October 21, 2013
Things turned around this week. The assistants, Elder P and Elder S, came down to do exchanges with my companionship. I went out with Elder P and we actually found noticeable success in our work. We walked around trying to contact people, and one person I stopped was interested in seeing the church so we received his contact info. Elder P talked with a man who was Russian Orthodox, and he found out we baptize at eight years old and became way excited. He said he thinks it’s ridiculous to baptize babies and wants to have a lesson this Friday. By the end of the day we had four phone numbers to contact. It doesn’t sound like much but was more than what the previous four days brought.
The real miracle though happened with my companion and the other assistant, Elder S. They were walking around with a box full of pamphlets and copies of the Book of Mormon when an old woman, V, walked up saying they were there for a purpose and God led her to them. She took a Restoration pamphlet and called the very next day, saying she had read the whole pamphlet and had questions. We met with her a couple hours later.
Her life is pretty rough right now. V was on her way to the pharmacy to pick up medication because she planned on committing suicide that day, but then she saw the two missionaries. Apparently, her husband has been abusing her and it has come to the point that she does not want to live anymore. V said the following, “I thought God was done with me. I am seventy years old. But now that I have met you I know there is still more to be done.”
We answered her questions and invited her to come to church. We walked her to her apartment afterward, which helped me understand why things are so desperate. This place was three feet wide and maybe sixteen feet long. It had a stove, sink, table and refrigerator; but that was it. The atmosphere inside was extremely humid, hot and smelled awful. We agreed to help her get some things fixed up with the place and will probably go and do that soon.
V is now our first official investigator and I was able to teach my first lesson. She did come to church on Sunday and stayed for the full three hours. It was an ideal situation, because as soon as she sat down in Sacrament Meeting, a member began talking to her and walked Valentina from one meeting to the other. We will be meeting again soon.
Our zone conference was on Friday. President Klebingat focused the meeting on better understanding the doctrine of Christ. He was able to give us some great insights and has a deep knowledge of the scriptures. One moment that stood out was when a missionary asked how we continue to develop and grow into better people. President Klebingat gave an insightful answer: “To know joy, you must first know pain. Becoming the person God wants us to be is not the easy path.” That comment struck me and has been on my mind for a good portion of time now.
This coming week looks promising. We have several meetings with members set up and may have an opportunity for service. Learning Russian is slow but I am slowly understanding more words. I’m comparing it to a situation where you drop a dollar in a jar every day for a year. In the beginning it does not look like much progress has been made, but over time the pile grows and before too long it is noticeably large. It just takes patience and long suffering.
До свидания, и покой.