May 7, 2012
So...who really won World War 2?
It's been a pretty dang cool week this past week, not gonna lie. We renewed our visas this week and, along with it, had the chance to go to the Kiev temple again! It was so dang pretty there. Last time we went it was late fall and all the trees were barren and nothing was growing. Of course it was still super pretty, but it all just got blown away this time by all the trees and flowers and beautiful grass. So dang cool! There are so many trees here in Russia and Kiev that bloom and create the msot beautiful looking white blossoms all over the trees. It's quite the site, and I'll figure out a way to send those pictures to you all. So dang awesome.
It was amazing walking into the temple and just feeling the peace that goes with it. In the temple, we all just wear white. No matter who you are, no matter how familiar or not you are with the temple, you all just wear white clothing. And it's awesome! Especially can be fun when you don't know who speaks Russian or not! The temple workers are from anywhere from a little town in Utah to Vladivostok in Russia or even from Kiev Ukraine itself, so it's quite the variety of people and language knowledge, but in a lot of ways that makes it even cooler in realizing that it doesn't matter where your from or what language(s) you speak, you're all the same in the temple. I never realized just how much smiling goes on in the the temple and the grounds around it. The smiles were a really welcome contrast to the grumpy early morning-ness of the airport workers.
That's awesome a member of the branch sent out that email! She's a champ. She's 30 something and, if I remember right, she's not in the picture, she was the one taking it. Gotta ask her for a picture of her. The lady there in the picture is an investigator and the guy in the picture is one of my favoirte people in all of Russia, and he's a member. That was taken after a Family Home Evening in the branch building. Good times! The lady who sent the email is an English teacher and she's way way cool. That was cool to hear that I'm nice and speak good Russian from her too! :D
Victory day is coming up here in Russia on Wednesday, and it's another one of those days when we're not to go out on the streets. I had an interesting conversation with a guy who just got out of prision who sincerely wondered who really won World War 2. As missionaries we try to avoid any sketchy political talks, so really the only answer I could give was "well...certainly not Germany!" and then quickly turn the converstion back to how much I love the bread here in Russia. The Russians are pretty dang happy about their victory in World War 2, so it's been cool to see all the kinds of greeting cards and stuff you can get for Victory Day (among my favorites being a beautiful bouquet of flowers with a shiny red communist sickle and hammer in the middle saying "Celebrate!").
Can I just mention how much I love being on my mission? It scares the bejibbers out of me that I'm nearly a year done with my mission, and I still often think about just how much better I can be, but I've been blessed lately to see just how much good has come from my mission. I thought Russia might make me into some hard tough unloving cookie, but I find just how much sensitive I've come to people. Yesterday I was talking to an old grandma on the bench who had really had a rough life and she starting crying. Though I couldn't fully understand what her problems were (she had lots and they were related to her husband dying in war and her family all moving away and pension problems), I felt her pain and I was surprised at how well I sympathized with this old grandma. We prayed with her, asked God to bless her life and to grant her the comfort and peace of Spirit she had searched for for so long. She cried and I got all teared up and did what I could to help her.
Often I think of my work as a missionary as going out on the streets, getting numbers, making meetings and helping people to baptism. This is all true, and very very important too. But it touched me and made me grateful to remember that part of my work can be sitting on a bench and talking to an sweet older lady and praying to our Heavenly Father for her. That same peace and love I felt in the temple was what she and I felt sitting on that bench, and it's wonderful to me to remember how great my job is here in the mission.
I love you all so much! I hope you have a wonderful week and have lots of good times! Thank you so much :)