June 25, 2012
"You've had a year mark, shout hurray!"
Hey there everyone!
Yep, I'm 20 now. Pretty weird! The day before my birthday was probably the real day when I celebrated it. We were contacting on the street when a guy started to talk to us and invited us to eat lunch with him. He fed us all kinds of good food and ice cream and told us that he was interested in learning more about us. That was a pretty darn cool birthday present, to say the least! In addition to that one of the investigators that Elder Stoddard found while he was serving in Saratov got baptised in the past couple of weeks and came down to visit, and so that was way fun for us to see him and have him help us out in the work. That same day we also had a really cool experience while we were walking down a street. Elder Stoddard was talking to his friend who got baptized when an older woman shouted and called us over. As it turns out, she had been baptized about 12 years ago and had got lost out of the loop when we moved to a larger building to meet in. She's been looking for us for years now and, coincidentally, ran into us on Monday of this past week. We had two meeting with her, introduced one of her sons to the Gospel, and helped her come back to Church. She made good friends with another one of our investigators who now also has a baptismal date, and so that's pretty darn cool. Regardless how understandable it is, it was pretty cool, so just know that all is going well here in Marks :)
I did have a quick question, and it's good to hear that Jaxon is back in town because you can ask him! (or any one else in the Moffet family, really). An Elder who is about to come home is actually from Branson Missouri, and if I remember right the Moffet's go there pretty darn often. It sounds like the family they visit is probably from the Mom's side because Elder Ellis didn't recognize that last name of Moffet. If you could get the names of the family they visit there in Branson then chances are they all know each other! But be quick, if you can, because Elder Ellis goes home in two weeks!
I guess there's a new Batman movie coming out too, eh? I saw the ad for it on a Moutain Dew can. Let's see how close the Russian translation is: The DArk Knight: Revival of the Legend. Did I get it right? :D
Woooooooah, that's weird to hear the Thomas Crotzer is an elder now. Weird! That makes me old or something! That's also really weird that Shaun is back from his mission already. Hope he had a good time!
Exchanges happened this past week and good times were had. We were told by Elder Hill that we were doing som really good work here in Marks and that it had a been a little while since it's done as well as it has now. I think that's really in great part because it's summer time and people are actually out on the street and up for meeting, but it was a really nice compliment for the companionship me and Elder Stoddard have. I think I used to be worried and bugged a bit that I always worked with someone of my same "age" on the mission, but looking back it's really been a blessing to work with people who have the same language skill and same amount of experience (albeit different experiences) on the mission. It's brought a lot of perspective and it's always been awesome to work with everyone I have. That was also something cool I'd thought of in the past couple of days. I was writing in my journal when I remembered an experience I had at the beginning of my mission. During the first Zone Conference I had my first cycle in Russia I had just barely finished up the story where Jacob had just worked 7 years to marry Rachel. It was said there in the scripture that those 7 years seemed like only a few days because of the love that Jacob had for Rachel. I told President Sartori that that was one of my goals for my mission; to love it so much that it seemed only like a few days because of the good work and service that I had done. After I told him that, he asked me a question that kinda surprised me. He asked me soemthing along the lines of "when have you felt the Spirit the most and what has He taught you?" I thought for a bit and decided that the time I probably felt the Spirit the most [and most consistently] was at BYU-I and especialyl my New Testament class. Everyday I'd walk into that class having read the assigned reading and not having understood a drop of it and yet leave the class understanding everything I had just read. Everytime I was in that class especially I felt just good and inspired to do better and understand the Gospel more. President Sartori then promised me something interesting after I said that. He promised me that I would feel the Spirit more and be taught greater thing on my mission that I ever had in my life, including BYU-I. I remember I was pretty skeptical after he said that because I learned quite a lot at BYU-I and had felt the Spirit daily there. President backed up his promise by saying that I would be blessed with the Spirit on my mission more because I was in the service of saving and redeeming the God's children here in Russia.
I thought back on that interview while writing in my journal and I began writing out all the cool experiences I had on my mission, in short, with at least one happening each cycle, and many miracles especially happening last cycle in Ulianovsk. I cried a bit as I realized that I really do love my mission, that I'm quite happy that I have a full year left, and sad at the same time that only a year is left. I've been blessed so greatly and taught so many wonderful things on my mission that it's really hard to express in words. Simply said, I really do love my mission, and all the hard times have already been made up by tender mercies and lessons from God.
Pretty cool, huh?
Anyways, my time is up now. You all are so darn cool, especially my family. Thank you for the birthday wishes, and you have good Russian grammar Neil! Were there any other random or fun comments on my facebook wall for my birthday (they can sometimes be funny, you might get a kick out of reading them). Regardless, thank you again so much. I love you lots :)
Until next week, with love