January 28, 2013
"Yes, Mom, I will eat S[c]hi because it is so good for your organism and is good for the young peoples, like me!" --Angelina, age 5
Hey there everyone!
Well, this was another one of those weird weeks. As it turns out Elder Treter got some variety of strep throat which brought him down with a high fever and not a whole lot of energy to run on. To add to the fun times, we had already planned an exchange for Tuesday and Wednesday for when Elder Davidov and Elder Batemen would come to our area and work for those couple of days with us. We were pretty lucky, actually, to have planned the exchanges at that time because Elder Davidov, a Ukranian Elder, got to help out Elder Treter go to the health clinic while me and Elder Batemen went to work! Elder Treter's being sick didn't hinder the work at all, which is way cool. If nothing else it was a huge blessing because it gave whoever his companion was a long amount of time to make lots of calls to former and potential investigators. By the end of those two days we had a lot of meetings set up and potential people to work with; a lot more than I think we would have been able to achieve had we just gone outside to work all day. Cool stuff!
One of my favorite parts of working in Saratov has always been the member work. I don't know why, but more so here in Saratov than anywhere else I've served I've worked with the members and it's always a blast. Lately we've been working with an Armenian family who we hope to help get to the temple for the first time within the upcoming year or so. Sister T loves to feed us delivious Armenian food, and the time to having a good spiritual thought was running low since we had to book it back home to make it in time. In readjusting the lesson plan we had, I asked Sister T a question "what brings you happiness in life?". She smiled and bore a testimony about God and His Church and how He had blessed her little family so much. She told us about how she just wants everyone to love each other and accept God and His Church. This was a bit of an unusual answer since she pretty rarely comes to Church for one reason or another, but as she bore testimony about how she loves God and His Church I really felt the love and honor that she held for God. It's always cool when we, as missionaries, don't really give the lesson but when the person we're working with testifies to us of the truthfulness of the subject we wanted to teach. We're looking forward to working with her and her family in the upcoming weeks!
Speaking fo upcoming weeks, I'll be finding our about transfers this upcoming Saturday. Weird, right? I just got here! There's a pretty low chance that me and Elder Treter will still be together, which means one of us most likely will be jettisoned from Oktyabrsky to somewhere else. I don't have any guesses, really. I think it'd be cool to stay in Saratov and especially fun to get retransfered again to Zavodskoi, but we'll see how that all goes. More on that all next week!
at also reminded me of a cool experience I had this week with Elder Treter knocking the other night. We bumped into this 30 year old guy who had actually taken a college class from a current member of the 70, Elder Anatolii Reshetnikov living here in Saratov. The guy, who has a young family and is working hard, had a cool question while talking to us about what we do here as missionaries. He asked "what will becoming a member of your church do for me?" Well, there's about a billion and six different answers to that question, and I gave him one of those with which he was satisfied and the conversation went onwards. Nothing too spiffy, but he said it was alright for us to come back and discuss the Book of Mormon with him again another time. As Elder Treter and I discussed that particular question, Elder Treter mentioned how, in his opinion, one of the best answers to that question is simply telling them that becoming a member of the Church brings salvation (with the given requirement, of course, that we're faithful to keeping the commandments and keeping our covenants). The investigator was looking for a more physical or immediate change in his life that would result in becoming a member, but what the Gospel and the Church are really there to do is help us achieve salvation;: something that really requires a different point of view than the one we look through on an everyday basis. It's hard to express how profound that really was to me in the moment, but it hit me because so many of the blessings we promise people are really on a temporal basis. Pray, and you will get an answer. Read, and you'll know it's true. But I think it's a good idea, as Elder Treter and I discussed, to really put it all into persepecitve as to why we keep the commandments, especailly now. We don't pay tithing because we expect material blessings from the Lord, for example, but we pay tithing because we love the Lord and He asked us to. It's a refreshing way to look at blessings and covenants, that they exist not really to bless us temporally (although, they do) but really to bless us in the eternities, something that no temporal blessing here and now can really even compare too.
Hope that's understandable; just a little thought that I remembered I'd had earlier this week. Ya'll have a great week now, ok? Be good and stay warm, and eat lots of pig fat and butter to stay warm, just like at the Russian's advise you, ok? Great!
I sure do love you lots, espeically you Mom and Dad. Thanks for everything :)