Monday, December 7, 2015

Kazan Week 16 - "one last time :) hugs & love from Sister Wilson"

November 30, 2015
All is well :) 

Well here it is, my last letter. Never thought it'd come. Missionary work literally just feels like life, I feel like I don't know anything else. That's why president Schwab explains it as a "rebirth." :) I'll be taking a 10 hour bus ride down to Samara on Monday, and then flying out Tuesday night I assume... they still haven't really informed me on anything so I'm just gonna be assuming.

I've got a good 8 days ahead of me and I can't understand. I literally cannot grasp it. I remember I used to gasp when a missionary only have 2 months and when it was only 2 weeks I would already be saying goodbye. Here I am with no time under my nose and I can't feel the shock of it for ME but I sure could feel it for others! 

This week was a blur and just CRAZY. We had splits on Tuesday and Wednesday with the Sisters from Penza. Also... we had to plan the thanksgiving activity and a baptism, which happened to be on the same day. We went to a place which is like a Russian Costco, but it's called Ashaun, to get all the things for the activity and the baptism. All I have to say is that shopping is absolutely exhausting. It's over stimulating, I couldn't stand all the things to look at. So that's what I'm looking forward to as a mother... endless shopping :( it's okay I'll warm back up to it, I've always loved shopping until recently.

The baptism was wonderful. O and her family are so happy, and the father even baptized them! At 6:00 we had our thanksgiving activity and had to get ready for that where we were running around with our heads chopped off trying to get it ready. We made banana bread, brownies, carrots, fudge, mashed potatoes. The turn out was great :) we played minute to win it and some of the games were seriously hilarious. We had Elder and Sister Weight, the senior couple in Saratov email us for some ideas. Trying to open candy wrappers like reeses or kisses using mitten gloves or moving 25 m&m's from one plate to another using only a straw. :)

This week my companion made a comment that I noiticed is also applicable to myself, "If I do not purposefully choose to have faith, then I don't." Couldn't say anything more beautifully worded :) 

Also, this week I took some time to think about some of the most important things I've learned while I've been out here, and I've realized that they not only apply to me right now, but after the mission too. 

-I'm happiest when I follow promptings and hold nothing back

-Trials are lessons to be learned and opportunities to display faith

-The arm of flesh fails but Christ does not

-God ALWAYS delivers

-Happiness is a choice :)

-You cannot have faith, hope, or charity without humility

-God has the answers to all questions, but not an immediate place to put them

-We must have a broken heart in order to be cleansed and changed

-Jesus Christ is truly my Savior

I have learned who I am, and that I have weaknesses. I have learned what those weaknesses are and how to overcome them. Not saying that I HAVE overcome them :) But I think before my mission I just saw my weaknesses as strong emotions, and now I see them as they really are, which are things to be overcome. 

Today I'm grateful to be in Russia, to be a missionary. To feel the cold sting on my cheeks and offer eternal life in a world of gray.  I love the seasons. I'm grateful that I could see Kazan go from blazing hot summer to late fall and straight into crisp winter, watching leaves outside go from green to orange to brown to gone. I'm grateful for supportive companions who are my very best and loyalest of friends. I love my angel mom, my best friend, without her I would not be me. I'm grateful for my priesthood worthy father, he's loving and spiritual and goofy and protective and has taught me to be spiritual. I love my brothers, nothing is ever boring thanks to them and I'm glad they still remember that they have a sister (who could have been fifty times nicer but has hopefully grown up a little bit).  

I'm grateful that I've served a mission and that I have such a meaningful experience and time of my life behind me. I'm grateful for the Spirit and for those people who have helped to get me out here. I'm grateful for my God, who is so good. For his Son, who is my Shepherd and has saved me. He is the beginning and the end of my mission. He led me to to it, through it, and now he's taking me home. The Lord is and always will be my light. I know of nothing brighter. He is our light on the hill and he cannot be hid. I'm grateful for the opporutnity to have taken this light to the world. I know that the day will come when "every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ" D&C 88:104. 

Every Knee Shall Bow -

From Russia with love.....

Sister Brooklyn Wilson :)

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Kazan Week 15 - "Frosty Russia"

November 23, 2015
All is well :)

Once again I can't believe it's Monday... we had zone conference like 5 days ago and it feels like 2 months ago, but monday feels like it was yesterday.

My last zone conference went well :) There are so many new people... it's weird looking at everyone and realizing that all the people that were more experienced that I are gone, but honestly I really look up to all these young missionaries for sacrificing all they have to be here and to be a servant for the Lord, they're looking at the greatest adventure of their lives :) I had a twenty minute part for the conference and talked about how humility is required in order to have faith. The Spirit really took over and I'm grateful for his help.

