Okay so everyone thought I was super depressed last week or something but I want you to know that we're fine! We are alive and happy! This week has truly been a miracle. I have seen miracles every day this week, and I know it is because the Lord wants me to succeed in doing His work. Everytime that we talk to someone on the street and I can catch just a few words of what they are saying, I know that it is a miracle. Every time I am able to express myself clearly to someone in Russian, I know it is a miracle. I have seen my ability to understand Russian grow immensely just in these past 7 days. I know that has very little to do with my own capabilities and has everything to do with the Lord blessing me. Sister Campbell and I decided that the only way we are going to have success in this transfer is if we are completely obedient, and not just doing the minimum amount required, but giving absolutely everything we have to the Lord. We are definitely seeing results from that decision.
This week we had a lesson with our recent convert Nadia and her sister Olia. We talked about enduring to the end, teaching and learning in the church, and scripture study. We gave them colored pencils to mark their scriptures with and practiced reading a chapter with them to show them how we study and apply the scriptures to our lives. They really enjoyed the lesson and seemed excited to actually study the scriptures rather than just read them. This week we also had a special moment when we found a less active lady named Klavdia. She is a very old lady who is physically unable to come to church. As soon as she opened the door and saw us she immediately started to cry because she was so grateful to see us. We gave her the latest Liahona and she was so grateful. We couldn't understand a word she said, and she couldn't understand us, but it didn't matter. We could feel her love and she could feel ours. I know that when I feel that kind of love for others, I get a glimpse of how our Father in Heaven feels for all of His children. I am so grateful to be a part of this work and to dedicate all that I have to the Lord. This week has been such a blessing to me. I am so grateful for the 'soul stretching opportunity' that I have to train so early in my mission. I didn't necessarily want this calling, but now I know that this is the Lord's will for me, and that I will be helped along every step of the way.
One of the many miracles this week was two girls in their 20s stopped us on the street and started asking us who we are and why we're here in Russian but as soon as we said that we are from America they said "oh good you speak english!" Those are literally my favorite words to hear haha. Marina, one of the girls, speaks pretty much perfect english and wants to practice english, but only if it's about God because that's all that's important to her. What?!!? Anyways the miracle was that we accidentally got off at the wrong bus stop and would never have run into them if we got off on the right one. They are very religious and actually active in their church, but want to learn about what we believe. It is pretty rare to run into people who actually speak English and even more rare to run into people who are interested in the church, so when they are combined I think it is safe to call that a miracle. Even if it doesn't go anywhere with them, I know that it was blessing to me, to help me realize that the Lord is in control and leading me to where I need to be.
Oh I realized that i have never told you about our crazy neighbor babushka Lydia. At least I don't think I have. She is always out at the little park behind our apartment, so we see her pretty much every day. We gave her a book of mormon awhile ago and she decided to start reading it from the end and work towards the beginning (of course that makes sense) but she is actually reading it so that's good. She is obsessed with the picture of joseph smith in the beginning of the book of mormon and she always shows it to her friends and says "look at this pretty mormon. isn't he pretty?" haha we've tried to explain to her that his name is joseph smith, not mormon but she doesn't get it. Anyways, she totally rules this park and has all of her babushka friends who sit on the bench with her and chat, but she is the ringleader. She is always telling us that we need to go dancing and stop working all day. It's really cute though, she's super worried about us now that Sister Erekson's gone. She is worried about what we're going to eat. She told us yesterday, "You don't even know how to make borsh! How are you going to live?" haha she is awesome. She loves us though and totally has our back so if we ever get into a tight spot we just have to call Lydia and she'll take care of it.
Well sorry my brain is not really working right now, I read Sarah's email first and thought it might be a joke. I can't believe it! Dad is gonna be awesome, and I know you will help him so much. I am so grateful for your amazing examples to me. Today we are having a family home evening for any members of the branch who want to come and we're teaching about having Christ centered homes. We are going to talk about in 1 Nephi Chapter 1, Lehi started to receive revelation and then he went home and received the rest of the revelation. As I was studying that I realized that his home must have been a place where the Spirit could reside. We are going to read from Elder Scott's conference talk about how no matter your family situation, you can center your home on Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to have been raised in a home where I always felt loved and important, and also where I could always feel the spirit.
Thank you for being the best parents ever! I love you and am inspired by your examples every day! I will be praying for you, and you know missionary prayers are answered the fastest :)
Have a great week!