Thursday, October 29, 2015

Kazan Week 6 - "Investigators!"

September 21, 2015
All is well :) 

Well first I'll answer the question, how is my health? Sooo a miracle happened. I am completely healed. Zero trace of ulcer. Monday night I was feeling like a champion and asked if we could go out and work. We got the go :) And I've had no pain since Monday. Normally is takes about 2 weeks for the pain to go away, and about 4-6 weeks for it to heal completely. I feel like I never even had an ulcer now. It's gone :) So hallelujah and thanks for all your prayers! 

However... it was super hard getting back into the work this week. It's like running a marathon and then stopping for a while and then starting again. But Heavenly Father helped cheer me on and I'm running at full speed again :) 

About a month ago my companion and I were going through the area book and making some calls. Poor Sister Neilsen is terrified of using the phone (her mean trainer has her on the phone a lot) but she called a girl named S and thanks to Sister Neilsen's courageous phone call we got a lesson with her! She is 27 and is the neice of a new convert (who is now less active sadly) but her teaching record said that she's not really too interested in talking about God. On the lesson we focused on the gospel blesses families, she seemed a little stiff during the lesson, but she felt the spirit and promised to come to church. Ever since that lesson S has been coming to church every Sunday for 3 weeks! 

This week we had a meeting set up at 2:00 to take a walk with her around the Kremlin. Sister Neilsen and I prayed and did role plays to know how to bring up religion with her more naturally during this walk. Well... as we were walking amongst many churches I non-chalantly asked her, "did you go to church when you were little?" And the rest is history. The Spirit took over and she opened right up to us. She told us how her father is an alcoholic and how she can't stand him when he's drunk and that although she didn't grow up in a believing family, she wants her future family to be religious. She said that she knows that religion makes families happy because it teaches us how to properly love one another. She doesn't drink coffee or smoke or even drink tea. She is already living the word of wisdom because she has a testimony of it! Also she mentioned how amazing her life has been since she's been coming to church. She's making more money, and her clients are much nicer. While she was talking I was just in shock. I was totally not expecting this. Then she told us that she needs our help, because she wants to be baptized, but she needs to know the doctrine of our church better, and asked if she could meet with us twice a week (haaaaallelujah by my guest!) She said that previously she hasn't been interested to meet with the missionaries, but she feels ready now. I was sooo ecstatic. Probably way more than she was. Because she's young and beautiful and so normal and cool! And God loves her :) 

 After our walk she offered to drive us home. She also thinks that she got a good parking spot thanks to us ;) She has such a nice car.... and I was in paradise driving home. She may or may not have put in a John Mayer CD while we drove. The weather was beautiful and so we rolled down the windows and I almost cried it felt so good. I miss taking drives so badly. But man, what a good day, we love her so much! S is awesome :)

That night was a member's birthday/talent show and soooo many of his friends came and so many member's friends came. We were just rolling in potential investigators. It was so fun getting to know all these people and helping them to see that we are completely normal :) It's really nice leaving good impressions with people.

For the talent show I played a piano piece and it was just a nightmare hahahahaha AHHH. I was so nervous and I was sooo not expecting that many people?! I've played it before at baptisms and it wasn't a problem, but this time was awful. Also I forgot to pray before I played.... so I think that's why it went so bad. Everyone was really nice though and thanked me for the attempt :) There was soooo much food there.... awful. Pretty sure I gained 20 pounds in one night. But heeey there'll be more of me to love when I'm home :):):) I promised myself that I would be one of those sisters that wouldn't gain weight on their missions... ha.. ha.. haaaa... yeah right. It's all good. I've got a few months to trim down. 

We have other investigators that we've continued to meet with, Li, Z, and a Russian grandmother named R. The members in our branch are amazing. I love them so much. There's an elderly woman named G who is always willing to help on lessons and is so motherly. There are Y and Lo, who are my FAVORITE, man I wish I could just hang out with them sometimes. Y is always willing to help us on lessons and L has this completely dry sense of humor and a deep voice that makes everything she says so much funnier. 

