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.