Friday, January 16, 2015

Samara - Week 23 - "The Saratov Approach"

                                                      January 5, 2015
All is well,
Russians certainly know how to celebrate New Years... there's been lots of drunks on the streets lately that's for sure! But in Balakovo we have a member with us on the streets every single night, so it's okay :) We had to be inside at 6:00 and I set some good New Years resolutions. However, I think I would have stayed up all night long on New Years if it weren't for my ear plugs. I woke up at 3:00 in the morning and took them out just to see if there were still fireworks going. Russian fireworks sound like bombs... and our neighbors were still bouncing off the walls, playing music at full blast, 3:00 in the morning :) Thank goodness for ear plugs. Somehow my companion can sleep through anything. I can't even sleep if I hear somebody breathing loud, I am the most OCD sleeper. Anyway, interesting facts about Sis Wilson... anyways...

If I could describe the view that I see of Russian people every day... I would say that everyone looks like they are dressed for going sledding or snowboarding all the time. Snowboots, snowpants, patterned snow jackets. It's kind of silly looking to me :) There are also women who are dressed like divas in long fur jackets and high heeled boots. And yes, everyone pretty much wears the same outfit every day, and let's be honest. Every sister missionary has that one skirt that they wear every single day... mine is the grey ruffle j. crew skirt. 

This week, what happened? Wellll... Mom your worst nightmare is about to come true :) 
I'm leaving Balakovo, and I will be serving in Saratov, Solnochney area. And mom don't you worry one bit! My companion is Sister Busman, she trained sister Martinez, I am really about to get whipped into shape. She's the most obedient sister in the mission, 
actually maybe the most obedient missionary in the mission period. 
And obedience equals safety, therefore do not worry about me in Saratov :) 
I loooove Sister Martinez so so much, we've grown so much together, but we both know that our time together is up, we've seen amazing things in Balakovo, and now it's time for me to leave my cradle. My work in Balakovo is done, and any work that went undone will be made right by the Atonement. I have heard that the area that I am going to right now is struggling a bit and I am really just so excited to work with Sister Busman. It's her last cycle and I know that she is going to work me to death but I am sooo ready for it. I know Sister Busman and the way she works is like a bulldog. If you're wondering what kind of prayers I'm going to be needing... it will be prayers of physical and mental energy. We'll be doing a lot of finding in Saratov! 

Remember Sv? She was baptized while I was here, and we have been teaching her parents now. Well the other day we went over to their home and told them that I would be leaving and Sv's father was shifting in his chair and kepting saying, "For good? Are you coming back? Do you have a warm apartment there? Who will you be with?" Then Sv's mother burst into tears and said, "But we're already used to you." Oh it just broke my heart! I am in love with these people, it made me feel so grateful that someone can feel that way about me. It often seems hard to love so fully with this language barrier, but with us speaking to them in their native language they can feel that love so purely. Yes, Russian is hard! But if I won't preach the gospel in Russian then who will? Someone's gotta do it :) And I'm so glad that I was also able to tell my Heavenly Father, "send me!" 

Miracles... well about 3 weeks ago my companion and I got off a bus where we had just been yelled at by basically a mob of angry women. We stood there a moment with our heads down and a few seconds later a woman approached us and asked if we were from Germany, we told her no, told her we were from America, and then began to explain our purpose in Russia. She took a Book of Mormon, then almost immediately gave us her phone number and address, and then came to church with us the next day. WOW, what a miracle right? Well we FINALLY got to meet with her this week, and she told us that when she saw us she had a warm feeling come over her and she felt strongly prompted to approach us. I was in shock when I heard that. We hadn't even explained to her who the Holy Ghost is, what he does, and what he feels like, and she pretty much just perfectly described the third member of the Godhead :) That's the first time someone has said something like that to me on my mission! It just built a testimony in me that not only is God real to me, but he is real to all people, if a very literal sense. It really IS the spirit that does the work, and not us, because SHE came up to us. That goes to show me that God really is preparing people. That he does the work. Did Sa. get baptized because of us? No... We didn't even find her, she happened to be the daughter of a woman we met on the street. Actually now that I think about it, the majority of the investigators that we have right now haven't even come up because of our own findings, God has led them all to us. I remember when I first came to Balakovo... and Balakovo is literally overflowing with miralces right now. And I can honestly say that it's not thanks to me! It's all God, he led us to every single person. I'm sad to be leaving during such a special time... but I do know that my work here is done. I am ready for Saratov :)