On the way home from the conference I was in the worst mood. I couldn't find my tights at the sister's apartment and that was my last pair of tights that weren't shredded. Then our "bus" ended up being a tiny little van thing and we were all crammed inside so my companions sat at the back of the car and I sat at the front by myself (awww poor sister Wilson) but to make everything worse I was sitting under a leak which continued to drip on me throughout the whole ride home. While I sat in my foolish rage I realized in that moment that Heavenly Father was being humorous with me in all reality. Then while sitting in my small little seat looking out the window at all the Russian homes covered with snow I noticed something that caught my eye. It was so cold outside that everytime I breathed on the window within a few seconds a beautiful pattern of frost would form upon it. I've never seen something so beautiful forming so quickly right before my eyes and I was absolutely fascinated by it. That was a tender mercy to Sister Wilson in that moment :) I don't know why, but it made me so grateful and I was able to get over myself and realize that although  everything's not always perfect I can always find beautiful around me.  

Yesterday I finally started sorting through my stuff and giving up clothes and chucking out papers that I don't need anymore or that will just be empty weight coming home. I've even started to write a will to my dear companions... Like inheriting the ability to get out the door on time (which I have never had.... yikes) or inheriting clothes that I actually don't want to get ride of. Coming home from a mission is probably a lot like a missionary going into the MTC, you don't realize how little time you have left, you cannot comprehend it in any sort of way. Yesterday for the third hour of church our branch president thought it would be a good idea to watch "meet the mormons" it was a good idea :) I was in love. I haven't been able to watch anything but "finding faith in Christ" and "the First Vision" for a good while... By the way Russians think that "American Football" looks terrifying. There's only soccer here, and then hockey is their big contact sport. 

Anyway at the end of the movie there's the part where the mother sends her son out on his mission. I looked across the room to a member named Inga whose daughter (named Yana) will soon be leaving on a mission. Poor Inga was just bawling and ran out of the room as soon as the film ended. Then Yana comes over to me and puts her head on my shoulder and we both just started crying... next comes my dear friend Albina who also had tears in her eyes (she could relate to one of the women shown in the movie because she raised a child without a father too). I love these people so much, my best best friends. I'm shocked every day that I can even speak Russian and have relationships with these people that I never would have been able to talk to 2 years ago. 

This weekend we will be having a baptism :) the kids of O (S and P) will finally be getting baptized! We also have a thanksgiving activity on that day. Also the sisters from Penza (sis Wagstaff and Warnick) are coming down for splits this week. I'm so excited to work with them :) It's going to be a good week!

Love you all :) 

Sis. Wilson 

Brooklyn mentioned the movie "Meet The Mormons". For more information or to watch clips Follow THIS LINK

Friday, December 4, 2015

Kazan Week 14 - "The weeks are Flyin!' "

November 16, 2015
All is well :)

I can't believe it's Monday again.... some parts of this week feel like weeks ago, and some parts of this week feel like yesterday. 

There is now a stake in the Russian Samara Mission. So so cool :) President Schwab prayed and worked so hard for it. 

Had splits up in Toliatti this week and dang, even though those sisters are both on their third cycle and their Russian isn't the greatest they were just setting up lessons left and right. Just goes to show that it really is the Lord's work :) Sisters Larsen, Thomas, Neilsen, and Hullinger were all in the MTC together so it was fun for them to actually get out and work together in the field. On Wednesday with Sister Hullinger people were brutal. No one wanted to talk and they really let it show haha, it really filled my heart with love and appreciation and respect for what the sisters are doing in Toliatti. The 5 hour bus ride home was spend sleeping... sister Thomas and I took some motion sickness pills and it really knocked us out. 

We didn't have a lot of time in our area this week so things were a little slower... and we'll be going back up for zone training tomorrow so we're gonna have to rely on God that our area isn't going to fall apart in the next bit. We've worked so hard to get investigators and be working with so many people. 

We did manage to have a good lesson with A though. We called him and he let us come over and this time we dropped by with a different member, G, who is very calm and follows the Spirit and is a really good listener. We learned a lot about him during that lesson. His wife died 16 years ago of cancer and one of his other daughters died recently of cancer as well. He's got one daughter left and I'm sure he's wondered if she's got the cancer in her genes as well. He doesn't believe in the afterlife but we're really focusing on faith with him and he is actually willing to believe. We're taking it slow and just telling him about who God really is. 

I love my mission and I'm grateful to be here in Russia :) 


Sister WIlson 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Kazan Week 13 - "Pepper Spray 2 times a Day :)"

November 9, 2015

All is well :) 

Actually I'm really really happy. All is better than well :) I have so much to tell you this week and such little time to write!

I'll start with the good news.... 
On November 15th 2015 Saratov will become a STAKE!!! That's the third stake it Russia! I couldn't help but shout for joy when they announced it. I spent over half my mission in that part of Russia and I am so so happy that we've finally been able to reach our goal and although I won't be able to go to it I'm glad that I'll still be in the mission when it happens :) Members and missionaries really put their shoulders together working their hearts out for this to be able to happen. And the more stakes a country has the more likely it is for them to get a temple :) I've never seen a people who have wanted a stake so badly. 

