January 19, 2015
Saratov is wonderful. Oh my goodness and the members... there is one member named S. Man, I wish you could all meet him. He makes me laugh so hard, I literally don't think there is anything better in the world that laughter. It makes everything so much better. We went over to their house the other night and they kept us waaay too long just telling us amazing stories about how they joined the church, we finally just had to pretty much literally walk out the door as he was in the middle of one of his tangents.
My companion is Sister Busman and she is a powerhorse. She never sits down to rest, I have to remind her that she should probably actually get some food into her stomach for lunch :) She's always making calls or doing something, and it is her last cycle, so I am having to sprint to keep up with her. She loves to sing Russian hymns as we walk down the streets together (I have no idea how she memorized any of them) and her and I run up and down 10 flights of stairs for exercise in the mornings, we've been so sore lately! But it feels sooo good to finally exercise.
This area is super busy with less active and new convert work. We are constantly running from one place to another, I am really just wondering how we are going to have any time to find some investigators to teach.
We have really trying to get a hold of two new converts who we just baptized last year and have pretty much ever since then disappeared. One is A, the other is N. A is about 20 years old, he has freckles and has a quiet confidence about him. N is about 60 I would say and has all gold teeth, all but one real tooth on the top row. But her smile really isn't scary looking, I love her smile :) I was privileged to be at A's baptism because we happened to be on splits with the sister training leaders that weekend. I saw so much light in this young man's eyes. I could really see so much potential in him. But Satan has been working hard on him, he got a job and is now studying and it's been a difficult transition for him. This week while struggling to get lessons with members, it seems that all has fallen through. So interesting how hard you try, God makes it so that no body will answer their phones to set up lessons because he really wants you to meet someone on the street. One night when all plans fell through we decided to go to a less active and then a member, well the less active lesson fell through, so we went over to the member's house a little earlier since we had nothing to do before that. Just as we were about to walk into her apartment I noticed a boy walking on the street, his back was toward us and I couldn't see his face, and suddenly my mouth blurted out, "A!!!" The boy turned, and sure enough it was A. He ran over to us and we were able to remind him of who he is, and what is most important and that without God he cannot reach his potential. He was so happy to see us, and I know that the spirit really touched him. I know that I did not just "happen" to be at A's baptism, I wouldn't have been able to recognize him and call out to him if I hadn't have been there.
Then N, who was also just barely baptized... her family found out that she joined the church and turned on her. She decided to move, considering all the family problems and some problems with her apartment... and we lost all contact with her. Well the other night as we were running somewhere again, late again actually... we were giving out church invitations while still trying to hurry up... one of the invitations fell into the hands of who? N. God had placed her right on our path. It turns out that she returned to the city just to grab a few things that she had forgotten, and she agreed to meet with us at least one last time this week considering that Sister Busman is leaving Russia for good in just a few weeks. We had been praying so fervently for both of these new members and Heavenly Father is taking care of them, he put not just one, but both of them on our pathes this week. If that's not a miracle, then I don't know what is.
Also... the other night on the bus I was sitting by a girl about my age, and I asked her if she has ever wondered if God really exists. She said she didn't know if he did or didn't. And I said, "you can find out! Do you want to find out?" I explained that she can know that he is there through prayer... she just looked at me a little shocked, and then looked down at the book sitting on my lap. She asked what the book was, and I put the Book of Mormon in her hands. She was just thumbing through the pages and really admiring it. Then her mother looked over and grabbed the book and put it back in my hands. I insisted that it was a gift for her daughter but the mom insisted that I take it back. Both me and the girl looked at each other with sad eyes and she turned to her mom and said, "maybe I could just read a little bit of it...?" Her mom responded with a strict no. So sad :( But I know that this girl will never forget the Book of Mormon, next time she sees it she will be ready :)
I am doing well as an individual, I actually had a rather eye opening experience last night. My mood the entire day had been really sour, and I had been trying to suppress it the best that I could with prayer. As we were hurrying to a meeting with somebody I pulled out my phone and just began to make calls to members to simply thank them for the service that they render. It was wonderful, we thanked them for their care and concern and help and told them that we love them. It was wonderful to hear how shocked they were that we actually weren't calling for help :) It just made me feel so good, being grateful, and you know what? Doing something that small and simple changed my whole mood! Really the whole night I had the spirit with me and I just felt like a butterfly. I will have to say that I definitely benefited from the "service" than they did :)
I feel a little frantic writing this letter, we really don't have much time today so I feel like I'm all over the place. I hope everything makes sense :)
Have a wonderful week everyone!
Sister Brooklyn Wilson