Monday, December 19, 2011

Wonder of wonders, Miracle of miracles

This week I am very excited to write you all and tell you about all the miracles I have seen this week. First off, I have a new companion Sister Workman. She is different from most of my other companions and we have a lot of similar interests in movies and tv shows. But it will be interesting to see how our working relationship will be. One thing I have learned is that it is one thing to be friends with your companions but being friends does not always guarantee a good working relationship. I'll admit that out of necessity I need to be more proactive in speaking Russian, which is scary because I can't use the excuse that my companion should know because she has been out longer. Sister Workman has been in Russia one transfer less than I have.

Thursday we had our transfer meeting and we got to meet the new missionaries and exchange companions. We had our stake Christmas concert and it was fabulous. The sister missionaries sang "What Child Is This?" and afterwords several people said that we sounded like angels. Most importantly, a lot of people came! Members, inactives, people from english club. It was great to see the hall so filled. And some people stood in the back for the entire program. 

The rest of the week we have been hunting inactives and trying to make contact with as many as possible. We have also starting carolling as a district and it is a lot of fun. Sometimes people give us strange or dirty looks but occasionally some people will stop and listen. But lately we have had some success with inactives. We dropped by one lady and she let us in! We explained that we were new in the area and trying to get to know everyone. We were only able to drop off our chocolate bar but she said she would come to church and see off there. 

Sunday was a day full of miracles. I was so nervous for Sunday because there was a lot to get done to prepare Valeria for baptism. I poured my heart out in prayer that everyone would work out and that I would have the language abilities to communicate everything.

First off, we attended International ward and Maria was confirmed! She was even able to be confirmed in Tagalog, her native language. I was so happy. Then we had a lesson and talked about her ancestors. She is becoming worried for their salvation and has been thinking of them and wants to do their work for them. She pointed out that since she is the only member in her family doing their work really is her responsibility. 

Then Russian church! Valeria AND Anna came! Anna is a lady who came a few weeks ago and no one knew that she wasn't a member. So when our ward mission leader asked if we got her number we were shocked to find out she was not a member. Since then I got her number and have called her a few times. When I asked if she wanted to learn more about the Church she mentioned that she had some questions and said we could meet after the holidays. I found out later from Sister Sorenson (President and Sister Sorenson came to our church) that Anna told Sister Sorenson that she appreciated the calls us sisters made. Really, the phone calls were very short and I had hoped that I was not bothering her.

I'll admit I have been very stressed out about Valeria. She has not been able to meet for two weeks and wants to be baptized. Everytime we tried to meet with her outside of church our meeting would be cancelled for one reason or another. So I was beginning to get worried and our lesson on Sunday would determine how things would work out.

After Sacrament meeting we had our lesson with Valeria and we were able to have a member on the lesson. That member really made all the difference because we had a lot of commandments to talk about with her. But Valeria wants to be baptized and that desire has helped motivate her. We discussed prophets, law of Chastity, Word of Wisdom, Tithing, and the Sabbath Day. We managed to get through all of them and it she really enjoyed learning about them. Afterwards she said that she felt really encouraged and comforted. Valentina, the member, was great. Since she is a convert she had several stories to back up her testimonies and made sure that we did not forget to cover anything. Really, she was inspired by the spirit because as we talked about Word of Wisdom Valentina shared her struggle with giving up coffee and pointed out that it was hard at first. Later in the lesson Valeria said that she will give up coffee and said it would be hard but when we taught her she seemed to accept it and she was willing to give it up. Valentina was also very encouraging and pointed that that at her baptism she did not have a strong testimony about prophets but a few weeks later her branch president assigned her to give a talk prophets. She said as she learned more and grew in the gospel that strong testimony came. All in all I think that Valeria is ready for baptism. 

The miracles don't stop there. Two inactives came to church! And one of them was an older lady with whom we meet with about every other week. She has a cane and does not walk well so she would need a ride to come to church. So imagine my surprise when I got to Relief Society and I saw her sitting there. I was ecstatic. Then the lady who said she would see us at church came! 

Today we went ice skating as a zone on Red Square. It was a lot of fun and I didn't fall! Afterwards we went to Chili's. While I was at Chilis the phone rang and I answered. Last week we went inactive hunting and stopped by one lady's house. She was not home but we were able to get into her building and left her some chocolate and a liahona. Well, she called us and when I asked if we could meet she said yes! The Lord is richly pouring out more miracles and blessing than I could ever hope for. Truly, the Christmas season is a time of miracles and is perhaps softening some hearts. 

That was my week. All in all my weekend was pretty incredible. As I already said Christmas truly is a magical time and a time of miracles. All of this reminds me that this truly is the Lord's work and it comes in His timing. This has also reminded me that God truly hears our prayers and answers them. The answer does not come immediately but it comes. Also, I know that those things that worry us or are of great importance to us are very important to our Heavenly Father.

About the weather! There is more snow now which only started to stick yesterday. I still have not pulled out my winter jacket but it has started to get colder and I wear my boots more often. As to the new native sisters, I would love to serve with any of them. They are all great and full of faith. 

Time is just about up. Thank you for your prayers. They are always needed and always greeted with great love from me. Thank you for all you are doing to help me.

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