Monday, April 2, 2012

Here, there, and everywhere

I can't wait to see General Conference. Unfortunately, here we will not get to watch it until the 14 and 15th of April. Typically, we get to watch conference a week after it is broadcast in America but next week is Easter so we have to wait two weeks. 

Well, I am still in Perovo. It has been interesting trying to balance two areas. And of course dynamics of threesomes are always interesting to deal with and balancing everyone's personalities. But so far it has been a lot of fun. It has been fun to see some members in the Perovo branch and help out there. It has also been fun to have two districts and the chance to interact with different missionaries and see how others work. 

I'll admit that my greatest blessing has been the chance to serve with Sister Horspool. She is a great missionary and takes her calling as a training sister seriously. Her example has helped to motivate me because I see her on trains always trying to contact someone, which in turn makes me want to do it and reminds me that it is not as hard as we make it seem in our minds. 

I am still continuing to use my French. This past week before English club we had another lesson in French with the elders. It was incredible. And thankfully, this time I was not the only French speaker. One of the Elder's investigators knows both French and English so he helped translate for the elders. Serge is incredible and is almost done reading Gospel Principles (after a week) and was testifying to us about the gospel. We taught the Plan of Salvation and after we finished one of the investigators asked the question, "What about my mom and my other family members? I want to be together for them but they did not have the chance to be baptized." We were all surprised by the question. We answered their question and talked a little about family history and temple work and all the investigators were excited. That night the investigators set two baptismal dates.

On Thursday we were in my area and it was good. We met with Izolda, an inactive old lady who lives in one of the outer cities. Originally we had planned to reteach all the lessons to her but she brought up her concerns about tithing again. She has had concerns for the past three months and no matter how much we try to explain she will not accept what we say. At one point I asked her if she had prayed to find an answer. She admitted that she hadn't and said she wanted her answer through the Liahona because any answer she received from pray would not be real and factual. It was draining and frustrating but I discovered a lot about her and her beliefs. It was sad to realize that she did not understand her relationship to God or revelation. It appears that the only source she trusts is the Liahonas. I don't know if this is common problem in other areas of the world but I have found that, especially, less actives members love the Liahonas but won't read their scriptures.

But on the other hand we had a great meeting with Anna, who was in Germany in the last week. She came back and and had done some serious reflecting over the past week. While in Germany she met with her friend who was the first member of the church to really befriend her. Her friend talked with her about baptism and asked her a few of the baptism questions. One of the questions is whether she believed that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christ's church restored on the earth. At the time she said she could not so she went home and prayed and reflected. In our meeting she said she had received an answer and knew that the church was true. On that note we began our lesson on the Word of Wisdom. She had studied the booklet and really liked it. As always I felt like she was teaching me more than I was teaching her. We talked about tea and the different knids that we can drink. She mentioned that after she studied the Word of Wisdom she discovered that there is a wide variety of herbal teas she did not know existed. "That's how it always is," she said. "At first when you are told you can't have something you are so focused on what you can't have. But when you look you find that there are lots of options that you can have." There was one interesting moment during the lesson. At the beginning I noticed that she said an odd comment. She mentioned that the word of wisdom was her struggle right now. But as we talked I couldn't see where she was struggling. I asked her and she ended up sharing what it was that has been holding her back from baptism. She is ready and wants to be baptized and I have been struggling to figure out what has been holding her back. Well, she shared it with us and she is working hard and taking big steps so that soon she will be ready. It was a great meeting and as always we were amazed by her and her knowledge. She also came to church with her daughter and they stayed for all three hours. 

Sunday I went on a split with a member so that I could be in the Sokolniki Ward for Sunday. I know what one of my weaknesses is asking members to come to lessons. I was determined to do better. You'll be happy to know that I asked four people to come to our lessons this week. Unfortunately, none of them could come but I feel glad to know that I did try my best to ask members. 

After church we met with Zhun Zhun. She is continuing to pray but is not reading from the Book of Mormon. However, she agreed to let me call her at nights and agreed to read with me over the phone. I tried asking her about baptism but she said that she was not ready. But she said that she was happy and told me that last year she told the sisters that she was happy because she had money. "This year I have no money but I am happy." I am going to do my best to try to help her as best I can. I really do love her and I feel that she is special. She did thank us for calling her and not forgetting about her.

I'll admit that those are the highlights of my week. I also gave out a Book of Mormon in French on the street this week. We also gave out one in Moldovian. Of course I never have enough time to share all of my insights from the Book of Mormon. But I will tell you that I have almost finished the Book of Mormon again. Some of the favorite moments are the insights that I gain as I read the scriptures. My testimony of the Savior begins to grow and my desire to be exactly obedient also increases. I am so thankful for the scriptures that we have and especially for a living prophet and apostles. I know that God loves us just as much as His children in the Bible. He wants to talk to us and we can talk to Him through prayer. He is not hidden in the heavens and continues to speak and give us guidance. 

I love you all and may that God will answer your prayers.
-Sister Daniel

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