This week is transfer week. I think this is a very special time for missionaries. It is like the Super Bowl or a bowl game or even looking on the sheet to see if you made cuts ha. The Saturday night is probably the funniest times for missionaries as they wait the "call" from the Mission President. Are they going to get transfered? Are they going to get a new companion and who is it going to be? You could say that transfer call is like Christmas morning before you open gifts. Luckily for zone leader they get to know a little earlier. We found out last week at Zone Leader council that Elder O'neill will be serving in Yekaterinburg and that I will be staying here in Ufa. My new companion is Elder Young. I am so excited to be able to serve with him. He will get to Ufa on Thursday. My old companion has already left and I am with on of the elders in my zone. I am so excited for this next transfer!
Last week as I said was Zone Leader Council. Us leaders of the mission were able to meet together and talk about how we can improve the work in this mission. So many great things were said by all of the different zone leaders. I love the concept of Counseling. It is crazy to think that we did this with our Father in Heaven. We all counseled together on whether or not to accept the beautiful plan that was laid out in front of us. Can I just say congratulations to every one!! Even if you aren't a member. You decided to agree with the Father that you would come to earth and recieve a physical body and be obedient to the laws that he set so that after our death here on earth we could return again to our Father. You are here because you chose the right. Good job to everyone! I love getting advice and just listnening to my mission president. He really is inspired and consecrated to serve in this position. I love him so much.
This last week has been a great week. Our investigator Brother Brian ha ha that is Armenian. He finally prayed for the first time!!! For the last two long transfers I have been here he finally prayed. That is a huge success in my book. I am so thankful for everything that the Lord has done for this man. His wife is the Relief Society President in our Branch and she has so much patience with him. She really is waiting for him so that they can go to the temple together. It makes me want to work with him even harder. I know that the Lord is blessing this man with understanding of the Gospel. I know that in the near future he will be ready to come closer to Jesus Christ.
I know last week I said that I would share my spiritual thought but I feel inspired to talk about something else. I have thought a lot about making big decisions and what is the best way to do it. As a missionary we are faced with making decisions every minute it feels like. Actually it is for everyone. But I feel like as a missionary the Lord is testing us on how we are going to use his time. I am so thankful for the concept of Obedience. We know that in Heaven the first law is Obedience. As a missionary we can do anything that we want. We all have Free agency but when you look at it a different way like... "If I do this is the Lord going to be pleased or displeased with me?" or we can think to ourselves "how does Christ think of Me?". Now sometimes in life we are faced with making some really big decisions. Sometimes it is really scary and we just want to hide behind something and hope that it will go away forever. But no... We can't do that. We have to be bold with ourselves and ask ourselves if this is going to be a benefit for me? We have to ask is this what the Lord wants me to do? I like to think about the Brother of Jared. He had no idea how he was going to get light in the boats. He had quite the decision to make. He pondered about it a lot, I am sure of and probobaly asked others. But it wasn't until he acted with faith and brought those stones before the Lord. Sometimes the Lord is going to require us to come up with the best solution and then bring that solution to him, to get his approval. As the brother of Jared did we must too bring our stones before the Lord and show our Faith. I promise if we do that the Lord will reveal His will to us on what we should do.
Making decisions is really hard but the Lord loves you so much. He is wanting all of us to make big steps because he knows that we can do anything. Remember the Saviour, he had a decision to make. To die for each and everyone of us so that we could make it back to him and the Father. If the Saviour can make the hardest decision that has ever been placed before man, we can too. Do what the Lord wants you to do and he will always support you. I am thankful for a loving Heavenly Father that made the decision to send His only Begotten Son to this world. He is our Example and we should mirror him in everything that we do. Go to the Lord and He will guide you.
I love you all, thank you for everything.
