Hey, hey, hey family!
HAPPY 2013! I know that's old news by now, but new years is still alive and kicking here. Russians love their January 1st. Today is actually Russian Orthodox Christmas. No one really cares about it, though, which is kind of sad.
Last week was an interesting one. We were locked down on Monday and Tuesday because of New Years. I thought it would be fun to be locked in an relax for a day or two, but I was going stir-crazy. Our dvd player broke the DAY BEFORE lockdown, so we were stuck doing other stuff all day. I say that like it was torture; it really wasn't. I just read, studied Russian, wrote letters, cleaned, listend to music, ran on the stairs, cooked, lots of stuff. It was kind of fun, kind of maddening. I missed contacting, actually.
The next day we had something kind of cool happen while out contacting. Sister Moffatt and I decided to do "crazy-person" contacting where, well, we act like crazy people. We don't let ANYONE get past us without talking to us. We walked down the main street in Dachney, which has a long walkiong park going down the right side, perfect for contacting. We talked to EVERYONE. Well, every woman. We wished them a happy new year, talked about their families, blah, blah, blah. Some women loved it. Some women didn't like it at all. WELL, we were walking up behing an older woman, but I didn't know if we'd talked to her already. All the older women dress really similarly here, and I didn't want to bother someone who'd already told us to get lost. So, we passed her. Not two seconds after we passed, I heard her yell, "Girls! Girls! Help me, help me please!"
Thanks, Heavenly Father. I get it.
So we turned around and helped her over some patches of ice. Afterwards, when any other woman would've just said, "thank you, girls" and walked away, she just stood there, waiting for us to talk to her. Haha. So we did just that. We explained who we were, what we were doing Russia, etc. She looked at our Book of Mormon and said, "What's that?! I love to read?"
Seriously, I get it, Heavenly Father.
So we gave her a Book of Mormon, which she loved. Then she asked us if we could meet her again and talk with her more about it and asked to exchange phone numbers.
Needless to say, I learned my lesson. I will never think that I know better than Heavenly Father ever again. Never pass up an opportunity to talk to people, people. There are people EVERYWHERE who are ready for the gospel. And they deserve to hear about it.
That night we hopped on another overnight train to Samara for SISTERS CONFERENCE! WOOHOOOO! We got there around 3 am and I spent the rest of the night on a foam pad with a roll of blankets for a pillow and my big coat as a blanket. The next day we headed to the mission home and spent the rest of the day girl-talking :). Just kidding. WE talked about concerns that are unique to the sisters, among other things. That night we went out with the Avrora sisters and contacted/tracted our little hearts out. We received 5 numbers in 2 1/2 hours. Boom shaka-laka. The next day we spent more time at the sisters' conference, which included dinner with Sister Sartori. Afterwards, we made thank you cards for the zone leaders who conducted training and talked about how to look like a sister. haha. That was pretty interesting. The girls here aren't incredible girly, so we pretty much just laughed at all the church websites fashion suggestions that are very clearly directed at girls serving in places other than 500 miles south of Siberia.
After conference, I slept on my foam pad, had some CRAZY dreams, then headed back to Saratov. Two hours after we got back, we had a church activity with the entire Saratov district, which was great. They rest of the weeked was pretty norm. Sister Moffatt received yet another sweater and a pair of shoes yesterday. Women are constantly giving her clothes since she doesn't dress warm enough. It's hilarious. Then, last night we had a lesson with a member and sang Elvis Presley for a good chunk of it. It was probably a little against the rules, but it was fun. And she said it was just what she needed. I miss me some Elvis. And other music. Oh, my goodness. I heard Beatles and Weezer today and I just about died of excitement. Haha.
That's all I got this week, folks. I love this work a whole lot. I feel like I'm growing and learning and letting people down and helping all at the same time. It's an exhausting process, but I'm really grateful that Heavenly Father thinks I'm important enough to force lessons on me instead of let me coast. That sound really Molly-Mormon, but it's how I feel. Haha. I have no idea what I can do for these people, but that's not the point. He's got a plan for this place. I just need to stay worthy/faithful enough to carry it out. President Sartori said he prayed over and over about our transfer to make sure he wasn't doing something crazy, and this is where we were meant to be!
Also, I got your package! THANK YOU SO MUCH! MANGOES! CRYSTAL LIGHT! HOW DID YOU KNOW?!
Also, I found out that Tanya, my old investigator in Tolyatti went to church without her mother for the first time last week. A Christmas miracle! And turns out Marina had been feeding us black tea the entire time we were teaching her. Haha. Oops...