President and Sister Bushuev
We had the opportunity to participate in a special fast with our Komsomolski branch for the purpose of forgiving each other and being loving towards one another. The Fast and Testimony Meeting was very spiritual. Great testimonies. Afterwards we broke our fast together and shared a meal and visited. It is a great step towards a much-needed change.
We met with a less-active member's father and had a good conversation. We have met with this member on a couple of occasions, and it came up in the course of our conversation that her father was very interested in history. Elder Peterson had been asking around to try and find someone who could talk to him about the Lenin/Bolshevik Era in Russian history and this seemed like a great resource. This Sister Olga agreed to ask her father to speak with us, and he said he would. So we went back and were able to have him answer our prepared questions. The cool thing about it was that Elder Peterson was able to skillfully navigate the conversation into a discussion about God and the prophet Joseph Smith. Olga's Dad actually asked us religion questions and for someone who is intolerant to religion, especially to Mormons, he was very cordial. We hope the Elders will be able to continue getting to know him better and make it easier for Olga to come to church. In the least, maybe he was able to see that Mormons aren't as strange as he thought they were.
Our New Year's Eve and New Year's Day were "lock down" days. That meant missionaries were not allowed to leave their apartments in order to avoid any chance of harm or accident. So many chose to do their weekly planning that they would have otherwise done later in the week. Others chose to deep clean their apartments and requested we come and do apartment checks that week :) We invited a member family over to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. This family is a mom and her daughter who would have probably otherwise spent the evening by themselves so it worked out for all of us to enjoy the evening together. They brought us a beautiful glass angel tree ornament that we will be able to remember them each year as we decorate our Christmas tree.
We went to the New City Branch Christmas Party this weekend. They always do a great job of setting up the tables, providing food, and acting out scenarios. After dinner and the nativity reenactment, several of the members stayed after and danced and visited. There were several investigators who came with the missionaries so that was good.
As we met together as a District Council, we determined the goal for 2013 to be "Becoming Like Christ." Each of us is encouraged to strengthen our own testimonies and to be converted to the gospel through developing Christlike qualities. In order to strengthen and uplift others, we first have to strengthen ourselves. Sacrament meeting talks, activities, home and visiting teaching, will all focus on how we can do this.
Bon Appetit at the branch Christmas Party
|"Mary and Joseph"|
|Looba, Elena, Olga|
The Wise Man and the Star
|Elder Peterson at one of our bus stops|
|The little church across the street from our apartment|