Monday, September 5, 2016

September 5, 2016

Dear Family and Friends, 

First off, thanks mom for the letter, it brought a smile to my face.  I actually got a lot of notes from friends this week that were very much appreciated, and a funny thing from dad last week that made me laugh when I noticed it again.  I want to just say thank you for sharing little thoughts/experiences/ramblings, I love them all and it brings a smile to my face without fail.

This week was crazy!  We had a lot of service opportunities, and it really has been super cool being able to see that people want to hear what we're about and what we are doing here when we've been serving them, and it brings more interest to them when we say that as of know we can't tell them anything, but if they want to come to the address of our building when we're there, they are more than free to do so. There's one lady we do service for that asked us this last week to just pray for her as she was looking for a new job, we prayed all week, and she got a better job (just found out last night).  Prayers work miracles, especially when those prayers are with others in mind.  We're really happy for her, and we're also really happy that we'll be able to continue to do service for her.

This week the Zone Leaders were in for another training, there were a lot of topics covered, but my most favorite was the fact that baptisms will still happen here in Russia.  That the service we are doing will soften hearts, and help people want to listen to why we are here, and what's cool is that we won't have to go to them, but that they'll come to us as they notice that behind our actions has to be some sort of motivation, which is true, we're trying to serve as Christ did.  It was a powerful meeting just as people shared that we'll still have the opportunity to teach people the Gospel, and help them feel the joy that it brings.

The members here are such wonderful examples of that joy, they sacrifice so much, and yet they always have a smile on their face.  Of course they have hard times, that's normal, but they've all found something that they can hold onto that get's them through the hard times, the Atonement of Christ.  It's been humbling working with and serving the people here.  I don't feel deserving of the outpouring of love and trust that I've been given here, and yet it keeps coming.  The people are amazing, and every day brings more humbling experiences.  There was one this week that particularly stuck out to me, that actually was with my companion.  So he and have little disagreements about things often, but for the most part, we sort them out quick, and we're both very willing to hear the other person's side of why they don't think that way, but at one point this week, I just really wanted to prove my point about something that was not even a big deal at all.  Anyway, I got home with my companion, and we just started talking about what had happened, he was pretty annoyed and I was too.  Anyway, at one point his voice got a little raised and he was starting to get flustered, and in that moment I realized that I had totally just let my own pride and my own desire to prove my point cloud my logically thinking.  So as soon as he finished, I just said, "I'm sorry, I was in the wrong, you are right."

And it went away!  The little argument that wasn't really a big deal, but to us at the time it was had just grown and grown until we were both frustrated and flustered, and then I finally realized that I WAS in the wrong, and that I WAS the one who needed to repent and humble myself.  So I said it, and "poof!" it was gone as quickly as it came.  You're right mom when you say, "I takes two to keep an argument going, it takes one to stop it."  The whole situation reminded me that I need to more quickly humble myself and admit when I'm wrong, as well as it reminded me of a talk from this last General Conference entitled, "Be Thou Humble", by Elder Steven E. Snow.  In it he says: "It is especially important to remember humility when you feel contention rising in your home. Think of all the heartache you can avoid by humbling yourself to say, “I’m sorry”; “That was inconsiderate of me”; “What would you like to do?”; “I just wasn’t thinking”; or “I’m very proud of you.” If these little phrases were humbly used, there would be less contention and more peace in our homes."

Humility is so very important because it allows us to be teachable!  Anyway, I've gone on long enough, President and Sister Childs were also here this last weekend (and yes mom, they do send us the stories, I love them too) which was super fun.  I was pretty wiped out on Sunday after about 4-5 hours of translating, but it was good practice and a lot of fun.  I love them both very much.  

Transfers are this coming week, I'll let you know if anything changes!  Also I'll send pictures (maybe) next week!  I try not to make promises I know I might not be able to keep :).

Love you all!

Elder Belnap

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