The New Year has started out great!! It has been such a solid week, once again. We are working with so many great people and not only are they great, but they are truly progressing. We are seeing people change their lives and so many miracles along the way!
I would like to challenge you all really quick to read two talks from Elder Bednar that our whole mission is studying in preparation for our Mission Conference that will be in February! "Bear Up Their Burdens With Ease" and "The Atonement & The Journal of Mortality" will give you a newfound appreciation for the Atonement of Jesus Christ that was not only performed for our sins but also to take what is good and make it better! Give them a read!
We will start the weekly report with last Tuesday.is typically our day in the office because we have Staff Meeting and we try to get everything else done so that we can work every other day. After getting all of our work done in the office, President and Sister Miner took us and the Taylors to an awesome dinner before the Miners came teaching with us! We had a really powerful lesson with Zhenya, a recent convert, about the Fall of Adam and Eve and repentance in general. President Miner helped so much with his scriptural knowledge and Zhenya just lit up as he found answers to his questions and felt the Spirit. He committed himself to read the Book of Mormon more and since then we have just talked about the Scriptures and where they come from and why we study them. Last meeting he brought his Scriptures with him and told us about what he has been reading. He is making so much progress and always feels the Spirit in our meetings.
We were also able to meet with Aleksander, another recent convert, that we have been working a lot with. We had Brother Igor K. come with us for one of the lessons and he was a huge help in inviting him to make some changes in his life. We have been talking with Aleksander a lot about repentance and the atonement and he has such a strong desire to change. After our last lesson we talked about how he already looks different, he is making lots of changes and overcoming lots of challenges but is well on his way back. He came to church againand continues to read the scriptures. It has been a testimony builder for me to see him rediscover the hope that the Atonement brings.
We had a couple lessons with Zita this week, our investigator. She was not understanding the Restoration very clearly so we simplified it and she is a perfect example of when the Spirit just took over and it just clicked in her mind. She is taking the first steps of reading and praying and we hope to get her to church!
We also met with Ruslan this week, a miracle, recent convert. He lives in a city a few hours outside of Rostov where there is not a branch or any other members. He found the Church online and was taught and baptized and continues to read his scriptures and has permission to bless the sacrament in his home. He has a solid testimony and we talked to him about sharing the gospel with others and hope to start preparing him for the temple!
I was released yesterday as aSchool teacher and was called to be an assistant to the Branch Presidency with Elder Norton. A lot of the School kids were sad that I will not be teaching them anymore and I do miss them but the new calling allows us to help the Branch President with his big work load and I love it!
I am going to end with a huge miracle. Yesterday after church and fulfilling our calling, we headed home for dinner. After we ate, our plans fell through so we were calling people to try to set something up when some members called and said that some guy just got to the branch looking for the tall blonde missionary he met in the Summer. They assumed it was me and we got there as soon as we could. Turned out there were two men, Roman and Griorgi, who recognized me although I did not recognize them. Roman is a taxi driver who has driven people to and from the branch and Griorgi apparently talked to me this Summer probably back when we could street teach and he said I gave him a card but he kind of sent us on our way because it was not a good time. He said now they are looking for the truth and are wanting to know more! When we walked in, two members had started teaching the Restoration, having both served on missions, and we hopped in and finished the lesson with them. One member asked them if they would be baptized if they got a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and he said, "of course, we would not have come otherwise." We committed them to being baptized onand they said they are going to read and come to church and they really have sincere desire to know the truth! Afterwards, we were just in shock. Elder Norton and I have a goal of how many people could be brought to the waters of baptism while we are together and we also had high weekly goals and learned yesterday that when we set goals in faith and do all we can, the Lord does the rest. He does his work and we are merely instruments, He is preparing people in this city, He is our Savior and Redeemer and leads His Church- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Thank you all for the love, support and prayers!!
Till next week!