"What's a 6 pack called in Russian?" "Cubes" "Huh...gotta get my 6 cubes back!"
July 23, 2012
Hey there everyone :)
It's been a pretty packed week, not gonna lie. Probably the busiest I've ever found myself as a missionary, and it's such a great blessing.We've found some incredible people this week, really a miracle. A few days ago we found a cow hearder and she has such a big heart! She spends most of her time with cows and work with them well and likes spending her free time thinking and talking to people about religion. It's interesting to see just how much shes drawn out by personal prayer and study. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she's already making great progress. Another woman we found this week also was a miracle. We were trying to quickly get to a meeting with one of our main investigators when she gave us a call and said "hey, sorry! Can't make it today! But I told one of my best friends to wait for you there. She's religious, so talk to her about the Book of Mormon, ok? See you later!" Well, she didn't describe what her friend looked like nor her age or anything of the sort, so we walked into the park where we were to meet and began looking for her. We said hi to everyone we walked by and wer dissappointed to find that no one seemed to recognize us or say hi back. On the last bench was a most interesting set of people: a super drunk guy, a larger woman laughing with him, a quiet guy about Eric's age wearing sunglasses and an old grandma. We were sure that we were too late and that she had left, but of course we still said hi to this little group of people. The drunk guy, after I said hi, said "hey look! It's those mormons our friend was talking about!" Turns out, that was exactly the group we were looking for! The drunk didn't stay once we started talking about the Gospel, but the rest of the group, one of whom was the friend, was very interested in the Gospel and had read the Bible many times over. They were all discussing passages in the Bible (especially the writings of Paul) and after talking amongst themselves about it they turned to me and Elder Strebe and asked "Well, what do you think?" It was fun being able to answer all of their Bible questions by turning to the Book of Mormon and the Spirit there was strong at that meeting. We have another meeting with her again on this week. Cool stuff :)
On Wednesday there was a huge rain storm. It was fun running back in the rain, but unfortunately it trashed the inside parts of my favorite shoes. They've got some good shoe repair places here in Russia in general, so we're gonna work with a member to find a good one. And don't worry Dad, the shoes didn't lose their shape or anything (yay for shoe trees!). IT's been cooling down a ton here lately so I'm hoping that it'll just keep on cooling down as time goes on. Weird to think this is the end of July. Dad asked if I think of it as "the last July" on my mission; I don't really think of it that way, I just can't wait for it to be Fall time. Then that'll be not only cool but my one year anniversary of being in Russia. Weird, right? :) We're having a member of the 70 come down (up? Sideways? In any sense, he's coming here) sometime in September, so that'll be exciting. Do missionaries get interviewed by general authorities? That'd be cool!
By the way, thanks for the update of Jordan! That's so darn cool that he's in India! I had a couple of friends I knew at BYU-I who had/would be serving in India. Pretty darn cool :)
What the heck?! Thomas is getting married? That's pretty cool but also really odd to me. Say hi to him and send a congrats from me!
Well, I'm at about the same place where I was last week with one investigator. Her baptism is coming up and, spiritually, she fits the requirements for it (not to mention it's also required for salvation). It's such a tense feeling, and I don't want to mess anything up. But I know the Lord will guide us as He has in the past in getting the baptism done. Part of her interview will be happening on the phone with President Sartori and of all the people I know in the mission he's the one I'd trust to get all the required spiritual intuition on the interview. He's aware of the situation, so this should all go the way that God wants it to. Thanks for the advice Dad, we really do think alike :)
I had a cool experience that I shared in Church this past Sunday on my talk that I wanted to share with you all. Elder Strebe and I, like I said last week, determined to go running 4 of the 6 days we've got for exercising. My desire on Thursday to go running was a lot less that usual and I grumbled my way over to the track that morning. We always sprint for a lap do 5 laps jogging and then sprint for the last lap, and that can be rough in the morning. But, while stretching, I had a thought enter my head that, while running, I should sing a song in my head. My favorite hymn I've memorized in Russian is actually from the Children's hymnnbook, and it's called "A Child's Prayer" (for those who aren't members/don't remember the hymn. Look it up, it's a good one). I didn't remember that self advice on the first sprint lap and I didn't like life too much as I sprinted, but when we started jogging, I remembered the self advice I had given myeself and applied it. Crazy, I know, but running became about a billion times easeir as I focused not on the run but the song, and by the last sprint I was doing incredibly well, sprinting along and just singing the kids song. It reminded me of Peter walking on the sea to the Savior. The winds and the waves were already billowing and crazy before he stepped on the sea, nevertheless, he walked for a bit on it. But as he turned his focus away from Christ, away from faith,a way from the very fact that he'd been walking on water just a second ago, he focused on the waves and wind and got scared. The Lord saved him and reminded him how necessary faith was and where our focus truly needs to be. I think that really applies to all things in life. We have daily concerns everyday that really can get to us and get us down. Many of the concerns are real and vital on a daily basis, but as we focus on just them without looking at our end goals and results, we get lost in the waves and the billows, in the hurt feet and grumbling. The end goal is something so much bigger than a lap, but it's eternal life with God. As I've thought about that this past week, it really helped me to remember my focus. My end goal isn't the end of an hour of contacting or the end of the next week, but my end goal is to secure my soul with God and do what I can to bring my family and friends (both at home and abroad) back to God. I've always known that, but I never thought running and a little bit of scripture study would make it quite so real :)
Anyways, I've written a lot today! Not much time left, so I'll let it go at that. Thanks a bunch everyone, especially my family. Can't wait to see my new nieces :) Stay strong and be good :) And hey, eat yer veggies too!
With love, now and forever
Words to A Child’s Prayer, by Janice Kapp Perry
Heavenly Father, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer every child’s prayer?
Some say that heaven is far away
But I feel it close around me as I pray.
Heavenly Father I remember now
Something that Jesus told disciples long ago:
“Suffer the children to come to me.”
Father in prayer I’m coming now to thee.
Pray he is there. Speak he is listening.
You are his child. His love now surrounds you.
He hears your prayer; He loves the children.
Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heaven.
If you’d to hear it sung, this link will have that—
to hear a lovely version by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir