Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bezi - Week 8 - "Do You Want Freedom?"

July 6, 2015
All is well,

This week has had suuuper nice weather, it's been quite the blessing walking around in cooler weather rather than sweating to death every day :) 

We have still be struggling to find investigators on our own, but God is hearing our prayers and this week a member called us and informed us that she had set up a meeting for us to meet one of her friends. The meeting went a little late and the member missed her bus home, so she ended up staying at the friend's house, but that ended up being a miracle, because the friend ended up coming to church with the member the next day :) I am not sure she would have made it to church without that happening. 

On a mission I feel like I go through ruts where I have an incredible boost of power and so much hope and faith, and there are other moments where you feel a little hopeless. This week... every morning I felt so groggy and had such a sour mood! My companion is an angel and has sooo much patience with me (if there's a difficult companion in this companionship its definitely me). However, what is interesting to me is that no matter how our day starts, if we choose to keep our covenants and to lift those around us, and to lighten the burdens of others... then we will always go to sleep with a smile on our face. And that's honestly what happened probably every day this week. Our burdens are lightened when we lighten the burdens of others.  Everytime when I have such sour moods, and I get on my knees and beg for more hope, as long as I get up and work to see those prayers fulfilled, God will always deliver. 

One morning when I was having one of the awful moods we had the opportunity to go a baptism. I feel like I was turned into a completely different person by the time the baptismal service was over. I remembered my own covenants and that God has promised to deliver us if we will keep his commandments and take Christ's name upon ourselves. I know that Christ has made deliverance possible for us. We can try to deliver ourselves, but our attempts will never be successful, we will only make the hole around us deeper. Don't try to be free without his help. In the scriptures it says that "ye can be made free by no other head." Do you want freedom? Do you want hope? Take Christ's name upon you. There is no one more free than Christ is. There is no one who is more joyful that Christ is. 

Without Christ the whole course of our life is changed. We are broken, and our smoothe places become rough. our great and noble deeds sink, we fall, and with that fall we not only damage ourselves, but all around us. Our purpose and identity is deformed without Jesus Christ. I am so so grateful for my covenants, which, if I keep, bind me to Christ. Who doesn't want to be bound to the Savior?

I know that in any situation, if I will just look to the Savior all will be well. Remember your baptismal covenants and take upon yourself Christ's name. Do what he would do.

I love my mission, I loooove love love my Russian companion so much, I cannot say
enough good things about her. I am good and happy :) 

Sister Wilson 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bezi - Week 7 - "Latvia!"

June 29, 2015

All is well..... 

This week was absolutely insane. So Sister Twede was supposed to be serving with us because her companion didn't get her visa, but apparently there was a mix up. President Schwab wrote the MTC about the trainee not getting her visa, and a couple hours later President gets a call from the MTC and says, "We have a problem..... that sister that apparently did not get her visa, just landed in the Samara Airport 20 minutes ago." That poor girl landed in Samara with no greeting party. I can't imagine how scary that would be, especially because she was all alone! But some people noticed that she was a bit distressed and let her use their phone and she was able to get a hold of the Schwabs and the Schwabs let her know that they were coming to get her. So, Sister Twede is not in a trio with us, however that would have made for quite an interesting companionship seeing that we are all the oldest sisters in the mission. By the way, my star of a companion, Sister Sotnikova is sister training leader. She has been beaming the last few days, it has been so fun to see how happy the responsibility makes her. 

Next cycle 6 new sisters are coming in. And By October half of the mission will be filled with missionaries who have been out 2 months or less. That is crazy. As of right now there are 51 missionaries here and pretty much all the senior couples are going home in the next 2-3 months, so sad :( They might have to call some office missionaries. 

Tuesday and Wednesday are always contacting days here in this area. They can sometimes be verrrry long, but I have gotten used to contacting 7 hours a day :) Uuuuuhhhhhhhhh tell me about the heat. It's like 105 degrees here I swear. I am costantly soaking wet. Thank GOODNESS we have been contacting in the mornings. I would die if we weren't allowed to do that. We have A/C in our apartment, one of the only apartments that does have A/C and it is a HUGE blessing. Seriously I remember last summer how hard it was to fall asleep because you were so hot,  and yes we had fans blowing on us all night. It probably doesn't help to fight to heat that I drink burning hot tea and eat hot Russian borsch every day... By the way, here in Russian the sun starts coming up at like 2:30, it's really interesting. The sun is already up by 4:00.

