Monday, May 29, 2017

Rapper D..... 5-29-17

Great last week.  Even had a chance to "run some hills"... sand is very different to run in, but had some fun as well.

This last week we had a couple of opportunities to hold exchanges with different missionaries in different areas and with different callings in the mission. One thing I realized is that every one of them has a background that I could have never guessed, trials that I could never have known about without getting to know them better, and tons of talents that I am definitely lacking of. Not one missionary was "better" than the other. While some talk better with people than others, some are amazing at keeping paperwork updated. While some speak amazing Russian, others are good about body language and always having a smile while making tons of mistakes. Some have been out of mission funds for a week and are eating buckwheat everyday, and others are buying gifts for members at every visit. The mission is an awesome experience to learn and see that the Lord needs everyone and everyone can always improve. I haven't been on an exchange where I haven't seen a way that I could improve. The ward needs every member. The family needs every member. Fun to see how the Lord uses every missionary also. 

On one of the exchanges I had 3 goals: 1. To have a blast with this missionary. 2. Leave as best friends. 3. Have meaningful and spiritual conversations throughout. The day went really well and by the time we got back into our area we had a lesson with a future missionary and then had an empty schedule for the night. No matter how hard I tried and how many people I tried to set up with the day before I couldn't plan a single thing. We met some people the night before that were throwing a Frisbee around and were listening to some oldies... so we made sure to go talk to them and throw around the Frisbee with them. We got their number and said that we would love to play with them some time. Then out of the clear blue they called us the next day and wanted to play some basketball at a nearby court. Without a second of hesitation we went back home and got dressed to play and headed back out. This is where we meet "Rapper D". He learned English from rap and spoke like it too :). He and his beat maker buddy were there and we had some fun shooting some hoops. 

He asked questions about our church. He noticed that we weren't swearing. He noticed that we were happy people. He then wanted to know why we wouldn't smoke/drink. He then wanted to know why we didn't yell at the people whose ball almost hit us. The list goes on and on, but he wanted to know more and more. I love when missionary work is this natural. One of the best feelings ever and you can just be yourself. 

I really enjoyed the verses of Helaman 5:13-14 this last week. There is always a lesson to be learned and lesson to be taught. It requires time to sit down and teach with words and testimony as parents/leaders in the Church/friends/grandparents/sport coaches/etc. The other form is done by actions. This form can be done at any time and in any place. It is done without words in most cases, is not a sit down talk, is probably not even noticed by the person setting the example, and in the end the most powerful form of teaching because it is continuous and open to all. "Rapper D" is interested and that would be amazing if he got his life turned around. No doubt that it can. The exchange goals were all met, and we a great time.

My companion had a dream a long time ago that he needed to contact a blue apartment building so when he saw it a week ago in our area we found time and did just that. It was pretty heavily armored with a grandma at the entrance, a coded door, and the fact that no one wants us inside their buildings! You gotta be a little tricky to get in to be honest. I had a phone call with myself as we approached and tried to slip in right behind other people heading in. The person turned and tried to close the door behind him not to let us in. He asked, "Which apartment are you going to?" I was quick on the draw and chose the number 13..... bad choice. From all of the numbers 1-64 I choose the one where this now angry man lived. He got up into my face and asked what business we had here and what we wanted from him. We told him that we had a lesson about families and how they are key to God's plan and we are searching for people that desire to know more.  This was either going to be an amazing miracle or we were going to get yelled at and threatened. Needless to say, we got kicked out and were pretty bummed. We were positive that a family was in that building and were debating on how to get back in. 

We then just decided to contact around where we had been led and had tons of success. We got 4 numbers and a number of addresses in a very short amount of time. People contacted us on the way to the building and on the way back home. We got home and had to really sit back and be grateful and realized that God knew what He was doing in having us go there. It was a little embarrassing to be honest and not the greatest feeling to be rejected so harshly from that home, but the Lord had different plans. We just had to be grateful for what happened. 

I was able to see Artur this week because he is waiting his visa for Australia in Lviv right now and had to come stay the night in Kiev. So he stayed at our apartment. Good to see him again.  

I keep finding amazing verses in my studies that lead me to James 1. I think it might just be my favorite chapter in the Bible. Take a minute to sit down and really study it out as a family/personally. Lots to learn from it. 

Check out the song "One by One". It is a poem written by Elder Bednar about 3rd Nephi 11 and was turned into a song. While you listen to it, think of someone that needs help around you and how you can personally minister unto them. Charity is "Pure Religion" James 1:27. 

Hope you all have a great week! 

Elder Devashrayee

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