Monday, April 11, 2011

Back to Work!!! Ariel's Letter #2 from Russia April 11, 2011

Hello Family!

So, I found out also that Dear Elder is one of the best ways to send the mail. They get here almost weekly... or so! :) ya! So, at the beginning of this week I was in Tagenrog with the 3 other sisters who are serving there. It was really fun to be with them and kind of like a big party all week! haha There shower is totally crazy, and it only stays hot for about 30 seconds after turning it on, so I basically showered out of the tap for a week! And sometimes the water was so cold it almost gave me a brain freeze! :) It was really good to be able to serve with Sister Kuhn. She was able to teach me some good ways to work on the language. It's great to hear a native speak the language, but Cectpa Undejzorova can't teach me how to learn it because she has never had to learn it before. We made Borsch this week and it was SO good! I will have to learn how to make it so we can have a Borsch party when I get home! While in Tagenrog we taught a lesson at the home of a young girl and her mother. The mother is totally paralyzed, but is so happy and a wonderful lady. The health care here is so poor that many people can become paralyzed from doctor malpractice. We also taught a lesson to another girl and for part of the lesson I was able to share an experience about prayer! ya! It took me a while to memorize how to tell the story, and it was extremely simple, but it felt good to be able to participate a little bit!

Kind of funny.... we were in a park and this man came up to us and asked what such beautiful girls were doing? He then proceeded to ask us if we wanted to go drinking with him... haha... But we gave him a little handout and maybe he'll get in touch with us about coming to church!

On Friday Morning Cectrpa Undejzorova returned from her visa trip and I can't tell you how happy I was to see her again! I'm finally back in my area and feel like we can get back to work! I feel like we haven't been able to work for a while with all the travel and everything! It has been kind of rainy, so I went knocking for my first time... haha! Most people don't even open the door as they have little camera's and a speaker system that they talk to you through! and if they do open the door they pretty much hear the word missionary and close the door, but we did meet a nice man in the stairwell who we talked to for a while!

We went tracting in the rain also the other day. There weren't very many people out, but we did meet some really nice muslim men. They stop and talked with us, but we aren't allowed to teach them as they can be killed if they join another religion. It was sad because they were so nice!

Yesterday we taught a lesson on prayer to a less active member. She lives in an apartment that is probably about half the size of our full kitchen at home. It has one bed, a low small table, a sink, and another small room that's a bathroom. The mother, her daughter, and her mom all live there! We sat and read and talked about prayer. She is a neat lady and I'm hoping that we can work with her every week and help her come back to church. I know that as she lives the gospel, like was said in General Conference, it will bless her. Paying tithing does not mean that we will become wealthy, but we will be able to live better off of 90% of our income than if we had had the full 100%! (Remember Malachi 3:10--The windows of heaven will be opened to them and the Lord will provide for them. It works!!)

As we left her house we had the coolest thing happen! We were walking home and I asked if we could contact a bit on the way home. My companion said that if I wanted to. I did and so I talked with a man, one of the first ones that passed us on the sidewalk. After the first usual introduction he asked if he could tell us a story. He told us about how his wife had just had a baby girl, but she wouldn't let him see her. He would buy and bring things to her house and drop them off, but his wife wouldn't accept them from him! He just wanted to help and see his new baby! Cectrpa Undejzorova taught him how to pray and committed him to pray. We also go his number and he said that he and his friends would come to church on Sunday! Wow! He was SO cool! I'm hoping though that we'll be able to teach and talk to him during this week and then have him come to church! Pray that he's open to our message! His name is Vaciili. It was really funny though, because I'm still trying to get used to the way people interact here in Russia. They really don't have a personal space bubble and so the whole time he was talking to us he was like 2 inches from my face! haha ok, not that close, but I really wanted to take a step back, but couldn't because that would be rude! He also kept touching my arm! lol... ok... totally not appropriate for him to touch a sister missionary, but he didn't know that! The whole time he kept touching me, Cectpa Undejzorova was just laughing to herself! oh well!

This week has been really neat as I started reading in Alma 53:2 in the Book of Mormon, a Second Witness for Christ (with the Bible). The Book of Mormon contains the history of God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the American continent. In Alma 52:2 it describes the love between, Moroni, a great general and one of his leaders, Lehi, which says:

"And Moroni went to the city of Mulek with Lehi, and took command of the city and gave it unto Lehi. Now behold, this Lehi was a man who had been with Moroni in the more part of all his battles; and he was a man alike unto Moroni, and they rejoiced in each other’s safety; yea, they were beloved by each other, and also beloved by all the people of Nephi."

. It says how Lehi was a man like unto Moroni. Moroni is described in Alma 48:11-17

11. And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect bunderstanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery;

12. Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the awelfare and safety of his people.

13. Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had asworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood.

14. Now the Nephites were taught to defend themselves against their enemies, even to the shedding of blood if it were necessary; yea, and they were also taught anever to give an offense, yea, and never to raise the sword except it were against an enemy, except it were to preserve their lives.

15. And this was their faith, that by so doing God would prosper them in the land, or in other words, if they were faithful in keeping the commandments of God that he would prosper them in the land; yea, warn them to flee, or to prepare for war, according to their danger;

16. And also, that God would make it known unto them awhither they should go to defend themselves against their enemies, and by so doing, the Lord would deliver them; and this was the faith of Moroni, and his heart did glory in it; bnot in the shedding of blood but in doing good, in preserving his people, yea, in keeping the commandments of God, yea, and resisting iniquity.

17. Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the bdevil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men."

I want to develop those same qualities and like it says in verse 13, we have also made this covenant! to give our ALL to this work!

It was SO wonderful to see General Conference! and to see the BYU-Idaho choir! I for sure saw Suzanne Briggs and a guy named Ben from my Freshman ward. I think I also saw (but it was pretty fuzzy so I couldn't be sure) Breanne Davis, Kira Kennedy, and possibly Abigail Briggs... But it was SO fun to hear from them! Way to go BYU_Idaho! Also, it was a pleasure to see Trisha in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and I think that I saw Alaina in it too! Am I right?!!

Wow! General Conference was SO amazing and I have been thinking about what we were taught! I loved what President Monson taught about temples! If we truly could understand the importance of these ordinances, it would not be a light thing to go to the temple! The story of the man working for 6 years total to get his family to the temple was SO inspiring! I hope that I will never take the temple for granted.

I also loved Elder Bednar's talk on revelation. It is so comforting to know that we may not always know if we're following the Lord's will, but as we are obedient to His commandments and take that step of faith on the road to Damascus (as President Uchtdorf talked about) we may have our confidence wax strong D&C 121:45 which says: "Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God..."

I hope to get a copy of the conference Ensign so I can study their talks more! Thanks for the tape also! IT was fun to hear your voices!!!
I love you all! have such a fantastic week!

Cectpa Cunningham P.S. If you are interested in looking up ath etalks from General Conference that Ariel mentioned in her letter, and other subjects like temple etc. go to

More Chalk drawings as we contact people to teach them of Christ.

My companion Sister Undejzorova from Estonia.

This is the apartment we live in. SUPER SNICKERS!
The inside... just to make you all jealous.


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