Wednesday, June 8, 2011

June 8, 2011

So. Since I don't have anything to reply to you about yet, I will just tell you about the AMAZING THINGS that have happened this week.

First, we had a great miracle with Sofia. As I mentioned last week, we were very nervous about her, but Thursday (I think?) morning she called us, asked us if things were still alright for her to be baptized on the 11th. When we asked her if she'd been reading and praying, she said "Of Course!" There has been such a change in her. When we saw her on Saturday, for the baptism (not hers, just one she came to), she was just glowing. And she was able to come to both the Saturday night Adult fireside with Elder Nelson, where she met him, the Sunday conference when the stake was organized, and the YSA fireside Sunday night. She is super wonderful, and I am so excited for her to be baptized in just a few days. The Lord has truly taken care of her and prepared her for this--honestly, we haven't done anything as missionaries, really. It's been all her and the Lord. 

Other cool things: Russia is truly where the 12 Tribes are being gathered. We were at dinner at the apartment of a young couple in our branch. They both served missions, and are expecting their first baby sometime in August. But out of the 5 people there, there were 4 different tribes of Israel. 2 Ephraims, 1 Simeon, 1 Mannassah, and 1 Naphtali. Really, it is so cool.

Now, for the main part of the week, and by far the coolest, most miraculous blessing: Elder Nelson coming to organize the Moscow Russia stake! :D Saturday night was when it started. We were lucky enough to be able to go to the Adult Session (we weren't supposed to go unless we had a less-active or investigator, and Sofia was able to come, which was a miracle in and of itself). Elder Nelson talked about the miraculous story of how he was able to work to get the church here into Russia 20 years ago, and how the Lord made it possible, despite all the literally impossible bueareaucratic red tape. His son was also one of the very first missionaries in Russia, and came along with him and Sister Nelson. Elder Nelson said he had so many people come up to him and tell him that his son taught them or their family, and said thank you. Anyway. It was so great. After the Saturday meeting, so many of the Saints were coming up to him to meet and thank him. I had the wonderful experience of standing right there behind him as he greeted these beautiful Russian saints. C. X even was translating for those who don't speak English, including one of our babyshki from our branch. It was such a miracle, and the Spirit was so strong. Then Sofia really wanted to meet him, so I took her up to him. He turned around when I said his name, and he greeted Sofia, who speaks perfect English, pretty much, and it was so wonderful. And then he turned around to me, and shook my hand and asked my name. It was super cool. He is such a great man; although he's old, he has worked so hard to serve the Lord, and the look of love in his eyes all weekend was sooo....I don't know how to describe it.

Now, was so miraculous. We walked into the big hall we were meeting in, and there was just such a feeling of love and excitement. Then the first stake in Russia was organized--#2,962. Sister Nelson called it "the day of greatest light in Russia." And it was so true. I am so grateful to be such a small part of this work and these miracles. I cannot even explain the Spirit that was here this weekend. The wave of excitement when the new stake leaders, especially the patriarch, were announced. That is what people here are most excited for, I think. They have had to wait for years over the past 20 years for a patriarch from somewhere else to come and give blessings to the next people on the list. And now they will be able to have that great blessing of having a patriarch here in Moscow. I cannot wait until there are more stakes here in Russia. These saints deserve it SO MUCH. 

And Monday was so great. We were priviliged enough to have a missionary meeting with Elder Nelson, of what I already sent the picture to you of. It was so personal. We all got there at least 30 minutes early to study in reverence, and when he walked in Elder Nelson commented on how good we looked. :) Then each missionary had the opportunity to go up and greet Elder and Sister Nelson, and President and SIster Schwitzer. It was so personal, and there was such a feeling of love. I was able to sing in a quintet for a special musical number, Elder Nelson had a question and answer session. Of course, he asks if anyone has any questions, and I just sit there and am like, "OF COURSE! WHY CAN'T I THINK OF ANY OF THEM RIGHT NOW?!" haha. But all the talks were just so personal, so inspired--just what we needed to hear as a mission and as individuals. I never wanted it to end. This weekend was like General Conference, except better because it was over 3 days and it was so historical and so PERSONAL. Oh my goodness. I just loved it so much. I am so blessed to be a part of this mission at this time; it is something that I don't deserve.

Anyway, language-wise...well, I thought it funny that you asked if I've taught a lesson without C. X's help. No. That's the point of having a companion. haha. You always teach with someone's help. That's how missionary work works. ;) But it's slowly getting better. I am understanding so much more. And yesterday a woman was so surprised at how well I know Russian after being here only 2 months. It's slowly coming. The great thing is that I am actually feeling able to communicate for the most part. I'm still super far from being fluent and still freeze up and get nervous every time I'm supposed to speak in Russian, but for the most part, I feel like I'm making progress and feel like I can express things in lessons. Mostly that's just the gift of tongues though. But it's turning into less of a stresser, slowly. My goal is to not even be worried about it at all in October, when I've been in Russia for 6 months. Also, with the Stake it hasn't really changed the way we do missionary work too much. HOpefully it will allow the wards/branches to help us more with missionary work, but right now it's just too new to see huge changes yet. Anyway. THat's about it that I have! Until next week.

Sister Rachel

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