Monday, July 28, 2014

Journal Entries

Доброе утро! Good Morning!

There's a lot going through my head these days. Few meetings, while still seeing the progress of the work is a big blessing. Thinking about what I was going to write about this week, I decided to just write up some excerpts from my journal that I wrote this past week. I hope this gives you a pretty good idea of what's happening! 

21 July 2014
The evening led us contacting down by the river in the nice sunny breeze. One of the only good contacts of the night was a guy from Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani people are really some of the nicest people in the world. We got home, and right after planning, Vanya and Ira come calling to drop off some papers for us. We went down to meet them, grabbed the papers, and they said they were hungry. We went up and made a big sandwich for them. Michael had sent me a parachute man for Christmas so I strung the big sandwich to the parachute man and threw it out our 5th story window to them.

23 July 2014
The easiest thing to do in this mission is to lose sleep. For lunch and dinner today we ate for the first half hour, and slept for the rest of the hour. Napping is so good, until the alarm sounds and snaps you back to reality. Rolling over and getting back to work is so difficult sometimes, but there is absolutely no question about actually doing it or not. When I was set apart by President Hacking of the MTC Presidency, I was blessed to be strong as I find myself being tired and exhausted. This evening we went to stop by some less active's homes. Three of the members lived in one apartment complex. One wasn't there, one didn't want to let us in or have anything to do with us, and the third was an active babushka. She let us in, the 2nd one came down, yelled at us and said she wanted her records removed. Then we had a short meeting with the Babushka and made our way home. 

24 July 2014
I know, and can testify without a doubt in my mind, that God lives. That he hears and answers prayers, and that he leads us in all we do. Even when we don't see or feel his guidance in the moment. This morning I awoke exhausted... This is the 3rd week of the transfer, and we are yet to have a single meeting, new investigator or anything. I feel like we are working just as hard if not harder than in other more successful transfers. I feel totally worth, clean and confident before God and my studies are great. So why the lack of success?... We had a meeting set up at the church at 6:00 so we got there a bit before. Nastya and Maxime Nikiforov showed up to practice something for the youth camp coming up. We talked with them for a bit. They are so great. Vova, who we had the meeting set up with at 6:00 didn't show, or answer his phone. 2nd day in a row we've had someone bail on meeting. ... Walking away from the branch we were talking about how to know if you were being led by the Holy Ghost, and just wanting to be on the right path. We had no planed meetings, a couple different options for stopping by less actives and two more hours in the night. So I weighed the options in my head, assigned them to numbers, and had Elder Swenson pick a number. That number led us to stopping by a less active. We ended up picking Sergay Shirokov. He lives in a private home rather than an apartment building. We rang his gate bell and was met by his 6 year old son. We aprehensively entered at his invitation, half expecting to be sent away by parents who would later reprimand him for answering the door. Well they actually let us in. It was a small humble home. A family of 3. We were ushered into a house, messy from the days work. Julia was at work making what looked and smelled like Borsht, Pavel was in the room to the right watching a cartoon which he had waited the whole day for. A shirtless Sergay brought us into a room to the left of the entrance which had a messy bed, messy desk and a wardrobe. [(summary) We had a lesson with Sergay, the other two declined the invitation to join, It was a great spiritual lesson. The atmosphere and spirit in the home changed from before to after the lesson.] ...It was a miracle and a testament of God's hand in the work, and how the spirit guides us. We walked away from that house thankful for that crystal clear answer to our prayers. There is indeed a loving Father waiting for us in Heaven. Not just waiting, but guiding us step by step through his holy spirit. He does let us know too. When we need it, he lets us know that he is there. ... I've just been trying so hard lately to be sanctified and consecrated so that the lord would have a sharper tool to use. The whole way home I just had a prayer of gratitude in my heart. I want for the Shirokov family to return to activity in the church, and take claim on the blessings that are waiting for them when they come back. I'm just so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary. There is truly no greater work to be done. 1 Nephi 4:6 "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do."

25 July 2014
After dinner, we went to stop by some less actives. No miracles in that today. One Babuska let us in just to try and give us back all her LDS reading materials. She wasn't down for any type of spiritual thought or ways to help her. Said her husband was against it. We were wisked out the door, and left a liahona in her mail box. After leaving her house we met a Muslim guy on the street who was a little drunk. We sat down and were talking with him. He wasn't receptive to much, and kept dragging the4 topic over to America, and Ukraine, and Russia. He kept saying that if America wasn't careful and backed off, that Russia would destroy us. As we were sitting there with him, a little down the drive to the right of us broke our a fight between two guys. It was an all out brawl. That's when we decided it best to get going. I just felt like we had to get back towards the center of the city where it is safer. The Muslim guy kept yelling after us as we were walking away "Mormons, wait!!" Two minutes later, we're almost to the bus stop. A guy in all black stops us and asked or demands rather, "tell me about your propaganda!" He didn't seem harmful so we started to talk with him. It started to rain so we stood under a tree. It was the side of a bigger road, not too far from the bus stop. We tell him we're missionaries, here to help people know about God, Jesus Christ and their plan for us. He wasn't having it. Kept trying to talk politics with us. Wars, leaders, power... Whenever people do this I just stop them and say we're not here to talk about politics, just religion. He punched the tree and said "see!, I'm a nice chubak (punk), I'm not dangerous" He puts his hand around the back of my neck as if to slam my head into the tree and says. "are you scared of me?" I wasn't. I was calm, collected and didn't feel in danger at all. He let go, we said goodbye and went our way. Waiting for the bus stop, people looks were like daggers of hatred. Our bus came and we got on. A couple stops before we got off a guy asked us for directions. We didn't know so he asked some Babusky. We stepped off the bus, he was getting off behind us and the Babusky said to him "don't talk to those two guys, ya hear!" ... Another instance from earlier in the day. Just as we left district meeting, we had a nice looking guy come up to us and ask us for some spare change. We said sorry we have none, and talked with him about the Book of Mormon. He was receptive, we got his number, and parted ways with a positive mood. s we and he walked away, a nearby police man parked and standing outside his car called the man over and as we walked away I caught a "what did those two guys talk to you about?!" We get disgusted looks all day every day. ... The light is brightly shining here, but the darkness comprehendeth it not. 

26 July 2014
During dinner, Brother Yourie Nikiforov called and asked if Elder Klein and I would prepare and speak for 10 minutes tomorrow at church. Of course we accepted. I was pretty excited. I love the opportunity to testify to those who will listen. 

27 July 2014
I was asked to speak for 10 minutes. well, it ended up being a 20 minute talk. ... For 20 solid minutes I had the undivided attention of everyone in the room.. They were all engrossed, which means they were all learning something. Afterwards I was complimented on my Russian and on the talk... There was also a way big miracle at church today. Sergay Shirokov, the less active man we taught three days ago who said he had to work on Sunday, came to church! It was a miracle. That whole situation is evidence to me that God is actively playing a role in this, his great work. ... Tomorrow is finally P-Day. We've got 3,000 Rubles to drop on groceries tomorrow! 

Well there ya have it. Every day out here is different. The politics and events of the world cause the people to change. There has been a change since I came to Russia. Miracles still happen, and the work still gets done. I'm enjoying serving with Elder Swenson. He is great. From Massachusetts.  

Don't worry about me, I'm safe and working hard!! 

Much Love, 

Elder Benjamin Moore

 Vanya and Ira waiting for their sandwich
Maxime and I at the branch
Your average apartment building
 A rainbow after the rain yesterday. 

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