Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them;
and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain,
and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. Jeremiah 16:16

Monday, March 19, 2018

Derek: Captin's Log Week:19 Mucho Fe

And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God. (Alma 31: 5)

Ok, I just wanted to start by giving my investigators and members a shout out. So as I said earlier, my area is huge. So throughout this week we would have to walk from one part of the area to another, or sit in a carito for literally 50 minutes to go to an investigator’s house. After each one of those trips my comp would say "Mucho Fe" or “much faith”, because these people are willing to go though all that every week just to go to church. Super humbling.  I love my new comp. He is super cool and a hard worker. So, I was wrong last time. My comp knows some English, just enough where he can help me but not too much to where it’s cheating. So he tries to talk to me in English AND I only talk to him in Spanish. This is super great because now we can both learn. He teaches a little differently that what I’m used to, not worse or anything just different, but I’m trying to get accustomed to it.

So right now we have a lot of really good new investigators. Some are references and the others are one of those golden investigators; the ones that you didn't even knew existed and just show up to church. We had 3 of those yesterday. This lady and her 20 year old daughter just walked into the church. Then she sats next to me in gospel principles and the lesson started talking about the Book of Mormon. Then she turns to me and asked if I had one that she could have. So of course I gave her one. So after class we planned a lesson with her, her husband, and her daughter for that night. And at this lesson, (and by the way they live further away on foot then any of our others on foot.) But the first thing she said is that she already read some of the Book of Mormon that day and felt something as she read. She promised that she would read more and pray to know if its true before our next lesson. She also has friends and parents in the church.

So we also met with Doris Bell this week, the one that just got baptized last week, to ask for a reference. And she said of course, I already invited my friend to church and he said he wants to talk with you guys. That’s cool. Later that week we went to his house with her and talked to him a bit. We invited him to church and gave him a baptism date. He went to church yesterday and we have a lesson tomorrow with him but it seems like its going to work out. And his name is Litcher by the way. That’s pretty much it. God is blessing us and the people here right now because of our and their faith. And I’m glad I am a part of it.

Love, Elder VanBuskirk

Dylan: Tough Week, Great Week


Hello Friends and Family, 

This has been a very tough week; the very few investigators and potentials we have are falling apart. But even though it has been tough, it was a great week. 

We had zone conference which was great, and we were able to get some lessons. We tried spending a lot of time finding this week. We were able to go to a school volleyball game that our potentials invited us too and it was in a different school this time which had a gym remodel so it looked a lot better than the last one, but both of the schools format were the exact same. Our potentials won their district championship, so they were happy and we were able to meet more of there friends, and they were so down to come to the church and play ping pong and games, and we can let them know a little more.  But when we tried to make it happen they wouldn't respond and hanged up when they picked up the phone to us, but we are hoping that all will be ok. 

We also helped a babushka move and we saw an LDS church building by her house that they abandoned. She was very funny, she started turning on some Jewish Russian Music and she made us have a very awkward dance party in her apartment. 

We also finished helping some members move and we got to do it the Russian way and throw big wooden boards out their 4th story window!

I hope all is well with you, always in my prayers.
Elder VanBuskirk

No haha, we didn't play in the tournament, they are cool. We will see.
AWWW I love this pic of Grandma!!!! Can you send me a list of all the families birthdays?! extended too
Wow Luke is so cute! Sweet jacket! Is that the family's dog!!? Luke is such a deacon stud! So proud of him! Did Nathan get those jackets at his shop for a good deal? Love you mom!!!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Dylan: Threats, Joined a HS Volleyball Team, and Much More...

First, Happy Birthday Luke! Love you buddy I can't believe you are 12!!!

Second, if you are going to email me it has to be on my account I am not allowed to go on my one. Thank you, and I don't mean to leave you hanging.

Well just when I think a week can't get any crazier in Russia, I get proved wrong once again! This week was insane! They are also enforcing all the laws and restrictions on us a lot more and taking away all the smart phones from the zone leaders, so things are getting tight and I have no idea how the relationships are between the US and Russia, but I can assume they aren't getting better. Out of all the missionaries coming in this year that we are aware of, none are from the US, so that can only let you imagine that they are trying to prepare for the worst.