All is well in Kazan :) Heavenly Father was really generous to us this week. Today at 3:00 we are heading down to Toliatti for a zone training! Yaaaay! We get to stay with Sister Twede and her companion. We are literally out of money because we've been spending it all on medicine and transportation... we have 10,000 rubles worth of refunds to send up to the office, yikes. 

This week in my letter to president I expressed a lack of hope that I've been having. I feel like I have a lot of doubt and fear for the future. This is what he wrote me in reply, "Thank you Sister Wilson. You said something really important. You said : "I feel that I have hope for the future, but not much faith." Things like the future (what will happen) are what we should have hope for. What we should have faith in is NOT the future, but in Jesus Christ. In other words, have hope that everything will work out well in the future, and have faith in Christ that HE will make it so. Leave the logistics and the specifics and the "hows" in His hands. Trust me that all will work out well! The Lord takes care of His returned missionaries, and He will take care of you! just worry about the work for now, and look forward to Him helping you down the road!" It's really what I needed to hear. My faith needs to be in Christ that he is making a beautiful future for Sister Wilson and that I need not be afraid :) He's in control. 

Sorry this was eons long. Loooove,

сестра вилсон. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Kazan Week 5 - "What's it like being in a Russian hospital"

September 14, 2015
All is well :) Thank Goodness

As many of you know.... I've been having some pretty nasty health issues lately. And it completely took me out of the work this week. Tuesday morning I felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest, crazy uncomfortable chest pain that I have never had. Eating was especially a chore... it felt like I was eating rocks or sending a grater down my esophogus anytime anything went down. I called the mission doctor and he set up at appointment for me at a clinic on Tuesday evening. ... they checked me out and everything was fine with my pulse, no pain in my stomach, they even did x-rays on me. They found nothing. So they told me that I would need to have a stomach scope done. For those of you who don't know what that is... that's where they stick a camera down your throat and have a look at your insides. Yaaaaay. That would take place Friday morning. 

By Wednesday my pain levels were at a constant 5-6 and by evening it was getting 7-8 constistantly. What really began to scare me was when breathing deeply became painful. Here I am, a 20 year old young girl and I felt like I was about to hit my 85th birthday. Sooo by that point we decided it would be best for me to take it easy before my appointment on Friday.

Here we are. September 11. And I go in for my scope........ never have I been in more discomfort in my life. It was like someone was telling me, "hey I'm going to stick my finger all the way down your throat, but you need to keep breathing and try not to gag." Imagine shoving a hot dog up and down your ephogous and trying not to gag? Really. So obviously it was hard for them to snap a picture of the problem because poor Sister Wilson couldn't stop gagging. I'm sorry but I'm just not used to people touching me in my throat, stomach, and esophagus. 

Finally when they got a decent enough picture they took out the camera and I just layed there exhausted for a moment. When I came to myself they told me what the problem was. Which I had no idea what the word meant, so I had to look it up in my little handheld dictionary. I guess I have 2 ulcers in my throat. I really hate that word... ulcer. But I have them, so that's that. He said to me, "I really don't like one of them, it's about a centrimeter big... and the problem is that it's bleeding a little bit." They called in some other doctors and they agreed that it was serious enough that they called an ambulance to take me to the hospital. 

Upon arriving at the hospital they did some more testing on me. I felt like a labratory experiment. The doctor who was working with me then announced that I would need to have another scope done. I could not stand the thought of having that procedure being done on me twice in one day. The thought was absolutely repulsing. In that moment I felt so awfully desperate, I was looking for some sort of comfort or a hug from someone. I remembered prayer and the atonement and prayed for strength through my Savior. I walked into the room where they do the procedure and sat down on the table. As soon as the doctor lifted her hand to begin, I started crying. I was in noooo condition to have that done to me twice in one day! It was completely traumatizing the first time and didn't feel comfortable enough with anyone doing it because all the doctors were so impatient with my language barrier. Frustrated, the doctor threw up his hands and said, "I don't see a point in doing a second one either!" He then sent me back to the other doctors and told them that I was refusing help. Sooo they decided to keep my in the hospital under observation until Monday. It took some convincing to let my companion stay with me. But she was even able to get her own bed :) 

