Friday, May 29, 2015

Saratov - Week 15 - "This week was AMAZING"

April 27 2015
All is well :)

Where do I even staaaart? I loved this past week so so much. This is gonna be a long one :) 

This week we had zone conference and exchanges :) The APs talked about how we really need to widen our net. We have a promise from the area presidency that Russia's baptisms will increase 10 fold, it is actually prophesied to be the next Brazil. When I first heard that my jaw just dropped. RUSSIA, cold, hard Russia... the next Brazil? For that reason I am really really glad that this is God's work and not mine :) I just get to participate in it! We were suggested that we need to be taking more hours to contact. Which I was really worried about because we don't actually have a ton of time to contact as a companionship. For whatever reason Heavenly Father has really blessed this part of the vineyard and we have plenty of progressing investigators that we are working with. But president clarified not to worry about that, because obviously our investigators take presidence over contacting. Actually I think I'll just take a minute and tell you about our investigators. I don't think I talk about them enough. 

There's O, who will be baptized this week (more on that later) The sisters gave her an invitation to church and she called the missionaries herself (that seriously rarely happens, so talk about chosen) she is 22 and beeeautiful and honestly understands the gospel.

Another is Ni, who is a 50 year old. Oh my goodness I have never met someone with a richer character in my entire life. I wish you could meet some of these people. She is so whimsy and ditsy and acts like a fairy god mother. The other week she begins to sing a song about Christ and how he was resurrected and that we need to follow him, it lasted about 30 seconds and then she turns to me and says, "Did you like it?" I say, "yes Ni, very much!" Then she gives a little sly smile and says, "I made it up myself." She was a referral from a less active member. 

Then there's Na, B, N, K, L, and a few others that we meet with less regularly. Such a blessing to be able to teach people :) 

English club this week seemed to go especially well. This week we taught about the word of wisdom and we had a little object lesson where we came in the room and said, "Sorry we usually bring refreshments of some kind but today we didn't have time, so we just picked up a bag of trash on the side of the road. We hope that maybe you will find something you like." then we poured out some trash and half eaten food onto a plate and offered it to each person. The point of this is to relate it to drugs, alcohol, and smoking and saying, "you'd never put that sort of garbage in your mouth!" (good analogy right?) Well I was absolutely shocked when I began to pass around the plate and people actually starting taking food off of it! It really wasn't off the side of the road, we just gathered some stuff from our apartment, but still! I couldn't help but laugh and little bit and feel bad. I was confused if it was that some of them were poor or what? Usually Russians are freaked out by germs. And some of them really were repulsed and said, "oh no no no! No thank you!" So that kind of ruined the object lesson a little bit haha :) 

Also, there was a new face there and I asked her what brought her to the church building. She said that she was riding her bike and that she decided to drop by the church buildilng. The members were cleaning that night and greeted her warmly. They told her to come back a few days later for english club and then to come to church on Sunday. This woman, A, is just a STAR. So so kind, she's like 50 years old and I feel like she's my aunt. Not to mention she speaks AMAZING english. So she came to english club and then on sunday she came to church and just fit in so well! I just love to picture the way that this 50 year old woman found the church. "I was riding on my bicycle one day and God led me straight to his church!" Something else that was shocking was that she even offered to come the next time that we clean the church and help the members. 
"I was riding on my bicycle one day
and God led me straight to his church!"

This week we had exchanges with Sister Martinez and her Russian companion Sister Matekina. Man I just have to say... I love sister Martinez so much. I feel so comfortable and happy around that darling latin girl. We served together almost 4 months ago now and we're still the best of friends. I know for sure that her and I will be real good friends after the mission. I trust her with all my heart and her and I can just be real honest with each other and it doesn't hurt at all, just strengthens the relationship :) She gave me one of the best compliments that I have ever gotten in my life, it's one that I've never really heard, so I think that's kind of why I like it. She said, "you are like a child. Not childish, but childlike." Just my reactions to things, or my questions, or my approach to things, my tone of voice, is like the excitement that a child has. I just loved that from her :) She is one of the hardest working missionaries I have ever met and she is FINALLY, finally reaching a difficult stage of her mission where she's just getting worn out. She's got 3 months left and her and I had a real good heart to heart. One of my favorite things about her is how absolutely humble she is and how Christlike she is. 

Another thing... In two months this mission will have about 9 sisters left. And then guess what happens... TWELVE sisters will be coming in. Hahahaha there will probably be greenies training greenies. Or there will be sisters with more than one trainee. Man it is going to be really interesting. All of the sisters will be training at one point or another in the next 7 months.

My companion and I are doing well :) No worries here. Missionary work is real great. After zone conference I had an interview with president, and asked if he had any advice for me. He gave me just a few words, he said, "I know that you have been worrying slightly about what lies down the road for you in the next few months. I would advice you not to worry about the unknown, but to throw yourself into the work and give those worries to your Heavenly Father." And that's just what I will do :) 

We had a MIRACLE yesterday. When we had our investigator, O, who rarely gives concrete answers or commitments to anything called us herself and said, "I really want to be baptized." I was stunned. I asked her to repeat what she said to make sure I heard it right and she again said, "I really want to be baptized." I totally just gave a shout for joy for all the neighbors to hear. We set up a baptismal date with her for the 2nd of May, which fell through because she'd be going out of town the 1st of May for 2 weeks, which we REALLY worried about her regressing during that period. So we asked for president's advice and he was quiet and said, "I am just really trying to listen to what the Spirit tells me right now, and I feel that she really needs to be baptized before she leaves." We told that to O, and she didn't know how she felt about it because she didn't feel that she'd recieved any concrete answer to her prayers yet. But she agreed to the 30th of April anyway and agreed to have it announced at church, but she was still unsure. Then after church yesterday she calls and gives us the news :) She apparently had a dream in which Heavenly Father made it known that she needs this in her life. 

This week we were also able to attend a baptism. I am really going to strive to attend more baptisms when I get home, if you need something to fill you with the spirit or strengthen your testimony, baptisms are a really great place to start. After the boy was baptized and was changing back into his normal clothes we waited in the chapel. 
While we waited we watched some Christ videos and when I realized the kind of life I am able to live thanks to Him I just started to bawl. I felt an immense gratitude for the opportunity to help others to find and partake of salvation. Thanks to Jesus Christ we are literally able to live fairytale lives. This work is so satisfying. It is so so hard. It is FUN. It is surprising :) I love the little miracles that God blesses us with. 
Like A, and like O. I can only describe such experiences as tender mercies. I am so glad that we don't have to think up miracles ourselves... God is so creative, all we have to do is exercise faith and he provides us with the miracles :)

With Love,

Sister Brooklyn Wilson 

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