|Zach crossing the frozen river|
|Zach on the frozen river...again|
|Zach with Sam (a recent convert)|
So this week was more like a half-week for us. But we still got some success this week, regardless of lack of time. Also it was really hard getting people to meet this week because New Year's is the biggest holiday here in Ukraine. When we tried to call people to set up lessons this week we got a "It's a holiday week, I can't meet" a lot. We're suspecting to hear that a lot for the next couple weeks, since The Orthodox Christmas is this Friday and the old New Years is next week. But we'll just keep doing our best.
There were a lot of drunk people roaming around the streets this week. Once it got to like 7 you would see everyone on the street stumbling around and trying so desperately hard to walk straight. You could pretty much smell the alcohol in the air.
So, remember our investigator with a baptismal date, Serhi? Yeah, we dropped him. He was not ready to be baptized. Before Christmas we gave him the baptismal interview questions. He said he would look over them and come up with answers and let us know when he was done. On Wednesday night he texted us and said he answered the questions as promised, so we set up a meeting with him for the next morning. We brought one of our African recent converts, Sam. We reviewed Serhi's answers. Serhi pretty much used the Bible to try to prove that we didn't have to keep the commandments such as tithing, word of wisdom, and the ten commandments. He said that Christ said he fulfilled the old law so we don't have to keep them anymore. He also said that through his research of the Bible we don't have to do anything and Christ will save us. He was like "I have good news for you all! We don't have to do anything and we all automatically go to the Celestial kingdom!". He said he has a hard time believing Joseph Smith's story and said that he can't trust personal experiences or, as he called it, fairy tales. I asked him if he prayed about the Book of Mormon and he said "Not once, because I can't rely on my feelings. I need evidence." Serhi said that he read from the Smithsonian Library that the Book of Mormon had scientific and archaeological flaws. He also read on lds.org about the pre-earth life and about how Jesus and Lucifer were brothers. He freaked out after reading that. We all testified and left because Serhi was just trying to prove us wrong using the Bible. Serhi was hiding behind his chair when we all were testifying about the Book of Mormon and the power of prayer. I suppose the spirit was just too much for him. I suppose Serhi relies too much on tangible evidence and studies. Elder Munzer and I were trying to figure out what went wrong with Serhi. He acted as though he didn't understand any of the lessons. When he left his place I thought " how can a man know so much and understand so little?" I think Serhi did express some faith when first being taught by the missionaries. He was being taught for four months, but the commitment of baptism was too much for him and he didn't want to commit and he panicked. In his panic he let his doubts and fears over come him and he doubted everything. I guess that's what happened.
We did set another baptismal date this week with a ten year old girl named Nastya. She is the granddaughter of one of our strongest members, Sister Chalikh. I suppose there is some irony in this week. A ten year old girl understands the gospel principles better than a 33 year old man with a Master's Degree in the Bible.
New Year's Day was the following: We did a whole bunch of p90x workouts, my whole body is incredibly sore still. Then we made beef enchiladas and cinnamon rolls and we watched some movies from the President's approved list of movies. The movies were:" It's a Wonderful Life", "Fiddler on the Roof", "Ben Her", and "Miracle on 34th Street". We did some yoga and ate a bunch of ice cream. Then I called some of the members and investigators and wished them a Happy New Year and chatted with them for a little bit. It felt nice not to call someone and be like "wanna come on a lesson?"
Love, Elder Zach McEntire