It has been a pretty warm week! They have been celebratingMardi Gras here all week to finish winter and to welcome in the warm weather, I am glad winter is coming to an end!
Last Tuesday we got to reunite with the Miners after they had been in Turkey all week for the Mission President's Seminar. It was so good to see them, I always miss them when they are out of town! Sister Miner brought me some Turkish Delight straight from Turkey which was pretty sweet to get! I am very grateful for the opportunity I have to work closely with the Miners, I love them so much!
We have continued to work with Aleksander this week, a returning less active! We have been discussing the atonement with him and the power that it is has when we let it. We talked about honesty, he always has a great understanding of all that he reads! He is reading the Book of Mormon daily and has gotten up to the 'Words of Mormon.' We gave him some ties the other day and he showed up to churchin a white shirt and tie! He continues to progress and it is incredible to witness!
I wrote last week about our new investigator Elena and she is just golden! After getting her own Book of Mormon last week, she has read to 2 Nephi 19, twice! She reads and then re reads in order to understand better. She said she has become quite the chef in the kitchen because she knows the faster she gets the food ready for her family, the quicker she can get back to her Book of Mormon reading! We taught her the Plan of Salvation in two parts this past week and she really understood it and accepted it. She said it answered so many questions that she did not even know she had! We invited her to be baptized at the end of March as we discussed our life on earth and she said yes! She came to church for all three hours yesterday all dressed up and said she really liked it! It is a major help when she already has friends in the branch that are supporting her. The next step with her is helping her come to the realization that the "good, peaceful, warm" feelings often accompanied with the chills is indeed the Spirit testifying to her that this is the truth!
After MLC, I was on splits with Elder Randall, another one of my former companions! It was great to be back with him as well, especially since we went to some families that him and I visited often together. We first went to the Anderson family and they fed us a great meal before telling us all about their trip to Israel that they just got back from. They were on a spiritual high after walking where Christ himself walked and told us we have to get there sometime! We then taught a less active boy in their home about the Priesthood and challenged him to prepare to get the Aaronic Priesthood to which he agreed.
That night we were in the Inkeles home and it was great to be with them, it had been a while because the Inkeles family is in the Zone Leader's area. One of the Inkeles boys has not come to Church for a few months and Sister Inkeles asked us to come over and talk to him. We had a good lesson about the 10 Commandments and then he did come to Church! The Inkeles family is incredible and Sister Inkeles said that I am practically part of their family since I have been here for so long. Love them so much!
After that, we met with our Branch President and just talked with him about how we can help him more. With our callings, we are able to help him get organized and do little things for him to relieve some of his stress. We have gotten super close with him and it really is a great blessing to be heavily involved in the Branch! We continue to see improvements weekly!
For both the second and third hours, I translated for Elder Taylor as he conducted his monthly "Teacher Council." I learned a lot about translating this week, specifically about the Gift of Tongues! When I think that I can translate and I don't need any help is when the translation does not even make sense and does not help anyone., I prayed for the Gift of Tongues and just prayed to be an instrument to get the great material Elder Taylor had prepared to his Russian speaking audience. The first hour went so great when I just let go of my pride and recognized that I simply cannot translate without divine assistance. Afterwards, I was sure to express my gratitude in prayer and asked for His help one more time for the second hour which also went well. The same principle applies to all of us when we teach others the Gospel! We are merely the mouthpieces that the Lord uses to get his Gospel to His Russian speaking brothers and sisters. When we think it is all coming from us, it is nearly impossible, but when we recognize that we are just instruments and allow Him to work through us, it becomes possible and powerful.
The Church is true! I love you all! Thanks for all the updates, love, support and prayers!!