Monday, November 24, 2014

Many Mighty Miracles, Exchanges with Elders Lewis, Nelson and Zhidkov

Well, that week happened!

It was a pretty crazy one. I already wrote most of it in my letter to president Williams so I'll just paste that over onto here... 

There are a lot of miracles that happened this week. I just wanted to share some of the major ones with you.
There is a young couple Kate and Slava who have known missionaries since 2012. They met often and even with the Palmers. They attended English frequently as well. Eventually interest kind of died down though. They still have positive attitudes towards the church and the missionaries. A couple months after the last meeting missionaries had with them, Elder Jacobsen and I were out on the street and talked to a young guy named Stas. Because of his last name (which doesn't usually get brought up on the street), we made the connection that we knew his brother Slava and his wife Kate pretty well. We parted ways amazed that we crossed paths and made that connections. Well since the contact we had with Stas on the street, about three months have passed. One day a week ago we got a call from him. I had forgotten about the contact, and didn't know how he was saved in the phone, but he invited us over to his house for lunch! So we went with it. We went to his place and met him and his wife Zhenya. After a few minutes it dawned on me who it was and that his brother was Slava. About twenty minutes later, Kate and Slava came and we ate and met with all four of them. It was a miracle! I left there in awe at how the Lord and his timing works. Two young married couples who are open, outgoing, and believing. I don't know exactly where it will go from here, but I'm sure the Lord does. In his time, I'm confident they will give a more serious investigation to the church and our teachings. Two young couples would be so much strength for the church here!

We had three exchanges this week. I was with Elder Lewis in my area, Elder Nelson in Berdsk, and Elder Zhidkov in my area.

With Elder Lewis, we had a great day. We went to teach our rather new investigator Vacili (the rapper) at his place. When we were meeting with him, his mother, Olga walked in and said she read a bit of the Book of Mormon that we left, and that she loved it. We invited her in on the lesson and she is now a new investigator as well. All because of the Lord's timing. Elder Jacobsen and I talked to Vacili as he was drinking and smoking on the entrance to the building one night about a month back because of a spiritual prompting. Now we are teaching him, his mother, and just yesterday, Olga said she lended her copy of the Book of Mormon to Kostya, a young guy renting a room in the apartment. So we gave her another. Point being that we never know what talking to someone will do, or whose lives will be changed. They have a long way to go before baptism, but they will get there little by little. We watched the Restoration movie with them which was great as they tend to jump all over the place when it's just conversation.

In Berdsk with Elder Nelson, we had an incredible day. I have to go back to last transfer when I was on exchanges there with Elder Passey for it all to make any sense. Elder Passey and I were going to stop by a member who he didn't even know yet, Tatiana. We got to her house and it was gated all around. We could see smoke coming from the chimney, but there was now way to get in, and nobody answered the phone. So we left. We Elders Nelson, Klein, Stucki and I were scheduled to do service for a member named Tatiana. I hadn't even put two and two together until we were right in front of her gate and I realized that it was the same place that Elder Passey and I stopped by just a transfer earlier. She has a coal burner to heat her house and therefore needs a LOT of coal. We shoveled coal for a few hours into a shed for her to be able to get at it during the winter. Afterwards, we had a nice meeting with her and her toddler grandson inside. I was amazed to see the change that happened in just a transfer. From missionaries not knowing who she was to helping and having a friendly meeting. It is all because Elder Nelson seeking and acting on revelation for his calling as the Group Leader there. When he first got to Berdsk, he felt impressed to meet with every member before the first Sunday. They met with Sister Tatiana at the branch who had been in a different city working for the summer. They asked if they could do anything to help her and she said no, but they felt that she was uncertain. Then just before they said the closing prayer, Elder Klein asked "No really, what can we help you with?" She opened up and they talked for about 10 more minutes. Now they have a great relationship with her and she and her family are being strengthened. The Berdsk Elders are doing so great!

Friday to Saturday I was with Elder Zhidkov in my area. That was when we met with Kate and Slava and Stas and Zhenya. We also had a meeting with our investigator Zaur from Tajikistan. He has fallen away from the traditional Islam belief, and has been searching. We taught him the Plan of Salvation which he loved. His only problem is that now he is content to just keep searching and to make a decision in the Spirit world. He didn't really understand that it doesn't just work that way. On both meetings, Elder Zhidkov was great. He is a powerful teacher and knows the Bible better than any other missionary in our mission.

It was a good busy week. We have set some big goals for this next week, but we are confident that we can reach them. We will be with Elders Hodgson and Wallace on exchanges here in our area on Friday so we'll have double the efforts!
Pictures! I'll give more explanation this time as it will wrap up the week nicely. 

Let me tell ya, Elder Stucki and I do it right. We eat really well together... when we're not deep frying stuff. The other day we made baked chicken breast and put some spaghetti sauce on top with cheese. Added a side of veggies and toast. I've come a long way from just making stroganoff pasta every day like I did back in the day with Elder Batson and Aubrey. 

We got dumped on with snow, so after helping the sisters move apartments, we did some snow angels. I've got a good video but it's probably too big to send. 

Elder Zhidkov is still huge. We took some selfies in "The Peacock" The name of our apartment due to the wall paper.

The coal-shoveling was a lot of fun. It's like a big playground there and you get to be creative. We wanted to maximize the amount of coal in the shed, so I rigged up a little barricade halfway up the pile. 

10:00 P.M.- Journal writing time. Somehow, I still haven't missed a day! I bet none of you ever thought that would happen. Dad tried to make me write a journal when I was in like 5th grade so my handwriting would get better. I think I wrote like five days worth and gave up. So here's a picture of my desk. 

I guess I'm busier and happier than ever before. Busyness and happiness levels have just kept going up and up my whole mission I think. With just over six months left on the clock, I'm trying to come up with good goals to be able to maximize my time out here. If any of you have any ideas, shoot them my way. Elder Stucki and I have some pretty ambitious goals for the month of January so if we go through with those I'll fill you in. But really, all you return missionaries could probably give me some pretty good ideas. 

As you have Thanksgiving this week I challenge you not to just think about all that you are thankful for or write lists, but to get on your knees as families and personally give prayers of gratitude to your Father in Heaven. He's given you all that you have so take some extra time to give Him Thanks. I promise that "it will surprise you what the Lord has done."

Enjoy the Turkey, Love life, Love each other, Be happy, Be safe.

Much Love,

Elder Benjamin Moore

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