold in February. January and February are usually the coldest months. Mid March is when it starts to warm up more.
As for this week, we were in Khmelninski on Tuesday for Zone Meeting. Our train left at 2 AM and I didn't sleep at all. The only sleep I got that night was for 30 min on the floor in the Zone Leaders apartment in Khmelninski. We went to the rinok, outside market, and did buy a few ties. Zone meeting was great. President was fired up and ecstatic as always. We talked about the importance of bringing people to church and promising people blessings for coming to sacrament meeting. ( Like receiving answers to prayers, making friends, taking the sacrament, etc.) We then thought of all the investigators that didn't come to sacrament the previous week and practiced teaching to them. President then had a presentation about our goal for 2011: 200 baptisms. He titled it 200 in 2011. He also said something that I thought was really cool. He said "Look outside.. can you imagine a Ukraine where everyone keeps the commandments of God? What would people be like, or this country, if everyone kept the Sabbath Day holy or the word of wisdom?" This was after reading the story of Enoch and how God had a plan for him to teach and preach the gospel. His faith was so strong that mountains and rivers were moved and eventually a whole city was taken up into heaven. I thought about a lot of people I talked to, complaining about the politics of Ukraine, or members struggling to get enough money to even buy food. People who always are walking around with a bottle of vodka in their hands complaining how they've got nothing else in their life. Then I read a section in Preach My Gospel saying that when people don't keep the Sabbath Day then all areas of their life are negatively affected. I wondered just how different these people would be if they kept these commandments. We shared this thought with a lot of the members after we returned back to Vinnitsya. Some members marveled at this thought while others thought we were insane! Others joked and said " It would be like Utah!" and then saying that it would be a cool thing to see happen. Well, I think after that meeting, even though being totally sleep deprived, I thought a lot more about what really could happen this next two years that I'm in Ukraine. I think I'm starting to catch the vision that President has.
Speaking of visions that President has... he told the Zone Leaders in the mission to tell everyone that he wants us to invite people to be baptized on the first lesson, like the first time we meet with people. He told us with confidence that it would work. We thought to ourselves that president has lost his mind! But as we thought more about it, it made sense to us missionaries. And well, if he says it will work then I guess I believe him.
So about missionary work, This week was a little bit slow. A lot of plans fell through this week. Only one investigator showed up to sacrament meeting. But this week we are just going to go out and commit everyone to baptism. Of course, explain it first about what baptism means and its importance. I suppose it makes sense... people don't get baptized unless you ask them. I can't believe I just figured this out!
So in other news, Elder Munzer bought a mini DVD player a couple of weeks ago and when he tried it out.. it didn't work. It wouldn't read his hard drive. He tried taking it back but the people said that you need a Ukrainian passport to return stuff. He tried going back with Gena on Saturday but the man at the front said "Sorry we don't return things on Saturday." It was frustrating enough for Elder Munzer just to buy it because everyone was like "Don't talk to me.. talk to him. I'm not in charge of that... talk to the other person." After we return the player successfully, I don't think we are ever going back there.
Oh, I was wondering if you could tell me more about my actual baptism experience. Since I have been asking everyone here (everyone in Ukraine is a convert) about their baptism experience and how life has improved I thought more about my conversion experience and the steps leading up to going on a mission. The only things I remember about it are being dunked twice because I didn't go under the first time and it was at our Stake Center in California (Dublin) right?
So yeah, everything is good here. Love you!
Elder Zach McEntire