Hello to one and all,
Time seems to be flying by faster and faster and there's just nothing I can do about it. I was very glad to hear from you all and I hope and pray that the Lord is watching over you. It sure sounds like he is. :) Well, this past week was a little hectic. We did service on several days which really made the days fly by. We helped a member finish redoing her apartment along with the zone leaders. We were gluing these ceiling tiles and putting down carpet and moving stuff and basically it was lots of fun. To put it simply, our investigators are doing well, although they're not so happy about the fact that I'm being transferred. Speaking of which, I'm heading to Ulan-Ude! And I'll be training! And district leader which will be a great opportunity to serve. So, my new companion’s name is Elder Patterson and he is from Burly, Idaho (I don't really have the slightest clue where on the earth that is except that it's located somewhere in the state of Idaho between Boise and Rexburg). But he plays football for the Oregon Ducks and was (if President gave me accurate information) on special teams and was the long snapper. This all basically boils down to the fact that my new companion has accomplished one of my life dreams: playing in (or in my case simply attending) the Rose Bowl. And since most football players make me look tiny, he'll probably be huge and can eat me. Especially in my weak physical condition in which serving a mission has left me. Ok I'm just teasing but really, I am in pretty bad shape. Running in the morning is awful, especially with a companion right now who ran in college.
Anyways, so the plan for this week is I'll still be serving with Elder Miller until Friday morning, and then I hop on the train with three new Elders (my new comp and the new comps of Elders' Phillips and Steed) and we will head to Ulan-Ude. Should be exciting! I'm super excited to train and I can't wait to serve in Ulan-Ude. Although, it will be pretty hard to leave Irkutsk because I have come to love this city. Those are probably the words I say regarding every city I've served in. I really have been blessed with the opportunity to travel in my mission considering I've been transferred almost every two transfers to a new city. The only cities left are Nakhodka and Artyom.
As far as how I'm doing, I'm doing alright. Lately, I've really begun to notice that the Lord has worked through me in interesting ways. I never have really been a missionary that sees "success". And as of late, since we have some very high goals set for the mission this year, I've been a little discouraged and feeling kind of down, as though I'm not sure I've been the servant the Lord intends me to be. But, I know discouragement is not what the Lord wants in His servants. And I've recognized that the Lord has been working through me to touch the lives of others in ways that aren't always represented in visible results. For example, I think I mentioned to you all that while Elder Zamora and I were in Usserisk, we were asked to give a young woman a blessing. She's the daughter of one of the members that Elder Boyer (my MTC teacher found and taught). This daughter has had contact with the church off and on and yet never has been super interested in knowing a whole lot more. If I'm not mistaken though, she decided to investigate more not too long ago and was baptized this past weekend. I know the blessing that I helped give to her from our Heavenly Father was probably not the reason she all of a sudden decided to learn more but it was a very powerful blessings in which everyone in the room was touched by the Spirit of the Lord. Elder Zamora and I were both blown away and Elder Zamora commented to me about the feelings he had during the blessing. He knew the words I was saying were from the Lord. The Lord works through us in His own way and in His own time. We just have to be ready and willing to serve and remain worthy of His guidance.
I have really come to love the city of Irkutsk. It has been a great city of growth for me. I've learned so much actually. Mostly, I think I've come to realize that I really know nothing and I have so much to learn in this life. I'm excited for a new change and it will be great to see a new city. Soon, Ulan-Ude's new building will be finished and it will be AWESOME to have our own building that the church has built. The work is beginning to burst here in Russia, and I'm blessed to be a part of it. Soon, I don't know when, but soon, people will begin to recognize the truth of our message. People shall flock to the church. They will tear down ideas that we're a cult, that we're strange, that we're just here to steal peoples' apartments. (Yeah, some people think that.) I'm privileged to be here. I know that Jesus is the Christ. (That is a greattttt book by the way.) I know that this is His work. He has called me. And I know that He knows each of us.
I love you all so much. Sorry I didn't write a whole lot today. Please let me know if you have any questions. I'll try to send some pictures soon. Love you!!!