It was so good to hear from you and to see all your pictures and just to hear from you. It means a lot to me just to receive a letter when I can only imagine just how busy you are. This last week flew by and the days continue to be full of miracles that are just too much to number in any email that will be of sensible length and not a recreation of my daily journal, however, the Lord did teach me some very important lessons this week: the Importance of families.
We were able to have a lessons with a new investigator named Vladimir as we are trying to start up this new area and find those who are ready to be baptized, and really enjoyed this man. He was just wonderful in so many ways...but he was focused on the false doctrine that we must focus on ourselves before we can help others, thus needed to fulfill our own desires before we can fulfill others'. His family consists of his wife and 10 year old daughter but in his mind, family is just another way to fulfill his needs...but when he's been home for more than 2-3 weeks at a time, he gets tired of them and luckily can go work in a different city...we lovingly but sternly told him what the Lord expected of him as a father and he took it quite well. We were able to use our experiences in our lives to show just how much role parents play. While Elder Butterworth was talking about his dad's busy schedule and the precious time that was spent with him, I was reminded of dad and just how amazing it was that for how much he does travel, I would never say that neglect was one of his characteristics. Dad is the best dad in the world in my eyes...there is something to say when we can use our fathers as a method to teach a man who really doesn't understand God the relationship that we have with our Heavenly Father. Thank you dad for being the incredible father that you are. Truly the Gospel blesses families. The Gospel was made for families.
So we concluded the meeting with the man realizing just how much his 10 year old daughter needed him, and we committed him to call his daughter that night to just share his love and appreciation for her. Even though it is not text-book Preach My Gospel commitments, we invited him to strengthen his family ties. Parents have a crucial role in teaching their children the Gospel, inviting, and helping them to live it. I saw this in even a bigger scale that a man and his daughter the next day.
We were at a sports night with the zone leaders in Donetsk and were having an okay time playing basketball, but not being very effective in proselytizing. After a while I began to watch the youth that daily gather around our church building to hang out because of the nice grounds our church building has in comparison to the area. I watched their gestures, heard their language, saw their actions, and really it was quite dark. They were doing things that made you just sick inside and even witnessing it made me feel a withdrawal of the Spirit. I got out of there as soon as we could thinking that I was never going to participate in such activities again because I couldn't handle the direct violations of divine nature and law is such large quantities. But then the thought came...and it's a thought that has come up many times before but not ever with such power:
Families are the best place to teach, learn, invite to live, and help each other live the Gospel. And on the other hand, no amount of effort can compensate for failure in the home. Thank you so much for being the best family in the world and for living the Gospel of Jesus Christ...its what makes our family a Family with a capital F...one that is a Forever Family. Doesn't your heart just swell with gratitude to God for blessings of the Restoration?! I love you