First I'll explain the delay of Preparation Day. The humanitarian couple in charge of all projects in Russia had a wheelchair project here in Ryazan. They got permission from President Sorenson to use the missionaries as translators for both days. Thankfully, we had Tanya who is an amazing translator so we did not have to do a whole lot of translating. That sounds bad but we were translating medical terms and the district leader and I talked afterwards about how unprepared we would have been. Thankfully, Tanya did the bulk and she did an amazing job but she still allowed me to try translating some parts and I went around and helped people whenever we did things in groups. But now I know how to say words such as paralysis, pressure sores, ramp, wheelchair, scoliosis, brakes, amputee and disabilities in Russian.
Another interesting note. The couple doing the training was from Richfield, UT. Their names were Jeff and Ilene Thalman. I asked if they knew the Bytheways and they said yes.
But I was able to help in other ways. Sister Hawkins and I helped with most of the set up. Then we helped with a lot of other errands. Such as yesterday, when a senior sister and I went on a 3 and 1/2 hour search for foam all around Ryazan. Most of the training was about the importance of wheelchair safety and helping those in wheelchairs prevent future medical problems such as scoliosis. Part of prevention is making sure that people fit in the wheelchairs and they have the right size. Well, for practice a young boy who is 10 came in and we fitted him. Unfortunately, we discovered that the wheelchairs we had were all too big for him but if we had foam pads it would fit him and he could grow into it. So a senior sister and I went on a hunt for more foam to make the padding. Sister Hawkins was with another senior sister. We went from home depot store to hardware store and it felt like a wild goose chase. At last on our 5th try we found some and last night the wheelchair was delivered to adorable Misha. So now I know how to say foam also in Russia: porolon.
We did see a lot of little miracles this week. The biggest I think was my attitude. As we have been reading the Book of Mormon together I have noticed Nephi's attitude. He doesn't let anything rock his faith or his trust in the Lord. Even when his brothers are trying to kill him for the umpteenth time he still worship and thanks the Lord! That sort of attitude has been one I have been trying to cultivate and especially lately have been trying to emulate. I noticed a big difference in myself even during times where I might have freaked out or gotten discouraged. Last week a lot of plans fell through. Last Tuesday we made our plan and a backup plan and both of them fell through. We tried calling and dropping by people but no real luck. One contact we called agreed to meet, only the next day she called to cancel and inform us that she would be busy for the next two months. But despite everything we kept a good attitude and it all payed off by the end of the week.
We do have a few potential investigators for which I am very excited. We met with one lady to whom the previous sisters gave a Book of Mormon. Despite mixing up the meeting place we got to her in record time. We were in a park and she was with her son so we did not really get to teach but we explained church, invited her to come, and she consented to letting us come to her home and teach her.
This past weekend Ryazan had a guest, a former sister missionary, Sister Baloshova. It was great having her visit because she helped us get in contact with former investigators and helped on a few lessons. She called almost every member of our branch and so a lot of people came to church! It was great to see the branch building so full and to have so many come. We met one of our district goals of having 30 people at church!
Perhaps one of the greatest miracles was finding Sasha (Alexandra). Sasha was a former investigator who had a baptismal date in September. The previous sisters met with her but until last week we had never met her. We tried calling her but no one answered. Unfortunately, we had no address so calling was about all that we could do. Well, Sister Baloshova called her and there was also no answer. However, Sister Baloshova knew where she lived. Everything worked out beautifully to find her. We found her home, wrote down her address, and the entry door was left open. Since Sister Baloshova was not a missionary and Russian she was able to get in and to the door of her apartment and Sasha was home! Sasha had no phone and had just returned to Ryazan. While she hasn't been reading the Book of Mormon she did remember her baptismal date and felt bad that she could not make it. She then expressed a desire to continue meeting with us. I can't describe the elation that I felt.
Like every week in missionary work there were ups and downs but I noticed a lot of miracles and tender mercies. Time is short but I could keep going on about all the miracles that I have seen. I have only written a small part. Everyday I am reminded that this is the Lord's work and I am so grateful to be a part of it. It is certainly challenging and taxing but the Lord is sustaining me. I know that my prayers are heard. I am so grateful for the knowledge that my Heavenly Father is never far and I can always talk to him.
Love, Sister Daniel