This week can be summed up by three special experiences with three incredible people.
First is Anton. Last year when I was here, I become good friends with an active youth, Anton Antonov. I was excited to see him when I got back but soon learned that he had stopped coming to church at some point in the past year, although he actively attends Seminary. We have tried to work with him of course but he usually politely declines or is just too busy.coming back into the city from service, our tram stopped at on one stop and standing outside the tram was Anton! The odds of him getting on our same tram and are same wagon are too small and it was not a coincidence. There also happened to be an empty seat next to me that he sat in. We were able to talk the whole way back and catch up, he just graduated high school, and we talked about his future and possibility of serving a mission, etc. It was just a good conversation and I did not think much would come out of it but when I stood up from sacrament meeting , I was so thrilled to see him sitting right behind me! It was his first time coming since I have been here over these past 7 weeks and he came to School and shared great comments and after Church he gave me a big hug and said he would come more often. The Lord is always putting people in our path, and not just non members!
Next is Olya- a recent convert, single mom of two kids that we work with. She is so solid, you would never guess that she has only been in the Church for a couple years. We are trying to help her get to the temple to get endowed and she is so ready. We had a great lesson and discussion about it this week. But even more impressive than that, to me, was the discussion we had at the dinner table before the lesson. Olya lives with her two kids but there is also a young couple, Nikita and Nastya who were recently married. As we were eating our soup I was so impressed to hear them talk about their day. Nikita shared how he was able to share the gospel with someone at work who noticed that he has lots of American friends and wondered why. Nastya shared her study from that day in the Pearl of Great Price and could hardly catch her breathe she was so excited about all she had learned - she herself being a recent convert of less than a year. Olya then told Nikita how she was planning on him helping her introduce her brother to his brother who is the Branch President in her brother's city. We did not even ask about their missionary work or their studies, this was just a normal dinner for them. The Gospel is a part of them and sharing it is in their blood.
Last but not least is Misha B., a recent convert that I wrote about last week. This week we were privileged to help him prepare for his sacrament talk that he gavehe has been so nervous about for the past month and a half. When we met night and went up to the Sacrament hall for him to practice in front of us he got so nervous but then said, "let's do it." He went up to the pulpit and gave such a great talk about repentance and did it again . Many were worried about letting him speak because he just does not have any filters and many worried that he would say something off topic or something else, but he gave the best talk of the day. It was so sincere and powerful. He might have his fair share of challenges with his disability, but he understands the Gospel better than most and has such a sincere testimony of it. Seven weeks ago, we had little hope with Misha, it was hard to get his attention and he was physically dirty and not to loved in the branch. , standing at the pulpit with a fresh haircut, white shirt, tie and suit, he looked and sounded like a man ready to get the Priesthood. I truly feel blessed to see Misha through different eyes. When we meet with him I often think of the day he will be in his perfect form, as will all of us, and I just smile. Heavenly Father loves all of His children and it is such a blessing to feel a bit of that love from time to time.
Other highlights- Family History Training from a guy in Moscow. Get to the temple, do not take it for granted!
FHE at the Lund's for all the Single Mom's and their kids.
The Gospel is true! Share it with someone! Thanks for all the love, support and prayers!!