Well, I have now spent a week in my new area. This was an interesting week. Sister Rasmussen and I still get distracted and we talk a lot but we are improving every day! For lessons total we only taught two but it was a week full of service.
On Wednesday we had a Halloween Party at English Club. It had been announced the week before and really the sister I replaced had been in charge of the party. But now she is in Rechoy so that left Sister Rasmussen and I to plan and carry out this party, neither of which is our forte. So we made sugar cookies (mom's recipe of course). However, we had no cookie cutters so we took knives and handcut them ourselves. The cookies tasted just like home but Sister Ramussen's frosting tasted a little off. She blames Russian powdered sugar.
The party overall went well. There were some awkward moments and we learned a lot what we would do differently. For activities we explained the origin of Halloween and then we did donuts on a string. No one jumped up volunteering to go first so I swallowed pride and went first. At least I got a donut and I think the English clubbers got a kick out of watching us missionaries look funny. At the end we had them go trick or treating and they were so cute. The elders would take them to a room and then tell them what to do. Right before they knocked they would get so nervous and ask, "Wait, what do I say again?" Sister Rasmussen and I were behind the door and overexaggerated, "Oh! What a cute costume you have! Here, you can have three pieces!"
The next day we were not able to get any meetings but it worked out. The Rechnoy sisters (Sister Peterson and Thrall) called us and asked what we were doing. Their landlord decided she wanted to see their apartment and that last time she checked the place was ten years ago. Sadly, former sisters did not always take a best care of that apartment and those sisters had already been cleaning for the past week. They enlisted our help to clean and clean we did. What a difference after a few hours of cleaning! Sister Rasmussen spent 3 hours alone cleaning their bathroom. I know the sisters really appreciated the help because they had started to get really nervous for the landlord to see the place.
Friday we had a meeting with an old lady and the elders came with us. She has been less active for a while and is a nice lady but man did she talk fast. At the end she insisted that my companion try on this bright pink dress that looked like it came out of the 80s. She did not want to but the elders insisted she try it on and it gave the lady such great pleasure to see her wear it. She even insisted that we take it home. We are still laughing about the dress and I am sad I cannot do the story justice because we were bursting out laughing. Especially, when this lady put on a fashion show for us.
Saturday was... interesting. We had a ward activity. Originally we weren't planning on going but the ward wanted to fill up the bus so we went for support. We drove on a bus an hour and a half outside of Moscow to see buffalo. Sadly, we did not understand a lot because none of us thought to brush up on our zoology vocabulary. But we did have a fun time and the members brought apples and carrots to feed the buffalo. On the bus we played card games with the kids so I'm sure the parents appreciated that we kept the children occupied.
Church was good on Sunday. We went to the international ward and then our Russian ward. We had a lesson with our Filipino investigators after Sacrament meeting and it went really well! She is loving the Book of Mormon and starting to recognize how important it is and she says that even if she has a hard day she reads because she finds comfort. I'll admit teaching in English felt strange and hearing talks in English felt so surreal.
In our Russian ward I was asked to bear my testimony. For the third hour Relief Society and Elders Quorum was combined and we watch "On the Lord's Errand", the film about President Monson. Sister Rasmussen was asked to translate for our senior couple but she had never seen the film so at times I had to lean over and explain the story. My favorite was we missed a story and the only word we understand was "milk." So Sister Rasmussen said, "Something about milk." A second later we hear Sister Hatch (of the senior couple) start laughing. Half way through the film our district leader (who earlier said he did not want to translate) came up and asked, "Do you want me to translate? I have this movie pretty much memorized."
All in all it was a different week but a good week. We did have some success that is hard to measure in statistics but we have more lessons lined up this week and possibly a new investigator too!
I am learning more and more to follow the Lord's timetable. In the past I might have been frustrated by a week such as this. But although our stats were low and we did not have the typical missionary success I have received a lot of blessings and seen areas where I need to improve and I want to improve. Also, my companion and I get along really well and we have talked about areas we maybe have become lacksidaisical in and how we can improve. Still, our biggest problem is that we talk too much but now much of our conversations relate to the mission so progress!
I am so thankful for the chance to be on a mission and serve my God. I have so many tender mercies and realized how much I love Him and His son, Jesus Christ. Everyday I am so thankful for the chance to commune through prayer and to see that through prayer and the Atonement I can better something more than I ever thought I could be.