Thursday, July 09, 2009

Monday, July 06, 2009

My Testimony

Dear Family,

The Baptism of Natasha went great. Our missionary coordinator, Ilya, baptized her, and a member of the District presidency confirmed her a member of the Church. This is my last day in Chelyabinsk which being interpreted in Hebrew is, “The best city to end my mission ever” Tomorrow we go to Yekaterinburg, to meet the new President who will send us home. I’ve had nine great companions, one of them twice, four areas and three zones, one of those twice as well.
I’ve come to a certainly that The Creator of our reality is our Eternal Father, and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to live in order to present ourselves clean in front of Him in the Celestial Kingdom. We all agreed to this plan before were placed here in our special and specific spheres. We decided to accept Jehovah as our Christ and agreed to do all things commanded us to be worthy of His ultimate sacrifice, The Atonement. I know that the Atonement is real. Jesus Christ took upon Himself all of our sins, pains and shortcomings. We must take His name upon ourselves to achieve this redeeming, infinite power. This is done through baptism and this ordinance can only be done by “he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” “And no man taketh this honour unto himself” (Hebrews 5:4). We have this power on the earth today because God the Father and Jesus Christ called Joseph Smith unto it, and restored Christ’s Church through him. I know that Joseph Smith opened the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. I know that these are last days before Christ comes again, in glory. We can meet Him with joy as He recognizes us as His own. I know the Gospel is something to live, not only something to believe in, or know about. I know the scriptures, which contain the Gospel, are from God and that the words of modern prophets are eternally valuable to us as we struggle to overcome the world everyday. Gordon B. Hinckley was the first man I knew to be a Prophet. I know that Thomas S. Monson is his successor as a prophet, seer and revelator. There is a quorum of Christ’s Apostles on the earth today. I feel the spirit when they teach us how to live. Theses prophets teach us that Jesus is the Christ and what that means. Their testimony is my testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love,

-Elder Magleby

Monday, June 29, 2009

Artyom


You may recognize that man standing next to him.

Monday, June 22, 2009

She's making a quilt with all our ties



Hey Family,

Thanks for the good prompt letters. If you didn’t notice I hit my two year mark last Saturday. Woot woot. It was fun because it was just a normal missionary day where we tracted at the end of it and got two really good discussions with two men. One an older pot bellied fellow and the other a young married man. It was especially nice to be with my old MTC buddy doing all these things on a rainy, long, missionary day.
Yesterday we met with Natasha and Nina her member friend. We reset the date for the Fourth of July and it’s really solid, she’s excited and keeps saying she’s ready and we just have to make sure she is. The husband of her daughter (Anastasia) is still a jerk and doesn’t know about the church yet, so she’s still being held back, which might be just what’s needed right now. It was a nice meeting because I offered to pray at the beginning and she wanted to saying she could now, she had learned, and she did a great, sincere, Latter-day Saint prayer. She had had problems with it earlier as she’s old and prayed kind of Orthodoxy, we were very happy to see a big sign of conversion as we get closer to baptizing her. The member, Nina is a great lady who converted about 8 years ago and all her daughters were baptized too, her husband however is quite the contrast. We get rejected by people like him on the street, and they are usually drunk or just don’t understand at all the idea of faith or improvement. It was a special experience as Nina wanted to watch a church film before we did the meeting so she made her whole family come in, including the husband, and we watched the short poignant film, The Lamb of God and he just couldn’t understand it. He doesn’t understand Jesus or faith or repentance, he’s virtually a hobo who works a job and has a home, but nothing meaningful in life, Nina does all the raising of the family and he fills the roll of a Russian man who works, and that’s pretty much it. Nina must be a really strong lady to raise her kids despite him.
We’ll be in Miass tonight with me ol’ Taylor and the Russain elder Mizin. It’ll be nice to got back for one last time.

Love,

Rob

Sunday, June 21, 2009

“The Final Countdown”



