August 11, 2014All is well,
Although.... sometimes I feel that I have doomed myself for taking Russian in college. I know that definitely upped my chances for going to Russia. Sometimes I feel like I am getting it... and other times I feel so discouraged. The most frustrating part of this language is 1. not being able to UNDERSTAND people. and 2. not being able to express yourself freely. I can't believe that 100s of missionary, even 1000s of missionaries have and CAN do this. It is absolutely NECESSARY but also absolutely CRAZY. What is it like trying to talk to a Russian about religion....? The Orthodox church is part of their life, they grew up with it, their parents... their grandparents, their great great great great grandparents, it is a part of them. Preaching the gospel in Russia is comparable to Jehovah's Witnesses trying to preach the gospel in Utah, where everyone is Mormon. Haha it's so hard! We really have to look for "the elect" I never really thought about that until I got here. The elect are those who are truly LOOKING for a meaningful religion, who need change, who need help and realize it. All this people need help (seriously) but not many of them actually realize it. Know what's cool though? Our president has spoken to us about how important it is to talk to literally everyone, because it doesn't matter WHAT you say to the elect, if you open your mouth to them they will listen. Because they are ready. Where these people are? I have no idea! That's why it's so important to rely on the spirit in this work because only He knows where they are.
It's so interesting how things change from week to week. My mood took a weird turn a couple days this week and I feel that I regressed a little. In the moment of trials and weaknesses, they seem so unbearable to overcome, I feel at times so weighed down! There is something I need to remember: THEY ALWAYS PASS. They will always pass, I think that God just wants to see not IF we can endure our trials, but HOW we endure them. And know what else? Every time I pray to have more faith and more strength, I seem to get it, every time. It may not be MY TIMING, but it still comes!
I will explain just a little bit about our current investigators. We've been pretty busy with lessons actually. First of all... there is K., (yes that's a man's name in Russia). He is a genius of the Bible and is a Baptist. He also ... speaks 100 MPH. What's his goal in life? To perfect himself, WOW. This week we had quite the lesson with him. He wanted to know 3 things: Our relationship with Christ, What we think about the bible, and more about the plan of salvation. After he got that information he told us: Wonderful. I now understand that you have a strong belief in Christ, I understand that you do not believe the Bible is perfect (the bible is his baby so he didn't love that, we didn't even mean to bring it up!), and the Plan of Salvation... there are holes every where in it's theory. I wanted to shake him!!! Don't you get it people?! It's not about the information! OF COURSE IT SOUNDS CRAZY. If I weren't Mormon I would think it's crazy too! But it's not about where it makes sense or not, if there are "holes in its theory" It's the way that you FEEL, that will tell you if this is true. What other church tells you to ask GOD? We are asking these people to go straight to the source itself! So... Unfortunately just GIVING this information isn't very helpful.
Did you know that teaching the gospel without the spirit is actually not the gospel? It's just information. Here's where we made our mistake with K. You can't just GIVE people information, you have to build in them a desire to find out for themselves. Not because just anyone tells them, but because it is from God. K will meet with us one more time tomorrow. We've been working on this lesson all week to make sure it goes perfectly. The spirit is going to have to be there, or we won't be able to teach at all:)
Praying for miracles every day? We're doing it! And here's one from this week :) Okay... so on Friday I was in theeee worst mood. Why? The natural man was taking me over with hunger! (literally) It's such a weakness of mine to become onry when I am hungry. We were about to get on the bus and I knew that I was going to have to open my mouth and talk to people, regardless of how I was feeling. These people are so interesting. I've heard it at least 30 times that they are like a watermelon, or like an orange... they have this hard shell on the outside, they literally look so scary to talk to! But as soon as you smile at them and ask how they are doing they light up and smile right back at you. I sat down and smiled at the woman beside me, and what do you know? She smiled back:) We started into a friendly conversation... at least as far as we could talk with my level of understanding. As she was about to get off the bus she reached into her bag and pulled out a few apples. I was so thrilled! She gave me the apples and I gave her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet.
Oh what a little tender mercy! (although I feel it was quite an unfair trade... fruit of eternal life vs.... fruit). However, it was just a testimony to me that God knows us all so well. He knows what's good for us. Although we may not want to do things, he can see the benefits from obedience, but we are left in the dark until we act. I want to make a challenge to anyone who reads this to think to yourself: why not trust him? Trust him who knows everything. Trust him who loves you with a perfect love. Trust him who is always waiting for you, he wants YOU! No matter how lost you feel you are, he is ALWAYS with his lost sheep, you just need to turn around to see that he is there. He always will be there.
|Want to know more about what Brooklyn shared in return for an apple?|
Give yourself to God, give up your will. After all, what can you make of yourself without him? You can make of yourself a man. Give yourself to Him and he will make of you a god.