May 23, 016
Hey everyone! This week has been super awesome and just full of blessings! We ended up having 11 teaching appointments this week, which is way more than usual! Things are really starting to get moving over here in Stav! We've been seeing a pretty steady increase in the number of lessons we're teaching, and hopefully it keeps going that way!
We also have another baptismal date for the 11th of June, which is super exciting! His name is Илгар(ilgar) and he's just one of those people that the Lord has been preparing for a while. We had to mail a book of Mormon to a church heardquarters referall that lives down near Chechnia, and we were just sort of waiting in line at the post office with the other 2 elders(because we had no idea how to send a package and they were helping us, haha), and we just decided to go on a split and contact for a few minutes while we were waiting! We ended up meeting Илгар pretty much as soon as we went outside, and he told us he would come to church on Sunday, but he didn't give us his phone number or any way to contact him, which usually means they aren't actually going to show up! When Sunday came though he was there, and we were able to get a lesson with him right after church.
He told us that we had a light in our eyes, and that all of the doctrine we were teaching seemed true to him, he even started backing it up with bible references, it was awesome! We've met with him a few more times after that, and he's just continuing to progress and learn more!
We also were able to meet with an inactive member this week named Сергей(Sergei). He's actually a former missionary that served in this mission back when it was still relatively young. When he got home though, he ended up marrying one of his investigators and going inactive. It was sad to see that he's fallen away, but there's still a lot of hope for him and his family! We made him some brownies(just to soften him up a little bit, haha, american desserts are key to missionary work over here!) and were able to share the message of the Restoration with him and his wife! The spirit bore powerful testimony of the truthfulness of what we were saying, and hopefully touched their hearts. Two of his old missionary friends are actually from Arizona, and he said that one of them actually lives in Gilbert, which is insane! If any of you back home know a Michael Wilcox, or a Julia Brooks, let me know. I'd like to get in contact with them and see if they could reach out to him somehow!
All around though, this week has just been incredible. We've seen the Lord's hand in our lives pretty much every minute of every day! It really is a privilege to be here doing this work, and share this message with these wonderful people!
I'll leave you all with a spiritual thought as usual! I was reading through D&C the other day, and I found a verse that one of my teachers shared with us, and it really stuck out to me for some reason. Verse 17 of Section 123 says, "Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." That really rings true to me, especially as a missionary. Often times when people don't keep commitments, or show up to church, or just do the things that are necessary to progress and come closer to God in general, you sort of feel like it's something you may have done poorly, or that you could have done better. In reality though, for the most part it's just because people have free agency, and unfortunately, are not perfect and choose poorly sometimes. We, though, can still do all that is in our power to help them make those decisions, and then take a step back and feel the peace associated with knowing that we have done all that we can. I know that Christ lives, and that He is ever present in our lives if we so much as look for him. I know that God loves each and every one of us, and knows us perfectly. I know that this church is true, and I, as always, am so humbled to be a part of this work. I love you all, and pray for you often! Hope all is well!
Until next time,
PS. Also, regarding the title of this email, we have our first Visa trip this week! We're heading off to Armenia on Thursday to grab some new visas. It should be interesting.