Well, I have been in Russia for just about a month. It is crazy how time has flown by but at the same time the MTC feels like a dream.
Last week we hit an all time low in terms of lessons taught. Again, the same story. We set up many appointments at the beginning of the week and then they cancel. Or members will tell us that they want to meet and when we call they respond that they don't know when they have time but will call us. Then they don't. But we did have one lesson with Karina! We met with here last Wednesday befor English Club and we started out by asking her some questions about the Plan of Salvation. This led into a discussion about prayer and we talked about how God is our Father and because we are His children He wants to hear from us. We talked about her son and as Sister Bollough related our relationship to God to her relationship with her son she got teary eyed. At the end we asked if she would be baptized and she accepted! However, she did not come to church last Sunday so we are going to have to recommit her tonight.
Since we have not had many appointments we have done our best to track down less active members of our Branch. No luck but we did get a few fun stories. At one apartment we got into the building but when we called she was not home. So we went to put a Liahona, Church magazine in her mailbox. The landlord came up to us and starting yelling at us. Sister Bollough was on the phone so she couldn't really respond so we started leaving. He continued to yell at us and at one point grabbed me by the arm to turn me take a look at my nametag. I'm not sure what all he said but I believe it is safe to assume that none of it was nice. He walked out the door with us and then walked with us, probably to keep an eye on us and make sure we did not come back.
Funny thing, everyone seems to yell when they are upset. At the train station on Monday someone's ticket wasn't working so, of course, they were yelling really loudly. When they are upset with someone on the phone they will yell at them. The landlord yelled at us, but we would have left if he told us to. Instead, he wasted a lot of words on two missionaries who didn't understand and just made my companion angry.
We also did go chalk drawing with the elders in our Branch. The elders did a good job! I will try and attach some photos but it does not look like it is working so they might have to wait until last week. But sadly we did not get any contacts out of it. We did have the cops come by and ask what we were doing. They asked to see our papers. But when they came up we dialed Luba, our legal person. With her, you can anything (so long as you have all your papers). We handed the phone to the officer but he could not get a word in.
As we look for addresses we continue to contact. On Tuesday as we were passing out family prigs we gave one to these old women. At first they smiled when they accepted it. Then they read it and handed it back to us. We walked away and as they left they told us that we were wasting our time in Russia. Typically, when people says those things it does not get to me but for some reason it stuck. I know I am not wasting my time but it makes me sad when no one wants to listen because I know how much this Gospel means to me. I am realizing more and more just how much I need it and how precious it is to me personally. And with how hard everything has been I have been so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Yesterday, my nerves were a little frayed on the edges and each dirty look just hurt. I just thought, "You don't even know what you are rejecting!" But after I prayed last night and this morning I feel a lot better and know that I just need to keep giving my all for the mission.
But I feel like I am learning a lot about diligence, faith, and patience. Some days it is really hard to want to go contacting. But those are the days we just have to go out and do it. We are trying new ways of planning and trying to work with the members and visit our less actives. Last night I asked Sister Bollough what has been the hardest time on her mission and she responded, "This month." Sure I might get discouraged with myself and my own weaknesses but in some ways I am glad for the hard times because I know those are the times I can grow the most. I know things will get better and I am learning so much about prayer and its power.
And there is one brightside: apartently our Branch President seems to like me. I am not entirely certain why because we have not talked a lot. But after I bore my testimony my first Sunday he came up to my companion and told her that she had a cool companion, meaning me. And then Sister Trunova, Sister Bollough's trainer ran into the President Macarov and asked about the Branch. He told her that the sister missionaries we were solid and how excited he was that I was in the Branch and told her he was the excited to see what would happen while I am in the Branch. And the members we have met with seem to like me which is great because trust from the Branch goes a long ways and I am here to serve them.
Well, my time is just about up. Thank you everyone who has written! Just hearing from you and hearing your encouragement really does lift my spirits and help. I know I have the prayers of many of my side but hearing how life is treating those that I care about goes a long ways. I love you all and thank you for the prayers!