When did December happen? Hollly cow. As of yesterday, Isaac's birthday, I've been in Russia a full 2 months. And as of December 17th, Mom's birthday, I only have a year left here. Crazy, huh?
This week was jam packed with blessings. I don't even know where to start. We just have the best are in the world. I love all our investigators so much. And our branch. And Sister Pearce. It's all just fantastic. We had THREE investigators at church this week. THREE! We've had a hard enough time getting one to come, but we had THREE on Sunday. We rode there with Marina, who we were worried wouldn't come at first because she tends to shy awayfrom new things. Then Katya showed up, a 25 year old with a baby boy that we just met with this past week. Then Tanya and her mother, Elena, showed up. I was on cloud nine. Then I spent the rest of church feeling super nervous about everything the branch said and did. It was exhausting. But, the branch pulled through. (Sis. Pearce and I think they put on a little bit of a show for our investigators). In testimony meeting, Elder Bollough (who goes home in 2 weeks) bore a fantastic testimony, which brought both Marina and I to tears. Then other members shared their baptismal stories, which was great. In Sunday School things got a little crazy-we had a case of overzealous teacher, which kind of urked Marina. Then in Relief Society our new president, Vera, taught the lesson and ended with yet another testimony meeting in which Suzanna, the Elders' investigator, bore HER testimony. It was all awesome. We rode home with Elena and Tanya and Tanya started asking about branch activites and when they were, etc., etc. I'm really excited to see what happens with her.
And on Thursday, we experienced something that very few missionaries ever get to experience- EVERYTHING WE PLANNED ON, HAPPENED! We didn't use any of our back up plans! Everything worked out! It was a miracle. We were literally jumping up and down on the way home. Haha. It's the little things, y'know?
And then, we found a family to teach yesterday. It's sort of an inside joke with Sister Pearce and I, actually. There's a sister missionary on the District named Sister Myers and during one planning session she says, "Let's find a family." It's just such a missionary thing. I always make fun of it every time we set goals about how many people we want to find. And what do you know, we found a family! Their son is 8 years old (perfect, huh?) but he's a bit of a devil. He kept stealing my pure and rummaging through it. Then he stole my picture of the family and wouldn't give it back. I tried to be as patient as possible. I would've killed him if he ruined that picture, though. Our lessons with the family should be interesting. We'll definitely have to brainstorm how to keep him occupied.
Something we've been focusing on a lot this week is how we can get our investigators to 'flip the switch' to become converted to the gospel and want it for themselves. It's rough business, lemme tell you. I was reading in Mosiah 27 this morning and came across verses 26 and 27. It talks about us becoming new creatures through the gospel. Not only does it mention becoming new creatures, but it says that becoming new creatures is a necessity to inheriting the kingdom of God. So, I thought about how we extend commitments and WHY we extend commitments, and essentially we're asking our investigators to become new creatures. They're not just homework assigments or opportunities to increase their faith, they're the means but which they will be born again into new people. I began to think about that in conjunction with my own life and I realized that I do a lot of things oer and over again hoping that I'll change or that my life will somehow change, but it won't. In order for things to change, in order for us to change, we have to change how we do things. And not look back. So, if there are things in your own life that you know aren't consistent with the things that you want, change them. Change them unapologetically and don't look back. And make Heavenly Father a part of that process. If there's one thing I've learned from this past week (and these past two months), it's that Heavenly Father always has something in the works. If you ask him to, He'll usually let you in on it.
And Grandma, we had a FANTASITC thanksgiving as a district this past week. Everyone brought food and we all went around and said what we were grateful for. I loved it. We've also seen snow pretty consistently here. It snows pretty much every day now, if only a little bit. Last night, though, it POURED rain for a good 3 hours. We were soaked all night long. And when it rains here, puddles form everywhere. Not just little puddles, either. They're massive! And deep! It's kind of like a game trying to manuever around them. I love it.
Anywho, I think that's about it for this week. Things are going great in Russia, and both Sister Pearce and I really think we could have two baptism this month with Marina and Tanya. I really hope so. I really want them to have a relationship with their Heavenly Father. I know He loves them a lot.
I love you all! I hope December is treating you all well. I miss you! And I can't wait to talk to you guys on Christmas! I think we might just be able to work out a skype schedule so that we can talk to each other (ALL of us). We'll see!