Date

July 8, 2018

Area

Novosibirsk

Companion

Sister Wilford

Cherries and Train tracks

Privet ceym!
I feel like its been a while but its been two weeks?? So much has happened in Novosibirsk!
Galina our investigator changed her baptisimal date, and didnt come to church. We had a great lesson with her until I made the mistake of asking her to pray right now to know if the church was true. fast foward 45 minutes later, shes on the floor praying/screaming/singing and Sister Wilford and I are litterally frozen with fear and didnt really know what to do. Do you stop someone mid prayer? what if they start singing? i dont know someone help me out. She honestly just needs to make a decision if she wants to continue meeting with us.

SO COOL EXPERIENCE: During exchanges (exchanges= switch companions for a day. you learn so much!) Sister Jameson and I visited a less active, Tatayana, who has been anti-mormon for years and just a couple weeks ago called Sister Jameson asking to meet. She lives on Left Bank, so the sisters passed her to us and we went and visited her. The first visit was awkward, and she was bitter and didnt really want to talk about anything spiritual, so we ended up doing the "tell me about america and ill tell you about Russia" deal. However, Sister Wilford and I walked away excited for a potential reactivation.
Fast forward to this last wednesday, Sister Jameson and I met her again and had an AMAZING lesson. We read from President Nelson's talk, the first part that talks about his life, and she was very interested. When she got to the part that referred to revalation and the holy ghost, she stopped and handed back the liahona. It seemed like it phisically hurt her to talk about the gospel. We asked her about the holy ghost and how he has influenced her life, and she said "I dont want to answer this question, I used to answer quesitons like this but I cant anymore." I was promted to tell her. "You dont have to answer. This is private and personal and if you dont want to share you dont have to. But we want to testify that God really can speak to us through the Holy Ghost." Her whole person changed and she stood up straight and said "Yes, this I know because I prayed to come back but I deleted everyone's number from church off my phone. I wanted to talk to the missionaries, members, someone, but didnt know how. When you texted me for sports night, I knew it was the missionaries so I called back. God knows that I am ready to come back. And right now, this feeling, I remember it. Its the Holy Ghost. Thank you for bringing him back." The lesson after that went smoothly, ending is her inviting us to come next week, or to come help in her dacha and meet her friends who "woud definitely be interested in meeting Americans!" yayy! This was all great but here is the real miracle. She told us that she hadnt has contact with anyone from the church in years, and the only number she had was Vitali's because he was her home teacher. We ran into him in the church on saturday and asked him what he knew about her. He was surpised to hear that we had met with her, and told us some of her background, how she returned all materials to the church (liahonas, book of mormon, etc) and said would never come back. We told him that she mentioned him, and remembered that he was a good home teacher and still had his number. The next day on Sunday he told us he had called her and invited her to church (she didnt come), but wanted us to figure out who was her visiting teacher. We didnt know, especially since the ministering changes we havent really kept good track of those, but we asked Nellie (relif society president) after church and she said "I also dont know, but I am going over today with Vitali and Valentina. We will let you know how the visit goes." You can imagine I was blown away! I thought "why have i been trying to do the work here by myself??" These members are AWESOME! I feel an increased confidence in the work here because these members are so good. Im so grateful that we are working so close with them and that I can put my trust in them.

But seriously the members here so deserve a temple. Everyone says all the time "If we want a temple, we got the get our act together! The temple will be built according to the amount of work we put into our church right now!"
I say the members but also just Russia in general. The people here are so good. They LOVE to be helpful. We stopped this lady yesterday on the street to ask for directions and she stopped and showed us the way, taking about 45 minutes to help us. That isn't unccommon. I've had people walk us around for literally hours, asking strangers for us, stopping bus drivers, etc. These people are so good and just so kind. Ya, ever once in a while we get babushki telling us to get out of their country, but there are bad people everywhere. I LOVE the Russian people and am especially grateful for the opportunity to serve here in Novo.

Highlight of the week: we were walking around talking to people when we see his lady in the middle of the street where the train tracks are, picking up cherries. We rushed to her and helped pick up cherries (this lady was selling them on the street, so they were a little squishy, some moldy...) and the train is coming, honking at us, and were just going as fast as we can picking up like PILES of cherries. It was so stressful haha my heart was pounding and after if was all over and the lady said thank you and left Sister Wilford and I looked at each other and said "what just happened?" haha probably of the strangest services I've given on my mission.

LOVE YOU ALL
make good choices and do something good for someone this week! If you dont know what, pray for opportunities to see small acts of service!
Sister Wilcox




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