Monday, January 30, 2012

Good Week in Moscow

This week has been a better week. On Monday for P-Day we went lazer tagging to celebrate our district leaders birthday. I don't remember whether or not I mentioned that last week. Either way it was lots of fun and I didn't come in last! (Actually I was second to last but it's not last place right?) After we went lazer tagging we emailed home, then rushed home to change clothes and then we went on a split. My companion, Sister Workman had her visa trip on Tuesday so she was heading to President Sorenson's house and Sister Rasmussen returned to me (she is currently in a threesome companionship). Sister Rasmussen and I started to return to the apartment to drop off her things and we were almost there when the Asisstants to the President called. 

"What you are doing right now?" they asked.

"We are almost to our apartment," I responded.

"How soon can you get here [meaning the central building]? There is a girl here and she lives in your area."

So we ran (literally at times), careful not to slip on the ice, to the center building in the center of Moscow. A girl who was in Sister Rasmussen's group at English club was there. We met with her and talked about God and our relationship with Him. We then gave her a Book of Mormon and taught about prayer. I'll admit I was so frazzled at the beginning of your meeting but at one point I was having trouble understanding and I was trying to figure things out so I asked right then if we could say a prayer. After the prayer the lesson went a lot smoother. She agreed to read the Book of Mormon and we have a meeting set up with her for tonight. When I tried calling her, to confirm the appointment, the number did not work so I am really hoping that she remembers.

On Tuesday we had district meeting and it was fun because Sister Ramussen and another elder who had previously served in Sokolniki was there. We talked about finding people to teach and it was nice to have some new input from other missionaries. I'll admit on our split Sister Rasmussen and I talked a lot. We had a lot of catching up to do and in some ways it was a therapy of sorts. I also had her help me understand some records that I did not understand. During the night it was a little frustrating because there had been some lack of communication on whether or not my companion would be returning that night or the next day. We needed up meeting back with Sister Workman late at night.

The next morning was a little rough for some reason. We had Sister Rasmussen with us during our studies and that companion study was so awkward and I felt like I was pulling teeth. Companionship studies have been better since then and perhaps it was the third missionary that made it so difficult. After Sister Rasmussen joined up with her companions we worked on the area book and tried calling people from it. Unfortunately, no one answered. (As Sister Companion I get the phone. I'll admit making calls and taking calls are not my favorite but I do it and manage not to be too awkward.)

English club that night was small but it was still fun. We talked about schools and explained the American School system. In Russia there is homework but most of their points and grades are made up on oral recitation in class and oral exams. Russian universities just finished up their exams and now universities students get two weeks to relax before the new semester begins.

Thursday was a fun day. It was transfer meeting and although none of the sisters were transferred we were still able to go because a senior couple is leaving soon so they bore their final testimonies. It was great and it was a spiritual rejeuviation that I needed. We then handed out flyers for English Club. One lady gave me a hug and another man told me to return to America. Sadly, the meeting for that night "figged" us (a fig is when a meeting doesn't shop up or cancels on us). 

Friday was a very busy day. We met with an inactive, a recent convert, and an investigator. The inactive is doing great! She is reading the Book of Mormon everyday and the Liahonas and is recognizing that she feels the Spirit. She has come to church and wants to become active and remain active. She realizes that she does not understand everything and doesn't quite have a testimony but she wants to. In the course of the week I saw a huge change in her and I was so excited. I have been blessed on my mission to see the power of the Book of Mormon in changing people. The Book of Mormon is incredible and can bring about so many miracles.

The other two lessons turned out a little differently than planned. Our recent convert has not come to church a lot since her baptism. The biggest problem is that she never told her family because her parents are protiv (against the church). That is a big barrier to overcome and she has had a lot of trials lately but she still meets with us and her friend, Masha who is a super member-missionary, calls her frequently and invites her to activities. Originally we had planned to talk about missionary work but then we found out about some of her trials so we changed the lesson and talked about the example of Nephi and the Atonement. 

An investigator requires a lot of patience. She has her own set of ideas but she likes our message. Now that I have a firm testimony of the Book of Mormon I think that it will become important for her in learning the truth. 

That is the brief recap for the week. It has been a lot colder this week. Perhaps because it came so gradually I some days don't notice how extremely cold it gets. But I have started wearing a hat and I can tell when it is really cold because my face hurts. Also if we are out contacting for a while our feet begin to freeze and it is that feeling when your feet are numb but feel too big for your shoes. Yesterday, we went contacting in a park for two hours. It was not as cold as it was some other days but by the time we were done my feet were frozen. Rest assured, I do bundle up and when we go contacting I pull out my thermal underwear and wear it under my tights. I'll admit I don't mind the cold too much and I am happy that it is colder so I can say I have a Russian winter (I'm sure anyone who served or been to other places in Russia is laughing because Moscow is not too bad in comparison).

Contacting in still challenging but we set a goal to go contacting for an hour everyday. Now that we do it the most challenging thing is to make every minute matter. Sometimes there is "contacting" that involves more wandering around than just stopping and trying to talk. And I feel that sometimes we get so caught up in trying to "feel" which way we need to go rather than going where we are and trusting that there are people in our path or if there is a certain place we need to be then we will be directed. But I've found that the first three people and the first three rejections are the hardest. Once that barrier is overcome it becomes a lot easier. And the barrier then renews itself the next day so you are back at square one again :) 

Russian is coming along as always. I don't know if mentally something has changed but I just really want correction at this point. I get so happy when I am corrected so I can fix my errors. I just remember when I first got here correction was hard to take. And I have had some companions who don't like to be corrected too. But now I become happy because I am learning so much and then I go out share what I learned to others.

Overall, things are going pretty well. It is still the beginning but I am trying to keep this optimism up. I started a "happiness journal" where at the end of each night I write down all the goods things that happened that day. Sometimes it is tangible things and other times I write down realizations that I had that day. They might be small but I always end up going to bed in a happier mood and it helps me remember that "all days are good days. Some are just better than others." What also helps me is just trying to remember that I am not perfect and realzing all my weakness and shortcoming keep me humble (I hope). 

So that has been it for the week. Thank you so much for all the prayers and the support. I am so blessed by all of you and you have helped me experience so many miracles. Thank you.

PS: Next time I will be better on sending some winter pictures. 

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