March 9, 2015
All is well,
Oh man. I am still in shock about how much can happen on a mission in just one week. Or a day, or even a few hours. I sometimes feel that I will do more on a mission that I will ever do in my entire life.
SO, we went to Balakovo on exchanges this week, my birth place :') And WOW was that refreshing. I just fell back in love with everyone there. Not only the members, but literally that people on the streets! I am sorry but I have to say it, people are just straight up nicer in Balakovo. It's so easy to give out Books of Mormon there. However, Saratov is waiting for a stake, so of course there going to be more persecution there. ANYYYWAY. I will just relate some of the things that happened in Balakovo.
First of all, Sv... (someone our companionship baptized) was in Moscow, so I didn't get to see her but I talked to her over the phone and she is doing great :) still going strong and reading her scriptures every day! Then we did get to meet with S, the 15 year old girl who was baptized is doing so so good. She just gets it. I wouldn't be surprised if she goes on a mission someday. And then we also met with N, who is handicapped and just about died when she opened the door and saw me. I have never seen anything cuter in my life. She was just jumping up and down and hugging me and then would look at my face and then hug me again. But the best meeting that we had by far was with a less active member named "E".
Sister Martinez said that "E" texted the sisters one night and said, "I need help. I have a drinking problem and I have been avoiding meeting with you because I thought you'd be disapointed." The sisters haven't been able to meet with her since I've been gone and we finally got a meeting set up for when I came. We didn't know whether or not we should bring a member with us because we were afraid that she might not open up, but president Schwab said that it is always better to have a member than have none at all. So we invited the new branch president, Zhenya. I was just praying the whole time that we could touch her heart. That we could somehow been instruments by which she could feel her Heavenly Father's love and have a desire to come back to him. The lesson was focused on Christ and we read and studied about why we need an atonement. We asked her if she still prays and said said no. That just broke my heart. I then told her how much her Heavenly Father loves and adore her, how precious she is to him and how precious their relationship is to him. And that was did it for her, she just began to sob. Zhenya then offered her a blessing, and I nodded encouragingly toward her. As he blessed her, tears just streamed down her face. One thing that really stood out to me during that blessing were the words, "God wants to speak to you." The spirit was so strong there. We invited her to start praying again, AT LEAST once a day. As we got up to leave I hugged her and reminded her, "don't forget who you are, and don't forget that God wants to talk to you." The tears began to stream again and she told me she loved me and thanked us for coming. That was one of the most powerful lessons I have had on my mission. I know it was so sacred to my Heavenly Father.
Nothing breaks my heart more than knowing that people have stopped praying. Prayer is the most important source of relationship building with God, and Satan understands that quite well. Don't let him convince you that prayer is important, and when you have that thought say, "WHOOOA Hey there Satan! You really just gave yourself away by giving me that thought because anything that tells me not to pray is from the devil!" NEVER STOP PRAYING. I literally don't know how I could even survive ONE DAY here in Russia without prayer.
I myself am doing okay. I have been thinking that something is wrong with me lately because I've been so down in the dumps and I just feel like a drag, and I don't know why?! I am praying praying praying to be lifted up and to rely on Christ, because I literally have NO reason to complain or be sad. We have investigators. We have seen baptisms. I was just wondering what on earth is wrong with me as we were walking out of the church building yesterday and I was suddenly BLINDED by the sun. I was instantly just filled with JOY! I MISS THE SUN SO MUCH. Seriously I think I am lacking in vitamin d or something. Goodness. Thank goodness winter is almost over. Pray for the sun to keep coming out :) and this might be the most missionary thing I'll ever say, but it really just reminded me of the Savior. A life without sun is like a life without the Savior.
Yesterday was my halfway mark on my mission and it was also national womans day which is a HUGE holiday in Russia. My companion and I got roses and soap and candy from people at church :) Also a really old babooshka approached me at church yesterday and commended me for wearing my hair in a braid and not letting my hair down like all the other wild girls these days. Russian grandmothers are great :)
Such a miraculous week. Truly. And a mission really is the best decision I have ever made. It is the hardest thing I've ever done but every aspect of it really is worth it.
Sister Wilson refers to the importance of the sun and it's affect on her mood, and she likened that light to our Savior, Jesus Christ. Elder David A. Bednar, an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, teaches more about Light HERE