October 26 2015
All is well :)
It's definitely fall time here in Kazan. And I will get to watch it turn into winter because I will be finishing my mission here, and Sister Neilsen will be "sending me home". However there's a twist.... Another sister will also be coming up to join us, her name is Sister Thomas, we will be in a trio :) It's the first trio that I've ever been in and I've heard the ups and the downs to them, but honestly I am just excited.
I've heard great things about Sister Thomas and we are more than willing to have another face in our companionship! I've met sister Thomas before and she's totally got a country girl accent even though she claims not to. She's also super tall and blond! So it'll be three little blondies walking the streets this cycle :) Sister Neilsen and Sister Thomas both have visa trips this cycle though so we won't be in our area until friday night. Tomorrow morning we'll take another 9 hour bus ride down to Samara. There will also be 7 people in our district instead of 4, which will be really interesting :) the more the merrier. Honestly.
This week was great :) we had lessons almost every night this week or activities going on in the branch which we could invite potential investigators to. We have so so many potential investigators, the hard thing is getting them from the potential stage to the investigators stage honestly.
One night this week we were on the way home from a lesson far away from our area that ended at 8:30 and we would for sure be late getting home because fewer buses run late at night... well... God provided for us :) On our way down the hill a young girl in her car asked if we were headed down to the bus stop. We said yes and she offered us a lift down. She ended up driving us half way home. Oh I was so grateful! Heavenly Father is so good :)
One of my favorite days of the week was Wednesday. We got permission to go to an art gallery with a less active member. She's 70 years old and is an English tutor. She speaks perfect English actually. Last time I was in an art museum I was probably 12 years old and I hated it... this time I fell in love with just about every piece of art. I have turned into one of those kinds of people who cries when they look at beautiful art. Not to mention just seeing the culture of my Russian people in these paintings was so fascinating. There was a camera man there with his crew and they wanted to interview us because we were making such a fuss of how beautiful everything was, sadly we had to tell them no.... But that was a wonderful adventure, and once in a lifetime on a mission because all museums are closed on Mondays.
I got to see one of my favorite members from Balakovo this week too, Z.! It was such a tender mercy to see him! It brought back so many memories from the beginning of my mission. We were able to catch up a little bit and I am glad to know that things are going well in Balakovo. Although one of my new converts, Sasha, who is about 17 years old has gone a little less active. I tried to call her not long ago, but she's been really busy. She stays in contact with the missionaries in her area though, which is a miracle.
Also it was Sister Neilsen's birthday yesterday! She's 20 years old. We kind of celebrated it on Saturday and went to McDonald's and got hot chocolate :) it was great. And sooo fancy. You'll see the pictures. McDonald's in Russia can be real classy sometimes.
This week I realized a view things that were extremely hard for me to swallow. A few of you know that I have been struggling to find strength and keep my fire going lately... I have felt weak physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. Coming to the end of my mission I feel like I should be on fire, but I'm not. This has been troubling me deeply. The conclusion that I have come to? I have not been able to access the "enabling power of the atonement" or in order words I am missing Christ's grace. Which is whose fault? mine. Why? Because Christ's grace is "sufficient for all men that HUMBLE themselves." I can try to work with all my heart, might, and mind... but I feel like I'm missing the strength, and that is because I am missing grace... the enabling POWER of the atonement. Peter warns that "God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble" if grace is "sufficient for all men that humble themselves" then the only reason that that hasn't been available to me is because of....?... Pride :) Dang. I need God's help. And that help isn't coming because God resisteth the proud. There's so much that I've learned on my mission... and even though I only have 6 weeks I still have so so much more to learn. I'm really grateful for my mission, and I'm grateful for Christ and that he has provided a way to draw power from his atonement. This week I really hope to feel that additional strength as I humble myself a little more :)