Bathrobe

FAM THIS WEEK WAS CRAZY. So good though so good. It was a normal week until Thursday, me and my companion had decided that we would get our 2 most progressing investigators on date and so we created a genius plan.

So we meet with first Olya,  (she’s the super good ball player) we went and played basketball with her and I just turned to her on the way there and I was like “Hey do you wanna be a member of our church?” And she was like YA ACTUALLY I WOULD REALLY LIKE TO, I’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT THIS FOR A WHILE. So we set a date with her and we are so pumped.

Then, on the same day, we met with our good friend Yevgenee. Yevgenee is a young guy, 26 years old and AWESOME. Same thing. “Bro do you wanna be a member of our church”? And he was like I need to find out truth first and we were like. YES YOU DO BRO, you are SO right. And so we set a baptismal goal for the 3rd of March and went on our way.

Now we were super stoked so we decided to do some celebrating at Mickey D’s and then we went home. Such am awesome day. Now the next morning I wake up and immediately go to get into the shower. I finish my shower get out and someone starts banging on our front door and I’m all like what the heck, I throw on my bath robe real quick, and I answer the door.

It was President Sullivan. I thought it was just gonna be our landlord because he rolls up like that all the time, and I don’t care what he thinks so I’m just in my bathrobe and  shorts.  President just wanted to stop by and do studies with us. Ha ha. So now President has seen me in my bath robe. I am sure it could have been worse.

What a time to be alive. We ended the week by finding a super cool investigator named Kate, and by hanging out with some cool members.  Life is good.

Elder Larkin

Two Weeks Worth

I am two weeks behind on posting so this is a double post!  Sounds like a great couple of weeks in Ukraine!

Last Week

Ah boom. This last week was pretty crazy but so SICK. We had transfers, Sister V got transferred to Left Bank and Elder Thornton got transferred to Krivoy Rog. So so so sad. But it’s gonna be ok because I am rooming with Elder Thornton after the mission. With the transfers there is some good news, Elder Tate is coming back to be AP.  That is going to be awesome.

This was a super good week. We found 3 new investigators and had some super good lessons with Slavik who IS GONNA BE BAPTIZED THIS WEEK. He asked me to baptize him and I couldn’t be more honored. So awesome. In one of the lessons with him we had his whole family in on it (his wife and 3 kids) and it was SO cool to see the excitement they had for him. He has been investigating the church for 7 years. And finally he’s getting baptized and I get to baptize him. So so so awesome.

We hung out with our ward mission leader a lot this week, Kostya, helping him move and taking food to all the poor grandmas in our branch. Kostya is the best. I have a list of my 3 best friends that aren’t missionaries, 1st is by far Andrei. I decided to name my first born son after him. Ha ha.  2nd is Mohammed and 3rd is Kostya Barbakova.

He got back from his mission 2 years ago and has the CUTEST family ever. He’s always hooking us up with investigators and does so much good here. And he’s HILARIOUS, I seriously love the dude. Anyways we hung out with him a lot this week helping him out with stuff, he’s going through a rough time right now. His wife is pregnant with their 2nd kid and there are some complications with the pregnancy so she has to go in for surgery soon to save the baby.  We are praying everything will go ok.

Shout out to my lil bro for getting baptized!!!!!!! He’s awesome!!! HAVE A GOOD WEEK EVERYBODY!!!!

Elder Larkin

This Week

SLAVIK GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!! It was so cool to see and take part of. SOOOOO many people came to the baptism, it was absolutely amazing. I am too blessed. I don’t deserve the blessings I am receiving.

Slavik’s wife, Oksana, was in tears at the baptism and kept hugging me and telling me I’m an angel for bringing her family together and I was totally speechless I had no idea what to say. These type of moments are the moments that are just priceless. Like I said I’m too blessed.

We’ve been working on finding through members, and yesterday a lady introduced us to her son who isn’t a member. Good things are going to come from it, I know it.  What a time to be alive. I am out of time…sorry it is so short! I LOVE ALL OF YOU!!! HAVE A GOOD WEEK!!!!!!

