This last week has been another great week full of experiences that are making me stretch and grow. So, to start off, there was a special training in Vlad this last week for all mission leaders, so Elder Williams was in Vlad, and I was with Elder Kozadoev and Elder Lantukh. (I spoke a lot more Russian this last week because, as you might be able to tell, those are not American names. It was actually really good for me) Because of the training, we found out about transfers a little early. President called while we were out contacting, and I'm going to.... stay in Usserisk! But I'm changing areas. I’m heading north and I'll be serving with Elder Kozadoev! I wasn’t expecting that at all. We all figured he would have a native companion because after this next transfer, he'll be going home and needs to train the next branch president seeing as he is the branch president now. President told the Usserisk Elders that we need to find someone to be the next branch president quickly. We'll see what the Lord has in mind for the future.
This last week serving with Russians was really hard and really amazing. It was super hard at first because I realized how simply I've been doing the work. I have my limited Russian and I can fairly easily communicate that, but really sitting down and having a gospel conversation is difficult because I can't understand or convey everything. I also realized things I can improve on and how I can approach people better. I don't know if this is making sense, but it was, all in all, a very good learning experience for me. I felt at first, that Russians can do this work so much better than I can. And then I realized that's silly. Maybe they can speak their native language better than I can and therefore, their conversation skills are better, but I can get there if I have faith in the Lord and work more diligently. Everyone tells me my language skills are amazing for where I'm at, and I mention that only because it is a testament to me that the Lord qualifies and shapes and builds up those he calls. I could only do this as a missionary, as a servant of the Lord.
I actually taught a lot of lessons with investigators this last week and the week before. And by lots, I mean like two each week. But after weeks of contacting, it feels good to teach. I was on one lesson this last week that was one of the best experiences ever. The man's name is Boris and we shared with him the 3rd lesson, the gospel of Jesus Christ. The spirit was certainly there and while there was probably more info than he could take in all at once, he was positive to the message and receptive, and I pray he will feel of its power and see how it can bless and change his life. He'll be in Novosibirsk this next month so we'll see how things progress.
So yesterday was AWESOME! We went to Vlad for the Kiev Ukraine Temple dedication. (See note below.) And I absolutely loved it! One of the better days of my mission for sure. It was great to be back in Vlad and see familiar faces of course. At a half hour before, they began showing pictures of the temple and immediately, I felt the Spirit flood the room. It was such a great experience. I loved the thought of how a simple room in an office building in Vlad where we meet for church can suddenly become an extension of the temple where the Lord's spirit can abide. President Monson was funny as always. :) I was surprised at how much I understood in Russian. And it was sweet to get to do the Hosanna Shout in Russian as well. We missed our bus coming back to Usserisk so the members were able to get on another one and the missionaries had to wait and stay in Vlad. We were considering staying the night in Vlad and then a man came up, told us he had a cheap taxi for us, and in the end, we passed everyone and made it back to Usserisk in record time. Gotta love Russian taxi drivers. :)
All in all, a great week. :) I love you all and you're always in my prayers. Tell Grandma and Grandpa Bush I got their letter, and I was very grateful for it. :) I love them! And I got a letter from Sister Smith and Roxy Sandholtz. Thank you all for the letters!
Love you family. Have a great week!
**NOTE: After a temple is built and an open house is held, it is dedicated. After the dedication, only LDS Church members with a temple recommend can enter the temple. In order to allow more people to participate in the dedication, the services are shown via satellite transmission to churches in the general region. The chapel becomes an extension of the temple for this meeting and members 8 years and older receive a temple recommend to be able to attend.