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

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