We wrote to Spencer that Elder Henderson called us last week after he and his wife had returned to Utah from their mission in Russia. He told us that Elder Bush was doing well. In response, Spencer wrote:
Those good ole' Hendersons! And by ole' I mean really really young and not old. Haha! That was really nice of them to call you. They were such a sweet couple serving here and made such an impact. I'll miss them. I can't wait to go and see the McGills and Hendersons out in Utah after I get home. Missions are where lifelong friends are made. :)
This last week has been a good one. Павел and Наталья were baptized this last weekend! They’re a couple that first came into contact with the church and the Book of Mormon eight years ago. As I taught priesthood yesterday, (yes I of all people taught priesthood yesterday) I looked into Павел's eyes and I could tell how grateful he was for the peace he has found. The baptismal service was wonderful. As both Elder Waltman and Elder Козодоев began to say the words of the ordinance, the Spirit flooded the room and it was a wonderful feeling. Setting up the font the day before was a little interesting. Turns out there are these poles that are needed to hold the font up (it's a little portable font, kind of like a little pool). Unfortunately, Elder Козодоев didn't know what they were for and threw them out a few weeks ago. So we made a couple trips to the hardware store and got PVC pipes instead. Problem was they gave a little, so by the time we were able to fill the font with buckets of water and a little sucking contraption, the walls of the font were bulging just slightly. (Don't worry I took pictures but forgot my cord today as usual so I'll try to get them to you soon.) Then the next day, Павел strung a cord back and forth across the top of the font in order to hang heaters into the water so the font wasn't freezing cold. It looked a little interesting but everything worked out. Elder Waltman and Steward and I sang “Love at Home” during the service, and it turned out well. I prayed we would sing with the voices of angels. :) I don't think we were angels but Павел and Наталья were very grateful as I noticed they quietly sang along with us.
President and Sister Pratt were here in Usserisk with the assistants this last weekend. They brought my shopka which I had left in Vlad! I was super happy and glad to have it in my possession. Everyone loved it and kept trying it on. It really is ginormous. Yesterday, during sacrament meeting, Elder Waltman, Stewart, and I sang “O My Father” to the tune of “Come thou Fount” and it turned out alright. I just love music, and I love to sing even if the Lord didn't bless me with a Mormon Tabernacle Choir voice (or the voice of Joe Metro). :) He'll be happy to know I sang tenor and survived.
Brother Bates, my Elder’s Quorum President from Florida, wrote me a letter while I was in the MTC and mentioned something to me that he had seen while at the Temple. He foresaw that while I would serve in Russia, I would be before the priesthood instructing them and helping them come closer to the Lord. Yesterday was the second time I had been asked to teach and I felt it is in part a fulfillment of what Brother Bates shared with me. Let him know I have never forgotten that and I'm thankful for his support. Oh and I shared thoughts from Elder Rasband's talk in last conference. The discussion got away from me and the topic a little bit but it turned out ok. At least not horrible.
The woman I told you about last week set a baptismal date yesterday for two weeks from now! She was just so excited! Elder Fife said that she told him she wasn't even going to go to sleep last night. She just wanted to read the Book of Mormon. He told her they would talk about the Plan of Salvation next week and she said, "Give me scriptures so I can study a head of time!" She wasn't satisfied with two or three. She is a testament to me that the Lord prepares his children for his gospel. I read a talk this last week on the Book of Mormon and seriously, if anyone wants to know if what I'm doing is worthwhile, if this church is true, if the message I share with people is true, they just have to read the Book of Mormon. It's all there. I also read a talk from a few conferences ago given by Elder Holland entitled "My Words...Never Cease." I loved it. It is so logical and really helped me gain a stronger testimony of the book I already love. God still speaks in our day. He has a prophet on the earth right now, and the Book of Mormon is true. It supports the Bible so much and it is so plain and understandable it makes scripture study so much fun. That's a simple testimony and written words are not nearly as powerful as the spoken word, as Nephi says, but I hope you all know how I feel inside. I love this work even though I've never been more whipped in my life.
I also read a talk by Elder Bednar about asking in Faith. Anyone that wants their prayers to be more effective and meaningful, go find that talk and read it. It's so good and really helped me out.
Well, it's been interesting being the companion of the branch president. Missionary work is a little different when you have to fit in more interviews and branch business after church and helping a companion who has to deal with real life problems and help counsel people, etc. I've had a lot of time to reflect and well, it's just been an interesting transfer. I'm not really sure how else to say it.
I love you all so much. You're all in my prayers. Thanks for the support and advice and the prayers you all offer on my behalf.