Monday, June 21, 2010

A Week of Exchanges

I finally have figured out how the mail works. All mail, whether it's a package, a letter, or through the pouch, all ends up at the mission office, no matter where in the mission I'm serving. While I'm here in Vlad, I get mail more often because we're at the church throughout the week and Elder Waltman can pick it up. When I serve in other parts of the mission, my mail still goes to Vlad and the assistants will bring it to me when they come to visit at some point throughout the transfer. So that's how it works. Unfortunately, no mail ever goes straight to our apartments but oh well.

So, first of all, I know that the Lord does prepare people for the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Last night, we went out contacting and it seemed, as it almost always seems, that no one wants to talk to us. Well, some people were nice to us but most not interested. Anyway, we spoke with one lady walking her dog and she said to us не надо (basically meaning, I don't need your message). So we continued down the street, talking to people as they walked past. I stopped this one lady walking next to us and she started to tell me she's met with us before, so I asked how she liked us. She said she did but didn’t say it very sincerely, and I could tell she just wanted to go. Anyway, while that was happening, I noticed this man walking near us, and he started talking to Elder Waltman, asking him questions. After I finished talking with her, I came to find out that this guy had asked the lady with the dog what we were doing and she told him we were talking about crazy spirits or something like that. Haha! He didn't believe her and wanted to ask us for himself. He ended up telling us that he's been searching for the word of God because he knows he needs it in his life but he hasn't really known were to find it. He's been trying to quit smoking and drinking but hasn't been successful but really wants to. So we told him about the Book of Mormon and the power that book has to change our lives because it, along with the Bible, is the word of God. When we asked when we could meet, he told us his only free time besides after work is on Sunday because the Lord said you need to rest on Sunday. Elder Waltman and I were blown away that he already felt so strongly about the Sabbath day and that it's a day to rest. The whole experience showed me that the Lord puts people in our path, sometimes even people that come find us and it really strengthened my faith and testimony that this is the Lord's work, not the work of 19 year olds.

Oh and before I forget, this transfer, I'm doing the 5000 push up challenge. 5000 pushups in 6 weeks. That turns out to be ~140 a day, which isn't too much, but it hurts the journal writing time. Haha! When we told Baba Galya about it, she was blown away. We told her she should join us and start doing it, and she said, “Ok! I'll start right now and by tomorrow I'll have died.” Love бабушкы. :)

This week has sure been a crazy one with pretty much all of the Vlad district gone to Korea at one point or another throughout the week. Starting Tuesday night, I was with one of the assistants, Elder Наумов. He taught me something valuable in a different way than I've heard it before. On Wednesday, when we were contacting, he turned to me and said, “Elder Bush, if the Savior's second coming was tomorrow, what would you be doing right now?” I stopped, thought, and told him, “I would be talking with every single person I saw, and I'd be telling them about our Savior.” He said, “Exactly! You'd be talking with everyone! So, now go talk to those people over there.” And I did. It really hit me how I need to talk to everyone. That's why I'm here. And to Bro. Savage and Bro.Boyer, I want you to know how thankful I am for all you taught me and I'm striving to work as hard as you did here in Vlad. Bro. Beck, I'm also very grateful for your example and all you taught me. So, then the rest of Wednesday and Thursday got a little crazy. I ended up on another exchange with Elder Fife out in Churkin for the next 24ish hours and then we split back again Thursday afternoon. I got to teach Leonid on Thursday with Elder Fife (he's the paralyzed man) and it was great to see him again. I love seeing the change that has taken place in his life. It's so cool and so real. Then on Friday, I was sort of turned into an assistant, or more like an assistant to the assistants. We went to our apartment in 2nd River and de-cockroached it with Sister Pratt and Sister McGill. I don't know if it really worked, but I haven't seen many since, so maybe our work helped. Then we went to get a bunch of packages from the post office (a huge chore the assistants have to do) and helped Sister Pratt and Sister McGill with an errand. We went back to the office to do office work and make programs for the baptism that was on Saturday. Then back to second river to meet up with Elder Waltman and Elder Jones and Hatch and Daimaru coming from the airport. It was crazy, but it was fun, and I learned a lot and had a great time serving with Elder Наумов.

Last thing... I translated for Elder McGill yesterday in Priesthood and it was really hard! But it was a lot easier than it could have been since Elders Huffman and Kezelle were teaching and thus, most of what I was translating was from the Elders and not native Russians. It really hit me yesterday how much of a miracle it is that I can understand what I can and how the Lord is working through me. I love this work.

Elder Bush

p.s. If anyone has any questions, shoot them my way. It's easier to know what to tell you about if I know there's something you want to know about. (You can write to me or send questions to my parents.)