Monday, October 27, 2014

What season is this?

I honestly haven't got the slightest clue as to what time of the year this is.  It was fall one day... and then there was a foot of snow... and today it all melted, and the sun is shining... but someone was saying that it's going to be freezing again in two days.
In other news, a bird has flown into the internet club, and the woman in charge has opened a window and the front door to try and chase it out.  Though her chants and jeers are wildly entertaining, my poor little fingers are starting to make cracking sounds because of the frigidness of the room.

We just got a call from a man who neither of us were sure was speaking Ukrainian, Russian, English, or Polish.  I guess he's going to give us a call tomorrow to set up a meeting?  We passed the phone back and forth twice, tried saying hi to him in a couple different languages.... and just looked at eachother dumbfounded.  Huh. I will let you all know if that turns out to be a miracle or just some crazy situation. 
Amidst all of this confusion, We're doing GREAT!  We've been seeing a lot more success in the work, having a lot more fun, making great friends with the members, and eating very well (It's important to every missionary).

Cool story -- At our Branch council yesterday, President Bantsov handed out the church leadership handbooks and told everyone to study up.  He wants this branch to get moving, because there hasn't been a single baptism here this year.   Lots of good things are in store -- one of which is Stauss's Baptism.

Stauss is an adopted son of the Bantsov family who is 9 years old.  He is the funniest little guy I have ever met.  A couple weeks ago, at sports day, he was playing basketball with us, and everytime someone made a basket, he would cheer for them.  Everytime anyone missed, he would face palm and say "Ay ay ay....".  Funny little patsan.  He'll be getting baptized near the end of November, and everyone is very excited for him.

We have a new investigator named Frank!  He's from somewhere in Africa that I can never remember the name of.  He speaks french as a native language.  We contacted him on the street, and as we were talking with him, we asked if he was at all interested in religion, and he said "Yeah... honestly no".  So we promised him that we would look for a Book of Mormon in french just for him.  Digging through the branch library, we found Copies of the Books of Mormon everywhere from Bulgarion to Persian.  After a LONG search, we finally found a french one.  We set up a meeting on saturday, and he totally dogged us.  Then, we called him again sundaynight, and told us that he was on his way home, and was just buying some groceries.  We told him we could swing by the plaza not far from there and give him the book.  He agreed.

We stood there in that chilly parking lot, explaining to him that the Book of Mormon is the reason that we left our homes, and that if he read it and did what the spirit told him to do because of this book, his life could be changed forever.  Then he asked us that faithful question:

"Okay... how much does it cost?"
"Uh... nothing."
"Nothing? I thought I had to give you something!"
"Yeah... no.  It's free."
"You mean you two went looking for a copy of this book in my native language, called  me all those times, and tracked me down here just so that I would read this book?"
"Uh....well... yeah."
"Wow.  That's amazing.  I would love to find out more."

Meeting set up for this thursday. 

God wants to involve us in all of these miracles that He's planning on doing, but we have to work our hardest so that we are worthy to be witnesses.

One thing that I've learned on my mission in Ukraine relates to an important occurance in the ministry of Christ;  The Miracles of Walking on Water.

 26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
 28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
 29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
 30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
 32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
Comparable to this real life teaching situation, we see that Peter was able to be a part of an incredlbe work of Christ.  He looked unto Christ, and even asked him " Hey, that is amazing!  Can I try?"  and The Savior tells him, "Sure, give it a shot"  (Paraphrasing Elder LeBaron style).   The thing is, we see that Peter starts out WALKING ON WATER!  That's awesome!  His eyes are focuse on the Savior, the all powerful Christ, and he can walk on water.  But, the minute his eyes glance about, and he fears the storm.  He begins to sink.

Happiness, confidence, and satisfaction in this life come from focusing our eyes upon the Savior, and understanding that all good and miraculous things come from him.  We will never be happy if we constantly look about, fearing the world.  We lose our focus on him... and we sink.  Christ will save the faithful -- God's works cannot be frustrated -- but how can we be a part of the miracles if we do not keep our eyes constantly upon him?

Think about the three baptismal promises that are repeated in the sacrament prayer.  How can we REALLY keep those covenants? What do we need to do to always have his spirit to be with us?

Sure, I haven't seen a lot of baptisms out here.  That's the thing though, God has a plan for his people, and we're lucky to be wherever we are sent, and lucky that God has given us the chance to be a part of his "marvelous work and wonder".

I will be happy to labour out my whole life for my Saviour.  If I bring but one soul unto him, my joy will be great.  The Lord has planned already what he will allow me to be a part of, and I'm grateful for it.  I know that if I work my hardest, he will give me every needful blessing and more. 

I testify that this is true for all of us.  The Lord wants all of us to be a part of the miracles, we just need to submit ourselves to him and say -- "I'll go where you want me to go, say what you want me to say... I'll be what you want me to be."

Love you all!

I'll pray for your success and happiness!
Good luck and health to all!

Elder LeBaron

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