Monday, June 30, 2014

Yura, Guardian of Pigeons, and Slayer of Television Sets

What even happened this week.  I'm going to try and explain.  Please hold on to something stable.

I'm just going to cut straight to the story about the title, because this was just absolutely ridiculous.  

Elder Hadfield and I have been having a hard time finding new investigators.  This happens to every missionary at some time or another.  Such has been the case with us.  We pray on our knees every morning before leaving the apartment for safety, and to find those people who are ready to hear this message.  Since it was raining this day, and our only method of finding investigators besides visiting members (who we didn't manage to get any appointments with), or english (we are on a 2 week break from english class), is contacting on the streets.  When there is rain out, NO ONE will stop and talk.  In fact, it makes people here kind of angry.  So, since it was raining, we decided to make some awesome cake for some members who helped us on lessons recently, some older people, and anyone who has had some difficult circumstances recently.   We had run out of flour.  This meant going to the store.  Okay! Time to leave the apartment.  On our knees, Prayer.
This particular time, I was especially invested in praying for just ONE AWESOME missionary experience that day. Anything, please.  I knew it was raining, and everyone out there was trying to get from one place to another, but anything.  

Well, the rain stopped for a bit.

We went outside... and there, on a bench, was an old man eating some little bread thing and a can of tuna.  Naturally, we weren't about to pass this one up.  Elder Hadfield planted himself right next to the man, and began talking to him!  It seemed like an awesome contact!  The man even offered his half eaten bread thing to us.  We kindly declined, because we had already eaten.  
"So, we're volunteer's of our church, and what we do is meet with people, and teach them about this message!  Would you have some time this week when we could meet and explain a bit more?"
"Where is your church?"
Elder Hadfield explained where our church was, and then tried to give some directions...
"Show me where it is!"
"Uh... okay,"
Elder Hadfield then looked at Elder LeBaron, and all I could muster up to say was, "I left the oven on."
"Will it be okay?"

And so we took this man across the city, by foot, to our church building.  He explained about his life as we walked... He worked as a miner!  He has a very large family.  His name is Yura!  He also has a strange love of pigeons.  On our way, he found one hobbling around in the middle of the street, and went out of his way to chase it off to the side of the road, in order to save it's life (?).  

Remember how I said it stopped raining for a bit?  It unstopped.  We got very wet.
At one point, we thought we lost him... but his just stopped to take a whiz in the bushes by someone's house.  Cool.  Do what ya want bud'.

Finally, we get to the Church.  We've by this point (embarrassingly) realized that he was drunk from the beginning...
Seeing our church, he immediately turned stone faced.  We gave him a pamphlet, and he bid us adieu.  Awesome... wet and on the opposite side of the city.  Adventures!

So we take a bus back home.
We finish the cake.
And we take off to deliver it.

SURE ENOUGH, back outside of our apartment, there he is again.  This time, he is smashing a television set with his bare hands by a dumpster.  He cheerfully greets us, we waved to him, and went about our business.  I'm not sure what kind of missionary experience that was, but I assume that it's going to help somebody, someday.  I think the moral of this story is two-fold;  Always check the sobriety of those with whom you are conversing, and God works in mysterious ways.

Then we were in a Village outside of town doing a "Young Men's Activity".  This means that 4 missionaries went out to the Polyshook family, and did service, played soccer (which was 4 Americans v.s. 4 Ukrainians.  Take a guess who won!), and ate food with Bohdan Polyshook, our only priesthood holding young man in the branch.  It was awesome!  
At one point during our service, near the end, Bohdan showed us where they kept these long wooden poles with sharpened ends.  We took them.  We threw them.  Over, and over.  It was probably the most fun I have every had, and I can't adequately describe why.  We made a game out of it.  I sometimes forget that I'm an 18 year-old boy, and we all find doing dumb things really entertaining.

Our investigator, Volodymyr, is getting baptized on Saturday.  He's so incredible!  

Well, that's a little bit about what happened with us this week!
We're still looking for people to teach, but hey, we're doing the Lord's work.  As long as we work hard, talk to as many people as we can, and sincerely search, he will show us where we can harvest, and where the lost sheep are.  This is an adventure with the Spirit, and I love it!

I love you all too!
Hope all is going well for you!

Elder LeBaron

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