An up and down week. We have two wonderful investigators. One told us she only wanted to be friends and gave back BofM and other info we had shared with her over the last month. This is Marina who started coming to help us translate our spiritual thoughts into Russian and then we began talking about the church. We were so hopeful. We know that is how missionary work goes, and it has happened before with us as people exercise their agency; but this one was a bit harder. On the upside, our other investigator is doing really well. It was interesting that as we closed the lesson, I made the mistake of asking Sister Peterson to say the closing prayer and she reminded me she had said the opening prayer (senior moment for me). Our investigator was sitting next to Sister P and I looked at her and then was going to ask an Elder to pray, but I had this thought enter my mind that said, “just ask her." We haven’t really taught her how to pray. We had talked about it, but not in detail as you usually would prior to asking a person. Sooo I looked at her and said “Suzy” and before I could ask her to pray, she raised her finger and said, ”I felt you were going to ask me." She offered a most wonderful prayer!
We also had less actives come to church who we visited and, of course, that is wonderful.
FHE was really good as we had several investigators and members present. Just before FHE we had lessons going on in our kitchen and the family room at the same time. We had 5 or 6 investigators at FHE and all are wonderful young people. We also had two of our priesthood brothers who don’t normally attend come as well. Just a good meeting all the way around.
Institute gets better. We studied the lesson before we went and were able to help direct questions that prompted more discussion for the class. Our instructor is learning and doing a better job every time he teaches.
So the work goes on out here in Russia. We love our members! I referred to a previous Branch President as an example during a lesson I was teaching and asked him in Russian if he knew i loved him. He said... not exactly. I then taught him how to know that I love him. If he did key things like prepare his lesson beforehand, relate it to personal things going on in the lives of his class, greet them warmly, etc., that his class would know that he loves them. He waited after meetings for me to say that now he knows for sure that I love him.
Last Monday was some sort of holiday here so one of the branches had a Family Home Evening activity for all of the branch members. In keeping with protocol here, we start every activity with a hymn and spiritual thought. The brother in charge asked Elder Peterson to give the spiritual thought on the spot, which he did--in Russian--and did a great job. We ate snacks and played table games, Uno (a great game because you don't need to talk!), memory, ping pong. We stayed for about an hour and then went to Komsomolski for FHE with President Zolotov and his family and President and Sister Kulikov.
Our investigator Suzy is engaged to a member in the New City branch as of two Sundays ago. We are very happy for them. He and Elder Peterson have become quite good buddies. A couple of weeks ago we had them over for dinner and watched the church DVD, "Together Forever." We debated what to talk to Suzy about. Elder Peterson thought it would be a good idea to show this movie, but I was hesitant because they weren't engaged at the time, and I thought a film about eternal marriage and families was a little presumptuous. We prayed about it and felt we should show it anyway. Eric and Suzy watched it, didn't have time afterwards to talk about it, and then left. We wondered if we had really made the best choice. So this last week we got together again, along with the elders, and Suzy asked if we had another film to watch. She had enjoyed "Together Forever;" while watching it, she had a warm feeling and knew she was on the right path. She also had all of her questions answered from watching it. We felt blessed that we had followed through on the prompting to watch that movie! We talked about expectations during our second meeting and then watched "The Restoration." She had favorable comments and felt that what she had seen was true. We are meeting again this week to talk about the Plan of Salvation. She has not been to church yet so we need to commit her to do that. She comes to FHE and Institute with Eric each week though. Oh, and they treated us to pizza that second night which even closely resembled American pizza. It was good!
|Eric and Suzy|
We had a fabulous Culture Night this week. Our district attended a sold-out performance of Slavic dancers from Novosibirsk. Honestly, I was skeptical about how enjoyable it would be, but it was absolutely fantastic! It was a very professional production--the costumes were perfect and the dancing was terrific. I can understand now why the show was sold out. Obviously, people knew what they were coming to see! The only way I can explain some of it is to have you think of the Russian dancers in The Nutcracker Ballet who do those crazy dances where the men have their arms folded and they kick their feet out while they are in a squatting position with their knees bent. Basically, it would take incredible strength and flexibility. All of the dancing was terrific. It was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, picture taking was forbidden. I can't get over how affordable theater tickets are here, $5-$15.
I am planning Thanksgiving dinner for our district next Friday. It's highly unlikely that I will find a turkey. Roasted chickens will probably be the next best thing. I'll have to see what else I can come up with. Definitely no pumpkin pie, but for sure there will be coconut cream pie! I may have to get brave and try homemade rolls; it's about time I pick up that skill! Hungry missionaries make for good "guinea pigs!"
|Our branch building in Old City that was closed|