Monday, November 21, 2011

Magnifying Glass for the Savior

Hey Mom! and everybody else.  This week was really cool. 

So I'll start at zone conference. It was kind of like a turning point of the week and probably much more than that.  First, Sister Lawrence spoke a lot in detail about tribes of Israel and lineage and patriarchal blessings, which you know I've always been really interested in and it was amazing and mind blowing, especially because it was specific to Russia.  It's amazing, almost ever single member here is from one of the lost 10 tribes.  And she spoke about Israelite blood - it was just awesome. Then President Gibbons spoke and this was by far my favorite.  He said he wrote a talk to give to the zone conferences, then 2 nights ago on the train he felt he should talk about something else and wrote a talk for that, and was going to decide right then which one to give. Then he said, "But now feel like I shouldn't give either," and he just started talking about a totally different subject.  It was amazing because I'm sure it applied to other people there, but I really feel like he was talking directly to me the whole time and saying exactly what I needed to hear.  He addressed his remarks to those of us who feel like we have a burden and a task that we seem just too small to handle right now.  He talked about the miracle of the loaves and fishes and Nephi building a ship, and about how we can use our talents and everything we have as a magnifying glass for the savior to work miracles.  It was incredible.  It was exactly what I needed to hear and totally changed my attitude and lifted my spirits.  It just really hit me hard spiritually, and obviously I cried.  But anyway,  then President Lawrence from the Europe East Area presidency spoke about how we can really show faith in order to receive blessings and success.

Anyway, Elder Hyde and I in the next planning session were really pumped up and set a really good goal, and I've created a plan of exactly what we need to do to reach it. Since then it's been really awesome, first just with this one thing very specific to work for, and to pray for, it's really easy to stay motivated and spirits have been really high, and it's been really fun, and my faith has definitely increased.

So there's a lot of snow, but it doesn't hinder travel. They clear the roads alright and the sidewalks are just slippery, but not like piled with snow.

We are probably going to the zoo this afternoon, so that will be fun.  Last week I took that long nap, the week before that we went shopping at the rinok, and before that we played ping pong at the branch and the sisters made brownies.  So that's been the last few p-days.

So the last few days have been really good. We had Elder Hyde's first investigator meeting on Saturday, and we have a few set up for next week.

Thanksgiving we get to go to the mission home from 2-7. Sister Gibbons is cooking turkey, potatoes, and stuffing. Missionaries are supposed to bring salads, sides, and desserts, so I'll have to think of something haha! but its going to be awesome.

So this first investigator meeting-  definitely another miracle.  I've actually come to the conclusion that any time we find an investigator it's a miracle.  Anyway, so this guy Ilya -  I looked back in my journal and found that I actually contacted him on my second full day here, with Elder Drasso.  I asked him if he spoke English just as a starter, and was surprised to hear "Yeah,  what's up, I lived in California for a couple years."  So anyway, we had a nice little convo with him and got his number.  We tried to bring up the gospel but it didn't really work, so we just called him a little later to come to English Club and he was busy, and stuff and things kinda just didn't work out for a while and he kinda fell off our minds anyway.  Two weeks ago Elder Hyde and I walked by him in the middle of a street we were both crossing going opposite directions. We were on the way to do email, and we recognized each other after a second of thinking, "Wait, I know this guy," and as we were walking by only had enough time to say hey, and give a little wave.  Then... same thing happened the next week! same exact place! and I didn't see him till he passed by and it was the same little surprised "oh hey." I was kicking myself for not turning around and following him back to the other side of the street, and talking more, but I didn't think about it in the moment.  Anyway, that night we just called him, and were like "Hey,  that's crazy we keep seeing each other in the same place... so do you want to meet some time and we can tell you a little about our church and how it can help you?"  And he's just like "sure". So boom investigator meeting! I called him a couple hours before the meeting and he's like "yeah I remember, is it cool if I bring my friend Dennis."  Sure! So, boom two investigators.  We taught a good discussion.  Not amazing but good. The spirit was definitely there.  They both committed to read, pray and talk to us again, but weren't just like all over it, so we'll see.  It was just a really cool experience.

Oh and Aleksei finally answered my call and said we can come talk to him this week! So we'll see about that, too.  Sergei is still saying he has no time, which is kinda true because he's getting married on December 31.

I've just been feeling really good the last few days. Elder Hyde and I have been getting along really well, we've been working hard and it's been really fun, and we are very optimistic.

Love you Mom, 
Elder Topham