Enjoy the new year, make new years resolutions and write them down! Otherwise, like Scott Robley used to say, "You have goals? Really? Have you written them down? No...? Ohhhh, so you have wishes!" A goal is a wish until you write it down :)

With Love, Sister Wilson 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Samara - Week 22 - "Oh man, Christmas was wonderful!"

Four beautiful "Sisters in Zion" Russia
December 29, 2015

All is well!

Oh man, Christmas was wonderful :) It was so good to see that everyone is actually still in fact alive. I do have to say that talking to my brothers in Russian what pretty interesting... and Tanner I do have to admit that yes, your accent was pretty awful ;) Somehow you need to keep up with your Russian! You once had that perfected! Now watch, I'll get home from my mission and get swept up in life and forget it all too. You can never judge a person until you are in their exact sitation (AKA someone who is living the life that will lead to the life of a billionaire) I can't image how busy you are. 

Sister Wilson & Sister Martinez
After skyping with everyone, we sat down for a moment with the member that we were with, Sv... We were definitely meant to be at her house that day ... to be with her. She is 52 years old, and her one desire is to be married only so that she can talk to somebody about the gospel at any time that she wants to. She has had a HARD life, full of abuse and neglect, being thrown down out the door and down stairs by former husband. Being blamed for the death of someone. Having children leave the church... going on a "mini-mission" only a few days after she had a stroke... she's tried to take her own life a few times while she was young and people always came to her rescue. Once as she was about to walk out into the middle of the road in front of a car, a woman took her by the hand and jerked her off the road. I mean honestly the things this woman has been through has been truly awful. She just sat and told us that we need to focus on finding young people so we can help them know how to deal with these sorrows and pains earlier than later in life. By the end of her venting all of us were crying and my dear companion suggested that we get down on our knees and pray. Oh Sv, she just sobbed and sobbed and begged her Heavenly Father for help and comfort but thanked him for the Plan of Salvation. What would we do without that knowledge? The atonement will make everything okay. Everything that isn't okay in this life will be made fair in the next life. What a blessing to know that relief will one day come. Sv helped me to see that missionary work really IS the most important thing that we can do in our lives, helping people to know that they don't need to suffer. Because we have a Redeemer who has already suffered all. THAT is the message to the world, that truly peace and joy can in fact be found in this life. 

Sometimes I look at this mission life and I wish there was a veil. Can you imagine how homesick we would get for our heavenly home without the veil? Why can't we see God, or remember Him? First of all that wouldn't be faith, and second of all, It think that our hearts would break from homesickness! However, I do have to admit that when I was done skyping you, it gave me a lot of gratitude that I am here in Russia, I love you SO MUCH. But I am learning so so much here, and I am definitely not ready to be home yet :) I still have so much to learn. I gotta build my own firm foundation before I can come back. And wow has that foundation been built, it's just being forified now. 

We had zone conference this week as well on the 26th and it was just perfect. It was 10 hours of a spiritual FEAST. I have never felt so satisfied spiritually! I am all regenerated and ready to work my tail off this year. Also Sister Schwab made Christmas dinner and it was soooo goood. Mom, I was so stuffed. I promised myself I would't do it, but I haven't had a homemade meal in so long. I couldn't help myself :) I love the Schwabs so much. They will be a part of my life forever, I am certain of that. They are the perfect example of a happily married couple as well. I want a good humble husband like president Schwab. He's probably the most humble man I know. 

