Sunday, September 27, 2015

Kazan - Week 3 - "In Every Thought"

August 23, 2015

All is well,

Sorry this is going to be a shorter one this week!

WOW. What an interesting week. I am continuing to love Kazan :) We reset the boundaries of our area with the elders and now we both share the center of the city with President Schwab's permission. Which is going to be sweeeet. We get to see all the beautiful architecture around here. I really feel like I'm living in a dream city whenever I'm in center.
Today we are visiting the Kremlin and then we'll take a stroll down a walking street and do some souvineer shopping. 

Sooo our investigators in this area? We have about 2.... L, who has been an investigator for about four years. We are really going to pray to know what to do about that woman. She loves the Book of Mormon, and loves church, and wants to be baptized. But for some reason everytime before baptism something gets in her way. We are hoping to get some sort of revelation to know what to keep Satan away from her! 

Another investigator that we have right now is Z. Remember last week how the elders gave us the number of a woman who was interested in meeting with us? We all thought her name was L... turns out that her name is , but she goes by Z. When we met with her in the church last week for the first time I didn't recognize her face as someone that we met. But she told us that she remembers that two blond girls, and one with reeeally long blond hair who were very social gave her an invitation to church. That was definitely us haha :) And then I saw Z's loooong long hair. Dark and thick and I totally remembered that all we did was give her and invitation to church and I said to her, "By the way you have gooorgeous hair!" I can't forget hair that long. It's past her booty that's for sure. She has a daugther, D, who is 1 1/2 and adorrrrable. We're so excited to be teaching them :) 

Also we met a boy named R on the bus the other day. He's 17 year old. And what do you know, it was my companion to start the conversation! Well, we took him to the church and had the elders show him around. Then on Sunday he came to church with us.... and after church he confessed his love for me and after he left continued to send me texts full of poetry. Yikes.

My companion is doing sooo so well! She is still hesitant, but is making calls, and even contacting on the bus! We are friends, and we get the best of each other :) 

I have noticed the times that I am not exercising faith in Christ is when I am not looking unto him "in every thought" doubting not and fearing not. When I don't use faith in missionary work I honestly just feel like a foreigner wondering around in someone else's country. I really want to focus this week more on Casting out fears and other forms of unbelief, I also want to look unto Christ. Even if the outward results don't come, the inward results always will if I have faith in Christ. 

Doctrine & Covenants 6:36 
Look unto me in every thought
doubt not, fear not"

Loooove, Sister Wilson 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Kazan - Week 2 - "He is in All Things"

August 17, 2015

All is well,

We had zone conference on Tuesday. It was so great :) It was a really long one, from 9:00-4:00. We did lots of role plays during it and Sister Twede and I took the role of 2 Babooshkas. Holyyyy cow Sister Twede is hilarious. She was meant to be a Russian Babooshka. We had interviews with President Schwab after conference, and I got my first blessing from him. Blessings from mission presidents is like getting a patriarchal blessing all over again ! :) I went home from that conference feeling real good and spiritually refreshed! 

We haven't had much time for site seeing/tourist attractions in Kazan yet. And won't be able to today as well because we are missing lots of necessary household items (cause we just moved in to this apartment) like a broom, a vacuum, pots and pans, containers for leftover food, trashcans... basically our apartment is gettin' a little nasty because of that. Welcome to the life of a missionary :) 

My trainee, Sister Nielson, is doing great. I've been having her make phone calls all week and she really hates me for it, but it's all for her good. She's gonna be a pro by the end of training. We really bonded this week as we opened up to each other and leaned on each other for support. Honestly you will be alone on a mission if you are closed off to your companion, so I always try to use that source of support that God has given us. 

A week ago we met a boy who was out early in the morning searching for a job. We promised him that if he came to church on Sunday then he would find work the following week. I knew that God would back us up with such a promise. Well... that boy showed up at church. Turns out that he is trying to change his life (as he was previously addicted to alcohol, cigarettes, and video games). We met with him later this week and he told us, "I was hired at a job yesterday... how did you know?" (I tried to act slightly calm, but I was absolutely thrilled) We told him that when we keep God's commandments, he blesses us, simple as that. We do our part, he does his. He came to church again yesterday and told us that he is reading the Book of Mormon and has already finished 1 Nephi. WOW. So so cool. His name is E. 

