It has been a powerful week in Krasnodar with multiple spiritual experiences and people progressing!
First off, I want to share with you all a talk that I came across yesterday on LDS.org entitled "When You’re Already Tired and Can’t Do One More Thing" and having had a familiar thought once or twice, I clicked on it and the talk from Sister Eubank was an answer to my prayers! It was the exact advice and guidance I needed to keep going! Don't get me wrong, I have loved my mission so much and will continue to do so until the end but having been on my mission for almost two years, I am tired! Sometimes even exhausted. But we keep going, keep putting our efforts, and keep relying on the Lord who helps us do what we literally could not do on our own. Her talk can be found here - https://www.lds.org/callings
/relief-society/messages-from- leaders/eubank-womens- conference-2017?lang=eng
This week we met with Vasilli P. a couple times. On our second visit, we did some service in his yard and then showed him President Monson's last Conference talk and discussed it. The Spirit of the talk and what we talked about allowed him to open up to us. He has been having some health problems recently and has even been told he may lose his life although he is young and active. He testified to us that God will help him and expressed how he does not want his life to end before he has the time to do what he needs to do. He said that President Monson is probably nearing the end of his life with no regrets, knowing he gave all he could for his years in this life, and Vasilli clearly has some regrets and things he wants to change. It was a powerful, emotional lesson and it was moving to see the Spirit work on him and see him open up for the first time. He was at church yesterday and we got him to interview with the Branch President so they could get better acquainted!
We met with Vova once again and had a couple members with us to help teach him. The Spirit was there as we taught him and testified to him. Unfortunately, he declined to both read the Book of Mormon and come to church. He said that he wants to change but the changes he is looking for cannot be found in the Book of Mormon and he said when he comes to church, he feels like an amateur in a professional chess club pretending like he knows how to play. I appreciated that he was honest and did not just say yes because we were asking. He has his agency just as we all do! We are not giving up on him, just need to help him see that indeed all that he needs and more is in the Book of Mormon!
Zhenya, who we met with last Sunday and I wrote about, fulfilled his commitment to pray about which Church is true and texted us and said he got an answer confirming that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is "more true" than the other ones he attends! That was another huge miracle thanks to the Spirit.
We had a great Family Home Evening in the park with the Biletski mom and the two little boys. We taught them the Ten Commandments using hand symbols and then played some freeze tag with the boys. I have gotten really close with those boys and it is going to be so hard to say good bye to them this week!
One of our investigators, Anya, fulfilled her commitment and started the Book of Mormon!! It was the first time she has acted and we were pretty caught of guard when she said she actually has been reading - lack of faith on our part. But we were so happy when she said she read! She is progressing slowly but surely!
Yesterday's sacrament meeting was all Volunteers! We sang a musical number - "I Feel My Savior's Love" and got to hear final talks/testimonies from Elder Foote and Sister Klimash who are leaving this week. We are losing 1/4 of our mission this week and so many of them have had such an impact on my mission and life. They will all be deeply missed!
Last night we taught our recent convert Olya and her closing prayer was her thanking Heavenly Father for us and her asking Him to bless us and she was really emotional throughout the prayer and it got me emotional and just realized how hard it will be to leave Krasnodar. After serving here two times for over 6 months total, I have been so blessed to get to know the greatest people who I really consider to be my brothers and sisters. It will be a week full of goodbyes and it will not be easy, but the Lord needs me somewhere else and I will go and do the things which He commands. Thanks for all the love, support and prayers!!