Monday, June 18, 2012

June 18, 2012

Hey hey hey everyone. Looks like it's about time for the update from Moscow! This is the best place in the world, no matter what Matt says about Argentina. ;) So it's been a pretty crazy week, full of good stuff and not so good stuff. Monday we had an adventure when the International Ward Elders accidentally stole our phone! Luckily they were able to find the phone number of a member that they knew we were with to call her right before we left her, so we knew that they had it, but it did make things interesting for the next day until we could get it back. Luckily, we're one of the only apartments in the mission that still has a house phone.

I also had to get my "new" shoes remonted last P-Day. They were getting a hole in the heel, but the guy did a really good job and it only cost 100 publes (like 3 dollars)! My other shoes would be way too much of a hassle though...they're thrashed, and even though I tried to fix them, they are still kind of difficult to wear...oh well. It was actually super cool though because at our combined mission conference on Thursday, Sister Stevenson (wife of the new Presiding Bishop) told a story of missionary shoes when she and her husband were serving in Japan as the mission president. There was a pair of brand new shoes and a pair of old, thrashed shoes sitting in the doorway of the mission home--belonging to an Elder who had just come in the day before, and an Elder who was leaving the next day. It was super cool, because Sister Frolova and I were crying, because that's us right now. Our shoes are so thrashed, and Sister Maxwell's are brand new.

Mission Conference as a whole was just awesome! We had Elder Rasband and his wife, Bishop Stevenson and his wife, two mission presidents, our entire Area Presidency and Elder and Sister Christofferson. Plus so many missionaries. It was great, especially to meet some of the missionaries who will be joining our mission in just about 2 weeks. Of course, I probably won't get to know many of them, but it was a really great feeling. I got to sing in a special musical number where about 7 sisters from both missions and maybe 12 Elders or something sang "Army of Helaman" in Russian. After the meeting, when we got to go up through the line and shake everyone's hand, Sister Rasband said, "And THIS is the Sister with the beautiful voice!" We were sitting on the 2nd row right in front of the Rasbands and she could tell that it had been me singing. :) She was really nice. And Elder Christofferson said that he recognized a few of us from our application pictures, which is way cool, because I know through some events (Lisa meeting Elder Christofferson the weekend after my call was assigned) that he assigned my call, and we were also sitting right in front of the Christoffersons. :) Basically, it was just a really cool day. I can't even describe the Spirit that I felt at that meeting. I just wanted to beam and sing and be a missionary my entire life.

The rest of the week was basically Sister Frolova packing (she left Thursday right after Conference), and Sister Maxwell and I going through the Area Book and trying to learn the area a bit. Luckily, Sister Frolova was able to teach us a little bit, but hardly anything considering that there are 2 train lines and a couple outer cities and a lot of forbidden-to-American area in our area. But no big deal. We also met our landlord who is HILARIOUS, broke our couch (NOT my fault), went to see Olga without getting lost (she is so great, she couldn't come to conference, but I really just want her to keep progressing, she is amazing) was a pretty good week.

Then we had Stake Conference. What a great opportunity. This one was just with Elder Christofferson, but still, hey, it was AWESOME! I really loved just seeing people though. I got to see a lot of people from my first area who I hadn't seen in soooo long and love so much. They were all surprised that I go home so soon...they said it felt like I just go here. Yeah, you're telling me! And I got to see a lot of people from ZGrad too. It was just so wonderful to be around people that I love, at stake conference of the best stake in the world. The rest of Sunday went kind of crazy though. And when I mean crazy, I mean maybe the creepiest, craziest thing that has ever happened to me. NOT JOKING.

So, on Saturday we got this contact from the office from a lady who ordered a BoM from the church website and had emailed the office a few times. Elder Ayers warned me that she might be kind of crazy because she said something like, "I speak really slowly and keep all the commandments." in her email, but long-story short (I won't go into a lot of detail because I'm serious when I say this next part, and I really don't like talking about it), I swear this lady was possessed. She talked at about 1 syllable per second in this creepy voice, said there was a poltergeist in her appartment, looked kind of like Professor Trewlany from HP (not the movies/Emma Thompson...creepier) and accused us of not living the Bible for multiple reasons. After the first 3 minutes I wanted to leave, but unfortunately, I couldn't find a way to for much longer. And so I'm just siting there talking to this woman, and Sister Maxwell has no idea what is going on, and the weird feeling that was there in the apartment when we first got there just kept getting weirder and eviler. Finally, I was able to just be like, "Oh! Nam pora! (It's time for us to go)" and we told her she could keep in contact with the office through email if she wanted to meet again and ran out. Sister Maxwell still had no idea what was going on, and I was like, "I am NEVER going back there again." I couldn't shake the bad feeling, so I even called the Elders and they gave me a blessing and offered to be angels and sometime through the office go back over to rescue Sister Maxwell's English scriptures because later we realized that SHE LEFT THEM THERE. She was like, "I thought you were going to kill me." And I said, "No, I won't kill you. You just won't have scriptures unless your family sends you new ones." Now it's starting to be funnier, but it was horrible. But thank goodness for the power of the Lord and the priesthood. The Elders met us right away and we went to the branch building and I got a blessing. And felt a lot better. He is always nearby to help us, and we have power over anything evil through Him.

Well, on that...insert adjective of your choice here...note, I think that's about it for this week. Despite meetings with possessed women, I really do love being a missionary. I love Russia. I love these people. And most of all I love this Gospel. It is so true, and it has changed me inside and out. I've heard multiple people say that their mission wasn't the best 2 years of their life, but rather the best 2 years FOR their life. Well, I think it's both. Despite the hard times, the crazy times, and everything, the really awesome days (like Thursday or Sunday morning), the really awesome people (like missionaries, President Sorenson, church members and investigators and friends), and the Spirit and everything makes it the best 2 years in every sense of the word. To be honest, I'm scared out of my wits to come home, but luckily, I still have plenty of time to hopefully be the Lord's hands in His work here in the Russia Moscow Mission. The Church is true, and Jesus is the Christ.

Sister Ashby

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