This week wasn't quite as hectic as the week before was. Zone conference in Khabarovsk was fantastic!!!! I always seem to say this, but I just love zone conference! It's always just what I needed to get refocused and realize the things I'm doing absolutely terribly, and to improve of course. Well, at least I hope so.
To start out the week, we were supposed to go to a family home evening that's about 15-20 minutes out of the main part of the city. Since it started snowing again after I wrote you last Monday (and just in general, there was a ton of snow already), I don't think all of the buses were running that should have been. So it was absolute craziness trying to get on a bus. We tried several times but couldn't fit. Finally a bus came that was not completely filled and we began to cram on. Elder Thellmann made it on but unfortunately, I was the last one and the door was an accordion style door that couldn't close with me in the way. It just liked closing on me and squishing me. I knew this door wouldn't close with me in the way and there was absolutely no more space on that bus. So, I stepped off, since that seemed to be my only option, the door abruptly shut, and I stood there looking at the bus as it pulled away not really knowing what to do, since I'm not really supposed to be separated from my companion and all. So, I immediately decided, "Well Elder Bush, you should probably try to catch that bus at the next bus stop because it's pretty close and after that will be pretty hard to do." So I walked quite quickly (probably looked kind of funny), and while I was walking, I kept my eye on the bus. Unfortunately, due to the fact that it was already busting at the seams, the bus driver made the wise decision to pass through that bus stop and keep on going. Thus, I waited at that bus stop for a bus that I could even get on for about a half hour, hoping that Elder Thellmann and Igor Kim would wait at the bus stop we wanted to get to. Thankfully, all worked out eventually and I met them there. We obviously were late, and I've never been so close to other human beings in my life. Well that's not true. Vlad was the same way sometimes. And this past week Khabarovsk proved to be about the same too. But oh well. Fun fun fun.
Tuesday we contacted a lot. That has actually been pretty hard for me lately because it's hard not to get discouraged or lose your desire to talk to people as they just ignore you or have zero desire to talk to you. But I've been thinking a lot about it, especially with zone conference, and the Lord has helped me change my negative thoughts into positive ones. I'm here to serve! I'm here to smile at people and lift up their days! I'm here to share the greatest news on the face of the planet! How could I let myself forget that! If I don't share this message with them, a message that will change their life and flood it with blessings, how else will they come to know about it? Plus, you also get to have some great stories. (This is not the main reason you talk to people. Just to get funny stories. It is simply a bonus. ;) So I stopped this guy when we were getting near our apartment and he asked me, "Are you still here?!" I told him, "Of course! We're missionaries. We're always here." I didn’t really catch his sarcasm at first but soon got that hint because he began to rip into me and tell me that what I was preaching was garbage, and that I was committing a huge sin by coming to Russia, and that their church is all they need (mixed in with some lovely colorful language that I actually understood but until that time had never heard used). He told me that I should go down the street, take a right, go to the temple down that street and repent. As he walked away, all I could think of saying was "I hope you have a good day!" (Literally more like "happiness to you" but anyways...) With all the contacting of the past week, I've immersed myself back into the work of the streets and seen more of the lives of the people I'm serving amongst. Many don't want to know more because they don't believe that there can be more; they feel they’re too old and it's too late to change; they feel that we young whipper snappers couldn't possibly know anything more that might help them in their lives; they've grown up in the Soviet Union and they've simply been raised to not believe in anything but themselves, that there is no God. Others are being prepared, and while it's rare that we see success on the streets, it is possible. We just have to work even harder and bring the Spirit with us so He can touch their hearts. Elder Bush can't do that. He can't touch their hearts. Only the Spirit can. That's why I have to do all that I can to have the Spirit of the Lord with me. That's why I have to be strictly obedient. That's why the rules of missionaries are so important, because the more obedient we are, the more we qualify for blessings. Even the little rules are important then. I now understand what it means to want to find more rules to follow so that I can get more blessings. That may sound a little weird and crazy but when we see what the Lord has said in Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21 it makes a lot more sense. “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated— And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” D&C 82:10 teaches this as well. “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” What is the promise? One promise is found in D&C 112:10... “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.” He will lead me by the hand and guide me to do His work if I will but humble myself and be obedient in all things. Just some thoughts I've had lately.
Zone conference, like I already said, was great. It was a little cold in Khabarovsk. (-22ish). But this last week, I got the opportunity to be amongst the greatest missionaries in the world. I love serving in the Vlad mission. It's so hard, but it's so small in numbers that you get to know people so well. You get to form great lasting relationships that have a strong impact on you. I love the people with whom I'm serving! I love especially having the chance to serve in the North zone because it's an even smaller group and there was definitely a special spirit there on the seventh floor of Lenina 57 where our little branch in Khabarovsk meets. I love this mission. I've never been so stressed, pushed, and challenged in my life, but it's so worth it.
Well, not much else new with me. I love you all and I hope and pray you all have a great week. :) Remember what's most important in life. The Lord is our Shepherd. Then why should we fear?
Love to everyone!