First things first: I was slightly off in the address I gave you last week for Russian mail. It was all correct except for the AAI part. It should be a/ya 257.
It was another hard week, probably harder than the last, but I am continuing to look on the brightside and staying optimistic. The summer is hard in Russia because, just like in France, there is a tradition of going to summer homes for a month. We have about 5 investigators and 2 of them are on vacation while the other 2 work a lot and they call us whenever they have any free time.
Last Wednesday my companion, Sister Bullough woke up feeling sick and her stomach really hurt. She felt like she was going to throw up all day and it continued unto the next day. In addition, our appointment called at the last minute to cancel. Sickness and feeling sick can really disrupt mission work. By Friday things got slightly better and we rode out to visit a less active member for whom we do service. Unfortunately, we could not share the message we have prepared but we did A LOT of weeding and we met the member's grandmother who is one of the coolest people I've met. She was Jewish, had an aunt survive the Holocaust, has published books, can read in 4 or 5 other languages, and went to the best school in Moscow. Wow. She talked, in English, about the plants we worked with and often would say, "I know its name in Latin, French, and German but I don't know the English name."
On Saturday we got together with the Elders and went through the branch list. Only a 1/4 of the branch comes to church and one of our goals is to work with the less active members. It took a little while because there were so many. Also, I don't think I mentioned this but our area is big and requires a lot of travelling. In the end Sister Bullough and I ended up with 58 people/families that we need to visit. We have our work cut out for us but we have all the information organized and grouped which should makes things slightly easier.
Sunday was good. Yes, Russians cannot sing. Singing hymns is always a fun part of church because everyone is on a different note and different pace. I am understanding a little more everyday and although the language can be frustrating I am optimistic. The only young woman in our branch asked how long I had been in Russia. I told her two and a half weeks and she told me that my Russian is good for only two weeks and my first transfer. That was much more encouraging than the week before when a member told me that I needed to learn Russian and proceeded to tell me about an Elder who did not learn the language and how it made the work difficult and no one could understand him.
Monday we met with our Branch president at 7:30 in Moscow so our day began early at 5:30 in order to be there on time. It was a great meeting and he really wants to get the members involved in the missionary work. And I understood most everything he said. I did not understand every word but I understood or could figure out all he was saying. Sister Bullough had the opposite experience and felt strange emotionally all day. We have had a lot of opposition, especially emotionally but we are staying strong. I have surprised myself with just how optimistic I can be, and actually mean it. Then our appointment that night never showed up. We call her after waiting 20 minutes and she was in Moscow.
Tuesday we had combined specialized training where the mission comes together and receives training from our mission leaders. President Sorenson could not come because he flew to America for medical testing. He caught the flu badly a few weeks ago and was in the hospital. The training was really good and reminded me of all the things I know but don't focus on everyday like I should. I came away feeling pretty pumped and evaluated my personal goals. I love setting goals.
Well, that was my past week. Moscow is humid and hot. I am thankful everyday for our apartmant fan. I will have some fun tans lines when the mission is over. The mission is hard but I am loving it and the opportunity I have here. I know I am doing important work and my love for the scriputes, prophet, Holy Ghost, and the Lord grows a little more everyday.