Hello My Dear Family! :0D
This is a group email about my Investigators some. I can't give you names or too many details about them, but I want to talk a bit about them because I love them!
We have an investigator getting baptized soon. She will get baptized with another little girl in the ward who will turn 8 that day! We are SO excited! This girl is GOLDEN! My companion found her with her companion before me; she was already very religious and when she got the Book of Mormon and started reading, she knew it was true. She had been wondering why she had not had this her whole life! This is great because she is willing to accept all the commandments, even though they are hard. She stopped drinking Coffee and tea - she didn't drink alcohol before. She was already living the Law of Chastity because she felt like those things should be saved more marriage! She is just great. We love her. She had some complex questions about the Plan of Salvation, and I was very happy that I was able to answer them! It was a little miracle for me that God allowed me participate. She speaks great English, so that is nice because I am able to teach more in the lessons - with other people I do not teach so much because I cannot speak. But it is great. I just LOVE her. I think my companion loves her even more than I do though! We got to clean out the baptismal font for her... it was REALLY dirty because the church has been remodeled. It was covered with paint and dirt. Now, when I say font, it is really more like a big, white plastic swimming pool with strange blue tarp lining the inside. We spent two hours cleaning it. It was REALLy fun and we sang while we worked. I loved it. My companion and I have lots of fun. She is a very loving person. She makes fun of me for saying sorry. If I say sorry, she says it too, and then will say it like 40 more times and then say "I am sorry that you are sorry because I am sorry that you are sorry." So, she has been helping me with that... though sometimes it is taken too far ;0p Still, she is so great, I love her. She has also started using "Llamas" or the "kitsune" as well. We have fun with that. It was fun to clean the tub - I felt like Sen from Spirited Away.
Our other investigators are not progressing, so we spend a great amount of time with our less-actives. I LOVE ALL the less-actives. Each one is amazing. They are all so special and loved. There are two I love in particular. One is a very kind woman who takes in stray animals. She has a very hard life though - she is estranged from her neighbors because she is a member and because she takes in animals... so, she is very lonely. She lives with her mother, and her 20 year old son, but her son ignores her. Still, she is so kind and loving. She is learning English so she asks me for help a great deal - I love to help her just because she is such a tender person. You can see in her eyes she is just full of love. We have been encouraging her to read the Book of Mormon again and she has been reading it in both Russian and English. We love her. Another less-active I love is also very kind. She, too, has a very hard life and has a few mental problems. She stopped going to church, but has been coming back recently. She told us she did not realize how serious the commitments she made were, but now she understands and that is why she is coming back. She yearns for peace, so we always try to teach her uplifting things - she is marvelous. She and I have a very special connection and she always gives me great smiles.
There is a member in our ward who is deaf and I also love. She is ALWAYS doing service - putting way chairs, organizing the hymns, just always serving. So, I help her. She cannot talk, and I cannot sign, but we can point and smile and so we work together. Sometimes we write things to each other - it is HARD to spell in Russian, but she is patient with me. There are only about 25 people in our branch, but many of them know how to sign, I love to see them sign with her. And it is great when she signs the hymns!! I just love this woman.
I get to conduct the music every Sunday. I can't conduct... at all... but it is okay because most of the time everyone is looking down at the words of the Hymns... so it works out! Haha! Still, I am grateful I can serve. I bore my testimony in Russian this past Sunday. It was choppy, and very short... but they said my pronunciation was great even though my grammar was a bit off, My companion told me I did very well, and she was very proud, and many people complimented me. so i felt good about that. Russian is REALLY hard... and I know I am not speaking very well, but I am not discouraged because I know the Lord is helping me learn.
Now for a huge miracle that happened this week. Like I said, I am really awful at Russian... but it is okay. I made the goal to talk to at least one person on every bus we ride. We ride buses to get around the city. Well, we got onto one bus that was more of a really large van. it was white and only had a few seats. Well, we got on and it was dead quiet. It is really hard to talk on buses because Russians do not talk when they ride the buses. They all sit and contemplate with stony faces. I have told you that they really only smile to people they know and if they genuinely mean it... well anyways, it is always a little tricky to start conversations on buses because of this. So we sat down and I just felt very uncomfortable - the silence was oppressing! It felt awkward, I felt like I needed to speak. I was scared, but knew I had to. A woman sat next to me and I smiled as big as I could to her - this is a tactic I use - I smile at people, and if they smile back, or look somewhat amused, I talk to them.... she smiled back and asked me "do I know you?" I get asked this a lot when I smile at people. I told her know, explained I was a missionary and what I was doing here. She was delighted that I was learning Russian! I could not understand her very well, but I somehow was always able to respond. I invited her to English group - A group we have every Thursday where we practice English. She was thrilled and told me that she would not go, but she would send her children! I was very happy! Then, the Lady sitting in front of us turned around and asked if she could have a card too! I was elated! Then, as we were leaving, the bust Driver asked for a card too and didn't charge us for the ride! So it was free!!! Then, when we got off the bus, one more lady followed us, told us we were doing a good thing and we got to talk to her a bit about the Book of Mormon. She wasn't too interested, but she did compliment us and told us we had a very special spirit about us. WOW!! It was a miracle. I felt so blessed. I know that this was not me, this was God. All "Success if given, not earned". It was a message to me from God that he can use any tool he needs to share the gospel. He can even use strange, lerpy, dorky me with my poor Russian. This is the true Church, and God wants all his children to have it. Those people may but they now know a little about the gospel! And what is more is it was a miracle for me to know that God will always help me if I am trying my best - it was scary to talk to those people - but God helped me do it. We are so blessed to have the gospel!! I am so blessed to be a missionary! I cannot thank God enough for allowing me to have this opportunity!! God really does love His children. I see it everyday. There are miracles here everyday, sometimes they just come in the form of a smile, sometimes they come in an attempted Russian phrase by me, sometimes it is chocolate. But, there are miracles here everyday, and I am so grateful to be a part of them!
Well, family, I love you very very much! I hope that you are doing well! I think of you often and pray for you each by name every night - Ella too. I know that we will be a faily forever and I know it is though the Grace of Jesus Christ and our merciful Father in Heaven that we will be a family forever. I am so blessed to have you. I miss you! I love you! I pray for you!