Thursday, November 6, 2014

Samara - Week Six - "Enduring Joyfully"

September 1, 2014
All is well,

On Friday we had a zone conference from 8-5:00, it was great :) Really I thought that zone conferences might be a drag they're so long, but now that I'd actually out here I am so grateful for them. They just get you so pumped up for missionary work. Here in Russia there are THOUSANDS of less actives. And hundreds of them in our city alone, there was a period of time when the missionaries in this branch would baptize 1 or 2 people a week. I think that we have only had 2 or 3 baptisms in this branch total this year. In short... we are going to be doing a lot of work with less actives.

The miracles started right after Zone Conference actually, on the bus. (we all breathed a sigh of relief when we saw how big the bus was, you get so exhausted and beat up from the small, crammed buses) An Elder and I were sitting on isle seats and so so very exhausted, so exhausted it seemed a chore to even talk! But there was a boy sitting behind us who was really eager to speak English with us, so we buckled down and opened our mouths. This boy ended up being really actually quite interested in what we believe. It was the first time I've taught the first lesson at 10:30 at night... on a bus... to a muslim... and basically having an Elder as my companion for teaching. Very interesting to say the least! However the best part was that when it was time for us to all get off the bus HE was the one who said, "can we meet to talk about this a little more tomorrow? and can I bring a friend?" Yeah that was a tender mercy to say the least. I think the people who are most prepared to receive the gospel are the ones who pretty much do the missionary's job for them, they do all the asking, they do the inviting themselves. 

Also another miracle this week: we had a lesson outside with a boy named S, he is
AMAZING, absolutely has a heart of gold! Sadly in the middle of our lesson it began to pour rain and we had to run to a bus stop and we immediately parted ways, not even being able to end with a prayer. As my companion and I got on the bus, I sat next to a beautiful young mother with a sleeping baby. I noticed that she kept slightly looking over to me but felt awkward turning her whole head, so I gently slid my Book of Mormon up to the front of my lap so she could see it :) She then turned her whole body to me and started to talk to me, she is "Russian Orthodox," but she said it as if she is not really in favor with her own church/religion. She happily said that she would like to meet with us again. As she walked away I told her that it wasn't a coincidence that we met, and she agreed :) 

Something else from this week... We have been working with a less active. At first she was a really grumpy and bossy grandma, now she's gotten a lot happier since we've been teaching her :) It is so awesome to see the transformation. She is still a little bossy though. I was saying the closing prayer and in the middle of the prayer she says, "Wilson!!!" I opened my eyes and she says, "stop furrowing your eyebrows, you're going to get wrinkles like me." only she said it so sternly and seriously... I nodded my head and said sorry, and kept praying. But I couldn't pray, I was trying SO hard not to laugh, which made my brow furrow even more. Then I hear weasing and I open my eyes to see our grandma laughing so hard she could hardly breathe hahahaha, it was great. People have a habit of interrupting prayers here.

This week I have figured out what makes a mission so hard. It's not people rejecting you, it's not your companion, it's not the language, it's your attitude! Keeping up with all of these responsibilities and Christlike attitributes for so long is so very challenging. That is what is going to be hard about a mission, enduring joyfully :) I am so young, I have so much to learn. But I am so excited that I have a perfect environment to grow and become who God wants me to be, with no body else except me and Jesus Christ. That's why we're so heavily separated from our family on a mission, so we can learn to rely on our heavenly family.

I am so grateful for all the many prayers I am receiving. I love being out here, it is a privilege to be called specifically to help people remember their identity as children of a merciful Father in heaven. 

Sister Brooklyn Wilson 

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