Sunday, December 14, 2014

Samara - Week 14 - "Swallowed up in the Joy of Christ"

October 27, 2014
All is well,

Wow. I can't believe what can happen in one day on the mission. I feel like I gain an entire week's worth of experience in one day. 

We had our first snow in Russia. All I can say is that I really wish I would have worn a hat and mittens that day :) Everyone has been saying that there's never been such a cold October... and that it's going to be a very cold winter. However, I feel like people say that every year. 

This week while we were working with our amazing ward missionary leader, Zhenya, who is also one of my most beloved friends, he asked me, "Sister Wilson, have you seen Jurassic Park?" Of course I have... well Zhenya had a Jurassic Park dream, and said that everyone in his dream could stand still when the T-rex came marching around, everyone but me. I just couldn't stand still. I got a really good kick out of that :) 

ALSO, S. got baptized! It was an amazing day. Truly. The people at her baptism were Sister Martinez and I, the Elders, Zhenya, and another member. 7 people total. I actually think that the small crowd made it really special and personal for her. She was so nervous for the baptism, she's been worrying about it all week. Sister Martinez and I gave the talks. Mine was on the Holy Ghost, I read John 14:26, and as I was about to close I was prompted to read one more verse, verse 27: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. When I looked up at S. her eyes her filled with emotion and I know that it is because the Holy Ghost compelled me to read that scripture. He fulfilled his purpose as comforter, and Svetlana was filled with peace. And oh how happy she was after she was baptized! Just beaming. So clean :) A brand new beginning.

My companion and I have really been focusing on faith lately, and especially faith in Christ. At the beginning of this week every one of our possible plans fell through and we had a day of contacting. I don't know if it was the weather or what exactly it was... but people were being very onry with us that morning (actually they were being flat out rude to be honest). The day wasn't looking so bright. However, when we noticed that discouragement was beginning to sink in we decided to pray, and we prayed with faith in Christ, praying for and expecting to see a miracle. And not 3 minutes after that prayer we began to have success. We met 2 people who took Books of Mormon and want to meet with us again! Ol. and L. 

We had a return appointment with Ol. and had a small lesson about prayer, As we were about to leave her apartment she mentioned that her neighbor saw her Book of Mormon and he asked if Ol. knew where he could get one for himself. I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped, I thought that happened only happened in fairytales! (the funny thing is we met with another one of our investigators the next day and the exact same thing happened, she asked us for another Book of Mormon for her friend who is interested in reading it). And THEN the other day we called this woman, L., and she has already read 6 chapters from the Book of Mormon. Getting someone to read the Book of Mormon is not an easy thing, believe it or not. When people read the Book of Mormon on their own they are truly elect! People are becoming so interested in the gospel! 

This morning we read Alma 31:38
38 And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith.

Those 2 people that we met that day have been so promising, we've continuted to see miracles through them. And it is because we prayed in faith. When we pray in faith our afflictions can be swallowed up in the joy of Christ, and oh how sweet is that joy! We were truly afflicted that day, our hearts were depressed and we were about to turn back, but we decided to pray with faith in Christ, and that made all the difference. 

I have a problem that's really not that big of a problem. Every night when I lay down to go to sleep I have the biggest smile on my face, I feel SO HAPPY. I am filled with the spirit as I lay down to go to sleep, I am filled with exceedingly GREAT joy, (the problem is that those emotions cause me to lay awake for 30 minutes because they're so magnificent haha) But why?! What have I done to deserve this? I can't believe the experiences we are having. I can't beileve the success we are seeing, and let me just say that it is NOT because of us. There is no way we could see these miracles on our own. We forget so many things, we are late a lot of the time, but our desires and intentions are so pure. And you know what? God sees those desires that we have and he runs with them! 

I came to an epiphany the other night while I was praying. The words of a talk came into my head, and I was reminded that God wants a servant, not a "great missionary" someone who wants to become a great missionary most likely wants the glory for himself. Someone who wants to be a servant wants to do what God wants done on earth. If God can trust us he can do AMAZING things with us, we literally become instruments in his hands. I want to share part of one of my favorite talks, it is called "The fourth missionary" :) 

"Just give it up. Surrender your will to him. Unconditionally. Withholding nothing. Turn it all over to him; all your desires, wishes, dreams, and hopes. Be true and faithful in your head and in your heart, not just in your behavior. Trust in Him. Trust Him who knows all things. Trust Him who has all power. Trust Him whose love for you in perfect. Trust Him, who alone suffered, paid, and atoned for your sins, and for your weaknesses as well. Trust Him that He will make of your immeasurably more than what you will ever, ever, in all eternity make of yourself. He will create of you a masterpiece. You will creat of you only a smudge. You will create an ordinary man. He will create a God."

May we all strive to be a servant, rather than a great cook, a great mom, a great missionary, a great football player. Let us be a great servant. He can make of us so much more than we can make of ourselves. I know that. I know that with all my heart. He is the one who created us, he is the only one who can change us. Trust Him who loves you and knows you perfectly. 

Sister Brooklyn Wilson 

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