Thank you so much for your letter, your fasting, prayers, and love. It's all very needed. Missionaries enjoy hearing from everyone.
This last week was another week that was full of repentance and just getting back on my feet. It's getting harder to stay focused and not think about the future because I know I need to make plans about registering for classes and where to live, etc, but the Lord is helping me stay very busy and I'm especially grateful for the scriptures. Seriously, the opportunity to receive personal revelation is just absolutely wonderful! I pray everyone will read them and not stray. Sometimes it is the easiest way for Him to talk with us.
It was a rough week because I wasn't following promptings, wasn't striving to preach the Gospel, and on top of that we had busy investigators and not too many meetings all week...Satan's best tool is making noise and keeping people too busy for what is important. I just felt extremely far from the Spirit. It was an awful feeling. But the great news is with repentance I am now able to move forward, back focused and I learn and continue to serve. The Lord is truly merciful!
Volodia is doing well and is now a Priesthood holder! Also Nicholai is just a wonderful "member" of the branch already, (I say "member" but he's waiting till the summer to be baptized in order to be baptized in a river "just like they were baptized in the waters of Mormon" as he says). I just smile at him :)
The thing that is weighing on my mind right now is just the unity of the branch. There are members that are just...well... the entire branch just has a feeling of separated-ness (not really a word). How do you unite a branch? I may only have a few weeks left in this city because I might get moved to another city, but my goals are set to bring that unity to the branch that it needs to continue on. It would break my heart to see that after all these months, nothing changed in the branch...so I'm going to work my hardest to better magnify this branch and make it independent. Advice is definitely welcome!
I'm trying to do my best. Sometimes it is really hard...and most of the time its hard because of my personal pride...but my companion and I are trying. My companion is wonderful and really patient with my impatience. But we are in the service of The Lord and we love our Savior.
I love you!
I'm glad to announce that we are safe, sound, and strolling forward :) There are a lot of really sad things happening right now in Ukraine...and we are kind of in a bubble being on a mission, but kind of not since it is all that people can talk about. The people here are just in pain of all that is happening, and some how, some way, it will further the preaching of the Gospel in this hallowed land. The Land of Ukraine has been through so much...and it will continue to be tried and tested as its residents, the remnants of Israel, are proved, cleansed, and eventually gathered back to a knowledge of their Savior, themselves, and the covenants that their fathers made. But just to let you know, all is okay with us!
That is just amazing to hear about the recent converts and less active member. Really, you have no idea how grateful missionaries are to see members like you doing their duty. Truly mom, you're an incredible missionary!
This last week for Volodia was a pretty wonderful and yet stressful week. He is in a whole new ball-game and really just doing wonderful. The change that we are seeing in his heart it just huge! He came to church this last Sunday after a week of being super nervous to receive the Aaronic Priesthood, but came and received it. He was still pretty overwhelmed, but with time the Spirit quieted his fears and now he is doing just wonderful. He even called me Saturday night at like 10:45 after we had already went to bed, and he asked "Do I still need to bring bread tomorrow?" The Gospel is something that truly changes hearts. In talking with Volodia, I was able to realize some differences that we have in the Church that really in quite unique: the Lord named his church in our dispensation "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." Have you even wondered why the Lord chose such name? In the church we really do require that all men, women, and children become saints, or 'set apart to the work of the Lord' - servants of the Lord engaged in his work, in my own words. We are the saints of the last days not because of our perfections or because of our abilities, but because we were called and set aside for this day and this time to all take part in the work of the Lord. As latter-day saints we announce in our title that we are set aside from all other peoples of all other times: called and consecrated to carry the Gospel to all the world, both the living and the dead. This is our duty when we are baptized into the restored Church. Isn't that incredible? There are no such thing as 'normal members' or 'members of the congregation' for we are all in one way or another engaged in this amazing work! We're the latter-day saints!
Love you mom! I'm trying my hardest and just loving my mission...it's getting harder and harder to focus and not get side tracked, but the Lord is helping. Thank you for your prayers too!