March 25, 2013
"And after she said that, Elder Peterson, I just thought to myself 'well, I didn't expect that one!'. Can you teach them tonight?" "YOU BET WE CAN!!!!!" :)
Hey there everyone?
Man, I can't even describe how cool this past week was. Balakova is pretty much the coolest place ever.
Except for one thing! The weather here is about the craziest thing ever! On Tuesday it was super warm and a great majority of the snow piles melted which flooded the streets and made it so that you were either walking through rivers, mud or this slush. Then, of course, it all had to refreeze, snow more, rain more, and then heat up again to make it just that much worse to walk through. BUT! Slowly but surely it's all being evaporated and the mud is drying out so it's all good. There is a funny saying that me and Elder Warkentin came up with though. There is a word in Russian "kasha" (pronoucned like Kah-sha) that literally means porridge (pretty much). But, whenever someone is kinda crazy or has a really unreasonable idea, it is very common to say that "He's got kasha in his head!" In addition, it's pretty normal to call the slush on the streets kasha too. So, one gray morning I felt poetic and said "Kasha on the streets, kasha in the kitchen, kasha in the head, kasha is everywhere!" And not really till now did I realize that the poetic factor of it is all taken away because it's written in English and not Russian, but suffice it to say that it does rhyme and it does make the Russians giggle!
Cool stories time now! So, there's the less active we've been working with. The first time we met with him was really the first time on my mission that I'd really asked for contacts. A contact is a person that is referred to you to teach. It was kinda awkward, because I didn't know what to say, but nevertheless I asked him on my first or second week of being here in Balakova for contacts and he started with his story that he was old (he's 77, pretty old for Russian guys!) and that all of the people he'd knew had left and how none of his family wanted to hear. And then he paused and said "well, there are my neighbors …!" Woah, it works! The second time we had a meeting with him we asked him again for contacts and he started the exact same way, then explained that his neighbors were out of town and then paused again and said "well, you know, there is this lady who lives on the floor right below me!" She'd gone through some hard times (her 3 husbands and daughter had all died) and she's a pretty lonely grandma. This time he was even more excited to share the gospel with her than he was with his neighbors and asked if we all could go down and give her a Book of Mormon! Cool, right? Well, this past meeting we watched Finding Faith in Christ (man, such a good movie) and then we asked one more time. Well, he did the same spiel, nearly word for word, and then...gave us another contact! And this time he himself thought of how he could talk to her about the Church (by inviting her over to watch the movie with him!) and then he thought "well hey! I can do that for 2 others too!" He's so excited to share the gospel and he even gave his first talk in a really long time at Church this past Sunday. It's been way cool to work with him and a good evidence of the scripture "seek and ye shall find".
But an even great miracle happened on Saturday. So you know that our investigator got baptised and was the last member of the family to get baptized. Well the family also have some neighbors, including a 14 year old who is baptized actually!( The only one in her family), that saw this whole experience go down at the baptism. Saturday morning, while the mother of the girl who was baptized was walking the dog, 2 friends walked up to her and started talking. One burst into tears and said "You've got to call the missionaries right now! I want to be baptised! Can you do that? Can you call them?" and said "look, I know I need to quit smoking, and I'm working on that now. But when I quite smoking fully, I want to join the Church. Can the missionaries help?" Well of course we can! That's what we do! Elder Warkentin and I just about bounced off the walls after having gotten that phone call and now we're gonna be meeting with them nearly everyday to help prepare them for baptism. The investigator changed her work schedule so she can come to Church every Sunday and her friend is preparing to come every Sunday when spring time finally hits (should be in the next week or two I hope!). It's so cool that the girl who got baptized was able to be such a good example for others!
Also, that reminds me! She also had a cool experience on Monday apparently. So she came to work and all her colleage/galpals (as she calls them) were gathered together in the lunch room to have a confrontation with her. They said “ we know you've joined a bloodthristy cult that sacrifices cats and steals apartments and we're here to stop you!" Yipes! But man, she was a champion and just answered all their questions and explained why she quit drinking coffee and what happens at Church and so forth. Apparently no one was really that convinced by the end, but she was such a champion for handeling alll of that so well. She's the coolest!
Real quick for you Mom. That's a bummer to hear, but I guess Rebekah hasn't goteen my most recent letter yet (I sent it I think about a month ago...my bad on that one!), but I'm sure her parents will get it to her somehow. If you get the chance, please remind her that she's one of my best friends and she is gonna be one the absolute best missionaries there in Brazil. It'll be good to write her some letters from home as opposed to her writing from home to me for a change! I miss her already, but she's doing what God wants most. God be with you till we meet again, my friend. :) I haven't gotten the package yet, but it's probably just sitting in the office in Samara, so no worries! Everything should be worked out with that other request for a friend here, they apaprently already sent a friend request to you/me, so that's good :)
I gotta go now, so I'll talk to you all later! Have a great week and thank you so much for your prayers and love!
I love you!