Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Samara - Week Nine - "How to Study the Scriptures"

September 22, 2014
All is well,

I love Balakovo so much. Because this branch is so small, we really get to know the members rather well. There's still a language wall but they seem to love me anyway. Can I just say that I have probably turned into the most awkward person ever since I've come to Russia? It's not that hard asking questions to get to know them, but understanding what they say back is the sad part and the awkward part, because they just go on and on, and I am sitting there like, I lost the topic of this conversation 5 minutes ago... The best is when we have conversations on the street and people will be talking to me and I will catch bits and pieces, but then they'll turn to my companion and say, "she has no idea what I'm saying huh?" I'm pretty sure the big dumb smile on my face gives it away when they're talking about how their son broke their leg or how they had an awful childhood. My branch mission leader speaks English and then there is a less active in my ward that I have met ONCE but speaks perfect english, it's really nice to have an english conversation sometimes and remember that I actually know how to carry on a normal sincere conversation :)
Some interesting things for the week, we went to a less active's house that we have been HOPING to work with. We approached their door and once again heard yelling.. like the last time we came. This member's name is T. and LOVES the missionaries, but hates the members because she was offended by them. We rang the door bell twice and then the arguing stopped. Out the door comes T's daughter who hasn't been to church in FOREVER, like 10 years, but somehow remembers SO much about church and still reads the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. In the middle of our conversation T stumbles out the door and started screaming something at us, she was seriously having a fit. I've never seen an adult act like such a child. Which doesn't make sense because she loves the missionaries. Just goes to show you what alcohol does to completely sane people. Really sad. 

We are praying for and expecting miracles every day. Sometimes I would say that the thoughts that are brought to us from God through the Holy Ghost are miracles in themselves. One thought that has had a rather profound impact on my work lately is thinking that every single member that I work with here in Russia, every mother I pass on the street, and every investigator I teach will be with me in the next life. I will talk to them face to face. I want that conversation to be a good one. I don't want any, "Hey!!! Why didn't you stop me when you walked past me on the street?" Or, "why didn't you help me to better understand God's plan for me?" I want to put my whole heart into this work in every way.
"If you're gonna do something, put your whole heart into it...!"
The other day as I sat in the house of a less active, I realized that I was a little less involved in the lesson than I should have been. I really don't understand much of what she says considering all her words are becoming slurred as she is growing older and she is quite onry a lot of the time. As my companion was talking to her, I looked up on her wall and noticed a picture of her in her youth, and I realized that THAT is the person that will approach me in the next life. When I meet her I want our conversation to go a little something like this, "We didn't always understand one another, but I always understood that you loved me." People can tell really easily if you do/don't care about them. If you go about teaching people or visiting people or calling people, why do it AT ALL if you are going to do it without real intent? If you're gonna do something, put your whole heart into it, otherwise it literally does nothing for your spirit and it does nothing for the spirit of the person you're teaching.
I don't know if I have ever mentioned this before or not, but during one of the zone conferences President Bennett, one of the general authorities over our mission, asked an apostle how he studies his scriptures. He asked either Elder Bednar or Eyring, I can't remember who exactly. But he says that he reads until he feels the spirit, and then he keeps reading just a little bit more. If you are ever wondering how long you need to study your scriptures, try that :) don't do it for 30 minutes or read 5 chapters, read until you feel the spirit. That is my challenge to you.

Be good!
Love, Sister Brooklyn Wilson 

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