I am just choosing to be happy. I am choosing to see the little miracles and then RUN with it. When I see something small, for example on Christmas Eve I was actually feeling like someone was holding me back, my desire to work was small. But nonetheless I did have a desire. We approached 3 women and 2 of them took Books of Mormon, that little miracle sparked our hearts and we decided to run back home and give out 10 copies of the Book of Mormon that day, I have heard of missionaries doing that and just thinking, "That is IMPOSSIBLE! How can you do that?!" Well that's just it, we can't! God softens people's hearts and we gave out 13 Books of Mormon. It built my testimony that we display a desire and then act upon that desire (AKA faith) and then God gives us a little miracle, and the small miracles lead to BIG miracles! 

I can't wait for the new year. This will pretty much be my year to give to God. I will be back before Christmas, but looking back on this past year I am just blown away at how fast it went by... this year will likewise fly by. I am SO EXCITED and ANXIOUS to see what this year has to give :) And what I can't wait to give my all to Russia for the sake of my Heavenly Father and his only begotten son.

Merry Christmas to you all. 

Love you :)
Sister Brooklyn Wilson 

Sister Wilson mentioned that "the Atonement will make everything okay". What did she mean by that?  Find out more about the Atonement HERE

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Samara - Week 21 - "Russia is White!!!"

December 22, 2015

Merry Christmas :)

All is well.

Russia is WHITE right now :) and so, so beautiful. Right before it snowed though, it rained and the streets were just pure ice. Have you ever seen that video of the day on BYU campus when the ground was frozen solid and everyone was just sliding every where? Yeah that happened here. I thought it would be fun to count how many times I've fallen in Russian by slipping on ice. It's not even funny anymore. Everyone is just always falling all over the place and no one laughs, you just get up, brush off your bum, and keep walking. There's not even a thing you can do to stop yourself from falling. You have the realization that you are slipping and two seconds later you are not on your bum or your knees but all the way upside down on your back. It's wonderful. 

And Moooommmm! We got a call on Wednesday and it was from Roman the van driver (AKA Santa Claus) and he said that he would be at our apartment in 40 minutes with our Christmas gifts. I was jumping up and down for joy. I know Christmas isn't about presents... but just to get something from some loved ones overwhelmed me with happiness.  I can say for sure that it would not even feel like Christmas without the decorations and MUSIC. Like dad said last week in his letter, Christmas isn't Christmas without Christmas music. When I put in our family's "Christmas music" the one that we listen to ALL the time, before and after Christmas... I just started tearing up. I am so grateful for those sweet Christmas melodies. It makes me feel at home with the apple cider candle and Christmas snowflakes and a few little stockings. Know what? I have never had a Christmas that I HAVEN'T looked forward to. I have always looked forward to Christmas for one reason or another. What a blessing, some people have looked to Christmas with sorrow or dread knowing that they will perhaps be lonely during such a special time of year, and God has blessed us all so much with people to love, with something to always look forward to. I'm here with my dear companion who I love to pieces, we are just best best friends, and I even get to celebrate Christmas with my own family :) Sister Martinez and I have Christmas all planned out :) We'll wake up, open our stockings and cute little presents, then we'll have some homemade french toast (every day so far on the mission it's been eggs, cereal, or oatmeal, BORING) and book it over to one of the members at about 9:00 to Skype home. Then after we'll be heading to Zone conference in Saratov. WHOA. What a day. 

My companion and I have really focused on faith this week by realizing that no matter how impossible things seem, God is ALL powerful, I love seeing God exercise his power to soften the hearts of people. I love witnessing God exercise his power in such a manner, it is so humbling, it shows God's tender love and mercy toward us. When the father approached Jesus and asked him to heal his son Christ didn't say, "Do you believe that your son can be healed?" He said, "Believe ye that I can do this?" Do we believe that CHRIST can do this? YES, we believe that Christ can do it. It is the most humbling thought, because we all know that we cannot, but Christ can, and WILL. 

