Monday, March 21, 2011

Service Project at the Zoo

Mom and Dad, you got to hear Elder Bednar speak!?! That's so cool!!! Thanks for the email, Mom! I'm glad you and Dad have had such an awesome experience. I loved some of Elder Bednar's answers that you shared.

So, Mom, to answer your question, yes, Elder Zamora did get transferred. He's in Usserisk again, the place of his birth (his first area). He's doing great there, and I sure miss him. He actually called me the other day about something, and it was great to get to talk to him for a little bit. The past week was a fun one. (It's so great doing missionary work when you have a great attitude.)

Well, to start off, it's been great having a senior couple here in Khabarovsk. They're such awesome missionaries! They certainly bring a special spirit with them. It's been a little hard for them adjusting to Russia, especially to Khabarovsk, but they're starting to settle in nicely. This past week, teaching institute was fun as always. I think I mentioned this last week but teaching institute can sure be difficult because there's so much awesome stuff that it's hard to decide what you want to focus on. I just love the Doctrine and Covenants. There's so much there!!!

Probably the most interesting event of this past week was doing service at the Zoo! There's a sister here in Khabarovsk who works at a zoo about and hour or so out of town, and we did service there. Our service included breaking up ice and packed snow and clearing off part of a pathway. As a bonus to doing service, we got to see all of the animals for free and she told us all about them. It was super cool! I got tons of great pictures that I'll try to send soon. The service was great because we all felt Russian. And by feeling Russian, I mean that we got to use Russian tools, so we felt as though we had been assimilated officially into the culture. You'll see in the pictures what I mean. Hopefully, I can send them soon. People that came to the Zoo while we were serving asked a lot of questions about why there was a group of Americans doing service for the Zoo. They were all really surprised that a group of Americans would come all the way to Russia to do service.

Saturday was Elder Waltman's birthday, and I got to spend time with him because I was on an exchange with him! It was so cool to serve with him again even if it was only for one day. We really have come to be such great friends. I love discussing things with him, especially about our studies. We got to teach a few lessons with members and the senior couple Friday evening and then had branch business during the afternoon of Saturday. We had a little party that one of the members, Sister Galina put together. She's great!

Last night, we had the awesome opportunity to give a blessing to a man in the branch and to see the power of the priesthood in action. I know the priesthood is the power of God. It is His power given to us to act in His name and to work miracles if it be His will. I feel greatly humbled to hold that priesthood. I know it is a huge responsibility, and I must do everything in my power to remain worthy of that power. Afterward, we headed out looking for a less active member who lives really far away. Basically, after consulting the map several times and crossing several train tracks and walking a long, long way, we found it! Unfortunately, he wasn't home but we left a message with his Dad, who was really nice, and hopefully, we'll make contact soon.

The work here in Khabarovsk has been really slow. Lately, contacting has been tough. People don't like talking to us it seems. They tend to just keep walking. We did something called an "area Blitz!" this past week where all the elders gather together and focus their contacting efforts in one area of the city for a specific period of time. It yielded very little results, but I know that if we have faith, we will find those who are ready to hear our message. All of our investigators have mysteriously stopped answering their phones, so we're back to square one for now. But, I know there will be great things in the future here in Khabarovsk. I just have to give the Lord my all, and I know I can be an instrument in His hands to further His work. Yesterday, we had a great lesson in Sunday School about the Savior and the Bread of Life. I know the bread he offers us is far more important than any other we could possibly find in this life.

I love you all so much! I'm always deeply grateful for your support and your prayers. This next week should be another fun one! President Pratt is coming at the week's end so it will be great to see him and learn from him. I pray that the Lord will continue to mold me into the Elder and son that He desires I become.

Elder Bush