I shall begin my weekly travelogue by mentioning that this week has been a fantastic one. I mean can you really have an awful week on the mission? It's been wonderful for many reasons and I shall now attempt to convey to you all the reasons why...
1. I got emails from Mom and Dad and Matt and I was super grateful to hear from you all. I really needed to hear your words and I agree with all of what you said, especially the part about not beating myself up (or down). It's just so hard because you feel the Lord expects more from you in the short time that you’re here. I have become an instrument in the Lord's hands to share the restored gospel with His children in Russia and when I fall short and don't do all I know He wishes I would do or I just can't seem to overcome my weakness and do the work better and more effectively, it's hard not to get a little frustrated with oneself. But, I also have seen that it's super important to stop being so critical and let yourself enjoy the work because in reality, that is what the Lord wants. He wants you to take what you're doing seriously and to continuously improve, but he also wants you to have the greatest experience of your life so that you can continue to grow from it for years and years into the future.
2. We have a new investigator! It has been such and exciting experience to teach someone who is interested in knowing more and to feel the Lord helping you do that. As of now, she wants to be baptized although we haven't set a date yet with her. I had forgotten how much I missed teaching and sharing the message I have come to really love until yesterday when we were able to meet with her after church. Listening to the Spirit and teaching in accordance with His guidance is an awesome experience. This may sound a bit funny, but I really enjoy teaching truth. Our message is true. Regardless of what anyone may say against the message of the restored gospel, I know with all my heart that it is true and there is something exciting that you feel when you have the opportunity to teach that truth; to share what you know to be true and what you have seen bless your life so much.
3. I got a massive splinter in my hand doing some service in remodeling an apartment for a friend of a member here, but I overcame my fear of needles and dug/pulled it out. (ok by massive I mean about the same size as the last splinter I got stuck in my hand and that the doctor had to cut open my hand in order to get it out... that statement doesn't sound right and I feel I must change it but I'm afraid if I tried, Russian would interfere and it still wouldn't sound right in English). To clarify, the splinter was a little bigger than a centimeter. I know, I'm a baby.
4. We got to help the zone leaders move apartments this past week. And did it in record time. They lived on the fourth floor which was awful because it required us to run back and forth to bring everything down. But the apartment they moved into is on the first floor which is the BEST.
5. Lastly, I guess I'll share a really cool experience I had that strengthened my faith that it's just better to have faith in the Lord, especially when you're doing His work. So on Tuesday, we set a goal to get two contacts from people on the street. (contacts meaning a phone number or an address so that we can later get in contact with these people who are interested in learning more and meeting with us.) So, we had been out on the streets for a few hours and got to the branch for district meeting, and we hadn't met any success in reaching our goal. We had talked to lots of people but nothing seemed to be working out. After district meeting and some quick planning for English club, we had a little less than 45 minutes before we needed to be back to the branch before English club started and still had this goal of 2 contacts, which at this point seemed to be getting harder and harder to reach with each minute. But, I had faith that the Lord would help us find someone interested in knowing more about our unique message and I knew that if it was His will, we would find that person. After leaving the branch, we started talking to some people. The first guy, not interested. The next woman, almost kinda not really interested. The next man we stopped, interested. :) His name is Igor and he knew some about the church and was very interested in meeting, took a Book of Mormon, and exchanged numbers with us. Later, we made contact with Svetlana at English club, which meant our goal was met. But then, that night, Igor called and we set up a lesson, agreeing to meet the next day. Two minutes later, he texted us with a phone number of his friend who is also interested in talking with us. When you set goals, relying on the Lord, and you do all you can to realize them, the Lord helps you and blesses you to fulfill them. It may not seem like an awesome experience to some and in fact, Igor didn't show up to both the lessons that we set up with him this past week. But, as I experienced all of that, I knew without a doubt that the Lord was guiding us and that we are His hands here in Irkutsk helping to do His work.
I love you all a ton. You're the best family on the face of the planet. On the face of any planet for that matter. I pray for you always and hope all is well. Just have faith. The Lord is in charge.
P.S. Happy 4th of July!!! :)