In Dauchney, there is this bus called the 18D. This has been my favorite way of talking with people. It is also the sketchiest, craziest and weirdest bus. I have many stories about this bus. I rode on this bus almost everyday for four months because that is one of the only ways of contacting in this area. I honestly loved it! To me this bus is sacred. The conversations on this bus were always just different than all the other ones. The people would talk about the weirdest stuff.
Penza is a lot different. The bishop is in Utah with his family and apparently left the ward, which means we really can't do much without him. We have a piano player who plays the piano and sings really loud. It's awesome. We have lessons everyday. Sometimes we have 15 lessons a week. We have a couple of investigators. Some of them are investigators because their wives are really good members. We also have an investigator whose name is Mina. He is awesome. He has almost finished the Book of Mormon. He wants to read the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants before he gets baptized. We thought that he wanted to adopt the Book of Mormon to use in his own religion. He is a member of the Orthodox church. He wants to meet like everyday. Our lessons are usually just reading and understanding the Book of Mormon with him. He has a lot of questions when he reads the Book of Mormon.
We have been ice skating a lot recently. We went for an activity with our friends and with some members. I have never ice skated before the mission. I have fallen quite a bit.
My companion, Elder Johnson gave me a haircut the other day. I was really nervous but he did a really good job. I was one of his first haircuts.
We were in the store buying groceries. I saw a bright green drink called Tarhoon. I asked this lady about it. I asked if it was alcoholic. She said no. I asked if it is always without alcohol? She didn't know the answer so she asked a co-worker. "Can tarhoon have alcohol? Because this young man doesn't want to drink alcohol" (I explained to her that I didn't drink alcohol). Her coworker was really surprised by this. He didn't know either so we were running around the store trying to find out. We received our answer- it can have alcohol in it. I said thank you and she didn't really want to talk much, so I started to walk away from that section. Suddenly she asked "are you going to buy some?" I was like sure (I just forgot about it haha). She then asked "do you have money? If not I can pay for you." After she said that my heart melted. I kindly said I have money. Don't worry about it. The Russian people get a bad rep. I love these people. We often hear that they are scary and mean. This has not been my experience so far. They are honestly the nicest people.
Alma 30- When Korihor is leading away the hearts of the people and won't believe in Christ unless he gets a sign. Then he gets struck dumb and says in Alma 30:54 "Now when he had said this, he besought that Alma should pray unto God, that the acurse might be taken from him." 55 "But Alma said unto him: If this curse should be taken from thee thou wouldst again lead away the hearts of this people; therefore, it shall be unto thee even as the Lord will."
After I read this I thought about Alma and how an angel appeared unto him. I instantly think BOOM, he has a testimony because he saw an angel, but in Alma 5:45-47 it says 45 "And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?"
46 Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of crevelation which is in me.
47 And moreover, I say unto you that it has thus been revealed unto me, that the words which have been spoken by our fathers are true, even so according to the spirit of prophecy which is in me, which is also by the manifestation of the Spirit of God."
Alma has a testimony because he fasted and prayed for a testimony not because he saw an angel. Korihor needed to desire to change and to fast and pray like Alma did. Korihor would continue to lead their hearts away after he got his sign because he wasn't converted.
In this situation I think that Alma is the best person to teach. His soul was racked with torment and had a perfect remembrance of his sins. Through all that he gained a special witness that Jesus is the Christ and He will come to earth to perform the Atonement.
Our testimonies are powerful. We don't receive it all at once or in miraculous ways, but through fervent prayer and fasting for many days we will gain a testimony or strengthen our current one.