Up we went to our hospital room, which I was expecting to be private.... nope. There were six other beds with patients in them. That just overwhelmed me because what I really wanted was to be alone. I offered to pay more for a private room, but all the rooms in the hospital were full. I have never been poked and probed more in my life.  All I really wanted was my mom. Frustrated and exhausted, I collapsed on my bed and the tears came again. 

While I lay there sniffling an old woman laying across the room from me turned on her side and looked at me with a frown on her face, "Hey now... don't cry," she said with comfort in her voice. Her name was Lucia. I looked around the room at the people who surrounded me and one by one they each chimed in an told me that everything would be okay, and that I'm in a great hospital with wonderful nurses. Lucia, Yana, Anya, Valya, and Roostilia. I was honestly shocked by their kindness. Never have I been treated so warmly by strangers in Russia. A moment later a nurse came in with all sort of IV bottles and needles and looked straight at me. If anyone knows me... they know that shots are my biggest fear. Lucia told me to look to her and did a good job at distracting me by making interesting faces while the nurse got the IV situated in my arm. I stayed hooked up to that thing for a good 6 hours. 

The doctors told me that I would be staying overnight and that I wasn't allowed to eat anything for the day. Well.... I wasn't about to have a 40 hour fast so I went to the bathroom and secretly ate brownies in there. 

That night I got a call from the mission Doctor who told me that he had contacted a specialist in Salt Lake City about my ulcer and the specialist said that he doesn't think it will be a problem, but if the pain doesn't go down within 2 weeks that I would need to come home early from my mission. That thought didn't even cross my mind until that point and my ears just instantly filled with tears, I pushed the thought out and tried my best to get to sleep. 

Worst night sleep ever. It was like a war-zone in the middle of the night. People coming in and out and bringing in more beds and casualties who just had operations done. I wouldn't say that the hospital is the best place for resting in Russia.  

Morning... a nurse walked in with a tray of needles and every person in the room just instinctively turned on their sides, pulled down half their pant, and got ready for a shot in the bottom. I watched each person's face wince and decided in that moment that if they let me pass on the scope that they would let me pass on a butt shot. Unfortunately I was wrong. Everyone in the room knew I was afraid of needles and that's the last place I'd ever want one to go. Thankfully I got it overwith and everyone cheered and congratulated me :') 

I called our mission doctor at about 8:00 and he told me that it would be okay for us to check-out and go home and that it would be about the same if I layed in bed at home instead of at the hospital. The doctors were a little relluctant in letting us leave, but we got out, and gave out 3 Books of Mormon to doctors and to patients in the process :) I said goodbye to my new favorite friends. I felt a special connection to this group of people. All being pricked and probed and awkwardly having to undress all day. And then watching them take care of each other, offering support and pillows and words of comfort. They know how I feel, and I know how they feel. It's like the love I have for all the missionaries here, who go through the same things I do. 

Something interesting happened when we returned home from the hospital.... after about 2 hours of being home, I wanted to go back. I guess it was nice to have someone taking care of me. It was so so interesting all the time and having people to talk to and to baby me and take care of me like a mom, even if it was shots. 

My love for the Russian people grew more during these 2 days that it has my entire mission. I can honestly say that these are some of the best days that I have had here. I never imagined that spending time in a Russian hospital could be a good experience. But it will go down in history as some of the dearest days of my life. 

I feel that my mission was planned and organized to gain the optimal growth possible. I just feel like sometimes he sends me tests and trails and I feel like he wants to see if I can endure it well, and I feel like I fail the tests sometimes. But I don't know the answer key. God has known us forever and I can't ruin his plans, he's gotta have a ton of back up plans :) I'm just grateful that no matter what I do, and no matter what happens to me, this work will go forward, whether I'm apart of that or not.