Russians do it right: So Monday night we had a beloved inactive call us to help them move, so we called like the only member in our branch who has a car to help us. He bought his car for about $500 and he definitely got what he paid for. So we shoved all their stuff from their one-room apartment in to this tiny sketch car with all of us in it, the trunk was wide open and their bags we so high hanging all out just staying in because it was so stuffed. So the car was not doing well with the ice and was just drifting all over the place and the transmission was horrible and we would just start falling back, and the car would turn off randomly while we were driving many times. I accepted my fate and was ready to die, it was AWESOME!

Broke into a Russian School: So those friends we met last week and that I "rapped" for. They invited us to play volleyball with them and they said it was in their school, so we just assumed we would play just with them in ther gym... So they met with us outside the school and they walked us into their school (which looked crazy, it was so old and so Russian, it was like we were in the 40's!) But they had us walk past the security guard and was able to get us in, which probably has been never been done by volunteers before. And we went into their gym which was so sketch and there was a bunch of students with a typical scary looking Russian woman volleyball coach, and she let us play with them! We tried hard to talk to all the 40 teenagers in there and they thought we were so cool and they said they were down to have game night at our branch so we could tell them more. It was the craziest thing though we were straight up in a Russian school volleyball practice with a real Russian coach yelling at us in school number 107. How can you get more culture than that! 

More destroying: We also spent some nice time destroying and ripping apart church documents, so that's just part of the work here in Russia...

Changing moment: So while opening the church doors we noticed to our left a man who we thought was peeing on our church building (which was not something we would be surprised about here in Russia) and me and Elder Altahov (we were on splits) were about to tell the old man to go away, and I was just not thinking the greatest of this guy but Elder Altahov got closer than asked the man if he needed help. The man pointed at his grocery bags, so we carried all of his bags and gave him an arm to hold as we walked him through the ice all the way to his home. This man had had a stroke a few years back and could barely talk and move a side of his body. On the way there I felt so much love for him and felt so horrible about how I first looked and judged this man. We walked him all the way to his apartment and he just thought we were angels and went right away to his alter and prayed because we helped him. We showed and said a prayer with him our way and he wanted us to come meet him and his place on Friday. That moment really changed me I realized that we need to do what Christ would do and search out to help others, and judge not. I noticed a big difference in the rest of my week as I tried to look at everyone how Christ sees them and to always search for service. 
So we went back later that week and he fed us and we were just talking about ourselves, and a big scary Russian man walks in, and just stares at us. He gets his gf or wife (who is the old man's daughter who we had no idea was there) and they were not happy to see us they started yelling and things were getting pretty heated. They were kicking us out but the old man didn't want us to leave and was doing anything he could to have us stay, but we were not about to challenge the Russian dude. We finally got out and the Russian man walked us out of the building and told us off on the way out. So that was fun - a little sketch. 

Threatened by a man high out of his mind: So at a sharma stand, a man who was high out of his mind or on some crazy drugs or drunk or something, started trying to climb up some stairs and fell on his back. We went over to help him up and he was so heavy! But we got him back up and leaned him against the wall and he found his way to the food stand and started banging on the window, holding his bag of rotten fish, trying to get them to give him some food. The cook was getting annoyed and came out and dragged the man away from the window and put him on the floor against the wall. We were just waiting for our food, and he got himself up 2 minutes later an looked at me and pointed at me and started saying things, and I might have said "Da" (yes) to him as habit when I can't understand what someone is asking me. And he apparently said "You just wait. In 20 minutes you're going to get it!" And he then tried reaching for his knife, which he couldn't find, and then after much struggle, found his phone in his front pocket, which he tried very hard to get it and when he finally did he dropped it and I even picked it up for him, haha. He was trying to call his friends or something to beat us up. At first we took a step back when he was reaching in his pocket but he was sooo slow and so out of it he was not that intimidating. He eventually fell down and crawled over to the side of the building where we saw him laying there. There are actually a lot of drunks; you just don't notice them. Like we also saw a guy fall straight on his back this week and just laid there.

Marshrootka Party: So after that one experience, I just started trying to talk with anyone and I'm very bad at Russian so it's easy for them to tell I am American, and I started talking to a woman on the back of the marshrootka and pretty soon we were talking to the whole back of the marshrootka, and we were all laughing and it was a party. This was so weird because nobody talks on public transport in Russia. They just sit there and look down, so it was sooo funny. 

