Monday, May 15, 2017

May 15, 2017

Dear Family/Friends, 

First off, thanks mom for sending all those pictures.  It makes me a little sad to see Grandpa at Grandma's grave, it's still not 100% real that she has passed.  I miss them both very much, and I'm excited to see Grandpa.  This week was really good, as I already told you over skype we got 2 new investigators, both really cool, and both willing to meet weekly.  One found the church through the internet and reached out to us, the other my companion, Elder DeVol had just talked to on the escalator. One of the things I've been really passionate about, is that for some reason or another, some people think that the worst call possible is to serve in Russia, especially since the change of the law.  I've heard people say, "It's hard, the people don't like you, it's cold all the time (that last one has proven to be true, our last snowfall was 5 days ago, and it was about an inch too), there's no one who wants to listen to us."  Talk about self-fulfilling prophecies.  I think if there's one thing that I've really learned on my mission, it's to trust the Lord in all that we do.  I love D&C 122:10 which says something to the effect of, "Be thou humble and the Lord thy God will lead thee by the hand and give thee answers to your prayers."  The need to trust the Lord is just so vital in all that we do.  I love the attitude of Joseph Smith, when he was in Liberty Jail, beaten and malnourished, maltreated, he was wondering where God had gone, and then he received comfort.  At the end of that experience he writes to members of the church who were being persecuted during that time and driven from their homes: 
123: 17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.
I love that we're supposed to first do all things that lie in our power, our actions show the Lord that he can trust us not to mess things up if he does pour out blessings.  I know that as we try to do all that we can, blessings come, not always in the way we expected or originally imagined, but they do.  The work in Russia is moving forward, it's hard, but every mission is hard, because as Elder Holland said when he was here, "salvation is not a cheap experience".  We had 2 baptisms this last week, and if everything goes to plan there will be 2 more this coming Saturday.  Sorry, I've just been really passionate as of late this last week, we've gotten to go on a couple of companion exchanges that have been a little eye opening.  This weekend we're going up to Petrozavodsk, it will be my last time up there on my mission, it's a beautiful city and I'm really excited.  Anyway, transfers are next week, and I'll let you know where I'm off to!  I'm pretty excited!  

I love you all so much, it was so fun talking to you.  I hope you have a great week!

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