Dear family and friends,
this week was full of just plain work and then some good times at the end of it. We helped out with a ward party on Saturday night, about 30 people came (sad, but its a good start...they want to have another one in two weeks because the ones that were there had so much fun)...we helped organized a couple games. the best was where you have a partner and one person is the arms for the other person. our theme was kinda 'unity' in a companionship, so you had to the morning tasks of a missionary-eat breakfast, brush teeth, hair/tie/put on a nametag, and then go around the room and contact (the arms just flip open the book of Mormon to a random page and the person has to make up a spiritual thought about something there) it was really fun. then Sunday we made a good mark in the wards-just getting the members to notice and appreciate us. we did a lesson in relief society in one ward and the next ward us four missionaries talked in sacrament meeting. i had no idea what to say, let alone in Russian, but i just let the spirit guide and even i was blown away but what i said...i'll just share a few things that i said that really are true and dear to me.
so i was talking with a recent convert, and she asked me what i thought "salvation" was...well, living with god again, he's perfect, we're not, so there is no way we can live with him, so somehow the atonement can make up the difference so that we can. okay, she said, but for me, she asked, what is the first step to salvation. hmm. For me it is and it was really realizing who God is, who i am, and where i fit in this plan. I am His daughter. he loves me. That's the first thing to realize. I can tell you that when you really feel that love, you know. and everything else just follows. The desire to study more comes. the desire to actually keep the commandments comes. the energy to endure to the 'end' comes....but there really is no end. we find the eternal happiness here and now and enjoy it for eternity. That's what happened to me, and i am so grateful for my knowledge and testimony of that.
secondly, this passed week my companion and i were contacting people on the street to find some new people. One woman i approached, asked her if she ever heard of the book of Mormon...she responded, in English. Usually when this happens, i get pretty frustrated, especially because after i approach someone in Russian and they respond "no, thank you" in English and walk away, kinda insulting. but this time when this woman responded in English, i didn't feel frustrated, i saw it as a great opportunity to testify in English. wow testify in English!! i can say whatever i want!!! finally! but as i talked with her about the gospel, i found myself taking the words i would have said in Russian and translating them back into English. so my testimony was very simple, i even struggled a little bit to find the words. interesting. I told the members i share this experience with them so they know that as missionaries here, we our testimonies and opportunities to feel the spirit are happening in their language-Russian and Ukrainian. so my growing testimony here is in Russian. We are here growing with them. its very interesting. but so neat. i told them i am so grateful that i do understand some of their language so that their testimonies can help build mine. really neat.
side note...i can barely pray now in English. i almost laugh with embarrassment during the prayer because i have no idea how to pray in English. its easier at this point to talk spiritual in Russian. but, i guess that's a good sign :)
i love you all, continue with faith, patience, love and joy!
pics from our activity....