Random Russia: So walking down the street I see a woman holding what I thought was a strange looking baby. Up closer I find that it is a woman holding a Monkey in little kid clothes! I then saw her with the monkey later that day on the other side of town in a market, how random is that!

Kicked out of a hospital: So yesterday we had the great idea of visiting our recent convert who was in the hospital because he just had surgery, and we wanted to give him the sacrament, which we are able to do because he is a member. So the hospitals are so sketch.  To explain it, it looks inside and out like an old insane asylum. They didn't even have anyone by the front desk so we just kind of walked in and the guy with a tag who I assumed was like the guard or something didn't say anything about it. Ivan came out and we tried finding and open room to do the sacrament because it so happened that the person he is sharing a room with is a police officer and he didn't feel comfortable with that, so we found a bench and table where there was no one around and were about to start and a nurse comes in and was yelling at us and the guard until we left. So that was fun, very interesting.

We also got fed like kings again at the sweet babushka’s house and we got a new investigator

Elder VanBuskirk


 fed like kings part 2

Yeah I'll buy the watch here. I have really flat feet and I was wondering if you haven't sent it yet if you could send insoles or whatever they’re called. I haven’t seen any yet, but I'll keep looking!

Derek: Captain's Log week 18: Entrenamiento Hecho

 "Therefore, O my son, whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come the same is not   compelled to come; but in the last day it shall be restored unto him   according to his deeds." (Alma 42: 27)

So Transfers are in and we got four baptisms last week. I am excited about both and don’t know where to start.

I decided to start with the baptisms.  We had it on Friday because there was stake conference on Saturday and Sunday. The baptism went well, but started a little late. I had to pay 600 pesos again to fill up the font because the church had no water. We did their baptisms and their conformations on the same day. It went smoothly and they all have really strong testimonies as well.  

So I was kind of nervous because every time we get a good number of baptisms we also run out of people to teach right after, because we just got most of them baptized. But this is the Lord’s work and he delivers. He is already placing people who are really excited to learn and their friends in our path. The Lord does truly find the elect.

Ok, and Transfers where pretty great as well. I am staying in Villa, and my new comp is a Mexican who knows no English, which I am super excited for. Because, I love this place and my Spanish definitely needs the help. I also found out that Elder Vigil is going to be in my district which I am super excited about. We are also getting sister missionaries to which is great because we have never had any in our zone since I’ve been here. They also whited-out the assistants to the president. One of the old ones, Elder Wolfe, will be my zone leader, and the other will be a zone leader with Elder Young, who I knew before the mission. So things are going great here. I am also officially done with my training as well, and I am super excited about what is in store this transfer.

 (Picture above:) We baptized Rafial (16), the tall one 2 people away from my comp, as well as the three next to me. From left to right: Brenda (14), Doris Bell (22), Juan (18). Juan and Brenda are also cousins.

Pictures from a ward Valentines party a few weeks back while I was on exchanges.

Hi mom. I’m awesome. Transfers are in. I’m getting a comp from Mexico who doesn’t speak English, which is good. It will be good to learn some Mexican Spanish from him.  I would love to be his last comp. Michael Young was called as a zone leader, different zone. We now have sisters in our district. And, wait for it... Elder Vigil is in my district too. And last week my comp and I hand more baptisms then the rest of the district combined. 2 transfers in a row.

Ok. Sweet. Got to go. Love you.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Dylan: Blizzards, Wresting Beast, Rap Legend

This WEEK was wild! Life here in Russia: there is always something going on. I’ve learned to just not be surprised by anything. We had some crazy blizzards this week! Which are always so fun. I've never been so cold in my life. The biggest factor is that the winds are crazy strong and cold. The coldest wildest day most of our lessons got cancelled so we had nothing else to do but you know just walk around and try to talk to people, you know, to all the people just hanging outside in the blizzard. And it's not like we can proselyte so we do is just try to start conversations which no one wants to do and point out that we are Americans and how we are so cool, and try to convince them that we should be friends and they should hang out with us "in our church", haha. 