President and Sister Schwab were at church with us yesterday... oh how I love them so so much. They have really taken the role as wise grandparents for me out here. It was Sister Schwab's birthday so we had the whole branch sing happy birthday to her. She was absolutely thrilled :) President Schwab promised us that we are about to see amazing amazing things happening soon in Kazan (I can't wait when in the future people will open their mission calls and read, "you are called to serve in the Russia Kazan Mission! It's gonna happen!) Well... that night the Elders got a call. They said that some girls gave her a Restoration pamphlet the other morning, and that she has read it and is very interested in finding out more. Elder Northrop said that's the first time that anyone has ever called him from a brochure on his mission (and he's almost finished). Her name is L, and we are meeting with her tonight :) 

Also this week while contacting we passed a woman on the street who was obviously in a horrible mood and it was written all over her face. She was carrying out the trash and we tried to stop and talk to her but she wasn't having it. A few minutes later we saw her walking to her house and I said to her, "It's too bad that the trash shoot is all the way over here huh? But it's good exercise! How are you doing today? Is everything okay?" She said no, but was caught by our unmistakable accents. We continued talking and asking about the weather and the city and her family. She was upset over the death of a loved one. As we spoke with her, her face began to light up and we left her smiling and laughing. She was interested in the gospel, but it felt good to help change someone's mood (remember the golden rule!) We then.. a few minutes later met another woman who was very distressed about her son being handicapped. She began to cry and we reminded her that God loves her very very much and knows her circumstances and hasn't forgotten her and her frustrations. She also wasn't interested in the gospel. But hey, I'm sure that all these attempts will help when others try to share the gospel with them in the future.

I know that Christ is the author and the finisher of our faith. He is in all things, through all things, above all things, and around all things. He can see the future and the past, we are bound to only the present and the past. For that reason we rely on God for our faith, knowing that he knows all. And because he knows all, he knows how to help us... even if that is sending two American girls to make you laugh a little bit. 


Sister Wilson 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Kazan - Week 1 - "Kazan!!!"

August 10, 2015

All is well :) 

Whaaaat a week. Wow. Where to start? One of the fastest and most interesting weeks I have had so far on my mission. 

Tuesday night we had 8 sisters staying at our apartment and it was so fun catching up with every one of them. These sisters are all my best friends, Sisters Wagstaff, McKell, Twede, and Palmer. All of which are training right now. On Wednesday morning we met our trainees. My trainee's name is Sister Nielson, she's 19 and is from Virginia, and she is a star. Her Russian is SO good. She often starts conversations by saying, "I don't speak so well in Russian...." And then blows us all away with how good she really is. People are surprised when we tell then she's only been here for 5 days. And know what else? We really do look like sisters :) Her and I are the only blondies in the mission! She is super positive and is a real sharp missionary. 

The next morning I had mission leader counsel, which was interesting because half of the leaders are new. My companion was a champ and stayed home with Sister Matakina who is a native. Two days out and already working with a native :) 

Man. I am in heaven. This area will definitely go down in history as one of my favorites. I've
heard rumors about Kazan being a pretty city, but I thought those were all exaggerated. Yeah riiiight. It pretty much took my breath away driving into the city. It's like driving in to the captial in the hunger games. The architecture is unbelievable, everything is very clean, and my favorite part? The people :)  ....holy cow they are not like any of the people like in Saratov, Balakovo, and Samara. They are sooo nice, and even if they're not interested in the church, they keep talking to us. In the past 5 days that I have been here I can probably count on only my 2 hands the number of times we've been told that we're from a sect. 

This Sunday there were about 40 people at church, which is apparently a lot. We write home in the branch building. Also the branch building totally doesn't look like a branch building. It looks like a storage unit or something from the outside. But the inside is really nice :) Our apartment is soooo nice. There are 2 air conditioners, which is unheard of in the mission. We're super blessed :) 

Man. The coolest things have happened this week. We've met some pretty remarkable people. Before church we were on our way home from early morning contacting. We passed a boy who was waiting for the crosswalk to turn green and decided to go back and give him an invite to church. He then gave us a card, and the only word that caught my eye was "alcohol" so I laughed and gave it back to him and said, "no thanks, we don't need that kind of stuff!" He then said, "I stopped drinking." I was a little confused at that and asked to see the card again. Actually it was an alcoholics anonymous card. He's stopped drinking for about 2 months now. We congratulated him and then asked what he is doing out so early in the morning, he replied that he is looking for work. I remembered that president Schwab has said about making promises to people and that God would back us up. So I told him that if in 3 hours he stops whatever he is doing and comes to church, then he will find a job this week. He scoffed at me, but I assured him that it was a promise from God and not from me. He said he would think about it..... fast forward a couple hours later. 

It was my first sunday at church and was a little crazy trying to get to know everyone and giving attention to a new investigator, my companion, and all the members. It wasn't until the second hour that I noticed a familiar face sitting across the room from me in sunday school. It was the boy that we had met on the street earlier that day. He had even come to the first hour and I managed not to see him, he stayed all 3 hours! He has lots of questions. He is addicted to smoking, alcohol, and video games, but he' trying to turn his life around. He said it's his second week of not smoking and that he already sold his TV. Heavenly Father led us to him at exactly the right time. He wants to change his life and he's come to the right place. 

We also met a woman about 30 years old on the street who is really in need of some guidance in her life. She's been living with a man who beats her so she was out wondering around on the street in the morning. Sadly, that often happens way too often. She really loved talking to us and gave us her address so that we would stop by.... A couple nights later we did stop by. There were about 10 little kids playing soccer in front of her house and out of that group of little boys we spot our friend playing with them.... in a robe, and verrrrry drunk. I talked to some other adults who were observing and asked if they knew her, they said that she more than often always drunk. She was really happy to see us, but I'm not sure how effective it is to teach someone who is drunk... we'll see what happens with her. 

