August 27, 2012
Hey there everyone!
Gosh,I had one of the coolest experiences on my mission this week I think. I'm not sure if I mentioned it a few weeks ago or not, but once upon a time we had a meeting set up with (the woman who nearly got baptized) and she said, at the last minute, that she couldn't make it but that we should go to the appointed meeting place anyways because she had some friends waiting there to hear about Christ. We got there and found 3 people. At first the most interested people were 2 of them, but by the second meeting they had lost interest and didn't want to hear anymore. On the second meeting, Baba (grandma) was also there again and had some good questions about our Church. When she found out that we were Mormons, she said that she'd heard of us and that we were no good. I showed her the Book of Mormon and the intro and, despite the fact that she's 82, began to read (without glasses!) the introdouction to the Book of Mormon. It was so cool to see how her opinion changed even as she read the Book. At first she said "What's with this Mormon guy! It doesn't say anything about him in the Bible." to, by the very end of the intro when she said "Oh my gosh. This book is about Christ, isn't it? I'm going to read it all!" During the past few weeks we didn't have any chance to see her or talk to her about the Book of Mormon.
One night, this past week, all of our meeting fell through and we were thinking about where to go and what to do. As we were walking we saw Baba sitting on a bench alone and so we of course went up to her and began talking to her. It was so incredible. She told us that she had read over 350 pages of the Book of Mormon (past Alma 40) and she told us that she knew the Book was true. She then proceeded to talk about the resurrection and how it all made sense how Alma explained it. She told us how the Book of Mormon explained so many things that were unclear in the Bible and how, despite the fact it was confusing at first, she knew the Book was about Christ and true. We set up a meeting for that week.
When we got there on the meeting she took us on a little tour of her apartment, and she began the tour by saying "Look at all the stuff God has blessed me with. Isn't it nice? Everything in this apartment is thanks to God and is a blessing from Him." By the meeting she had already read through 3 Nephi 18 and she showed us all the notes of the names of people in the Book of Mormon and descriptions of them so she never got confused about the people. As we started the lesson, we found something out that was a bit distressing. Baba is nearly fully deaf. Everything we tried to explain (whether it be us or our Russian member help) was misunderstood or just not heard by her. As time was coming to a close, we gave her a brochure on the Restoration and, for the 5th time, we asked her if we could pray with her. Though she hadn't understood or heard the request at any other time in the lesson, she looked at us after Elder Strebe asked and said "yes! Of course we can pray. I'll pray!" and then she offered a wonderful prayer. Baba then told us to "go out and tell everyone about that Book!". It was such a wonderful meeting! It really is a miracle to see how everything works out the way it needs too. Baba is in the Ukraine right now, but look forward to hearing her story and progress in the upcoming weeks :)
Another cool little story from Sunday. One of my favorites (if not my favorite) chapters from the Book of Mormon is Alma 24. It makes me cry pretty much every time. Anyways, in Sunday school we were talking about the army of Helaman and how they got to be so cool (aka how they became such an awesome army/ what attributes they had). In the discussion we talked, of course, how they were taught by their mothers. Our Branch President gave an interesting comment on how they focus on how their mothers had taught them the Gospel, but what about their fathers. He brought up the suggestion that perhaps the fathers of these 2060 young men were actually the sons of the fathers who had died in Alma 24. I'm not sure if that's how it is or not, but the imagery is a striking one, to think of how their mothers taught that God would always provide and protect them, and how their fathers sealed their testimony and knowledge of the Gospel the day they died. Pretty cool thought.
Thanks a bunch for writing Sister Simons. She's one of my best friends from college, and in fact I'd nearly always make my Sunday night dinners at her apartment. She's the best, so thank you so much for writing her :)
I'm sorry to hear about Mer, and I know that what'll happen will happen the way the Lord wants it too. I really wish I knew Mer better, but I know just how strong she is and how incredible of a mother, friend and member of the church she is. Anyone that raised anyone to be so awesome as my mom has to be one of the best. Thanks for the info, and I'll be keeping her in my prayers.
Dad, I never really could figure out how to do those 3D eye things. I'll have to figure it out after at some point to get more of the Gospel analogy behind it!
A member friend gave me a sweet Disney film in Russian. It says that it's the first Russian Disney film, so if that's true I don't think it's even available in English! Ah ha! So cool! It's called The Book of the Masters (for some reason it's not letting me type in Russian here or else I'd write down the Russian title). See if you can check it out on the internet and see if it's good!
I think that about wraps it up for this week. You're the best, and thank you so much for all of your support, especially for the support from my family. Thanks :)
With love, as always :)