We have been meeting with a woman named T... she is awesome. She has silver and gold metallic eyeliner and red hair and a bright purple winter jacket. I'll have to send a picture next week... she's the most loving person and in her prayers she says things like, "Lord, please forgive me that I can't come to church this week... I know I promised, I'm so so sorry I will absolutely come next week" or things like, "I thank you times three, times four for all my many blessings." And she gives the biggest tightest hugs. She's got a baptismal date for theh 28th of this month :) then another family we've been working with... that huge 5 kid family, two of them will be baptized the 21th, FINALLY! We've been working so hard with them. 

My jacket and my boots both broke this week... so I had to go get those repaired... and one of the repairs ending up making everything worse, so that was too bad. I pretty much have been wearing a rain jacket for contacting for hours in the snow, it's not awful though :) 

We also had a lesson with A... that 50 year old man. He's awesome, but we brought our Branch President on the lesson.... He kind of took over and talked to him... It ended up being a lesson where we left and came back later .... . I think that others might have responded well... but A said that he just felt a lot of pressure during the lesson. Yikes.

Also the other night we got in a taxi with this gruff looking guy with huuuge hands and his body pretty much took up the whole taxi.... he was super nice though and had a very deep voice. However I couldn't help but die laughing when I heard his ring tone which was "under the sea" from the Little Mermaid.

Soooo something really freaky happened this week, and since no one was hurt... I'll tell you about it :) In short... I've never had so many problems with drunk people in a week. We were waiting for an investigator on a bus stop when a drunk man walks up to us and was harrassing us pretty good just trying to grab my arm and take me places... he was pretty small though and so we weren't really scared, also their were hundreds of people outside around us, and Russians are pretty tolerant with drunks so no one paid particular attention. Well after about 15 minutes of this and trying to get away from him it got pretty old. So a boy approaches us and asks, "is this man bothering you?" We told him yes and the boy told the man, "hey, someone is calling you over there, come on let's see who it is." so the drunk many follows the boy and then the boys pulls out pepper spray and gets the man real good and we both run away (FINALLY). Later that day...

....we're sitting in the branch building with a member waiting for english to start and this large man in a leather jacket comes stomping in demanding a cup of water. It didn't take long to understand that he too was drunk, so the member grabs him a drink and he sits peacefully for a moment. Next thing I know this man gets up and corners us in the room and is talking 3 inches from each of our faces. I was just praying that he would leave and I was praying not to look scared. Then the elders walk in... who, sadly aren't any match for this man. Then he started getting pretty aggressive and began to take off his jacket to fight, I spoke up and asked for him to leave. He didn't like that very much, he began to yell and take off his jacket to fight me (yeeeeah right?!) in that moment I remembered what happened today with the drunk man and remembered that my brother, Tanner, had given me a small can of mace (stronger than pepper spray) before my mission. I was shaking so bad, the only thing I could do was pull it out of my purse (it's always been in there) and hand it to the elder next to me who gladly opened it up and sprayed it straight into this huge man's eyes. The man immedately fell down and we all had to clear out because the spray was so strong, everyone was coughing and sneezing. I can't imagine getting that in my nose or eyes or face..... apparently people use mace on bears. We then called the police and they came and picked up the poor drunkard who kept saying, "why am I crying?" 

As we were walking home I just thought about God's hand in everything today... I don't know if I would have remembered that I even had the mace if the first drunk man weren't bothering us. Also I don't know what would have happened if the member would have been in the building alone without us... or if the elder's wouldn't have come and it wasn't english club. I don't know that I would have had the courage to spray him. I don't know what we would have done without that stuff, I was sure that someone was going to get hit and I wasn't about to let that be me haha :)

Anyway, interesting week. I'm alive :) And all is well. God sure is making my mission interesting! I'm grateful for every experience that comes my way :)

Loooove Sister Wilson

 “The Lord protects, guides, and watches over those who are His trusted friends in His work. His work and that of His Father and our Father is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of the children of God. And Satan, the enemy of our happiness, opposes those who serve the Lord.”
"Yet the promise of the Lord’s protection is real and His power is greater than all the forces that oppose His faithful servants, President Eyring said. “He watches over them. He sends help to strengthen and sustain them. I have seen it for myself as you have. The Lord knows both the hearts and the needs of His friends who are on His errands.”
President Henry B. Eyring

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Kazan Week 12 - "Life in the Trio is Good!"

November 2, 2015
All is well :)

First of all.... I cannot believe that it is already NOVEMBER. What on earth happened to October?! Time is flyyyying. Anyway. This week has been amazing. I feel like I've said this a thousand times, but it will never cease to amaze me the amount of events that can take place in just one week, or in just one day. I have had so many mission/life changing experiences this week and I feel like the Spirit is really taking over. 