Dear Family,

All is well here in Chelyabinsk, the city where tanks run free. We are actually going to take pictures with some tanks and missiles today, I would like to snag a picture riding one of the silos but I don’t have a cowboy hat so it would be inappropriate.
We’re in week three in the transfer our zone has named “The Final Countdown” I’ve liked to name all our transfers here in Chily, it gives the transfer a kinda theme and it’s fun to spread the buzz words. And this transfer we even have a theme song that is quite popular in Russia for some reason so we get to hear it all the time and get jazzed! Of course the title alludes to the fact that Jensky and I are leaving and so is President Allen, and it’s a countdown to the arrival of the new President. The main theme is fire, as in missionary enthusiasm and zeal. So I give every one fire themed codenames that are subject to change at any moment. The Elders in Cha Ta Za were formerly Charmander and Charmeleon, but they got a baptismal date that they were way excited about so they evolved into Charazard and Magmar. I named Elder Taylor “Sparky” and he feels it has an electricity connotation to it, but I think fire so the codename stands. Then I re-named him to “electro” just for kicks. The sisters are limited because there are few female fire related things out there, so I give them some names sometimes that are actually Male X-Men characters but they don’t know the difference so it’s ok. And for any missionary who’s conduct puts out any others fire, they are dubbed “Smokey the Bear” until they have shown sufficient reconciliation from the title. We run a tight ship of flame here in Chelyabinsk, powered by napalm and coasting on waves of plasma. Quick side topic that came up the other day, Brigham Young said the spirit world is right here on ours, but we can’t see it, and they even have spirit buildings and spirit trees etc. Does that mean they have spirit lava? Can it burn your spirit if it touches you? How can we be sure we are not in the cavity of a spirit volcano right now?
Church was great yesterday, several investigators at the meeting. Sadly our two people with baptismal dates missed a train that would have brought them so they didn’t make it, so we might have to re-do the date, and she still hasn’t told her husband yet so we going to still be working with them hopefully a lot this week. Shamil our new investigator came, he liked it and even asked good questions during Sunday school, which shows he felt welcome. We even tried to set a baptismal date with him last week, and he says he definitely wants to get baptized but putting a date on it could set it up for failure, and he just wants to decide when he feels it’s certain and then he will be baptized. He’s being kind of a Hippy about it, wanting it but not wanting any specifics attached to it that would ruin it. So were working on bringing him down to earth in our down to earth specific religion. Also a cool kid who was a foreign exchange student in Idaho who’s family sent us his info, and he was excited to come to church in Russia last week, came back and enjoyed it again. He’s a Philosophy major so he’s got a lot of tough debatable questions but I was surprised as the Gospel had answers for all of them so far. He says he comes just because he likes the atmosphere not because of the faith, but the questions he asks seem to show that he wants it to be true but just can’t accept it yet. He went to church every week in Idaho for a school year so he knows the score and hasn’t agreed to meet with us yet, but says he’ll keep coming to church, and in answering his questions this week, he showed less resistance to meeting when I asked this time saying his end of school test will prevent him, instead of just saying “no”. His name is Peter.
Jensen and I are enjoying every minute of our last days together, and way grateful for the work that’s going on here.

Love,

-Elder Pompeii

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The end is coming . . .

Hey family,

Because of the Apostles' visit transfers were delayed as not to “distract” us, so we when we found them out Thursday night we had only Friday to get ready for the changes the next day. Sadly they had to break up the Dynamic Pulisipher-Magleby Duo and send Pulsey out to Ufa, a zone we had made a vow never to serve in. But happily, the only thing that could make that Ok, happened, when they called Elder Jensen to be my companion! You remember Jensksy, we were in the MTC together and greenies together in Perm, so we started our missions together and we’re ending them together. Also due to the Apostolic visitation this is a mini-transfer which means you could either think of this as the first day of week one, and only have four more weeks, or just think about it as week two already of a normal 6 week transfer cycle. I’m doing the latter. So even though we just got together yesterday we only have one month left! It’s pretty crazy but with Elder Jensen’s never ending enthusiasm and the boost from the Apostles and the fact that it’s our last days, this transfer, in the vernacular of Elder Murphy (more commonly known as “Murph-Dirt”) will be like the best transfer you could imagine, only take it, put it on crack, load it with steroids, kick it in the crotch, and light in on fire. If this were to ever be quoted in the Ensign it would read “…and the boost from the Apostles and the fact that it’s our last days, this transfer [will be very fruitful]”. I love those brackets, you never know what they could be hiding.
To (former) Companion’s credit, even though it was likely he would be leaving he did a strong push for meetings right to the end and had to leave without being able to see anyone before he went. It is strange to know that we will both being going home together so that means we already know our area will be white washed, which puts a different dynamic to all the work we’ll do in our cracked up super month. We got our two great member referrals to agree to a baptismal date of June 20th (coincidentally our two year mark, woot.) So they are Natasha the 60ish year old friend of the member Nina of the same age, and her daughter named Anastasia about 25. Anastasia has a great little girl named Anya but her husband is probably going to be against the baptism and we explained that she can’t be baptized with out his permission, and she thinks it would take a miracle for him to agree, as he’s already against her meeting with missionaries. Nina as a member and friend will be very helpful through all this and we’re all going to pray for the husband’s heart to change.
The mission conference would take a letter in itself, but I can quickly say it was a major blessing and that President Uchtdorf and Elder Anderson are Apostles, and it was amazing to see them not in a general conference setting with a crowd speckled with skeptics who came just to see, to testify, humbly but firmly about their own special callings in reality as Apostles of Jesus Christ. After the conference we had a special missionary meeting with them, it was also amazing and I love them and my little mission who all fit together in a room the size of the average primary room.

Yee-Kaaaht!

-[Elder] Magleby