Monday, May 30, 2011

Come Follow Me! Ariel's Letter May 30, 2011

хелло моя семья,

(Hello in English with a Russian accent and then my family!) haha  This week has been so extremely hard!  I think one of the hardest on my mission so far, but it was also really really good and I hope I learned a lot!
 When things get hard I remember the sign in our house which says: " A missionary (ME) leaves my family for 2 years so that I can help other families be together forever!"

The beginning of the week was really rough because my companion wasn't feeling well so we had to stay inside, and when you have to be inside and your spirits are already down... it just doesn't make for a good combination.  So, I kept myself busy and ready the area book.  I went through all the former investigators, etc. Some of the Elder's entries were extremely entertaining.  I think that my favorite was on where they had committed a man to baptism and the guy said that he had made some weird agreement with God that he would get baptized when someone loves him for who he is and marries him... haha!

There was one family that kind of stuck out to me.  The elders had said that they loved feeding the missionaries, and this was a true statement as e got in touch with them that week and visited.  They have like 8 cats and 8 dogs, so it was kind of a crazy house, but we hope to see some things progress.  He expressed concerns that he never got an answer that it was true.  We talked about how we can't just pray and expect God to give us the answer, but like when we study for a test in College, we study long and hard to find the answers that we'll need for the test.  The Lord works the same way.  We need to work for it.  Attending church, obeying commitments, praying, etc, and then we can receive that answer from the Lord.

My companion also shared a cool experience with me.  As we've been teaching a bit about prophets lately she shared this experience as a witness of the truth of a living prophet on the earth today.  She and her friend/room-mate in Moscow went to General conference.  they talked a lot about food storage and preparing for the future.  Everything was totally fine in their lives right then, but they decided to just go out and buy a little bit of extra food.  IT turned out that in the next coming months there was a money crisis and she didn't get paid at her job for about 3 or 4 months.  She said that the extra food that she and her room-mate had bought was enough for them and even for some stray cats! :)

I have really enjoyed the emphasis that our mission has put on family history work and the family.  We have a sister missionary named Sister Demina.  She is from Moscow, but came on her mission from Idaho Falls.  We talk a lot about using family history work and the family to help people gain in interest to learn more.  That is our message!!  That we can live with our families forever!  This week I was feeling really homesick, and every time family, the temple, etc. was mentioned I would almost certainly inevitably cry... kind of comical....  But it has been SO great to be able to look more at the family history book that mom gave me and dad's journal of special experiences from his life!  I was SO touched as I have used these 2 resources in lessons.  We talked about the plan of salvation and I took the opportunity to talk about how my family is linked together and will be able to live together forever because of God's plan!  Sister Demina as thrilled when she saw my book and is going to copy it for her seminars as an example of how people can compile their family history information.  I feel such a link and love for my family!  We taught a lesson with Natasha and Sergei this week.  They are members in our branch and such an amazingly wonderful family.  We have been planning a little project to do for contacting with pictures  to help explain more about how the gospel blesses and strengthens families.  We want to have the members do something like that of their own, but that day we talked about journal writing.  We shared D&C 2:2-3  "And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.  If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming."  (It is also similar to Malachi 4: 5-6 in the Bible).  We explained  how our hearts can turn to our fathers through temple work, etc.  But I especially like verse 3.  The whole purpose that God created the earth was so that our families could be connected and live together forever!  If this wasn't the case, the earth would have been a waste to create when the Savior comes, because that was His purpose in creating it.

I shared Dad's book and how his experiences have helped and blessed me.  I shared the experience of how you gained your testimony of President Kimball and that the experiences help me gain strength and faith.  Thank you SO much for doing that for us.  As we talked later I couldn't really understand what was being said but as I looked at the journal I realized Dad's last entry of the year he decided to work on the journal and finish it for us.  I was impressed to share this, but wasn't exactly sure what they were talking about.  I didn't and after the lesson told my companion what I had wanted to say.  She said that at that time Sergei had been talking about the death of his mother and that we don't know when things will happen.  I wish I had followed the prompting, but I shared it with him at church the next day.  Dad, you determined to finish these experiences for us the year before your stroke!! What a great blessing!!  We also don't know when things will happen and what a blessing it is to have this record for our posterity and those we love, so we know what they thought, felt, and experienced!  Thank you Dad!

We also had a good lesson with Alexander yesterday.  He may have some of his desire back, and mom I shared with him the story that you sent me about Elder Ballard and then Moroni 7:33 which says: "And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me."  I told him that I knew his baptism was expedient in Christ and that he would receive the power to do all that he needed to!  I felt the spirit really strong as I testified that even though I couldn't say that word (expedient) I knew that it was expedient in Christ and that God created the world so that I could live with my family forever and also so that he could live with his!

