Monday, February 6, 2012

God Answers Our Prayers

Well, this week was awesome. Mission's are just full of cycles when everything is going well or when nothing is going well. Now is just one of the times where everything is just going right. I would have laughed if I saw the stats that we reported this week, if I would have seen them a month ago. First and most important, we set a baptismal date with the 15 year old. He's completely ready, he's been coming to church for months, he's already on the building cleaning schedule and everything, but his parents haven't given him permission to be baptized. Elder Vargin and I went to his house on Sunday after church to talk to his mom and babooshka with him. We taught a plan of salvation lesson with special stress on the importance of being baptized and receiving the Holy Ghost here on earth, and he helped us. We all took turns testifying at the end, Elder Vargin and I talked about how much the gospel has blessed our lives and V testified about how he knows it's true and how much he loves it. He even started to cry. That really got his babooshka, she was on board right then, but up to then and even a little after then, his mom had been against it. We had been fasting with V the past day, we had actually just broken it together at their house. And at the end of the meeting, Elder Vargin was just like, "Well so, can he be baptized on the 25th?" And I think all three of us expected her to say no, but it was a miracle. God softened her heart and she said, "Well.. can we do it on the 26th so I can be there?" Oh man, it was so cool. V couldn't believe it, he was so stunned that the excitement didn't even hit him until we left and we were talking to him. It was just an awesome miracle. V definitely knows that God answers our prayers and there is real power in fasting, and I know that even more now than I did.

This week we had a bunch of first meetings. They just came from everywhere. A couple from old contacts. Two guys from the street we contacted took us straight to their apartment, and we talked. We got one from someone that we had tracted.

Oh, and here's my favorite. There was a guy in the area book that I called. His name is Prince. He's from Nigeria and here studying. He invited us over and we had a good talk with him. It was especially cool because Elder Vargin and I got to switch roles and he was stammering to try to get out what he wanted to say, and I was directing the flow of the meeting. (Elder Vargin's English is actually really good. He understands and his vocab is better than my Russian, but he just doesn't practice speaking much). And here's an interesting thing, Prince had met with the elders once or twice a year ago and he had read quite a bit about the church on the Internet. He's Catholic so he had a real problem accepting our view of the Godhead. And he also asked (fairly nicely and non argumentatively) about the why the church wasn't integrated from the start if Joseph Smith was really a prophet, and asking about race relations. I thought that was a topic that I wouldn't have to deal with in Siberia, but what do you know. We talked about it, and we talked about continuing revelation and it went over pretty well. We should get a second meeting with him. Who knows, next time his name might be, "the investigator formerly known as Prince" haha. Then on his baptismal record it will just be the symbol thing :) Haha don't worry I've been thinking about that joke for like a week.

It's been really nice and warm here this past week. I really can't complain. If it is over -20 C then I'm happy. Don't worry I don't need you to send me any more warmers. In the apartment in Tomsk there was a big cardboard box of them and I've just been using them, so I have more than plenty. Thanks. I still have all the ones you sent.

It's been a challenge to teach with a native companion. Especially when we are teaching with a member (which fortunately we've had alot of opportunities to do recently) because then there are 3 fast talking Russians in the room, and one very slow speaking American. So it's hard for me to get in what I want to say sometimes. Or a lot of times someone else just said everything that I was going to say, then Elder Vargin will look over at me like, don't you have something to add. But I don't, haha. Oh well, it's been a great experience.

Elder Topham

Pictures of my apartment...
The Kitchen
The Bedroom
The Main Room

The Bathroom