On the way to the airport I was with a couple missionaries I had never met and some who are really new. Man, I love love looove the missionaries in this mission. They are all such champions, I feel like on a mission its such a privilege to be around other missionaries because we are all trying to be as Christlike as possible out here. I couldn't help but laugh at some of the topics that came up... talking about Marshootka drag races (Marshootkas are these EXTREMELY old and broken down buses that are just filthy and usually in really poor condition). And also, talking about "Bab squads". More than often, sitting right outside of every apartment is a group of about 4-6 babushkee. They just sit outside on these benches all day long and chat with each other, and every time you try to get into the apartment building they ask who you are, why you are trying to get in the building, and who you are going to. They either end up being your best friends or they hate you :) 

Sister Sotnikova and Sister Wilson
On Thursday we had a visa trip to Lativa, I was supposed to be on a flight with Elder Graf to Moscow and then to Kiev, but the APs called me and told me that that was a mistake... and that I'd be leaving 4 hours later than everyone else on a flight to Moscow and then to Lativa. I was a bit bummed actually when they told me that because I'd been working myself up to see him. But, God awards us according to our desires and provided a way ;) When we landed in Moscow, turns out that Elder Graf's group going home to America had a really long layover and we ended up running into them. However he had gone to get some food with another elder and some of the other missionaries going home stayed to watch over their belongings. Our group going to Lativa had a 2 hour layover ourselves, so we just plopped ourselves down with them and decided to wait and surprise him. A few minutes later he came walking up with his companion and a big smile on his face. Oh man it was SO WEIRD seeing him in the beginning, it was like, are you a real person standing right in front of me? I haven't seen him in 2 years!! He's been such a good missionary, so hard working and all missionaries love him so much, especially the mission president. It's impossible to cover 2 years in twenty minutes, but we were able to do some good catching up. He's still one of my closest friends and it was such a blessing to be able to see him on his way home. So interesting to know that the next time I will be in that airport, I too will be going home. 
Elder Graf and Sister Wilson ...
high school friends serving in the same mission
Our area is really struggling right now... and our investigators really just aren't progressing much or taking things as seriously as we'd like them too. I am praying that we'll find some new investigators this week. 

I am so so grateful for my mission. There's nothing I'd trade this experience for. I'm grateful for opposition, I am grateful for the good and the bad days here. I am grateful for bitter and for sweet, because the contrast with it all just makes everything so much richer. 

Be good :) 

Love, Sister Wilson 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bezi - Week 6 - "Transfers"

June 22, 2015
Bezi branch meeting house
tucked behind all those beautiful trees

All is well :) 

We got transfers this weekend and it was one of the first times on my entire mission that I wasn't extremely nervous to know where I would be going. I had a feeling that I would probably be here with Sister Sotnikova another cycle, and we were right :) However.... there is a catch. I am going to be in a trio. Sister Twede is supposed to be training this cycle, but her trainee didn't get her visa, so Sister Twede will be with us until her trainee comes. I've never been in a trio, and honestly I kind of felt like Joseph Smith when he found out that he needed to practice pologamy. It seems like it would be so hard to share your love with another person! However my companion has been in a trio a couple times, and she says that its like having children... you love all of them sooo much, just in different ways because they are all different :) Sister Twede and I knew each other before the mission and she is SUPER humble and creative and I'm not afraid of her at all, it's the word trio that scares me. I am sure she probably felt the same when she heard she'd be in a trio! But the next morning when I woke up I just felt peace and I have a feeling that I'm going to learn a lot about compromising opinions (between 3 people now) and that this cycle is actually going to be a blast. I'm so excited to be learning from another missionary! 

Sister Sotnikova really helped me with my accent this week. It seems to me that an accent isn't about learning how to speak like a Russian, but learning how to speak every single word correctly. We were reading together and she'd pick out about 5 words that I needed to work on. It's so weird because a lot of the time I can't even hear the difference when she tells me the correct and incorrect way to say a word.  

Of course we're praying for miracles. And we've gotten a lot more specific in the miracles that we are seeking. Last week the morning started out real tough. I had the biggest black cloud over my head. I felt that I couldn't do the work because I knew that the Spirit wasn't with me. So I asked that we sit down a moment and I prayed until I felt the Spirit return to me, and the Spirit returned to me when I remembered that we need to always look to Christ. But anyway Heavenly Father is so wise, he totally knew that Sister Wilson was going to take a minute and sit on a bench and pray and he planned a miracle into our day. About 30 minutes later we ran into a member who was on his way somewhere. We stopped him and talked a minute, and then before departing my brilliant companion asked for a referral. This member gave us TWENTY referrals. He went through his phone with us and picked out people that he thought were good candidates, these people are spiritual and he has talked to them about us. What's cool is that one of those people came to english and showed great interest in the Book of Mormon and has now become an investigator. 

