Monday, May 21, 2012

Week of Culture

This past week was a little bit interesting because of all the fun things we did. This past week we had our culture night and so we went and saw Swan Lake at the Kremlin. Also, last Friday was free museum day in Moscow, so we took part of our Preparation Day to see some museums with a member of our ward (which is why my email is later today because we had a meeting earlier in the day). As a companionship we are also making goals to see more cultural things on our Preparation Day so last Monday we went to a big park with all sorts of statues.

We met with Yelena again this week. We are trying to move from helping her with English into an investigator. She has a lot of potential and right now she likes us and trusts us. (She even wanted us to babysit her daughter while she and her husband went out. Unfortunately, that is forbidden). Sadly, she did not come to the ward open house. We can't meet with people just to give them English lessons so we explained that to her (we told her that we use our 1 hour of service to help her since she can't come to English club) and explained that we wanted to teach her. Her comment was interesting. She is reading the Book of Mormon and does not see a reason to meet with us at the moment because she will find all she wants to know about us from the Book of Mormon. Thankfully, my companion was quicker than I and asked then if the next time we came if we can talk about the Book of Mormon. She agreed and hopefully that will provide the gateway to helping her feel the Spirit.

On Saturday our ward held an Open House. I'll admit it turned out pretty well. For a while all of the missionaries were worried. Five minutes before it was about to start there was only the missionaries, one member, and one inactive. But thankfully people trickled in and more showed up. For those that came they had a good time. Sadly, not as many members came as we hoped but that shows that we need to work more with the members and get them excited about missionary work. Zhun Zhun almost came! Due to work she couldn't come and arrived just as the Open House ended. But we sat down and talked to her and although we have not meet in a while or read the Book of Mormon she knows that she needs to read and she wants to read. And if not for work she would have come to the 10am church. 

Saturday night we went to Vika. For the past few weeks we has not been answering our calls. We were worried and managed to drop by. Russian apartments can be hard to get into if the person you call doesn't answer the apartment phone. The apartments remind me a lot of France. You have to ring the phone and then the person you call has to let you in. Vika didn't answer but we knew she was home because her car was there. Thankfully, a lady exited the building and held the door open for us to enter (sometimes people forcibly close the door if the person you call doesn't let you in). We went up to Vika's door and knocked 3 times. No one answered but we heard loud music inside. Finally we knocked a 4th time and Vika's daughter happened to be walking to the bathroom at that moment and heard the knock. We got inside and thankfully everything was all right with Vika and I am glad that we stopped by to show her that we are not going to allow ourselves to lose contact with her.

Sunday was a good day. I'll admit that I have been praying a lot for the members in our ward and trying to talk to someone new each week. I've also tried to get to greet the less actives that come or sit by them during church. It was also a good Sunday because one member just returned from her mission and it was her first Sunday back. She served in the Washington DC South mission and it was great to talk to her. I love return missionaries because they are so willing to help on lessons and you don't feel like you are contacting members for meetings. 

I am going to try to be more optimistic. Lately I feel like my optimism meter has been low. I wouldn't say that I am pesimisstic. I don't immediately think the worst of everything but sometimes I want to get discouraged at how things are moving or going. I suppose it's a little self-centered to say that the work in our area is moving slow but sometimes it is easy to feel that your weaknesses are holding the area back from truly progressing. Some days I just want to beat myself up for how bad I still am at contacting or how it has not gotten easier or feeling that the ward  And, to be fair, I was warned in a blessing that there would be times when I would feel weak and it would be to the glory of God. Thank goodness I read about Moses and Enoch this morning, both of whom felt very inadequant to their calling but they still managed to accomplish great things. The quote I have written on my planner comes from Teaching of President George Albert Smith: "If you have something that the Lord asks or expects you to do and you don't know just how to proceed, do your best. Move in the direction that you ought to go; trust the Lord, give him a chance, and he will never fail you." Although I am still weak and full of weaknesses I am still trying to move forward and not let the hard things stop me from trying. 

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