We are praying SO fervently for miracles. Just begging for them! We're doing all we can! All we can do is say, "please Father, do what we can't!" When we are stuck in places or it seems that we can't move forward anymore we ask God in FAITH to please bless us with miracles, change our circumstances, change the hearts of people, and he's doing it. I have seen it too many times this week to claim that it came from me. This week I sat on bus transport and began talking to a woman, I made small talk at the beginning, explaining that my friend and I are from America. I then brought up the Book of Mormon with her, she says that she has one, and it sits at her home with her bible. Sadly RIGHT after she brought up the fact that she had a Book of Mormon a woman sitting across from me on the bus had overheard our conversation and began yelling at me saying that I am NOT an American, she said, "I studied French and English in school, and I couldn't get the intination or accents right even after YEARS." (at that point I wanted to tell her that we can only even speak Russian so quickly because our teacher is GOD, who also happens to speak perfect Russian) Then the woman standing next to her looked at me and also said, "Yeah, you even LOOK Russian!" Before I knew it I had about 3 or 4 woman yelling at me. And all I could say was, "I am so sorry I really don't understand all that you are saying!" They probably thought I was a spy. Sadly, I didn't even have time to see that the woman with whom I was talking with had gotten up and was exiting the bus. Thankfully the conductor knows us and asked that I stood up and sat somewhere else away from the mean women yelling at us. My companion and I got off the bus a little bummed out. We just stood there a moment with our shoulders a little slumped. I was SO bummed because I knew that that woman would have wanted to meet with us, but I didn't get the chance to ask for her number. But, about 5 seconds later, a woman gets off the bus and says, "Hey! Are you two from Germany?" She noticed that we were being picked on while we were on the bus and she knew we really weren't Russians (really it is pretty obvious, we have ridiculous accents). Well, she turns out to be just about the nicest lady, we told her our purpose here and she gave us her address, and phone number and said she was VERY interested in talking to us. The best part is that she came to church with us yesterday. Heavenly Father works through mysterious means, and persecution sometimes brings unseen blessings :)

Something that I have learned from this work is that not only is it fun 
(really it is fun, I can't imagine going home and just walking past someone on the street without stopping them to talk about the gospel, it's so fun) 
but it brings JOY. Real joy! What is joy even? I'd have to say long lasting happiness :) Whatever brings God joy will bring us joy, and what does God want? 
To bring to pass the imortality and eternal life of man, I am doing what brings God joy, no matter I am so happy :) You can even do that at home. Think to yourself...
Everything you have is because God loves you. God loves us, he gave his Son, 
the Son gave his life... what could we possibly give God? 
Well let's just remember Mosiah 2:17... 
And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom
that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings 
ye are only in the service of your God. 
and help someone feel God's love through YOU. What else can we give him? 
He has all, we can't give HIM any material things, he really doesn't even want that. 
The only thing that will bring the world pure, real joy is Christ. 
He's eternal the only real eternal source of joy. 

I feel that I've done a 180 degree turn from about 10 days ago. I was feeling very low, and some of that feeling is still there if I let it creep in. But I am just trying with all my might to have hope and to push it out. And more than anything, I have noticed that it has been Christ who picked me off my feet and is now carrying me through (likely) one of the hardest parts of the race, the hardest part of the mission experience. I am just endlessly grateful for his mercy, I am so so grateful and I feel that he's blessing me with the love that I need for my companion and the members that I've never experienced before. I really LOVE them. I know that this love did not come by itself, I am not even capable of creating such a gigantic love. It's a different feeling, like the language barrier is FINALLY disolving and we all just understand that we're brothers and sisters and we all love each other :) This love was given from God. My companion is a champion and we both rely and trust each other to be responsible, we are examples for each other and she is one of my best friends. Wow I am just so so grateful to be here. President not only is missionary work becoming FUN, but it is giving me JOY! I am just filled with God's love for this work. My desires are becoming his desires. And what's the difference been? Realizing that I can't deliver myself from darkness, only Christ can. And all I can do is push forward and pray with all my might and exercise faith that he won't leave me in the dark, he will lead me by the hand. 

