Just for the record, I don't hit nine months until October. Just because September is the 9th month, doesn't mean it's my halfway point. I don't want to think about being that close to being home yet. I just hit 7 months, which is weird enough, but I don't want to be going downhill yet. Plus, when you account visa things, I'm not sure when I'm getting home. Usually it's either a transfer early or a transfer late. But don't jump the gun. I'm already getting jipped 6 months, so don't make my mission even shorter. ;)
I am feeling a lot better. The worst part was that it was so draining and I had no energy. But now I am completely better. I was even well enough to put together a musical number for our zone conference yesterday. Monday our Zone Leader, who's in our district, called us. Sister Mordwinow: "Hey Elder Jenkins, what can I do for you?" Elder Jenkins: "I was wondering if you two could do a special musical number..." Sister Mordwinow thinking it's for a baptism or something. Elder Jenkins: "...tomorrow in Zone Conference." WIth the help of Sister Bullough, who played piano, and her companion Sister Daniel, who sang with us, we sang a pretty great self-arranged by us version of "Joseph Smith's First Prayer." Just for the record, you can also sing those words to the tune of "Come Thou Fount." Since Sister Mordwinow and I are both musical, we're used to people calling us up all the time. "Hey, Sister Mordwinow, I need your voice." "Sister Ashby, will you play piano tomorrow?" Good thing we're so awesome and kind and willing to help out and share our talents and all that. ;) But we're actually trying to put together a musical fireside that investigators and members can come to and bring friends to without it being threatening--just a good way to get them into the church and feel the Spirit without feeling like they're listening to a lecture. We just have so much musical talent in our missionaries that isn't being used, and yesterday we talked to President Sorenson about it and he loved the idea and is very excited about it. He even appointed us the "unofficial mission music gurus." Sister Mordwinow and I have been trying to think of ways to contact with our singing talents, which is hard, since no one else in our district really sings or plays guitar or some sort of street singing instrument, but hopefully we can start going on some district exchanges to maybe get some contacts by singing. Because the two of us are both performers and so that's the way we need to find people. I'm sure everyone would want to hear the gospel if they could watch our two-woman rendition of Les Mis that we do just about every other day. :)
Anyway, yes things are still slow. This weekend was pretty hard. We were just frustrated with situations and with ourselves. People weren't interested, we had no idea what to do, I felt like I wasn't working hard enough, just stuff like that. But we've kept pushing on. Zone Conference yesterday was full of things that I needed to hear--that fit in perfectly with the goals Sister Mordwinow and I have set for this transfer, both personally and as a companionship, things that I've been meaning to think about or do for weeks, and other things like that. Plus, we've been asking members we've been meeting with about how they came in contact with the church. There are some amazing stories, where the missionaries who first started talking to them found them on the metro, or randomly couldn't meet with them anymore and then they found the church again 5 years later. It gives me hope for some of the work we're doing--like trying to call people from old potential investigator lists...aka people that met with the missionaries once on the metro 5 years ago. And even if we're not feeling super productive right now, times like this happen and hopefully sometime soon things will pick up.
Hopefully, though, things will start to pick up. We met with Yulia, and had a great lesson with her; there was such a beautiful, light spirit there. We asked her if she'd talk to her mom and see if her mom wants to meet with us too, so hopefully something comes of that. She is so great, and so we're hoping that she starts to progress. Elya, the lady who said she would call us, hasn't called us back, but we're going to try to call her again sometime soon now that's it's been a little more time. Olga--have I talked about her before? She is super great, but not really progressing at all. We had a VERY frustrating lesson with her, but then our next lesson with her, we found out some things that we think are a big part of the reason she's not progressing, so now we at least know how to help her a bit better! Mostly we just want some new investigators though, hopefully a family. As a companionship, we have a goal of 2 baptisms and 2 other baptismal dates this transfer, and so we need people to teach!
I don't really think that anything super funny or spiritual has happened this week--I asked Sister Mordwinow if I've missed anything, and she said that all the funny stuff just happened between us. I am so blessed to have her as a companion. The two of us laugh and laugh and sing and then laugh some more. So yeah. Just normal life as a missionary. That's one thing I've been thinking about: when I come home and read through my journal and all my emails home and things, it won't be normal anymore. Right now it's normal when I ask what metro stations people live on and that all the signs are in Russian and that I can read them (kinda, maybe, sort of for the most part), it's normal to have these great spiritual experiences and to help other people. I mean, obviously those things happen to an extent in normal life, but not as much. Anyway. But things I will be happy to be normal in America again that aren't normal (for me) here: jeans and normal shoes, not having to go to the grocery store every few days, and carpet. No one has carpet here.
But yeah! That's about all I can think of for this week!
From Russia, With Love,
Oh! P.S. I got your post card from Nauvoo today! I figured you ran into Sister Hilary Casperson when you said you met someone who knew me. I also got a huge envelope of letters and pictures from some people that Sarah Snow put together for my birthday--THANK YOU! I LOVE YOU, SARAH S AND SARAH L AND SARAH N AND LISA! :)