On Tuesday my companion and I took an 8 hour bus right up to Samara. We stayed at one of the sister's apartments with 7 other sisters. At 1:00 a.m. there were 5 new sister missionaries straight out of the mission field who joined us. Later that night at 4:00 a.m. 3 of the sisters had to wake up to go on a visa trip..... soooo it wasn't the best night's sleep I've ever had :) 

The 5 new sisters had training all day, but that night I got to take two of them out for their first night hitting the streets in Russia. Honestly that probably one of the best memories that I have had on my entire mission. I served with Sisters Johnson and Warnick.  And I don't know what happened that night... I honestly think that Heavenly Father wanted them to have a good impression of Russia for their first day because everyone that we talked to was on their best behavior. They had new missionary written all over their faces and the biggest smiles for each person we talked to. Half of me is really sad that I'm not training one of them. I have never seen young missionaries with so much zeal and excitment for the work. It really rekindled a fire that has been dying in me. That night I spent a good amount of time on my knees thanking my Father in Heaven for such an amazing experience. It was just what this old missionary needed to get me going again. My heart was full of gratitude and I went to sleep with a big smile on my face :) 

That night we had 12 sisters in that small apartment and the next day after they all left it was just absolutely filthy... and we'd be staying 2 more days still. So we spent some time cleaning things up. Also sister Thomas joined us and the cleaning went way faster with three people :) The worst part was cleaning the sink.... which smelled like rotting fish. Gotta love it. 
the TRIO

We are now back in Kazan with the 3 of us and things couldn't be better :) we've been working so hard and it's been so fun. We loooove having Sister Thomas with us. She's on her third cycle and just came out of training, just like Sister Neilsen. She's from California and has a cute southern accent even though she claims that she doesn't. She's a little fresh spice to our companionship :) We've only been together about 5 days total, but so far it's been pretty refreshing! Everyone complains about being in a trio, but it seems pretty great so far! Working with new missionaries has done so much to strengthen my faith. I feel like our companionship is so strong. We all love each other and are always supporting bearing one another's burdens and with three of us I feel like it's really easy to work fearlessly.  

I've never seen so many miracles on my mission. I feel like a flood of them are coming and I honestly believe that part of it is because of the faith of these new missionaries. Something that I've really been trying to do lately is studying the Spirit in the Book of Mormon and the way that he works. I've been trying to pay close attention to his still small voice, because really I feel like that's something that will really come in handy when I get home and face problems that I forgot existed :) He'll tell me what to do. 

And actually.... last night we had plans to go visit a less active. I wasn't feeling right about it, so I called to make sure it would be okay if we came over. She said yes, so we got on the bus and we on our way, however about 20 minutes later we get a call from her and she cancelled our appointment. So that was a little bit of confirmation from the Spirit. We decided to go knocking instead and switch things up a bit. Going knocking in huge Russian apartment buildings is actually one of the sketchiest things I've ever done in my life. So many men answer the door in nothing but their underwear and a chain necklace with a cross nestled in their hair chests. Never ceases to be amusing. Well our genius companion sister Thomas chose the building and what do ya know... the last door we knock on, we meet our miracle :) A 55 year old man opens the door, he was so kind, but wanted to know nothing about our religion and hands us a book he wanted to give us... turns out he wrote it. Then we gave him a Book of Mormon and asked him if we could teach him a 10 minute lesson. After warming up to us and seeing that we're harmless he gladly let us into his house. This man is a genius, and a little odd :) He just had graphs and charts hanging all over the place full of theories he's thought of. We taught him the Restoration and he understood everything. He was a little hesitant to pray at the end but promised he would pray for lesson number 2 :) He believes in science, but he also believes that there are some things that science just can't explain. We'll be coming over this week on Thursday.

Heavenly Father is pouring out his spirit on this part of the vineyard. I have never had more lessons planned for this next week than I have had my entire mission. People are popping up all over the place, and we're meeting sooo many more people with a third companion, especially with us all transport contacting. People have been calling us themselves and we're working with part member families and it's just AMAZING. I'm so so grateful, what a perfect way to end my mission :) God is so good. 

The next few weeks are just going to fly. I know it. I have exchanges with the sisters in Toliatti next week, and then the week after there is zone conference, then the week after that the sisters from Penza are coming down to Kazan on a 15 hour train ride... and one of those sisters is sister Warnick, I'm so pumped to work with her again, we really hit it off well I'm not gonna lie. I'm so sad that I don't get to spend more time with some of these super cool people. All good things have to end! 

I love my mission. Always will. 
I know that Christ is my brother. 
And I know that God delivers us from our afflictions 
if we have faith in Christ :)


Sister Wilson