It has been a week of miracles and spiritual feasts! I have gained a strong testimony of fasting and obedience and continue to learn more every day and week on my mission!
The miracles started last Monday with our miraculous trip to the Krasnodar Zoo - I will send pictures. But honestly,night was a special one. We met night with Tanya, the woman who walked into the branch a week and a half ago. We sat down and started to teach her about the Book of Mormon because the member that showed her the building had given her one. She stopped us as we read and explained the introduction to the Book of Mormon and said she already knew about it because she had read the entire thing in just a couple days. As we picked our jaws off the floor, she asked us why she feels different when she reads the Book of Mormon than when she reads any other book or scripture? We read Moroni 10: 3-5 with her and committed her to be baptized once she comes to know it is true. She said she already knows it is true and committed to be baptized on .
Since then, she has recognized herself the blessings that come from reading the Book of Mormon. She carries it with her everywhere and reads it at every opportunity. She told us about how before she came to the branch, she was having a rough time - no work, really lonely, etc. She said that since she came to the church and started meeting with us, she has been blessed with a good job and others have told her that she looks different, that there is a new light in her face.
We have been able to teach her the Plan of Salvation which brought her a lot of comfort as she has lost her parents and three kids to early death and is all alone. She said when she is in the branch she just forgets about the outside world and all is well. She has a friend that gives her a hard time for meeting with us and her friend asked her about what we have taught her. When Tanya answered, her friend tried to tell her that she already knew all of that. Tanya replied, "it is one thing to know, and another thing to feel."
At the beginning of May, we fasted as a District to find investigators which we had very little success with in Rostov but since moving here and since that fast, we have been finding more than ever! I know that there is power in fasting and that we are seeing miracles because of it!
We were able to meet with two less active members this week, both named Vasilly. One of them has a testimony but just needs support and to be called to action, the other will be like an investigator, he was baptized 3 years ago and has forgotten almost everything. We talked about the Book of Mormon with both of them and they both committed to read every day! When we asked one if he will try to read daily, he said no, I won't just try, I will. The Book of Mormon is so powerful!
Here are some highlights from Conference!
1- Sister Miner talked about patience which is the Christlike attribute I have selected to work on, per recommendation from my companion :). She read the verse in D&C 123 that says we do all we can in our power but then we must be patient and let the Lord do the rest that is not in our control.
2- President Miner gave us a new case study - he knows how to make an incredible case study. It taught us how we can prioritize, make the most of our time, and compromise with our companions!
3- Elder Kacher taught about obedience which I really hoped and prayed that he would talk about. He told us that if we are obedient, even to the little things, we will have the Spirit with us, if not, we do not have that right. He said it is a requirement to be trusted by the Lord, but it is not the only aspect of the work, rather it is just the start/the foundation we build on. Elder Feldman and I set goals last week to be more obedient in different areas and we were. I know that is why we saw miracles this week. The Lord saw our efforts and knew He could trust us with a couple of people he has prepared.
4- E. Kacher also spoke about faith and told us all to repent for our unbelief and that we should do so daily. We must have the faith to find, teach, baptize, and establish the Church here and the Lord will help us with the rest but our faith is up to us, no one else. "We all have the obligation to overcome unbelief."
5. Sister Kacher taught us about the importance of the Atonement. She searched the Book of Mormon for the word "important/importance" and it only comes up twice. In Alma 7:7 we read of the importance of the Savior and the atonement and then in 2 Nephi 2:8 about the importance to share that knowledge with others which is our privilege to do.
(Elder Kacher said some real nice things to me at the end as he shook our hands and thanked me for all I have done)
The Kachers and Miners also spoke in Sacramentmorning - we had 95 people in attendance!! Elder Kacher gave a great talk and at the end talked about how he woke up morning feeling really sick and he really did not want to come to Church, speak, etc. He also shared how he and his wife would love to stay in the Europe East Area but just recently got the unexpected phone call that they will be moving to Ghana, Africa. "We cannot always do what we want to do, but we must remember our covenants and we are blessed, strengthened, and sustained to do what He would have us do." Pretty inspiring words from a man who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk.
I love you all! Going this week for my last visa trip, keep Elder Thayer and I in your prayers! Thanks for all the love, support and prayers!! Enjoy your Memorial Day!!