February 13, 2013
This week has been quite the Hectic week. I was supposed to go on a visa trip last week on Friday but they delayed my flight to Moscow so President Rust said that I would just go on Monday. I was really bummed because I really wanted to see all of my MTC buds. So on Monday my companion and I and the sisters flew to Moscow. When we got to Moscow we were about to get on our Flight to Finland but as one of the Sisters was going through Pass port control they noticed that her Visa had expired on Sunday... So we got a huge fine and had to wait. Therefore we missed our flight to Finland and spent 2 hours trying to get her a new Visa for the day. We got lucky and she was able to get a 1 day visa from the Russian Consulate. So that night we flew to Finland and then took a Taxi to the Temple. That night we were able to stay the night at the temple "hotel". It was a really cool experience. I got the chance to talk to a couple of temple workers there. They fed us and we were really happy. That next morning we got on a plane at about 9am and flew back to Moscow and then back to Ufa. These last two days have been really tiring.
I have only been with my companion for a week. We are doing great. He is a lot different than my old companion. Elder Young is so awesome. We have a lot of things in common so that is way nice. We changed areas with the sister so now I am in a new area. I live 10 steps from the church. It is very convenient. Also the area is a lot better. Oh yah we had to move last week as well ha.
So sorry that I am emailing on Wednesday. Know that everything is ok and that your son is now back in Ufa.
The weather is starting to warm up. It is always a good sign to see the snow/ice melting on the streets and side walks. I really enjoy spring so I am hoping that it will come a little quicker. Nothing really has happened these last couple of days just that I have lived in an airport. The work still continues!
Thank you Uncle Sonny for the gift. I really do appreciate it.
Family I love you and hope that all is well with you. Grandma happy birthday!!!!!! WIsh that I could celebrate it with you. Next year!
Love you all
February 18, 2013
So on Friday I got thee most random call that I have ever gotten on my mission. President Rust was in Turkey for a Mission president Conference so the Senior couple that works in the office was in charge. Friday morning we got a call from Elder Meng saying that a Meteor hit Chely. Us missionaries in Ufa had no idea that any of this happened. We didn't feel or hear anything. All of the missionaries in Chely are ok. My two best buds are in Chely as zone leaders. Elder King and Elder Lattimer. But everything is ok and all of the missionaries are ok. That Friday we met with a lady from the branch and she was watching the news. So were able to watch a little of it. It is way crazy that it was so close. She told us that some of the Government people from Russia think that it was a weapon from America. Thinking about it that would be a very smart weapon...To be able to control a meteor...Sounds ridiculous to me. But we gave President Rust a call and just informed him that there could be some Anti American feelings out on the streets. But everything is ok and they are pretty confident that it was a meteor.
Elder Young and I are doing great. He is from Bountiful Utah and loves sports...:) We get along great. We have already clicked and having a great time. I am so excited for this transfer. We are still teaching Brian and trying to get him to set a date. He is so great and we are way excited. I feel like everytime we meet with him, he has grown a little more and a little closer to baptism. I am so excited for the next meeting with him. We will be going over to his house Tomorrow.
So I have moved areas in Ufa. I am trying to get familiar with the streets. I feel like that is a talent that I have. I get aqquainted pretty fast with new areas and I can navigate myself. I have had companions that would have no idea where we were. It would be like they had just gotten into a new area. I am grateful that I can be able to now where I am and be able to get home ha. The new area is so nice. We are kind of in the center of the city. Ufa really doesn't have a center. It is all spread out. But we are literally 15 steps away from the church. It is so convenient.
I am still a zone leader here in Ufa. My old companion went to Yekaterinburg to be a zone leader there. But I am really enjoying being a zone leader. Sometimes it is stressful. Sometimes I fell way inadequate for this. But I am so thankful for the opportunity that the Lord has given me. I think the most stressful thing is is making sure the sisters in our zone are alive and safe haha. Sometimes I worry about the Sisters. But they are great and we have an awesome zone.
So winter is finally starting to wind up here in Ufa. It is still way cold but I am so thankful that the sun is starting to shine and that you can actually feel the warmth from the sun. There is still a ton of snow here but very slowly it is starting to melt. The only problem with spirng is that the snow melts and there is no place for the water to go. There are no emergency drains like we have in America so the water just sits and it gets way muddy and dirty. They call it mud season. This is probably the toughest season for missionaries because there clothes just get destroyed.