Elder Larkin

Slavic
Slavic, his family, and Elder Tate

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Slavic

Well, this week I lost my companion, got hit up by some prostitutes, an investigator passed away,  and we got a bunch of new investigators, one of which seriously wants to be baptized.  What a week.

So yeah on Tuesday I was on a bus with Elder Stearns, who has been in the field for 4 weeks haha. We were just chillin on the bus and me being the very responsible trainer that I am, fell asleep. Out. I woke up and got off my stop as usual and just started walking towards the branch as usual. AND THEN I LOOKED BEHIND ME AND I REALIZED MY TRAINEE WAS NOT WITH ME. The panic that I felt was unreal haha.

I hopped on the next bus and started going from stop to stop trying to find him, and I got to the last stop and he wasn’t there. I haven’t been that scared since I watched The Conjuring back home with Swens and Eard. Fortunately my companion was a smart guy, he just went to the office and asked to use the office phones to call me up and then I went to the office and got him. It was so crazy, I was ALONE for like almost an hour. First time I’ve been alone in like 18 months. Strange.

So on Wednesday we were hanging out with Mohammed and Kostya in MacDonalds just having a good time. We had just had a super spiritual lesson with Kostya and I was super stoked about how well it went. Mohammed then tells me that he has bad news and I’m like what happened man? He showed a pic of a guy and asked if I knew him and I was like ya!!!! That’s our investigator Eyvas. Then Mohammed told me that he passed away…….. He got hit by a car on his birthday. He was such a good kid, he wanted to be a part of our church but his parents wouldn’t let him because he was a Muslim. So sad. Pray for his family they’re in a super rough spot right now.

So Sunday comes around and life is pretty good. I’m thinking to myself I just need to get through today and then tomorrow is p day and everything will be alright. I roll up into the chapel and immediately I’m grabbed by one of my favorite people in the world, Kostya (not the investigator, the member that has the cutest and most hilarious family this side of Ukraine has ever seen.) and he asks me, do you want to baptize another person? And I’m like OF COURSE I’d love to.

And then he introduced me to a young guy who is in like his late 20s, who is married to a member who wants to take the lessons and get baptized. The guy is LEGIT. He’s exactly like Dasha, Oleg and Valentina, just super prepared and gonna get baptized.  I don’t even know what I’m doing to deserve these blessings. I don’t know how but we are on track to have THREE MORE BAPTISMS BY NEXT TRANSFER. Dashas parents and Slavic (the new guy). Love it.

After church we got hit up by some seriously whacked out prostitutes.  The worlds oldest profession is alive and well in Eastern Ukraine.  I think they just like Americans.  Or money.  Or both.  Anyway, after Elder Stearns and I conferred for a brief second we decided against trying to teach a lesson and just walked on.   That could have been an EPIC lesson.

Have a great week everyone!  Love you all!

Elder Larkin

Easy Lives

I got my Christmas package! I opened it hahahaha THANKS SO MUCH FOR EVERYTHING!!!!!!!! Literally it made my Christmas. So cool. I absolutely loved it!!!!! I am so excited to talk to you guys!!!!!! That’s all me and Elder Peterson talked about last night, we just have this Skype call and then mothers day and then we are home.

Honestly what gets me excited the most these days is when someone tells me that I’ve helped them out in their life. It makes me feel like these last 18 months have been worth everything and it just makes me so happy that people are able to find happiness and peace through the gospel. Also when I hear sick Russian rap music on buses I get pretty pumped too lol. Here’s what happened this week!!!

So fam. This last week was pretty good. Ukraine could not be any better, except now it’s getting cold as heck. I want to share a quote that I love… “The next time you feel like your worlds about to end, be prepared, he’s testing your faith again.” I was going through my journal last night and I found that and wanted to share it with you. God loves us. He wants us all to be happy even when our lives seem so bleak and humble.

That was kinda the theme of this last week as we worked with a lot of less actives and recent converts who have not had easy lives. Honestly none of us have easy lives. Some easier than others but anyway that’s probably been my favorite thing in my whole mission is seeing the church bring happiness and joy into lives that suffered a lot of heartbreak and strife.

