In happier news I am glad to report that I did get to go to Ryazan for Angela's baptism. It was great and I was so happy to see her. Despite a few rough spots (the sauna's pool being cold and a lot deeper than anyone could guess) she was baptized and she looked great! I was glad that President allowed me to travel down to be there. It was a good trip, if not a long one. We travelled all day Friday and most of Saturday. We got on a 4 hour train to Moscow at 7am and then we had a 4 hour bus ride from Moscow to Ryazan. We got to Ryazan half way through English club. Some of the people there were happy to see me and it was great to see that I was missed and that the sisters there are doing well.
We did have a miracle coming back from the baptism. We had to leave pretty quickly afterwards to get back to Moscow in order to catch our train back to Yaroslavl. Our train was scheduled to leave at 8:20pm. We could not afford to miss it. We got a bus leaving from Ryazan at 3:15, however the bus was late and we left 30 minutes late. Thankfully, for most of the bus ride we avoided traffic... until 6:30 when we were only 6 kilometers from the metro. There was construction and it took us 1 hour to go 4 kilometers. My companion got motion sickness and got sick several times, especially with the stop-and-go traffic. When we first hit traffic I prayed and asked the Lord's help to help us get to the train station on time. I really did not want to miss our train. Rather than feel despair as we still sat in traffic I kept looking at the minutes ticking by and thinking, "Yes, we can still make it." We arrived at 7:35 in Moscow and booked it to the train station across Moscow. And when I say booked it, I mean we ran to the metro, ran through the metro, ran to the train, and we made it! And with 5 minutes to spare. It was most definitely a miracle.
Yesterday was an interesting day. The elders have a 7th Day Adventist contact who invited them to a meeting. The elders invited us to come along with them because the man had described it in such a way that it would be beneficial to come. Well, none of us expected what happened. The meeting we were invited to turned out to be the celebration of 21 years of their church in Russia. It was also more than just a meeting, it was a Christian rock concert. If nothing else it made us what to work harder not because we felt competitive but because we saw all the people, all the young children, and all the families. We were respectful and did not proselyte, of course, but it made us want to help our branch grow and made us want to find more families. And overall we met some really nice people who love Christ and had some great gospel discussions.
Overall I am doing great. I'm trying to keep working hard. I set some challenging goals and already I am seeing some blessings. This week I started a conversation with a girl on the bus, something that has always been hard for me. Another example: I am trying to be "on call" at all times and whenever we walk places I am trying to make the most of our time. This morning as we walked I passed out English Club fliers. As I did so to my surprise I heard English! I stared at the two girls walking by us on the crosswalk. Once we crossed I asked them, "Where are you from?" They were from England and glad to meet other foreigners living in Yaroslavl.
The Lord is in the details of our lives. Thank you for all of your emails and letters. This week I received a dearelder from Sister Rasmussen :). Thank you for all of your advice and your prayers. If nothing else the mission has allowed me to meet the most wonderful people and help me appreciate the wonderful people, family and friends, that I have. I am excited for the next life and to think that we all get to be together forever, not worrying about distances or time zones. What a glorious day that will be! I am reminded of one of my favorite scriptures from the Bible, Romans 8:16-18: