January 12, 2015
All is well :)
Saratov has been treating me well! I am just so glad to get a fresh breath of air. However, I would have to say that 90% of the time when I ask people, do you like living here? They say, "No! It's so dirty!" I haven't really noticed yet. All that I've seen for the past few months is snow. The other day it was freeeezing outside, I thought that maybe it was -9 or something, but turns out that it was -17. Wow! I've never experienced that in my life, also my hands have never been more cold in my life. Basically cold weather isn't as cold as everyone makes it out to be. Your body stays warm pretty well, but legs and hands and noses freeze :)
|Sister Busman and Sister Wilson|
My new companion is Sister Busman and it has been such a wonderful time with her. She is from Sweden and I think she would be wonderful friends with Annika Jaccard :) I have always thought that she is the most obedient missionary in the mission and that it would be kind of hard serving with her because she is so strict, but she has helped me to realize how obedient I actually I am too :) She is so loving and will do ANYTHING to make you comfortable and happy. We work together well and are both equally pulling that yoke. Our apartment is brand new and really quite nice :) a lot nicer than my last apartment, and a WHOLE LOT nicer that the Riviera, holy cow. I still can't believe I went to college. That feels like a dream.
On Wednesday and Thursday we had our visa trip. That was a rough experience. I did a lot of self reflecting while on and definitely after the visa trip. Some problems came up that really made me realize that my mission, THIS time is literally between God and me, and NO ONE else. I realized that I still have some problems that I didn't even notice still existed! I was a little bit disgusted to me honest, and it seemed that a lot of the missionaries forgot that they were missionaries while they were on that visa trip. It made me feel like I was back in high school. I just felt awful looking at Sister Busman and seeing that inner conflict she was having wondering whether or not she should speak up and tell some of the missionaries to stop goofing off. She is such a shining example, I'm so grateful for her as my companion, I could trust that little Swedish girl with anything.
Still praying for miracles. And when we don't have time to talk to every one on the way side we ask for Heavenly Father to somehow send people to us or to put them on our path when we finally do have time, we're just running all over the place right now. I would say that I see miracles most when I am quietly making my way somewhere and I say small prayers in my heart to let me pleeease have a miracle on the bus. Let me give out a Book of Mormon! That is the most satisfying feeling, giving out copies of the Book of Mormon. Why does that give me so much joy? It's wonderful :) We saw a miracle last night when we went over to a woman's house who is normally VERY busy, and she was still busy cooking for herself, but loves having us over, so she let us in. She was running around the kitchen and we just really wanted her to relax and take a deep breath! She finally put down her spices and spoons and sat down on a stool with us. We asked her if we could pray to invite peace into her home, and wow!! I don't think I have ever felt the spirit enter a room so quickly, the rushed atmosphere calmed down and we were able to focus more on things of eternal value. It was so wonderful to just help remind her that she can feel rest and peace in prayer. Some people really have a gift of inviting the spirit when they pray, that's something I'd really like to develop.
I'm sure you've all heard about Russians and their dreams... but that is how they receive answers to their prayers. I have met with at least a dozen Russian people who have had some pretty crazy dreams! Weird winding staircases and sitting on clouds and talking to dead ancestors :)
I'm gonna really make myself at home here in Saratov. I will be "killing" Sister Busman (this is her last cycle) and I will most likely be staying here. Also I've been getting lots of hints from other missionaries lately that I will be stuck in Saratov for quite a while. Missionaries refer to Saratov as the blackhole, because as soon as somebody goes in... they never come out.