Sister Brooklyn Wilson 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Kazan Week 4 - "FALL!"

September 7, 2015

All is well. 

I don't have a lot of time to write today because I have to do school registration (cross your fingers that BYU won't reject me for the 3rd time). . 

Some interesting things from the week.... Jehovah's witnesses. They are EVERYWHERE in Kazan.  I always have mixed feelings about talking to them, because they are so so nice but it just always turns into an hour long conversation that usually goes no where (especially when I tell them that I believe that Jehovah is Christ's name and not God's name).... but at the same time they also need the restored gospel. I've never convinced them to take a Book of Mormon, but something cool that has happened this cycle is that we've given out two to two different people! But in order to do so I may or may not have promised to go to a Jehovah's witness church service when I go home :) 

Brooklyn's companion

Also this week was the first week of fall, and to celebrate my companion and I made pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and caramel apples dipped in white chocolate and cinnamon. I'm helping everyone to see that that really is the best flavor.... who'd have thought, white chocolate? They're delicious! We've been eating them all week :) 

It's possible! So hard though, and sooo messy! 

Z should have been baptized this weekend... but she didn't come to church yesterday, so we will have to lay it off one week. I was honestly so so devistated when she didn't show up. Other than that she has been progressing really well and is willing to meet with us often. Also there are lots of members here with kids who need to missionary lessons to be baptized! We'll be teaching a lot of them this week. I don't think I've seen as many kids at church in Russia as I saw yesterday.... it was crazy. There are usually only 2-3 kids in most families here, but there's one family with 5 or 6 kids and it just seems HUGE. So interesting to remember that that is completely normal in Utah. 

The temperature here is dropping pretty quickly! It could already be down to 38 degrees by the middle of the week. What on earth. Everyone here says that there wasn't really a summer in Kazan this year. 
We also did Missionary Leadership Counsel through Skype this week. Man it was so fun. I love the missionaries in this mission soooo much. They are my very best friends. 

Anyway. I love Russia, love my mission :) And I can honestly say that the only constant power source that I have found here comes through Christ. The power that comes through the atonement is the only thing that hasn't failed me. Everything else has always failed in one way or another. But Christ will never fail us :) He is the only eternal light in this world. 


Sister Wilson 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Kazan Week 4 - "The Power of Testimonies"

August 31, 2015

All is well,

Oooooohhhhh what a week! It was a crazy one. Holy moly.

I'll just start from the very beginning of the week. On Monday we went to the Kremlin, it is BEAUTIFUL. I can't believe I live here still. It's a dream. This is my mission, and I get to live in this place because God is really merciful :) I was just in awe the whole time, and there is a wonderful street here where you can buy souvineers, probably the first place in my mission I've seen where there are actual souvineer shops. 

Monday night we had a little activity night with two potential investigators that have been coming to english group. After playing a few games we had a spiritual thought, which was actually just watching the short 20 minute Restoration movie.... At the end of the video I stood up to turn it off, then turned around and sat back down and just began to testify. I said that maybe this seems all very far fetched, that maybe Joseph Smith was hallucinating... that maybe this is madness... but I know its not. And I only know that because I asked God. I prayed about it. I asked the source of all truth. They got really quiet at that point especially as others also began to testify. Their hearts really softened and they even began to ask questions and one of them said that maybe its not a coinsidence that they have ended up sitting in this church building. 

