June 3, 2013
"Salt Lake City forever!!! YEAH!!!!" "Uh, thanks! I'm from New Mexico actually." "Rock on!!! Good luck brothers!!!"
Hey there! :)
Man, this week got eaten up by that conference in Samara, but it was a dang good conference so it was worth it. It takes a good 6 hours by bus to get to Samara from Balakova, so we left on Wednesday after study, were there on Thursday for the conference and then headed back to Balakvoa on Friday! Whew! Not to meantion that on Tuesday we had to do our weekly planning on Saturday was district meeting! Too many meetings and travel and not enough regular work, methinks, but that's ok.
I know I mentioned it last week, but once more I just want to say Happy Birthday Mom!!!!!! You're the best :)
Alright, so work wise here's what's been going on. We've been working very closely with a fellow I’ve mentioned before to get him to make his baptism by June 29th (does that date sound familiar to anyone? :D). This week we discussed baptism (this'll be his third time being baptized when he is, so that was bit of a concern for him that it's a bit overkill) and Priesthood. It's really amazing to see his progress with the Gospel. The answers we get to our questions to God really do depend on our faith and effort in those little things with which we've been given. When we learn that we need to read scriptures everyday, and when we keep that commandment, in a very real way it is easier for us to receive answers to our prayers and see how God helps us out. He has been seeing that as he's been praying and reading that it's becoming easier to quit smoking and overcome his doubts by faith and hard work.
In that same kind of vein, it was a really emotional but great fast Sunday yesterday. It was my very last one there in Balakova (since my last one will be in Samara since it'll be the day before I come back home). The coolest experience was for sure seeing a particular member go up and bear his testimony. I've gotten to see how he has gone from being completely inactive to active. Right now he's working hard on quitting smoking, and we've been working together along with President Dzubluk too, but it's been my privelage to teach him and help get him and his family back. When he bore his testimony in Church he told about the difference the Church and the Book of Mormon had made in his life. He said that he was grateful that God let him be born so that this day he could come up and bear his testimony that he knows the Church is true and that God lives. He knows it now, and so long as he continues on the path he's on, that knowledge will be a solid foundation for his future in the church and in his family. I'm so proud of him. He's become my brother too from all this time we've had here in Balakova.
I know it's a little early, but I have a quick request for you (i.e. Mom and Dad!). If you haven't already, I would absolutely love it if you could could either print of some how electonically save these e-mails I've sent out to you. Somehow we'll also figure out a way to save/transmit other e-mails (for example, ones to and from you, brothers and others), but for right now that's kinda the most important thing, just having, at some point, a physical copy of all of these letters. Thanks :) In addition, if you could write down on a piece of paper a kind of "to-do" list that'd be wonderful and put it in a spot where I will see it when I come back. The first is to have an interview with Bishop Stokes (he is still Bishop, right?) and the second is to send out e-mails to the missionaries here in the mission. Undoubtedly, I'll put a few more items on this to-do list but that'll do for now :)
By the way, I did get the box. The socks are really dang comfy, so thanks a bunch :)
Ah! The new Sister arrieved! He name is Sister Sigman from Utah, but, surprise, she's half Native American! All the members think that she's from India as opposed to America (silly Russians, there's no good way to say "native American", so jokingly I just call her a "Lamanitess" in Russian). Pretty exciting! She cheated and studied Russian for a year before she came out to Russia, so she has a pretty good headstart! She's already doing great!
Well, that'll probably do for now I think! Have a great day! I love you lots :)
Until next time!