Shattered lives can be made whole again no matter what we’ve been through. I had a good conversation with Dasha about this stuff last week. She told me that the gospel has set her free from so much depression and sadness from the war (she served in it) and that she wants to share it with all her friends and family.

Her family gets home on Christmas day and they want to get baptized asap. I know this is kind of a serious e mail for once lol but I’m just so grateful for the opportunity that I’ve had to serve out here. What a time to be alive. Oh we found a bunch of new investigators and Elder Stearns is awesome. I love training. I love you guys! ALSO SHOUT OUT TO MY MAN SWENS FOR GETTING ENGAGED! CONGRATS HOMIE!

Moving On

This last week was an emotional roller coaster. I said goodbye to my 2 brothers (Andrei and Elder Tate) and received a new brother (Elder Stearns). I’m not gonna lie,, saying goodbye to Andrei was roughhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I am so proud of the kid for going out on a mission despite all of the stuff with his family but man it was like seeing my lil bro leave on his mission.

I’ve already accidentally tried calling the guy twice because I keep forgetting that he now lives in England. After I said good bye to Andrei we rode back into town with President and Sister Sullivan and they were talking to me about some stuff to do with the branch here I have no idea what they were talking about I was just thinking about Andrei.

We got back into town and I immediately went and said goodbye to Elder Tate. That was so sad but I can still call him and talk to him but yeah. I chilled with Elder Peterson and Elder Thornton until Elder Owen got here and then I was with him until I got Elder Stearns the next day.

Elder Stearns is is awesome. He talks in tons of slang so he actually understands half the stuff I talk about and he likes to play basketball. We are gonna use that to our advantage. He’s a super good Elder, I’m way pumped to work with him and serve with him for the next few transfers.

This week we met with some cool people. We met with Mohammed, and he gave us a referral!!!!! He’s a new investigator named Lionel, he’s from Zimbabwe. He likes soccer, rap music and God so yeah I think we will get along. We met with Stas!!! He’s a cool guy who I met my first time here in Dnepr, he’s a super good dude he’s just not super down to change his life these days. Maybe someday.

That same day we met with some members. There names are Kostya, Nastya and Katya. We ate some good Ukrainian food and played a traditional Ukrainian game called Uno. It was a good time.

Dasha, Oleg, and Valentina are doing super good!!!!! Dasha was struggling last week but this week she’s doing so much better so yeah life is good ladies and gentlemen. I love you guys have a good week!!!!!!!!!

Elder Larkin

 

 

Andrei

Elder Larkin just wrote us a few sentences yesterday, he was up early and going to the airport to see off Andrei, who is beginning his two year mission to England.  Andrei has been a member for a year and has grown very close to Elder Larkin during the time Elder Larkin was in Zap.  President and Sister Sullivan allowed Elder Larkin to be there to take Andrei (Elder Ablitsov now) to the airport and then Sister Sullivan sent us these pictures.  Elder Larkin and Elder Ablitsov were so sad to say goodbye but so excited for the adventures ahead.  Our family has been greatly blessed as we have come to know Andrei and included him in the comings and goings here.

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At the airport
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Saying goodbye
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Elder Larkin and Elder Peterson

Training

It’s soooooooooo crazy that it’s already thanksgiving, a year ago I was running around Zap with Elder Marks. Now I’m running around Dnepr with Elder Tate with like 7 months left. So crazy.  Not a ton happened this week because Elder Tate got pretty sick so we were stuck inside for a while.

All in all it was pretty blah this week, not a ton happened. Everyone is sick, Oleg and Valentina are both sick, Dasha is sick, and Elder Tate is sick. Thankfully I am not sick. The 3 new converts are doing great though, they’re all super happy and doing well. Life is good.

Also we had interviews with President on Saturday and turns out that Elder Tate and I are not going to be serving together. I am so so so so so sad. Elder Tate is for sure one of my favorite companions and the two transfers we served together were LIT. Turns out that I’m gonna be training this next transfer. I hope my trainee is ready to turn up, we have a ton of work going right now.   I love you guys! HAVE A GOOD WEEK!

Elder Larkin

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