Monday, September 17, 2012

Tons of Miracles

Hey whats up?

I busted out that sweater that you sent me for my birthday, I think it was for my birthday, because it's getting a little chilly here the last couple days. It's not really that cold, but whenever we go out in just our suit jackets the babooshki always yell at us that we are going to get sick. Anyway, We got back from Tomsk Friday night, and I was exhausted, probably the most tired I have ever been on my mission, besides after long flights, because we just put in 3 grueling days in Tomsk. Elder Davis and I are going to Novokuznetsk later this week. Then Visa Trip next week.

Last Monday we had our last lesson with Nastia. She left back for Kazakhstan while we were in Tomsk. It was a huge success because the main problem we had been having with her is getting her to pray out loud. Before Monday the best we could do was brainstorm with her what she wanted to say and actually write out with her her prayer and have her read it, but at the end of the last lesson she just whipped it right out on her own, so that was a huge success because she really believes everything, but just had that huge hurdle. Now we are happy and confident that she has everything she needs to keep making spiritual growth through prayer and scripture study until she comes back next year and hopefully marries Artyom, then the missionaries will just need to teach a couple commandments and she will be ready to be baptized.

Tuesday we had a really touching lesson with an older man right before we left for Tomsk. He told us about how his father left him when he was little and also his mother was killed by the Germans and he was raised an orphan and just overall had a sad life, and as we talked about Christ and the gospel you could tell that it really was touching him and the spirit was comforting him even in that very moment. We should see him again early this week. Then we had a meeting with all the ZLC + Elder Harrison -Elder Beckh who is in Kazy, and President gave a sweet pep-talk and we worked out some planning details about our trip. He drove the four of us to Tomsk and the other 4 took the bus to Kemerovo. Tuesday night Elder Walker, Stoneking and I worked together while Elder Johnson and President met with the branch president going through name by name all of the men in the branch and finding out where they were at and what the next step is. That meeting was very successful because just by doing so they got a more accurate count and added a few priesthood holders, then made a plan to get a few more the priesthood soon.

Wednesday I worked all day with Elder Stoneking. We spent a lot of time street and park contacting. I think we only had one lesson set up going into it, and we were at the branch standing outside the front talking to people as they walked by until our guy showed up. One guy agreed to come take a tour of the building. So we thought we would do that real quick, and we finished and our guy still had not showed up so we sat this guy down and taught him the first lesson. It was a sweet experience. That goes to show how if you make plans and are working hard the whole time then, even if the original plan doesn't work out, the lord will take care of you and something good will come of it.

Thursday I worked with Elder White. We had 4 meetings set up. Two from former investigators who I had previously taught and 2 from new contacts from Wednesday. Three of them called and cancelled and one just didn't ever show up or answer his phone, so that was a huge bummer and we again spent a good amount of time street contacting. The highlight of our day was probably at the very end of the day when we were both very tired, and tired of walking around so we went by the boardwalk of the river. We decided that if there is any guy sitting out here alone than he must be out here pondering deep questions. So we spotted a few couples but one guy sitting alone, so we sat by him and chatted him up and ended up having a really deep spiritual discussion and really helped him out.

Friday we had an hour before district meeting so we went contacting in the pouring rain. That was sweet because 2 out of the first 3 guys we talked to were interested at least to some degree. I take that as a reward for sticking it out in the rain. Elder Johnson ran a really powerful district meeting. And we took off back for Novo right after on the bus. (President on Wednesday worked with Elder Jensen and Harris then took of for Kemerovo)

In Kemerovo there were tons of miracles. There were two investigators with baptismal dates for soon and they got them both baptized on Friday, as well as two guys that they found on Wednesday. I guess the elders taught them a first lesson and had them both pray right then and there and they both said they felt a really strong answer that its right and they wanted to be baptized. So they taught them all the lessons and baptized them on Friday. President was there and gave an exception to the guideline that investigators should attend several sacrament meetings before the baptism. In Tomsk there was a lot of success, we didn't baptize anyone but we set a handful of baptismal dates, found many new investigators and I'm sure a lot of men came out to church yesterday but I haven't seen the numbers yet.

This whole trip was a huge testimony builder about how President is inspired and how the revelation works. About 2 weeks ago he said he wanted the 6 of us to go to Tomsk, then a little after that he felt impressed that Elders Anderson and Harrison should go as well, then last week he felt impressed to include Kemerovo, then boom all of these miracles, especially in Kemerovo.

Sunday was disappointing because all three of our lessons bailed on us. So after church we taught another member family then contacted for a while. Pretty much all the investigators that Elder A and I had have died off, so we need to focus on getting some new prepared people. We have one really good one right now who Elder Davis and Anderson found and taught literally right when then got into the city from Tomsk. He agreed to be baptized and he came to all three hours of church and loved it.

Well, I think that is it.

Elder Topham