So the funny thing was that I heard the announcement about the mission age change live. So just think! I heard it exactly when you did! We were at the senior couple's apartment and got permission to watch it live with a recent convert and an investigator who did not end up coming. Actually it haven't been playing and the others were in the hallway so I was setting up the computer so I was the only one who heard it at first and no one initially believed me when I suddenly screamed it. I am reallly excited and I know for the international members this will be great and they might not have to sacrifice so much schooling. Also I think we will see a lot more sisters on missions. Remember my mini missionary? I immediately thought of her because she always said she didn't want to wait 2 more years to serve a mission. Well, here is her chance.
Since you didn't get my email last week you might be surprised to find out that I am in a different city, Yaroslavl. Surprise! Everyone was pretty surprised to find out that I was being transfered for my last transfer but after a few days here I can understand a little more why I am here. It has been fun to see how the Lord is using me and to see that the Lord wants me to share my experiences and to help others. Even to the end the Lord is putting me to work and giving me an interesting challenge.
Last week was a little crazy. We met with lots of people in Ryazan and had quite a few miracles. We met with Nina, who is so busy that we did not meet a lot with her when I was in Ryazan. But she was so sweet and brought little cakes and her brother, who is a member, came and he stayed for the lesson. We focused on the Book of Mormon, because although we cannot meet with her often we felt that if she will read the scriptures everyday she would be ready for baptism. She could progress without us. At the end of our lesson she said she would read everyday! There was no "I'll try" response and she agreed to let us call her every few days to check to see if she has been reading. I was so happy.
Then we met with Angela and had a great lesson about tithing. It was a bittersweet since I was leaving and Sister Hawkins and I first starting teaching her. But we had a good time and we talked about her baptism and she says she is ready and said she would be baptized in 2 weeks! I got a little teary eyed and was so happy for her. Although she has a lot of trials I know that the Gospel will bless her immensely and provide comfort during those dark times.
On Thursday we got to Moscow just fine and I met up with my new companion Sister O'Neal. She is from Payson, Utah and just finished her training. She came out the same time as Sister Hawkins. It is a weird dynamic since she will for sure stay in the area so I see my role as preparing her more fully. Our goals are to help her with Russian and help her become comfortable talking on the phone. She understands Russian fine but is struggling more with speaking or rather it is more confidence. I am actually very excited to be here and although I will not be here long I know that good things are going to happen.
We did see a lot of miracles getting to Yaroslavl. Sister O'Neal had her visa trip on Friday so we spent Thursday and mot of Friday in Moscow. It was a tender mercy because I was able to spend more time with Sister Horspool and Sister Workman, two of my favorite sisters, who went home on Friday. Did I ever mention that my big suitcase broke? Or rather the elders who helped me move to Ryazan broke two of the wheels. Well, my suitcase survived the trip to Yaroslavl thanks to President Makarov, the branch president from my very first area. As we headed to the train station we saw us and helped us. He bought us a cart that all the Russian babushki carry all their bags (we call them "bab carts") so we would roll my bag. Then he took us all the way to train station and helped us when we missed our train.
It has been very interesting to look at myself lately. As of late I have been taking time to think about the ways that I have grown. I have realized how many wonderful blessing the Lord has given me. I have seen traits in myself that I never realized were strengths. I remember at the very beginning of my mission I prayed a lot for a soft heart and for the gift of obedience. Only recently have I noticed that the Lord heard that prayer. Or course He answered my prayer in terms of mission standards and missionary rules because I have seen how inspiried they are rather than seeing them as restrictive. But more importantly the Lord has asked me to do a lot of things and whereas previously I might have gripped or complained I noticed a peace and a desire to do what He has asked.
I have reflected on this attitude change as I have read 1 & 2 Nephi and noticed the difference between Nephi and Laman. We often forget that Laman and Lemeul did go. They followed their father, even through they weren't happy about it. They had to convinced and had to be calmed of their murmurings. They were exhorted and pleaded with and eventually they went. It wasn't like they were forced to come. Nephi told they they could go back but would face the same fate as those in Jersalem. They made it to the promised land but look at the long term effects. The difference between Nephi and his brothers comes down to faith and attitiude. Nephi had the faith to trust the Lord and as a result he made good things happen in his life. His example of a humble and submissive attitude is one I have been striving to cultivate. It isn't easy and it is hard for the pride but I can see the long term effects and I want to able to say to my Heavenly Father, "not my will, but thy will be done."