Saving kids and Wrestling Bears: On the way to a lesson we saw a kid hanging off a metal shed yelling for help, so we went to go see and try to help. We then found that we had met the 2 hooligans boys of the neighborhood; they were the funniest kids I've ever met. They wanted me to show them how to do a magic trick and they couldn't believe we were Americans. The youngest kid, when walking away, started singing the Hallelujah Chorus and I popped in there with him and when I started singing he about laughed so hard that he fell to the floor laughing in his head off in the snow. They were so funny. Later that day on our way back we found this ginormous dog; it was huge and super aggressive. It was some nice girl's dog. So we of course started trying to pay tug a war with it and I even wrestled the beast a few times, he may have bit me once, but I defiantly had him scared. (look at the pic and vid)

Funny Stuff of the week: So we were at church about to have a lesson and I walk by the front door and I see this kid just standing right outside on our stairs with a Gun! It was a powder gun of course ;)  But he was just standing outside our building shooting it in random directions and it looked real, this kid was probably 11 years old and it made me think of something stupid my brothers would do *cough cough Caleb. But he was just shooting it so I opened the door quietly took a step out and said "hi" his face when he turned his head around and it was the funniest most terrified face I've ever seen. I tried to explain to him that this is my church and I'm American and I must have scared him somehow because he ran off.

ALSO so on the street 3 teenagers in front of us were walking and they asked us if we were voting next week, and we explained that we were Americans and they thought that that was the coolest thing ever. They started talking with us and they asked me if I knew Eminem and any of his rap songs, they wanted me to rap one (but I definitely didn't know any rap songs) so I said like the first line and then I just went off and just said random words most not even being English, throwing in a little testimony here and there. And when I finished they went INSANE! They thought I was legit rapping a song hahaha. I then challenged a kid to a Russian Dance off on the ice, and I wrecked him and they were convinced we were the coolest people they've met and insisted that we go to their apartment right that instant and have some dessert and tea (we drank cocoa). They were super cool and really nice. We are so stoked because we have been trying to find some youth because once you get in with one they start showing you off to all your friends, and there has to be one who is ready to hear the gospel.

There is a bunch of other stuff I wanted to talk about but I don't have time. But also our District President came to church with his son this week, which was awesome because he is like the stake president here in Rostov and he went full on inactive like a month ago. His wife was started becoming inactive and he has 2 children with autism and a baby. And he has really caused a lot of questioning with all the branches so we really hope he comes back. 

I love you all! 

Elder VanBuskirk

Derek:Captain's Log Week 17: Corte de pelo

"Search diligentlypray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant where with ye have covenanted one with another." D and C 90:24

So this week went super well. On Thursday I finished the Book of Mormon in Spanish. My goal was to finish the whole thing by the end of my training and I finished 2 weeks early. (Dang I only have two weeks of training left.) But now my new goal is to finish the whole standard works, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and the whole Bible, in Spanish before the end of my year mark. Which is about ten pages a day. So piece of cake. This week was also super good because we are going to have 4 baptisms this Friday. We are having it Friday because Saturday is stake conference and the last day of the transfer. So we will have the baptisms and the conformations this Friday. They are super cool, one is this 22 year old named Dorisbell. She is super cool. She has been in investigator since before I got here but was gone on vacation for the first 8 weeks I was here. She has a really good testimony, but she struggled with thinking that she wasn’t good enough for baptism. We informed her that baptism was the first step to perfection and now where close to the last, and yesterday we got her final answer that she wants to get baptized. Next is Niki and Brenda. They are 18 and 14 year old cousins. The just showed up to church one day and told us in the first lesson that they wanted to be baptized. So we taught them, they have a testimony and will be baptized this Friday. And last is Rafial. He also just showed up to church with his friends and we have been teaching him for a good while now.

That’s pretty much it, but we got one more fecha for next week but we will see how that goes. I also got a hair cut. Some elders wanted to cut my hair so after a district meeting I let them. The each did a half so it wasn’t completely even and right now my hair is the shortest it has even been in my life. No joke. I think I was born with more hair.

Hi mom,
Mckee got me a tie from Japan. Can you put it in my package? And I don't know about the recorder. It's being dumb. And I read that you have all these fans. Do any of them have cute Mormon daughters that can email me?  Ligit question. Other than that, and Reeses( they don't have them here) I'm good thanks again Mom, I love you as always.