Merry Christmas to everyone. I am just living in love in this part of God's vineyard. 
What a blessing to be on a mission right now. It's true, I've never been more tired, 
I've never felt so weak, but I've never felt so happy and I've never loved something more 
in my life. I only have one Christmas in Russian, one Christmas as a missionary, 
and I will forever remember my Russian missionary Christmas :)

Loooove, Sister Wilson :)

PS: I gave a talk in sacrament meeting yesterday and my district leader had to point to the clock and tell me to wrap it up! I could have gone on and on, WOW who knew I would ever be able to do that in another language? And I have to say I am very UNTALENTED in school, SPORTS (wow it's not even funny how uncoordinated I am) but he has been pretty merciful to me in regards to this language. What a good Heavenly Father. Although I'll be honest, I can still only understand about 60% of what I hear, but that 40% just gives me motivation to keep pushing! 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Samara - Week 20 - "I Love Shubas!"

December 15, 2015
All is well :)

As I laid in my bed last night, I realized that I have never done so much in such a small amount of time. I literally can't believe what happens in a 3 hour evening or even in one day. Things change drastically from week to week in life. I have never been more busy and I've never been doing anything more worthwhile! 

It's really not been too cold down here, but I'm going out to buy some new boots today... pffft... my boots were supposedly waterproof. I didn't last 2 hours in the snow with them this week! There's snow everywhere right now :) so beautiful, and much warmer. 

We are seeing miralces! The elders and us had 7 investigators at church yesterday and they just ate it all up! They are elect and ready, they loved church, they are reading the scriptures, and they are willing to meet with us. We do what we can, we humble ourselves, recognize that he is all powerful and merciful, then step back and say, "That is all I can do God, please do what I can't." And he is doing it. 

We had exchanges with the Sister training leaders this week again and WOW I was so happy to get out of Balakovo. It was just such a fresh breath of air. And Sister Busman is just a bulldog. She is from Sweden and it was so awesome to work with her. I've never met a more obedient missionary, I love all these example missionaries around me. This day with Sister Busman is a day that I will never forget :) 

This is a Shuba!
This is also a Shuba ...
It's Russian herring under "fur coat" salad. 

I wonder which one Sister Wilson would prefer?

I have heard about days on your mission that you will never forget, but this one is engrained in my memory. We were out knocking at 8:30 and it was almost time to go home, and then suddenly I had this reassuring feeling rush over me, I just felt comfort. I don't even know why, and then Sister Busman turns to me and says, "I have a feeling that something amazing is about to happen." Her saying that just confirmed to me that the Holy Ghost had touched us both. Then suddenly a man walks by who earlier had slammed the door in our face and says, "try apt. 116, someone there may be interested." So we hop on the elevator and standing there in front of us is this beautiful young woman in a white fur coat with dainty little gloves, glamorous high heeled boots, and naturally curly hair. We began talking with her and turns out that we even got off on the same floor with us. She then says, "Want some tea?" Sister Busman gladly accepted and walked in her home. I was just dying over her fur coat. (They are called "shubas" and I want one soooo baaad. I don't know what it is with Russians and fur but I am suddenly obsessed with fur. Me and clothes... the natural man really gets me there.) Her name was D, she looks like she's 18 but she's 23. We sat down with a drink and chocolate and talked about our relationship with God and prayer. She was thinking very hard and was so open with us. As we were talking with D I just had a feeling come over me that I have known her before, and that we had once hugged and maybe shed a tear or two before we departed down to earth :) It was love at first sight! That thing called a language barrier did not even exist with her, I have never experienced that on my mission yet. Where I just felt like I was automatically best friends with someone. That language barrier burst with my dear friend D. I know that my friendship with her started before this life and that it will extend to the next. She promised to pray... but she looked a little sad when we asked if we could come by again sometime. Her husband is a bit of a jerk, WHY. Whyyyy?? I'm just praying for her. I know that's not going to be her last meeting with missionaries, that's for sure. 

