How is everyone doing?!
Great to hear from you all! Glad to hear conference was so good! Hopefully, we'll get the disks and be able to watch conference this upcoming weekend. We'll see if things work out.
This past week has been a fantastic one! I had one of the greatest lessons of my whole mission this past week with a woman and her daughter who are interested in the gospel. They really are so awesome! The Lord is preparing His children to come closer to Him. Elder Patterson talked to the mother on the bus one day after district meeting and all he really talked about with her was that he was a missionary from the Church of Jesus Christ which really struck her as interesting, the fact that our church bears Christ's name. After that, she wanted to read the Book of Mormon, and she continues to tell us, "How could this book not be true?! Or be made up? Of course it's true!" Now we just have to help her see what that means for her, that the Book of Mormon is true. For the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and our message leads us to act and not simply to learn helpful or nice information. They love the feeling they have when they meet with us. We helped explain to them several times that that is the Spirit and He helps us know that what we're hearing or learning is true. We've also continued to meet with several other investigators, and simply put, it's been great to be a part of the Lord's work in this very special part of His vineyard. People often ask us, why on earth would you come here to Russia or even to this part of Russia, to this city of all places to do what you're doing? Because we're all children of Heavenly Father. And He loves all of His children. They probably ask that question because all they recognize or see are the material imperfections or unpleasantries (sorry I can't spell or think of any other words that make sense in English) that can be found in their city when in fact, if you take a moment and just look around, you can find a lot to love. Mostly the people. Why do missionaries always say "Love the people" when they tell future missionaries advice? Because it's the key to success in the Lord's work. For He loves each of us perfectly. And how can we expect to get anywhere in His work, or for that matter in this life, if we're not willing to do it His way?
We had a little miracle this past week. Yesterday, at sacrament meeting, we had 10 investigators in attendance! Isn't that crazy?! I think it is! One of those in attendance was a woman we had talked to on the street the day before and had invited her. I'll be honest, people don't usually come when we invite them. Rarely does that ever seem to yield any fruit. But this woman came! And brought her granddaughter with her! The rest of our investigators had member friends invite them and had support there and it's just awesome to witness and be a part of! The members here a really great at helping us and doing missionary work all on their own. They love to share the blessings the Lord has poured out on them. How wonderful it is to behold!
I had a neat experience on the bus ride to the library where we write home each week. We were talking to people on the bus and as we were about to get off, we walked up to the front of the bus and there sat a man who collected money for the bus fair. I thought to myself, "should I talk to this man?" And I began to doubt that he would be interested. He had seemed pretty angry at one point during the bus ride and I thought to myself, "I really should talk to him, but it would be a lot easier to just get off the bus." At this point, this rough looking Russian man turned to me, and with a smile began to talk with me. We got to know each other and he asked for an invitation before I could even turn the conversation to the gospel. His name is Aleksei and he taught me today that I should never hesitate to talk to anyone, no matter what I, imperfect Elder Bush, may think. I pray the Lord will touch his heart and that he will call or show up someday just as that woman did yesterday. The greatest thing I've really begun to grasp lately is that there's nothing that happens in this work without the Lord's hand in it. For it is His work. If we expect to assist in His work, we better expect miracles. If we doubt miracles can happen, we will not assist in this work. I know it.
This past week is probably such an awesome one because I've seen little miracles each and every day. And because I've felt the spirit witness to me that this work in which I am participating is true. There is nothing more important on the face of this earth than the work of the Lord. I didn't understand that for myself 1 1/2 years ago. And as I'm starting to come around the bend to the homestretch of this mission, I'm beginning to realize that 2 years is not enough. I have so much to learn because I know so little.
I love you all so much and I pray for you always. I hope this next week brings lots of smiles, fun, and blessings from on high.