We were able to go and view an area that I had not been to before. Saw some pretty cool thatched homes and windmills. Even met this older gentleman who played the coolest instrument. It was a good day.
Then we walked around the Kiev Dynamo stadium and were able to walk into some people from Ireland and talked to them about the Gospel and what we believe for a bit. I thought of Grandma and Grandpa Pohlman as they had just started their mission and are heading there.
We then went to a setting apart of Masha. She is the Bishop's daughter and invited us to go to it. She is heading to London and is going to be a great missionary.
Sister Prach (Photo from my Grandparents in the Utah MTC)
The week was full of great times but I would have fast forward to Saturday. Saturday, we went to the temple with a man for his first time. He was baptized about 4 years ago and then dropped off about after a year, we were able to go with him and do baptisms for the dead and he has now printed off 3 family names. (He showed up on Sunday wearing the white socks he was given to wear in the temple, it was awesome to see). We then stayed for the session and it was amazing to see about 30 members from the ward in the temple. It was an eye-opener to me about how close I have grown to these people and reassured me that I will see them all again whether in this life or in the next. The man that ended up taking out his endowments last week was there also and I was able to help him out. The session went great and after we went with one of my best friends I have made in Ukraine, Zhenya Macksimov, out to eat who was also on the session with us. After that we came back and headed over to the family that is planning on getting baptized in the near future. There we tried to have a shorter lesson and then just get to know them better and shared photos and just talked for a while. It was the best day I could have asked for.
I have probably gained about 10 pounds in this last week alone. People here have an amazing tradition of baking during Easter. Look up Easter Ukraine Cakes on google and you will know what I mean. We have eaten about 10 and got about 5 more from members and friends on Sunday. We ate lunch and dinner at member's houses and had a great time. Church was very interesting. The temple President and Matron came and gave great talks. I liked a story given by the matron:
"Two men are sitting in a waiting room in the Spirit World. One of them gets called into a room and is asked by a person what he knows about Jesus. He tells where he was born and about how he taught at a young age in the temple and then at age 30 he started his mission and about all of the miracles he preformed and how many apostles he called and so on and so forth. He was then thanked for his time and dismissed back into the waiting room. The second person was called into the room and fell onto his knees immediately and cried, "Oh, my Lord!" and was overcome with gratitude and happiness to see his Savior."
We should all spend time getting to know our Savior. Easter is a great time to do that, but why not look at every Sunday and the chance to partake of the sacrament how the rest of the world looks at Easter Sunday. It came up a lot this week on lessons and in general the importance of not just going to church on Sunday and going through the motions and then going home and not thinking about Jesus until next Sunday. Spiritual strength requires effort and I was very happy to be in the presence of the Temple President and his wife during church on Sunday. They went to temple prep class and I was able to translate for them. They had incredible insights. One of them was that a "change of heart" can very literally be taken as a heart transplant. For those that need to repent to be worthy to enter the temple / re-new a temple recommend, must take medication regularly so the new heart keeps beating. That includes: going to the temple, church, reading scriptures, doing good and etc. Once we stop, the new heart (Natural Man) takes over and says, "This is not my heart" and rejects what was just replaced. I took a second to just realize where I was, who I was with, and what I was doing and was very grateful for my mission. They are from Austria and know English pretty well. They served as Mission Presidents in Bulgaria and are the happiest/brightest people I know.
Every thing is going great and we are now preparing for the Apostle Holland this next Saturday. Hope you all have a great week!