Also we had a taxi ride this week while we were on exchanges with the sister training leaders. Both Sister Martinez and I were exhausted, and I don't know what it is about car rides but they just make you THAT much more tired. Regardless of how tired we were we made conversation with the taxi driver the best we could. He understood so clearly. He understood why we don't wear crosses and why we don't pay for baptism and why the orthodox church probably isn't God's church... he just said he'd never even heard of our church. He'd never heard of this "Joseph Smith guy". His questions were so beautiful too, our favorite type of questions... "how will I know this is true?" We explained prayer and he didn't even know that we can pray with our own words. He promised to pray to find out if this is all true and we asked him the baptismal question. He said he will be baptized if God reveals to him the truth. The best part of all of this is that he lives SO close to the sister training leaders and he's seen them many times. We're not allowed to talk to men on the streets unless prompted by the spirit, and so Heavenly Father sent him to us in a taxi :)

First of all I want to copy and paste something in this letter that happened in our mission just recently, this is from our president's letter. (sorry you'll have to change the format to forward this) "While I did not participate much in it, I was nonetheless able to see it as an eyewitness. About a week ago, a man called the office and Elder Ledford answered and transferred him in to President Blinkov. The man said he was from a city called Dimitrovgrad, in the northern part of the mission. He and about 15 other men had been studying and wanted to be taught and start a Mormon church in the city!

Last Thursday, President Blinkov, two Elders and I drove to Dimitrovgrad and met with three leaders of the group. I have never seen people more prepared to hear the Gospel. They had already studied quite a bit about the Church online. The two Elders did a great job of teaching the Restoration and at the conclusion of the First Vision, the men, almost as one, joyfully indicated how amazing they felt inside and that they knew how they felt could only come from God. All three accepted invitations to be baptized and to read the Book of Mormon. Follow-up appointments (and lessons to others in the group) will be held this week. 

Did any of the missionaries involved do anything to convince the men to call? No. This was, plain and simple, a wondrous blessing given directly from God to all of us. I believe that it, and many other wonderful miracles I am reading about in your letters, are being given by our loving Heavenly Father because we are ASKING for miracles."

This letter is already long, but wow aren't we so blessed to experience such miralces in our lives? And really do you think that WE can do this? No way! I can't get even 1 investigator to church on my own, I can't make anyone read the Book of Mormon. I can't soften anyone's heart. We trust God, we rely on Christ, and we listen to the spirit. And miracles with happen. I wouldn't trade this experience for 500 shubas... I love my mission :) and I love how close it's bringing me to my maker.

With love,
Sister Wilson 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Samara - Week 19 - "His Grace really is Sufficient"

December 8, 2014
All is well :)

It may be cold there ... but this beautiful
sister missionary radiates warmth and goodness!
Wow a LOT happened this week. Like I said... last Monday started off a little rough. Well I want to share what happened Monday night. We were walking home with our ward mission leader and I shared with him that I'm hitting a bit of a rough patch in the mission right now. I don't really know what I was thinking or why I decided to tell Zhenya what I was feeling, but he understood that I was struggling a little. That night at about 10:00 Zhenya called and said, "Sister Wilson I want to say something to you and I don't want you to ask any questions." Well that scared me a tad to be honest! But I said okay. He went on to say that he understands that this is a harder time in my mission right now... that I've been out a few months and I'm understanding what people mean when they said that missions are hard. But he told me, "I know that you are in Balakovo for a reason. You have changed someone's life. Yes, my life has been changed by you and that is wonderful, but I am talking about someone else. I testify to you that I have seen someone specific, with my own eyes, who has been changed by your testimony." My heart was so full and so grateful for my branch mission leader in that moment, I don't think I could have heard any more encouraging of words. He said to me, "I will not tell you who it is, because that's just how a mission is. If you knew all the blessings that come from missionary work then it wouldn't be an act of faith. If you knew all the blessings it would bring you in the future, or to your family, or to others, it would be so easy! But that's not how God works." And isn't that just so true? What kind of trial of faith would that be? Zhenya said, I love you like one of my own sisters, and then asked to speak to sister Martinez. He said something to her on the phone and she nodded her head and said, "yes of course." then she came to my side and gave me a big hug. Zhenya is such a good friend. I went to bed with a big smile on my face :)

