Monday, January 16, 2012

January 16, 2012

Week of Death.

Okay, so it really wasn't that bad. It just was super long and not very productive because I had been having problems sleeping like all week. I would have no problem falling asleep, but I would only be like half asleep all night long and have crazy nightmares (I haven't had nightmares since I was like 7...) and wake up more tired than when I went to bed. Finally I called Sister Sorenson when I woke up with absolutely no energy on Friday and she told me to call Dr. Hatch, who told me I was just stressed out and not sleeping well....haha. I already knew that. But since I called him I've been sleeping mostly better--still having weird dreams, but at least I have woken up mostly rested the past few days. But man, I thought I was exhausted and sleep-deprived in high school and college...nope. When I woke up Friday it was the most tired I've ever been in my life. It's horrible when you're so tired and just wanted to sleep, but at the same time you don't want to sleep, because you know it won't help and will actually make you more tired. But don't worry--everything is fine now. I've slept a lot better the past few nights.

Despite this week taking forever, this transfer has just FLOWN by. I can't believe people are starting to find out about transfers and that they're in like a week and a half. I think it's because it's C. X2's first transfer and I'm comparing it to my first transfer, which felt like an eternity. But the longer you're out, they just start to fly by. I was talking to her about it last night and she said that this transfer has been so long for her, so it's probably just me. Why can't time just slow down just a little bit? Ksusha was teasing me on Thursday because it was my "thousand years on the mission," but it really feels like no time at all. I mean, my first few transfers feel like forever ago, and especially the MTC, but I can't believe that I've already been here in ZGrad 4 months! 

So. This week we had a meeting with Sveta--not the one we just baptized. A different one. It's crazy because here everyone has one of like 20 names. She's a friend of Ksusha. We had our first meeting with her a long time ago, maybe like 2 months, but then she was in the hospital for a really long time, so we couldn't meet with her. We finally met with her again and had a super good lesson. Ksusha really thinks that eventually she'll join the church. However, our problem right now is that she's only 16 so we need permission from her mother. I don't think her mother is super against it, we just need to track her down, because apparently she's really busy and swings between not really caring what her daughter does or being super

On...someday this week...we went singing contacting! We first really did this a few weeks ago when we were in Moscow for Zone/Mission Trainings and we couldn't come back up home because that would be a waste of time so we were kind of stuck in Moscow with not a lot to do, so one of the other districts invited us to come singing in the center of Moscow with them. It worked super well, because we had 2 districts, so enough missionaries to have a really solid group singing and about 5 people passing out prigs and talking to people. It just works super well to attract attention, bring the spirit and plus it's just fun. SO we decided to try it with just our district up here this past week. Ksusha came with us and so us and 2 Elders sang, while C. X2 and 2 Elders contacted people. We didn't have a lot of success, but it was a lot of fun. The only problem with singing is that you don't get to talk to people, and that is something that I want to do more of. Not that I don't like singing, I just know that I need practice talking to people on the street and I have actually come to enjoy it, especially in the context of a lot of people singing so they come up to you a lot of the time. But I did get to talk to one really nice man. We were singing, and after we finished a hymn we were picking the next one and he came up and was like, "Why are you nice young people here?" We explained and he was interested in how our church is different than Baptists. Interesting. Usually people are asking you about how it's different than Russian Orthodox, even if they're not Russian Orthodox, but apparently his sister is baptist or something. I can't remember. Anyway, I explained to him a little, answered his questions, and gave him a Book of Mormon. That, unfortunately, was right as he was walking away, so I didn't really get to explain and testify much about it, but he gladly took it and seemed interested. I don't know. Maybe it's just ZGrad, but when I have gone contacting in the past few weeks, it has been so much more fun and pleasant and good than it was in the summer, even if it's not successful immediately, at least people are nice and such. I wish I had been able to get more excited about street contacting earlier in my mission. But better late than never, right?

Also, way cool. This morning we went to the post office, because C. X2 wanted to send a package and when the Elders found out we were going, one of them wanted us to send a package for him. Plus the post office here is about a million times more nightmarish than in the States, so we were there for like 2 hours. Anyway. I was reading D&C in Russian while waiting (it's my goal to read the entire Standard Works in Russian by the end of my mission. The Old Testament might not happen, but I've already done half the NT and the BOM, even though I want to also read the BOM in Russian again before I go home...anyway, I got behind in my D&C reading, so I was taking this opportunity to catch up). And C. X2 comes up to me and asks if I can help this lady in front of her fill out a customs form in Latin letters. She was an older lady and she was having a hard time with it, so I said of course I'd help her...that's easy. Side note: when you are used to writing Russian names in Russian it's actually a lot harder to transliterate them into Latin letters, especially when it's letters that we have in English but they make different sounds. For example. Her last name was Ivanova and the first time I wrote it IBAHOBA. Yeah...doesn't really work. But anyway. SO I'm helping her and she asks how much money I want?! I'm just like, "No, no. THis is easy. Just a service" She then asks me if I'm a volunteer. I show her my tag, and talk about how I'm a missionary. She was super super nice. She wanted to know my name and where I was from and how I liked Russia and said that she was super believing and goes to church all the time. I invited her to church and gave her a prig and explained a little about church and asked her to call if she needs anything or has any questions. She said she knew the area where the building was, and seemed really interested in coming. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time to get her phone number or give her a lot of information...however, we might be kind of stalkerish...since I transliterated her address, I kind of remember her dom and apartment number (I hope...) and we might just go knock on her door one day. She thanked me so much and had such a lovely smile and told me that she loves me (doesn't really happen in Russia with someone you first meet), so I have hope that maybe she'll come one day or that if we do decide to be stalkerish and end up finding her that she wouldn't mind. :) She was maybe the loveliest non-member I've ever met here. 

Um...this weekend, we had another baptism! We're not super counting it as our baptism for the month to fill our district goal, since we want as many baptisms as possible, and it was the boyfriend of a girl in the ward, and she had basically already taught him everything before she introduced him to the Elders, but it was still a really great experience and a nice baptism. Satan really doesn't want people to get baptized and he does everything he can to screw up a baptismal service, but luckily, this one actually went mostly as planned. I was super impressed--the Spirit was there and the program went all as planned and the font actually ended up having mostly clean, warm water in it and drained afterwards, soo....pretty good baptism. :) First baptism towards our mission/stake goal of 80 convert baptisms this year. 

Still haven't gotten my package. I should have gotten it--we just tracked it, but it looks like it is just lost somewhere in the Moscow Post Office system, as of Dec 22. So...C. X2 told me to email the mission office and have them go to the post office to track it down, and that it should maybe take like a don't know...hopefully I get it soon?

I love you all; The Church is true!
Sister Ashby

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