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. "