And THENNN the next morning I got a phone call from one of the senior couples :) Sister Weight read to me something that started with, "Brookie Wookie......" And ended with, "don't you worry!" And who was it from? My dear aunt Marg. I am so happy they are friends hahahaha. Once again I was brought some comfort. I cannot believe how much love and comfort I have around me. I have literally never felt more weak in my life, but I've also never felt more loved and supported. 

Now for some miracles and a little bit of a happier note.... 

The other night while we were planning Sister Martinez and I were figuring out what numbers we wanted to fill in for "key indicators" we got to the referrals part and usual we just skip over that or right in a number a little less than thoughtfully... but this time I said, "Sister Martinez I refuse to write a number in this column unless we actually think we're going to get it, do you REALLY think we'll get it?" And bless my companion's heart she used her faith and said confidentally, "Yes!!" Well... the next day while we were contacting, we stopped a woman and showed her the Book of Mormon... well she asked if she could have 2 of them to give to someone else at work, and she also asked for a few brochures. That was amazing by itself, but then we asked the question, "Do you know anyone else who would be interested in this?" And she gave us the apartment of someone along with their names and told us their problems and how the gospel could help them. Heavenly Father helped us reach the goal :) 
Then other night we were out knocking. It was a 9 story building with over 70 apartments. There were maybe 3 people who stopped to talk to us, but Heavenly Father blessed us with a miracle... no one yelled at us :) He softened many hearts that night. We were with Zhenya, our ward mission leader. He was talking about how it's hard for people to believe that we don't get paid for this. He said honestly I am surprised sometimes myself that you aren't paid too, you are in cold Russia, speaking Russian, trying to teach Russians about a Loving Heavenly Father. At that moment I realized that wow... he's right. That seems crazy. But it's worth it, it really is worth it. I have learned some of the greatest life lessons out here so far. I have never learned more about sacrifice in my life. You think a mission is hard? You think having no breaks is hard? Hmmm... do you get breaks from being a wife or a mother? Nope, it's a full time job :) And this is thee best preparation I can have for any part of my future. It's a sacrifice that is so so worth it. 

Sometimes the reality of where I am and what I am doing really hits me. I am taking blows left and right from the devil himself. I, Sister Wilson, am standing on the front lines, taking the heaviest strikes and blows. And at the same time that we are falling back, we are striving to push forward. Of course it's exhausting, of course it's hard! But it's worth it. Because nothing else can save mankind. The more I preach it, the more I beileve it. The more I am just blown away at the beauty of it. Why does missionary work even exist? Because God loves ALL his children. There are no exceptions, ZERO. There is not a single person left out of God's plan. 

Heavenly Father inspired me to review a talk yesterday that once answered my prayers "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox.  And really it just brought me so much comfort remembering that God is long-suffering. What does long-suffering mean? He understands! I was reminded that repentance isn't about overnight change, but it is about change. I am so grateful that God understands me and that the atonement is always there as long as I need it, I am never outside of the reach of his atonement. The only time we have ever really failed at anything is when we stop trying. If any of you haven't read that talk... please do :) it answered my prayers this week, reminded me that God is merciful and understanding, and I know it will help you understand one of the more broad subjects of the gospel: Grace. And his grace really is sufficient, in every single way, all the time.

I am endlessly grateful to be here :) I know that I have a Savior and Redeemer, those words really mean something different when you feel that you need to be saved. :)

With love,

Sister Brooklyn Wilson 

* Sister Wilson referred to the talk "His Grace is Sufficient" by Bro Brad Wilcox. To read or listen to the talk, just click the link in that paragraph above. 
Brad Wilcox was serving as a member of the Sunday School General Board of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as a BYU associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education in the David O. McKay School of Education when this devotional address was given on 12 July 2011.