I haven't gotten mail in a while so sorry I haven't gotten the calendar yet. Hopefully I can get it when I go to ZL council in two weeks. But thanks for all of the emails and all of the support. I am so grateful for it. Hope everyone has a great week this week. Love you
February 25, 2013
Dear Family and friends
I talked a little to early when I said that it is starting to get a little bit warmer. For the last three days it has been snowing non stop... Well I'm in Russia what can I expect. How is everyone doing this week? I want to first off say thank you for all of your emails. Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to be able to get mail for awhile. I am sure there is a bunch of mail waiting for me in Yekaterinburg. I will be able to get for sure next week when we go for Zone Leader council. And I hope that the calendar is going to be there ha.
Things are going great here in Ufa. Last week was kind of a hard week for our missionaries here in Ufa. The sisters lost one of there investigators who was going to get baptized. Her husband threatened her and now she is scared so she has stopped communication with the sisters. It brought the sisters down a lot this week. Also the other elders in Ufa had a tragedy happen to them. There long time investigator Pavel passed away. He was about 50 and just didn't have a lot of hope in life. It is really sad because I had the opportunity to teach him a couple of times when we would go on splits. It is really sad to see what discouragement can do to a person. Alcohol(vodka) and cigarettes are the worse things you can do to try and feel better. This is what killed him and it has really been hard for us and the other elders. It is really sad to think that he was so unprepared to leave this world. But us missionaries did the best we could to help him improve his life. The other Elders would check on him everyday and help him with food and other random things. It is always sad to see someone go but it just adds on more grief to know that that person was so unprepared to leave this life.
Sorry about the bad news but I thought that I would get that out of the way first and leave the good news for last. We have been blessed to be able to work with Brother Brian and he has made a lot of progress. He has had a hard time coming to church but we were able to get him to come to the activity that we had on Saturday. Saturday was kind of like Veterans day for Russia, also like fathers day. It is called The day of Men. Doesn't that sound like a great holiday. But we had a great activity here in Ufa. The Relief Society put it on and it was a blast. He had so much fun and his wife(who is the Relief society president) was so happy that came. Now we just have to get him to come to church. He has been reading everything that we tell him to read. He reads in sequence so now he is in the book of Jacob. It is so awesome to see him coming closer to his Father in Heaven.
This last week Elder Young and I have had the opportunity to do a lot of service. We have had the chance to exercise our Priesthood power. It has been awesome. We gave about 7 blessings last week. We had the chance to go to a family in our branch who has been really struggling. The mom and her two daughters are members and the husband isn't. But the husband let's them go to church and everything. Last week while the husband was working he got burned really bad and had to go to the hospital. He is still in the hospital with intense burns. The family is already struggling with finances and to add onto it there father who is the provider is in a hospital. So we went over with the sisters and were able to give the family blessings, each and every one of them. It was really spiritual. After we had the opportunity to sit and talk with them. I thought that it would be a good idea to rather cheer them up then to mourn with them. So my companion and I were able to make the two girls laugh and smile. It was much needed for them. The two girls are 15 and 8. It made me so happy that we were able to make them laugh and just feel good. There smiles were miracles for us. I have never been so much happier on my mission then last week laughing and smiling with those two girls and there mother. Tomorrow we are going back to there house to give the Father a blessing. I am so thankful for the power of the Priesthood. On my mission I have seen that it really does work and that it really is from our Father in Heaven. I remember when I went to the emergency room when my Great Grandmother was struggling and my father and I were about to give her a blessing. I had just gotten the Mel. Priesthood and I was a little scared so I had my dad do it. As I watched my dad lay his hands on her head and give her a blessing I saw that she started to settle down and started to breathe more softly. I know that my Father is a holder of the Mel. Priesthood and that he is worthy to hold it. I am so grateful that I get to share that with him. I want to say thanks dad for helping me be worthy and teaching me about the power of the Priesthood so that I myself get to hold it. The power of the Priesthood is real and it is another sign that our Father in Heaven loves us so much.
I want to say thank you for all that you do for me. Thank you everyone for all of the support that you give me. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I get to fight in the army of God. There is no other army that I would want to serve in than this one. God lives and His church has once again been established through Joseph Smith. No one and nothing can stop this work. This work will fill the world, the entire world. I love it and I love you!
Keep your eyes and head up.