Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ups and Downs

Addresses which I forgot to include in my last email:

Pouch Mail address:
Sister Amy Daniel
Russian Moscow Mission
PO Box 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150

Packages and regular letters:
Sister Amy Daniel
Russia Moscow Mission
Glavpochatamt ALAI 257
101000 Moscow, Russia

Dear Elders are sent through pouch and take about 2 weeks to arrive in Russia. Regular letters I think also take about 2 weeks. Packages take like a month or so I'm told but postage is expensive. 

I have now survived 2 weeks in Moscow! It has been a week of ups and downs. Last Wednesday we had a lesson with Karina. From what I have heard she is our "golden contact" and seems to be fascinated by the Gospel and told the Elders to teach her son. It was my first lesson with her and it did not go as we had planned. To begin with, she was 40 minutes late. She brought a friend to English club, which was great, but as we tried to teach Karina, her friend cracked jokes. I had a hard time with one word and, while I don't mind correction, they spent 3 minutes saying it over and over again. I shared my favorite scripture, Alma 7:11-13, and there was a good Spirit in the room but then her friend told us about a movie. It was not a bad movie but it distracted from the Atonement of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for us. We ended the lesson with our testimonies so at least it ended with a good spirit. After the lesson Sister Bullough turned to me and said, "Our meetings with her have never been like that."

Last week we only taught 4 lessons. I think it was most frustrating for my companion because she is already nervous about being a trainer and still feeling new to the mission. We set up a lot of lessons but at the last minute almost all of them canceled on us. So we did a lot of contacting. Again, we handed out "prigs", short for invitation in Russian. We have not gotten a lot of success with prigs. 

Sister Bullough and I get along well. In a lot of ways we are pretty similar. That has been both good and bad. We have the same weaknesses: we are still in the process of learning Russian and neither of us are good at going up to someone and talking to them. It puts both of us outside our comfort zones and we struggle with it. But in other ways it is good: we both think we need to find other ways to contact because everyone passes out prigs and they are not super successful, especially for us since our area does not hold an English Conversation Club. Now we need to move past the thinking and talking stages to the doing stage. 

I have found a few instances where I could use my French. On Friday after eating lunch with our district after district meeting we were riding the metro to return to grab our things. Two of the elders in our district serve in the International Branch which speaks English. Most of their members are Africans so whenever they see someone from Africa they immediately talk to them. We ran into a black lady and they went to talk to her but she did not know English. Her shirt had some French words so they told me that I should talk to her, so I did. It was hard! Going up and starting a conversation in French was easy and fun but speaking French was hard because Russian words wanted to come out. Fortunately, when I hear French or reading in French I can still understand everything.

Slowly, I am starting to get to know the membres in our Branch and I seem less awkward. The meeting with have had with members have been really good and the members are really strong in their testimonies. 

I have great hope that this will be a good week. On Monday we scheduled five meetings for yesterday. Sadly, once we got out to the city we needed to be in, and we had to be early because the trains don't run from 11-1, our first two appointments cancelled. It was raining a lot and of course we forgot our umbrellas. Then one of our meetings was farther away and we got completely lost on our way to meet  with a member family. We got on the wrong bus and they had to come and find us. At least the lessons that we did have went really well. 

As you can tell, things are not easy. Moscow is hard because everyone works a lot and is so focused and consumed by work. But I am learning a lot about the type of missionary I want to be and the type of missionary Heavenly Father wants me to be. I am amazed by the trust He has in me and His expectations for me. They are really high but I am amazed that He thinks I can reach them and that makes me push and stretch myself. I am excited to see how I can become a tool in His hands. I love the Gospel and the opportunity to be here and tell people that families can be together forever.

Besides, the ice cream, cookies, and bread are delicious. 

I love you all! Until next Wednesday!

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