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 

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