Monday, May 4, 2015

Saratov Week 11 - "Staying in Solcheney"

March 30, 2015
All is well :) 

Sister Coleman and Sister Wilson

Sister Coleman is flying home on an airplane as I am writing this letter, that is just crazy! I can't imagine what that plane ride feels like. I can't imagine what it feels like to step foot in your home again.

During zone training this week President Schwab said that we would be shocked if we could only see the amount of support fighting with us from the other side of the veil. My kids are helping me, my ancestors are helping me. I have so much love and support. I have good parents, wonderful siblings, cousins... and support from other missionaries who are here with us. I really mean it when I say that a mission only gives back. I cannot even count the endless amount of friendships that I have made, with members, with missionaries, and even with random people on the streets. The memories alone make a mission worth it (although that's not a good reason to go on a mission) I mean really though... who thought I'd be living in Russia for 18 months? If you told me that when I was 15 years old I would have laughed. What we put into a mission is what we will get back, that's really what it is. 

We are really praying for miracles every single day. One of the biggest miracles was talking about tithing with one of our investigators who is progressing toward baptism. This investigator was found over a year ago and is so so hard to get a hold of but she just soaks up spiritual knowledge like the sun. We have finally discovered that the best way to go about doing anything with her is always setting up return appointments. She knows what day we are coming and what time and she can prepare herself spiritually for those lessons. She even told us that when she knows we are coming over she is just antsy all day with anticipation to see us. This week we focused on the commandments with her and were very pleasantly surprised with her reaction to tithing. I feel bad for how little faith we had going over there! Tithing is usually something scary for people, and we know that N really struggles with work and with trying to take care of her family. However she was so open to it and accepted it without any doubts. She even said that she thinks it will probably help her with her financial problems. That's faith :) 

Last night we had a lesson that was based on faith. However as I was teaching the lesson I realized that I was simply speaking empty words that were true... but that had little meaning or feeling to me while I was saying it. I realized last night that I actually understand faith very poorly. I have also realized that one of the reasons why I am having a difficult time understanding this principle is because I haven't been exercising it. Exercising faith is looking unto Christ in every thought, doubting not, and fearing not. I reread the talk on faith by elder Bednar "according to thy faith" which president Bennett gave to us last summer as well as studying faith in true to the faith. We really need to study faith more. I feel like at the beginning of my mission I really understood what exercising faith meant because I was such a weak little missionary and I really relied on the Savior. However, now that I can speak the language, now that I am not afraid to talk to anyone, now that I know the gospel principles (not that I necessarily understand them all)... I have started to rely on my own power. How foolish! I need to set more goals and push myself harder. As soon as we are all snug in our comfort zone we are really in trouble. Sometimes when we are uncomfortable and really straining ourselves is when we see real miracles because we begin to rely on the redeeming power of the Savior. I really want to set more goals this week and use my faith and see the fruit of my works with God's help. 

My new companion is Sister Wagstaff, I've only been with her for a day, but from what I can see she is just a little ball of sunshine! :) 

Have a wonderful week!

Sister Brooklyn Wilson 

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