We met a woman named S, who has a friend, N, who has a 15 year old boy has an incurable cancer. She gave us the contact information for this woman and we are going to call her and ask if we can come over and give her son a blessing. N is an orphan herself so she has no parents, no siblings, no husband, and the only one close to her is her son. Whether or not it is God's will to heal her son, I don't know. But I do know that if she accepts the gospel then she will have a family here at church :) 

I know that my Redeemer lives. I know it. 
He is the author of my faith. He is my deliverer. 
He is my best friend. He loves me, and I love Him. 
He knows better, and that's enough for me. 


Sister Brooklyn Wilson

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Bezi - Week 12 - "Missionary Work is Miracle Work"

August 3, 2015
All is well :) 

The area presidency has asked our mission (and other missions as well I'm sure) to talk to three times as many people. So in order to do that, Sister Sotnikova and I have began talking to men too :) President said that sisters should focus on woman, and that elders should focus on contacting men, but if there aren't any women for us to contact then we should still talk to those around us. I can't say that I fully encourage the idea of talking to men... I've never so many awkward situations on my mission as I have had this week. 
I remember looking out our open window and seeing massive raindrops, smelling wet asphalt and wet bark, just taking in my surroundings :) and then two seconds later hearing two boys about nine years old riding their bikes home and one yelling repeatedly to the other, "Aaahhhhh, aaaaahhhhh I can't see anything!" Russian rainstorms are crazy. 

Two elders went home from our district this week, Elder Myers and Elder Weber. So Elder Myers decided to buy sharma for everyone, sharma is a russian burrito. There are mexican burritos, breakfast burritos, but Russian Burritos are pretty good too :) There is tomato, cucumber, mayo/sour cream, and chicken and other wonderful spices in them. It doesn't taste like a mexican burrito at all though. It's Russian somehow. Parker should look up a recipe for them online, they are great :) 

We had 4 member present lessons this week :) That's better than 2 (which was last week). We are trying to help our investigator, H, who is the father of a new convert, to stop smoking. He love love loooves church, but he feels embarrassed cause he needs to take a step out between hours to take a smoke break otherwise he gets antsy sitting in there. Also L came to church yesterday :) she is finally home from Moscow, and I am sure that she will be baptized this cycle. 

I have noticed an awful weakness that I have this week, which is that I have a really hard time finishing things that I start. I can finish it, but the quality at the end is always much lower than the quality that I start with in the beginning. I noticed that a little bit in my mission this week and I realized that it is a trial of my faith :) Will I finish the race strong? Will I sprint to the end? Or will I let myself go and loosen up and slow down? I think many of us can find the same problems in our every day lives... with school, with projects, even with fasting! The thing about enduring is that it really does test our faith, and holy cow is my faithfulness to God being tried! It's really not important whether or not you finish a mission, school, a fast, exams. What matters is what you learn. You don't fast just to get to the end of it. You don't take a biology class just to take a test at the end, you take the class to learn something during that period of time. We're not living just to get to the end of our lives. This is in fact a probationary period. We are being tested in every way. I feel like the closer a missionary comes to the end of his mission the stronger Satan tries to work on them. As long as I keep my covenants to remember Christ, I do not fall. As long as my faith is based on the Savior and not in myself, there is no failure. I know that clinging to Christ is the only thing that will allow me to endure WELL to the end of my mission.

We got transfer calls on Saturday night. I will be training this cycle :) there are 5 new sisters coming in, I get to meet her on Wednesday! I am also going to open an area that's been closed a while, beautiful Kazan :) I have heard that it is gorgeous there, I'm so so excited! I will get to see it in the Summer and in the fall and maybe even in the winter. Honestly my guess is that I am going to end my mission there, but we'll see. I am also going to be sister training leader. So yeah, president really dumpted a load on me. This will be a really interesting cycle :) My native companion, sister Sotnikova, will be serving with the only other Russian native in the mission, Sister Matakina. I am SOOO excited for them, it will be a blast. 

I'm sad that I won't be here to see the baptisms that will happen this cycle, L, H, and others. But I am just a worker in the vineyard, and the Lord tells me where to go. And I can't complain that I'm going to Kazan :) I've never heard anything bad about that place! 

Thanks for the prayers this week. I honestly felt real support. There are times on a mission where you know that the only thing that is keeping you going is the prayers of others, that's me right now :) And I'm grateful for those prayers. Cause now I'm on my feet again. And I'm ready to kill it this cycle! Missionary work is miracle work :) 


Sister Wilson 

In a recent General Conference, Elder Kevin W. Pearson gave a talk entitled "Stay by the Tree". The following is a quote from that talk:

Enduring to the end is a hallmark of true discipleship and is essential to eternal life. But when trials and challenges come our way, we are often told to simply “hang in there.” Let me be clear: to “hang in there” is not a principle of the gospel. Enduring to the end means constantly coming unto Christ and being perfected in Him.