First things first! I have important news. Yesterday we had a mission conference and Preparation Day has been moved to Monday. This was done so that we focus more on Sunday. Everything leads up to Sunday and helping investigators come to church. Then once Sunday is over we had the next day to prepare and relax.
Other news: Tomorrow I am moving to another area. I will be moving to Soloniki, which in "in the city". Some of you might be thinking that this is a little strange since this is a 7-week transfer and we just completed our 5th week. Well, yesterday President at Conference announced that we would have "AP" sisters. Recently a lot of sisters have been mentioning that as sisters we cannot go on training splits with the district leader or zone leaders (who are all elders) which really leaves sisters to their own devices. We have mentioned that we would like to receive training as well. Hence, we now have training sisters and my companion, Sister Carlson was asked to be one. Sister Fralova is the other one. Because of this decision Sister Carlson will now be companions with Sister Fralova and they will be in charge of Perovo.
So yesterday President asked to meet with the two of us and asked me to move to Sokolniki tomorrow with Sister Rasmussen. As a result of the new training sisters 3 pairs of sisters are changing companions mid-transfer. It has been crazy and I have spent most of today packing. I'll admit I am sad to be leaving Perovo. The other night I realized just how many friends I have made there. But I am excited to move to another area (and an apartment with an oven =) )
This past week we had two good lessons with our investigators Ninel and Karina. Karina, I'll admit, was an emotional roller coaster. Our last meeting with Karina was a little over 2 months ago and every week we have asked if she could meet. Last Wednesday we did not stay for English club because none of our investigators showed up. As we walked to the Metro we ran into Karina and we chit chatted in the rain and when Sister Carlson asked if she could meet she said that she was too busy. So busy that she did not have time for the Holy Ghost and next month she is going to Thailand for a karate tournament, I believe. My heart broke and I thought that she was dropping us. When she saw how upset we were she said that we could meet on Sunday.
All throughout the next week I was so worried. Karina had made so much progress and would be such a strength to the church! I fasted and I prayed and cried for her. But we had a good conversation as we called to confirm the Sunday appointment. Karina asked why we loved and cared about her so much, to which she responded that we loved her because Christ loves her and we want to be happy.
Sunday we had our lesson and she still wants to be baptized but she feels that she is not in a place where she can keep all the commandments. We had planned a short lesson but it turned into a long way. We explained why we are here on earth and what we can expect after this life. I think she is starting to see the importance or baptism and why it is important to come to church every week. I walked away from the lesson with great peace.
Our other meeting was with Ninel and with Sister Bullough we felt like we hit a wall everytime we tried to plan a lesson for her. At last we found out the problem: she didn't understand why her granddaughter (a new member) decided to be baptized again. We had a great lesson on Ephesians 4:5 and what is meant by "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." and talked about the Priesthood and apostasy. I think she understands now the importance of being baptized. Our concern is that she might think she is too old to change. As we talked about the Three Kingdoms and what we need to do to reach the Celestial Kingdom she looked down at the chart and said she would be content with the middle kingdom. But I'll admit I suprised myself. At one point she said that she was not a believing person and talked about how we had so much faith. I asked her if she wanted faith like ours and she said yes. "The reason our faith in strong is because we read the Book of Mormon." Then we started to talk about how she was old to which I responded, "If you really want this you can. We can be patient." During the closing prayer she asked us to bless her with patience.
All in all it has been a good week. I even taught Gospel Doctrine on Sunday which was nerve-racking, but the elders were kind and willing to participate.
I also learned an important lesson last night. As we were on the metro returning home from our senior couple's apartment I noticed that my companion's eyes were tearing up. She was not crying but I was observant enough to notice that she was going to start crying. I was right and soon she started to cry. As we waited for the bus she confided that she was so tired of everyone telling her that her Russian stinks. She said she knew she didn't speak perfect and it hurt that other missionaries were judging her intelligence on how she spoke Russian. It had been an emotional week already and hearing people telling what a great opportunity to learn Russian that she will have serving with a native speaker cut her deeply. I'm not the most physical comforter but I gave her a hug and told her that I saw how hard she worked. I'll admit I have been very humbled this past month. Sister Carlson is a much better missionary than me but she always looks up to me and is so grateful for my help with Russian grammar. She told me that I have been the companion that has helped her the most and made a real effort to help her with her Russian. Along with the responsibility of training sisters she was a little overwhelmed. I learned how important it is to help your companion and not judge their intelligence and capacity as a missionary by how well one speaks. I'll admit seeing her cry reminded me of the nights that I cried over learning French. Sometimes I loved the language and sometimes I hated it and often I wondered why on earth Heavenly Father wanted me to learn French. I never thought I had a gift for languages until recently and when I started learning Russian. I'm glad I did struggle now that I look back because I understand that second languages are hard.
Actually, as I look back on my hardships I am so glad I went through them. Now I can relate to many experiences others are going through because of all the hard time I have been through. I really am grateful for all the lessons I have already learned in this life. And again, I am glad for the trust the Lord shows in me when He gives me tough trials. But one verse I have come to love is Ether 2:25 which shows that the Lord prepares us for the trials that He gives us.