April 8, 2013
*hop on a bus* "Today is better than yesterday!-jazzy instrumental-" Yeah, it really will be a good day!
Hey there everyone!
Gosh, it's been one really weird but good week. We had dealing with the police for getting stuff secured for our branch building, the unexpected news that S will be in Moscow for a month and some variety of stomach bug that put a weird wrench in the week, but despite all of that, it was really clear how God's been preparing some great stuff for us this past week and for the weeks to come.
First off, cool story of the week! So, one of my good friends here in Balakovo is a member. When we first came here he was completely less active but with the help of the Wings and a couple of really cool activities he started coming to Church again! Well, this past Sunday...he was the very first to testify! He's come such a long way from coming to Church in regular clothes to being snappily dressed in a suit and his favorite tie from Elder Wing. He came up and very simply and humbly bore his testimony of the Book of Mormon and the truthfullness of the Church. The Spirit was strong and you could tell that everyone (especially us!) were so proud of him bearing testimony on Sunday. In walking back home from Church he explained that he was reading in the Liahona that morning about the Book of Mormon and how he felt like he needed to bear his testimony about it on testimony meeting. As he went up, he didn't know what to say but said "as soon as I opened my mouth, Elder Peterson, I felt the Spirit enter my heart and give me words to say. He helped me testify!" He has big plans for helping his wife accept the gospel (we have a meeting with them both on Tuesday!) and he's been reading Preach My Gospel to figure out how to help us and to help her.He's so cool!
That reminds me of a lesson we had yesterday, actually. So, quick news, N and S are still planning on being baptised, but because S is going to Moscow we moved both of their baptismal dates...to May 31st! Yay Mom! As it turns out that is N's birthday (their (grand)daughter) and it works out great with her work schedule.Anyways, yesterday we had a lesson with N and N with President Dzubluk to help one of them start the 12 step program to quit smoking! The Spirit works in interesting ways. One of the things that I've really gained a testimony of is that God has called us specifically to be where we need to be (not just missionaries, but all of us) for the good of our own and others spiritual growth. Often I think, maybe,that in the back of my mind is "alright, you were called here and your life experiences, thoughts and stories will help these people out! Go to!" After President Dzubluk asked a question that neither one knew so he turned to me to answer it. I started out by giving the basic answer and then was about to tell a little story in connection with it when President kindly interrupted me and asked N another question closely related to the first and my answer. She bore testimony, based on the question, of our incredible relationship with God and the importance of personal prayer and study and the Spirit bore witness that it was true. At that moment, that was exactly what was needed and no matter what I could have said it would not have produced the same effect or given her the chance to grow spiritually from the experience. I'm so greatful that we're able to learn from one another and the God allows us all to grow and to share so that we're all given strength and learn. Pretty cool!
This next week is going to be a full one, we've got exchanges in Saratov (yay!) on Wednesday and Thursday and we're working on getting some weekly activities going on here. Oddly enough, this upcoming week is the last of the cycle, leaving just two more after this is done.Yipes! Pretty exciting stuff going on though what with N and S, A, S and everyone else! More news as it comes in!
Thank you so much for your love and support! I hope you're enjoying the weather as much as we are! All the snow has melted now and we're walking around in just our suitcoats these days. About time too! It is April after all.
By the way, when is Easter? It's different here in Russia than with you all.
Anyways, I sure do love you. Have a great week!