Another miracle, I called Sister Martinez this week to ask for some numbers of new converts to call in their area and she told me that N, one of the people that we stopped on the street last cycle, was baptized. Which is super interesting. I vividly remember that day. I had thee worst mood ever, and we were hurrying to a lot of lessons and I remember that we only contacted like 5 people that day. Well, N is one of them. And now she's a member :) so that's cool. 

Our area isn't doing so hot right now. We had about 4 member present lessons this week. My friend told me that in Mexico last week they got 13 new investigators in one week. That would be a HUGE miracle if that happened here during the period of a 6 week cycle. We've been doing a whole lot of contacting, my feet are always killing me by the end of the day, but it's a good kind of pain :) 

The other night while I was praying I realized that my urgency to obedience could still be stronger. I also came to the realization that, you know what? Obedience is not something that only applies to a mission. I will not only have to be obedience to rules that I don't understand on a mission, but I will have to submit myself to commands or promptings from God later down the road. When my child wants to go out with friends and the Spirit compels me to say no, I must say no. I must be obedient. I am praying for that desire and urgency to not slacken or loosen up on obedience. Sometimes it just seems like things would be easier by trying to get around the rules. But that is the way that Satan works. He is the father of all lies. He is the great deciever. He has no power to fulfil his promises the way that God can. 

With Love,

Sister Wilson 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bezi - Week 5 - "Thanks to the atonement!"

June 15, 2015

home sweet home
All is well :) 

I have been fighting homesickness a little bit in the last bit of time with summer coming around and knowing that all my friends are at home going to lake powell together and what not... but I will never be able to fully give Heavenly Father another summer in my entire life. It's only a small sacrifice when you look at eternity :) 

My companion is doing well :) Oh how I love and look up to Sister Sotnikova. She has NO fear. She also has incredible patience and humility, two attributes that I have been especially praying for lately. We are learning so much from each other every day and it's been a HUGE blessing to serve with her. 

Many of the time we call our investigators to meet and they don't answer the phone or they even busy us and it sometimes just seems that we are bothering them. So this week we prayed that Heavenly Father would help our investigators to call us themselves to meet. We prayed for this throughout the week, and you know what happened? Our investigators called us throughout the week :) not just one. Not just two. But many of them! This week we just begged and prayed for miracles and went out and worked and it seemed like we didn't see much success, but I know that our obedience and works in that moment allowed for Heavenly Father to pour out a bucket of blessing in one day :) I feel like God sometimes holds those blessings and sees if we will keep pushing forward, and when he sees that we will keep going... seeing miracles or not seeing miracles, he is so much more ready to bless us because he knows in that moment we are working simply because we love God. 

Guess what happened this week? L popped up out of no where. We have seen her 3 times this week, 2 times at different activities and once on a lesson. I pray for her still every day but I am terrified that she is going to disapear and break my heart again haha. She's a bit of a mystery... doesn't talk to us for 3 weeks and then pops out of no where and acts like everything is okay when we ask what happened. I think she's got some underground concerns that we need to dig up. Oh goodness... the roller coaster rides that us missionaries go through :) we were hoping that she'd come to church this Sunday... but it turns out that she promised one of the members that she'd go with him to some trampoline place. Ugh... sometimes I just want to shake some of these members by the shoulders. 

My companion and I have Borsch every single day :) it's so good.
Also she eats a brownie for every single meal
At the end of every single day, no matter how hard it is or what I did or did not accomplish... I can go to sleep with a smile on my face thanks to the Atonement of Christ. If there's anything I have learned on my mission, it is repentance and that we truly can FEEL cleansed thanks to the power of the Atonement. I am grateful to be walking dusty roads and feel what its like to be rejected and rejected hour after hour, because my gratitude for the Atonement grows, knowing that Christ has not only felt what I am feeling, but he has felt the pain and rejection that every missionary feels. I love my mission so much. I have no idea who I would be right now or what I would become without the rock solid foundation that my mission is helping me to build. I am honestly just pouring my heart out in prayer. Prayer has become so important in my life. It is like my lifeline. Anytime that I feel down trodden I can talk to somebody. I feel like maybe my faith has faltered in the last little bit and you know what? Everytime it is because I have taken my eyes off of Christ. Everytime I focus on Christ and remember all his promises I feel more peace. 

Love, Sister Wilson