Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tolyatti, Tolyatti

As of next Monday, I will have been in Russia for 2 months. I know I say it every week (and I say it to Sister Pearce every day) but time moves SO quickly here. I feel like Caitie just dropped me off at the MTC a month ago. Missions, man...

Anywho, this week had its ups and downs. We've been trying to figure out how to use our time more effectively in the winter since it gets dark around 4:30 or 5:00 and contacting at night is pretty useless. We're trying to come up with projects we can do to keep us busy, but we're running into a lot of obstacles. Hopefully something comes up. We've got 3 long months ahead of us if it doesn't. 

We had some really great meeting this week, though. A while back we met a woman named Madame Nina, a 75-80 year old woman who's almost blind from diabetes and speaks perfect English. I love her with all my heart. I started talking to her on the street after a long day of people just saying "Ne Nada" (I don't need it). I said "hello," asked her how she was, and she asked, in perfect English, "Oh, are you from America?" I was shocked. Anywho, we've met with her a few times. She lives alone in an apartment on the other side of New City. At first, she said that she wasn't too interested in joining the church but wanted to know the history behind it, etc. So, we figured we'd use her visits to practice teaching the lessons and keep her company. I LOVE visiting with her. She has the best stories from living in America and working as an interpreter in the 1970s, and she's always trying to feed us and give us things. Two weeks ago she told me to practice speaking with rocks in my mouth to improve my English enunciation (sp?). Haha. She's like another grandma. Well, this last visit we taught her the Plan of Salvation (in English!) and it was probably the best lesson I've had since I've been here. The spirit was SO strong. We taught her about pre-Earth life, our life on Earth, the Atonement, and the fact that our families can be together after we die, which was especially key for her since her husband passed away a while ago. I can remember looking her in the eyes and telling her that she would see her husband again and knowing from the bottom of my heart that she would. It was the best feeling. She just kept saying that she felt very peaceful and that she knew what we were saying was true. I don't know quite what will happen with Madame Nina (she makes us call her Madame Nina since that's what her pupils called her), but I know she's a very, very special daughter of Heavenly Father, and I'm honored to be a part of her life. 

THEN, thirty minutes after Madame Nina's visit, we met with Vitali. Vitali is impossible to meet with beause of his work schedule, but every time we meet withhim, his lessons go SO WELL, so we keep trying. This time we taught the Restoration and it went really, really well. We asked him at one point if he'd ever felt the Holy Ghost in his life and he told us a story about how he was driving one night and everyone in the car with him told him to go into the next lane but he didn't. He didn't know why he didn't, but a few seconds later there was a crash in the next lane over. He said he believed it was the influence of God. THEN he told us that he thought our meetings might be the same thing. He told us, "I don't know why I'm here with you in the park right now. I'm tired, I want to go watch t.v, I want to be at home with my family, but I'm here talking to two American girls about God. Why?" THEN he asked about church (it's out favorite thing when investigators ask about church), and said he really wanted to attend once his work let up. We'll see!

Oh, and Happy belated Thanksgiving! Our thanksgiving was a little weird, but I loved it. We had thanksgiving dinner after zone training this past Friday. Everyone brought something to eat, which made for quite the feast. Sister Pearce and I made two pies and a cake, which was a pain to lug with us to zone training. I was stuck on the world's bumpiest bus trying to hold a cake and a pie (which hadn't set yet, so it was basically soup), trying to keep them as level as possible. Haha. It was hilarious. My arms were KILLING me, but we couldn't stop laughing. I'm so glad I could be here this thanksgiving. Our district's just one big happy family; we really are like brothers and sisters. I love them all, and I've learned so much from all of their examples. I'm so thankful to be on a mission and to be able to share what I know about the gospel. When nothing else makes sense here in Russia, I know that the things that are coming out of my mouth are all true. We have the best message on the face of the Earth and I get to share it with people every day. God loves his children, we lived with him before this life and we can live with Him AND our families eternally. I know we have a prophet today, that we have ordinances on the Earth that can bring us closer to God that we could ever imagine possible. I know all of this is true. I love all of you. Thank you for all your support and love. Thank you for your examples and your love. It means the world to me.


-Love, Sister Sine

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