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! 

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