Monday, February 13, 2012

February 13, 2012

Ny vot is kind of like Oh Well, I guess. Vot is like "behold" except in Russian we say it ALL the time--it's not only scriptural. It's like, "look" or "hey" or "here" or something else. And ny is just kind of a filler word. No is nyet. And that is a super cool story about the Russian that you took care of for surgery. 
I'm not sure I'll be getting transferred yet, but it's just the pattern of my mission, and as much as I love Zelenograd, I am kind of getting ready for a change. We'll see what happens. C. X2 thinks that I'm staying, I think I'm leaving, there are two sisters going home and a lot of sisters are in the running for a mix up, so we'll see. Transfers aren't for another few weeks. 

Anyway. This week has been HUGE. There has been a lot of big news that we've found out this week. First--I know when I'm coming home. And if possible, maybe you could move the family reunion? Not because I'll be flying home then, but because I still won't be home, and I haven't been to Yosemite in so long and of course I want to see everyone. But I'll be coming home around August 11. It was funny--one of my MTC Elders is our Zone Leader and he was up here on splits on Friday and we were talking about how I didn't know when I was going home yet, because he said that the other sisters knew. In the middle of this conversation, President Sorenson calls, says he's putting in a mid-transfer release request, and asks if it's okay if I go home on August 11! I was like, "THAT'S PERFECT!" There have been lots of problems with the elections coming up, so the visa laws probably won't get changed (and if they did, I would be flying home July 12--right in the middle of the reunion), but I was a little worried about getting home so close to when school started, so going home in the middle of the transfer is perfect. It was such a tender mercy. Plus, I'll get 2 mission birthdays. :) So yeah, August 11. 6 months. 

Next big news. On Wednesday, we were all told that on July 1, our mission boundaries will change. It won't super affect me that much, since I'll be going home so soon after that, and I doubt I'll get transferred to an area outside of our current mission for the last 1/2 transfer of my mission. We knew this was probably going to happen after the stake was formed. On July 1, the President of the Moscow West Mission goes home. And the West Mission and our mission will just kind of be combined to form a new mission that President Sorenson will be in charge of. Belarus and Kazhakstan will go to different missions, and our mission will be Moscow (our 9 wards/branches) and the 9ish Russian cities that are currently part of the West mission. And the number of missionaries in our mission will double, from around 50 to around 100. So this is big. It's weird though. It will happen, I'll almost positively still just serve in Moscow, and then I'll go home. And it will kind of be like my mission doesn't exist as it did when I was there. But it is still super great, because it means that eventually we will be able to expand and split the stake here, and that the church here is growing! But yeah, between those 2 pieces of big news, this week the end of my mission has just seemed a lot closer. Except that it's in August, when it's super hot, and right now it feels like -25 Fahrenheit outside. Haha. Anyway, if you want to read the official church release, it should be out on Friday.

So this past week has been kind of hard, but full of little tender mercies from the Lord. I'm not sure why, maybe just the winter or something, but the past week or two I have just not been feeling like myself--always tired, really moody and testy. I was on the verge of tears multiple times a day, and would go from having a really good day to it being horrible for no reason in just a few hours. Poor Sister Habibullina has had to put up with all us this. She is so great and so patient and funny and helpful and such a great missionary (side note: she really doesn't need me. She's more of a teacher for me. Usually when I think of my role as a trainer I just think, "Those that can't do, Teach." That is me. Haha, just kidding, but really she's a better missionary now than I'll ever be). Finally, a few days ago I asked one of my Elders for a blessing, which really helped. Things have been great since then, and it was a lot of just what I needed to hear. I love the priesthood. It is such a blessing that we have. Plus, between finding out my perfect release date, getting housing figured out (kind of ) last Monday, just a few other little answers to prayers, and starting to have a lot of potential investigators, it's been a good week full of tender mercies, hard work, and the start of success.

For example, we still don't really have any new investigators, but like I said, we have a couple really promising potential investigators. We gave out 13 BoMs this week, and are slowly starting to meet our goals. I am finally starting to feel like the slow time is over. For example, on Friday we didn't get a contact when we were out on the street like we wanted, but right before bed, one of the sisters from Moscow calls to give us a contact of a lady here. And on Saturday, we wanted to give out 4 BoMs, but we had kind of a slow start to the morning for a few reasons and then had a meeting go longer than we thought, so we ended up only having an hour to contact. And for the first half of our walk, there was NO ONE out. But then we managed to meet our goal and give 4 KMs away in the space of about 30-45 minutes. It was a miracle. And one of our less-active-becoming-more-active members had had a missionary experience after we invited her to talk to one of her acquaintances about the Church where her friend asked her about the Church, and then I guess this friend has kept asking the member about the Church and they've been meeting every week, and so this week we're going to go have FHE with them all on Friday. And there's a girl who's come to church a few times with one of the members--I think they're dating?--and she is super interested and yesterday we gave her a BoM and swapped contact information. 

Basically my life right now is me trying to be this quote by Eliza R. Snow: "I will go forward. I will smile at the rage of the tempest, and ride fearlessly and triumphantly across the boisterous ocean of circumstance . . . and the 'testimony of Jesus' will light up a lamp that will guide my vision through the portals of immortality." I love this quote, and although I know that the next few weeks will maybe even be harder than the last few have been, this is the Lord's work. There will be miracles when we do all we can. Our Heavenly Father knows each person on this Earth--me, all missionaries, all church members, all other people I see on the street--personally. He looks out for each of us and blesses us with little things that keep us going or make a big difference in our lives and the lives of others. He gave us His Son Jesus Christ, who gave us everything He had and His Atonement. And because of that we can smile always, even when people say that you're stupid and you should go home and finish your studies or when there's absolutely no one on the street because anyone sane is inside and warm, and have faith and confidence that our testimonies and faith will give us success, because our goals and hopes and dreams and our vision here are not any different than what the Lord wants.

I am not really sure what else to say, but this email is already super long. But yeah. Tomorrow is mission Conference in Moscow and C. X2's birthday. I can't believe that Elizabeth is 17. I was just 17. Anyway. Keep me updated on everything, on my contract for fall, on family stuff, on everything. And...I'll see you all in 6 months!

Sister Rachel Ashby

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