Saturday... was interesting. I got separated from my companion for the first time on my mission. We were trying to catch the Metro, which had already pulled into the station while we were walking down the stairs, but we both hesitated to get on right away, so the next thing I know, my companion is on one side of the glass doors and I'm on the other. Sister Nielson's eyes got real big and we both tried to say something with our hands but it didn't work out too well. The next second the Metro swiftly pulls away and I'm left all alone. Hmmm... that's not good. So I called the APs, which I had to leave the metro to do so... and that resulted in me missing the next few metros. In short, my companion and I were separated for an hour and a half somehow, and we ended up meeting back up at our apartment. (really interesting walking the streets of Kazan alone.. I'm pretty sure I'll never do that again) She had already been waiting at the apartment for a little bit when I got there and saw me coming, ran out the door and gave me a big hug :)  

On Tuesday.... Sister Twede and Sister Hullinger came in from Toliatti to do splits with us! WHOOO. Man I love splits. This week with Sister Twede we were able to receive 4 phone numbers and give out 7 Books of Mormon in one day. Sister Twede is so so good at setting and reaching goals, and by following the spirit we actually surpassed our goals. She is a very personal and diligent missionary and a really good friend to everyone she serves with. I have really come to love her in the past year :) also everytime I'm on splits with her we always have crepes... it's the best.  

While working with Sister Hullinger we didn't meet as many goals, but other things were improved on. She really felt more independant and confident talking to people. While on the bus I turned to her and said, "wanna try something scary?" She looked at me hesitantly and said, "what?" I smiled and replied, "bus contacting!" (this was the first bus she had ever been on) She smiled right back at me and said, "okay!" And got up off her seat and sat by a girl sitting in front of me. She immediately started a conversation and gave the girl a Book of Mormon. Then when the girl left, another woman came and sat next to Sister Hullinger and she just starts another conversation and gives this other woman a Book of Mormon. Two people in a row! I was sitting just with my mouth wide open. She's only been out 4 weeks! What a brave and faithful young missionary! She felt so good after that and was just beaming. So was I :) It really inspired me to step up my game. 

We had a lesson with one of our investigators, L this week. She gets really hung up on deep doctrine so it's hard to have lessons with her. This time we were talking about faith in Christ and she got hung up on the words, "Christ is the only begotten of the father in THE FLESH." For some reason in the flesh really got to her. Try explaining what that means in english... now try to explain it in Russian. 

We met with her another night also... and she often invites her friend, E, who is SO distracting on lessons and makes the most ridiculous comments like, "does anyone here know how to swim?" that was about the 3rd dumb comment he had made that night so I asked him to leave, and then told him to leave. The lesson just went downhill from there.... our member and L just got into a cat fight about how she thinks our church is better than everyone else (when really all she said was that no other churchs have priesthood). That lesson was going down in history as one of the top three I've had on my mission. While they were arguing I noticed my companion who had been quiet the whole lesson and just had the most concerned look on her face. I looked at her and said, "can you please testify right now?" We were able to get L and the member to quiet down and then Sister Nielson, 4 weeks in the field, gave the most beautiful testimony in broken Russian about the truth of the Book of Mormon, the church, and Joseph Smith. The Spirit immediately filled the room. L quietly said, "there's really something different about you missionaries huh...? not everything she said was understandable, but I felt the Spirit from her clean heart." That's the power of a testimony from a new missionary. 

Honestly this was a really hard week. I don't know why exactly. Missions are just kinda like that :) The desire to share the gospel is always there, I can say that honestly. But sometimes the motivation really takes a nosedive. I ended up giving a call to Sister Schwab, the mission president's wife, who admitted that sometimes she gets burnt out too, and that's okay. That's when she says (in prayer) "Christ... I want to do this, I really do. But I can't right now. Can you do it for me?" But here's the catch, no. He can't do it for us. But he can do it WITH us :) I know that he can do it with us. I am coming to the end, and I am training and I am STL, but I feel weaker in other ways than I have ever felt before! I am just taking it one day at a time and trying to finish like a good soldier. 

"For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. "

Matthew 11:30

“You come unto Christ to be yoked with Him and with His power, so that you’re not pulling life’s load alone. You’re pulling life’s load yoked with the Savior and Redeemer of the world, and suddenly your problems, no matter how serious they are, become lighter." Elder Russell M. Nelson “The Mission and Ministry of the Savior,” Ensign, June 2005

Wish me luck this week, and more sunshine :)

Loooove, Sister Wilson!!!