Monday, November 22, 2010

Mail and a Baptism - What a great week!

Hey there everyone!

Well, this last week was filled with visits from the Zone leaders from Khabarovsk and from the Assistants and President this last weekend. It was great to get to see them all and associate and learn from each of them. Like I already said before, I just love all of the leaders in the mission! They all such great Elders. With the assistants and President and Sister Pratt coming from Vlad, they brought with them mail! Yay! I got a package from the Pittards with candy and cards from all the kids! Thank you so much! It was super delicious (Yes all the candy is almost gone :) and super nice of all of you to write. I'll try to reply soon! I also got a card from Grandma and Grandpa Bush that I loved! Thank you! You both are amazing! (I'm pretty sure you asked a question that I can't remember... I'll write soon and answer:) And the CD from the Christensens! I have been listening to it every day! It's so amazing!!! And lastly, I got my birthday package! I figured it's almost my birthday (haha) so I went ahead and opened it already. I know, that's cheating. Sorry but thank you, thank you, thank you all so much! I loved the pictures and all that you wrote to me! Trev looks so old! (I'm still more stylish ;) and I just loved everything! You all are so great! That was the best birthday gift ever! I put it all back in the package and I'll open it again in a little less than a month. That's weird. My birthday is already less than a month away.

This last week, on Thursday, we did service again for an awesome family here in the branch. They're building a home and so we helped by doing some odd but necessary jobs. We lifted all the floor boards on the second floor of the house and vacuumed everything because after that, we started putting this padding stuff up on the ceiling which was tricky. It's fun to show up and see a little more done each time. Plus, Misha, (the husband) is just hilarious and always fun to be around. He reminds me a little bit of Brother Noah Garrett. A different sense of humor but he has that feeling about him that you like to be around him because he's just so nice.

On Friday, the assistants and President flew in and sat in on our weekly planning session. Then, the assistants were with me on a lesson with Igor Kim at the church. Honestly, Elder Naumov and I didn't really plan the lesson together. I just had some thoughts that I had put together. And then I had a feeling that I should grab my study journal notes. Thankfully, I'd been taking some notes lately. During the lesson, I felt prompted to share some ideas that got us on a really awesome conversation full of testimonies and the Spirit. I love teaching when it's done by the spirit. We talked some about how there are more scriptures that we just don't have yet. But we will have them someday when the Lord recognizes we're ready. And that we learn new things from the scriptures every time we read them no matter if it's the same passage. Igor shared an awesome thought that I thought I would share with you all. It's from some philosopher but it might as well be from Igor. I'll give him the credit. :) Basically it went like this. Picture you and I both have one apple. We decide to share with one another by switching apples. That's great but we both are left still with one apple despite switching. Now picture we each have a unique thought. We both decide to share with one another. In the end, we're not just left with one thought each but two; an old one and a new one. I didn't really capture the beauty of that after typing it out. Igor said it much better. But I hope you get the idea. He shared that with us as he bore his testimony and talked about missionaries. He shared the thought that we as missionaries all teach the same doctrine and principles. But that the way we present it, the thoughts that we have and share with others, are different from one another and thus, hearing a lesson or spiritual thought based on the same topic from different people doesn't get old because you can learn something new from different people.

On Saturday, we had a baptism!! His name is Vecheslav, and it was a great service. The spirit was certainly present. While I didn't know him before this transfer, it was an awesome experience to teach him and see him change leading up to his baptism. He asked for cold water in the font (wanted to really remember it I guess) and it was actually kind of shocking to him going under because of how cold it was. He almost didn't make it to sacrament meeting because he slept in, but he made it by the end and was confirmed at the end of the meeting. As I stood in the circle and the branch president confirmed him a member of the church and gave him the gift of the Holy Ghost, I felt the spirit flood the room. It was such a powerful experience.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and your love and support. Matt, your prayers are definitely helping because my Russian gets better a little bit each day! :) I'm certainly not great at this language, but I notice the Lord's help and His fulfilling of promises He has made to me through His servants (namely my former Stake President, President Pratt). I hope you all have an awesome Thanksgiving! I’m sorry to miss the Thanksgiving celebration at the Hansen’s house. Tell them I say Hi and I love and miss them all! We might be celebrating Thanksgiving here on Sakhalin at one of the American member's homes. We'll see. I'm not really sure what's going on. I know Vlad and Usserisk are all getting together in Vlad at the church and Khabarovsk is going to the senior couples apartment for dinner. We'll see. :)

I know the Lord is helping me. He's helping me focus on the work and forget about myself. I still need to work so much more on that. Gosh sometimes I get way too hard on myself because of my silly mistakes and I get too focused on me. I know that the Lord is shaping me and helping me overcome that and become a better servant. Pray for me that I will be able to feel the Lord's love, His guidance, and that I'll have the ability to overcome weaknesses, learn from my mistakes, and forget myself and just get to work.

I love you all!

Elder SpencerMichaelBush (For some reason, I thought of that as I saw pictures from Nate's wedding and of all the cousins. Remember that they used to tease me about how I would say my name so fast.)