After the lesson I was pondering on commitments.  As missionaries we are to give a commitment at every teaching opportunity that we have.  These commitments invite people to change and come closer to Christ.  Sometimes we may feel a bit odd to boldly ask for a yes and no commitment.  I thought, however, how the Savior gave commitments.  He didn't say, if it's convenient, if you have the time, or if you want to... He simply and boldly invited, Come, follow me. (Mark 1:17-20).  "And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.  And straightway they forsook their nets and followed him.  And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.  And straightway he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants and went after him."  Christ wants us to follow and to see!! John 14:18 says  "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."    That is also our goal and purpose as missionaries!  We invite people to come and follow Christ.  Whether they will or not is their choice, but we must not be afraid to extend that commitment!

One last thought.  As I mentioned, it was a hard week, but we all have trials and hard weeks, months, or years in our lives.  I read Jacob 5:70-75 this week.  It talks about servants working in the vineyard with the Lord of the vineyard helping him to nourish his trees.   I loved the imagery that we are all called to something in life.   On a mission, a mother, a friend, a Sunday school teacher, etc.  But wherever we work in the vineyard of the Lord, the Lord will labor with us (v.72)  When we do the work His way, we can be sure that He will be there working along with us!! I am SO grateful for this as I know that I cannot do it by myself!  And in the end we will have joy WITH HIM in His vineyard!  I sure do love you all!!

Cectpa Cunningham

 Me and our investigator sveta.

One of the cats at the animal house!! haha

At a family history activity.  Natasha works in the mission office (front left, Nastia back right- i love her!, and sveta middle back.  Sister Ivanova back left, and you should all know me by now! :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ariel's Letter from Russia May 23, 2011 Hello to Family and Friends

Hello my dear dear family!

Woooahahahaooooo!!!  CORRIE STUM!!  I'm SO glad that I FINALLY :) got a letter from you and congratulations on the engagement!!  I hope to be receiving an announcement and to be able to keep getting letters from you too!! :)  I'm SO happy for  you girl! And you'll be getting a letter SOOOON!!!   I sure love you girl!! And DaLynn!!  Congrats on the mission call to Ecuador!!

This week, as we had continued praying like we usually do :) to find people that had been prepared for our message, seriously almost EVERY SINGLE person that we met while we were contacting already knew about the Book of Mormon or already had one!  It has just kind of continued, like last week.  I was thinking about it and often the people we meet will never meet with us again, or give us their number so we can call them, but that was another opportunity to touch their hearts.  And someday, I hope that another missionary will find them and that then they will be ready to meet and learn more about our message of God's Plan for Children!  All of our work builds off of each other.  And if we don't see the results now, I hope that the next missionaries that meet them will!!

We had a great lesson with our nine year old investigator David this week.  He is very active and so Cectpa Ivanova drew an intersection on a piece of paper.  She used the analogy of the road signs as commandments from God.  We then talked to him about prayer and scripture study and had him paint his very own prayer rock to go in his pillow to remind him to say his prayers at night, and to put it on the floor to remind him when he gets out of bed in the morning! :)  Hopefully he won't decide to have a pillow fight with his rock inside the pillow!

This week we had our landlord come to fix the light that is in our bathroom.  We have been putting a lamp on the top of the washing machine and it works fine... but... anyway, when we got home he had opened the cupboards, taken the shade off of the lamp and then taped the lamp into the cupboard, so now we can't close our cupboard because a lamp is sticking out of it!! haha!  He called shortly after we got home and my companion looked at me and said... I don't know what I'm going to say, because I can't thank him for that!! haha!  She made me laugh!

So... funny language moment.  I was at church and president Nechiporov was visiting the ward that meets right before ours.  He came out and I was talking to one of the members. I had been talking to Natasha about how my sister had just had a baby and my sister-in-law was pregnant, so when he asked where my companion was and I tried to respond in Russian and say that she was preparing her talk for the day.  Instead of saying the word for talk, however, I said the word pregnant which I had just been using to talk with natasha.... ya... he just kind of looked at me funny and we finally got the right word out there after some English... haha!  I'm always great at making good impressions!! :) 

And btw, Alexander's daughter is like Marissa's Russian twin!  Oh my goodness!! She reminds me SO much of Marissa!

This week I read the scripture in Moroni 8:16, "...Behold, i speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear."  I was thinking about my Savior as I read this verse.  Even for our perfect Savior, the Atonement was more encompassing and painful and... I don't even know how to describe it.... than I will ever understand.  I thought about the perfect love that He has for every single one of His children!  And I thought about the fear that He could have felt as He came close to having to perform the Atonement for us.  But I think that because of His perfect love for all of us, He was also able to cast out His fear.  He does love each and every one of us PERFECTLY and understands how each of us feel in our trials and struggles.  He is always there reaching for us, and with perfect love, He always will be.  No matter what we do, He will never forget us.  I hope that I also may work to develop this perfect love so that in everything I do, I will be able to cast out my fears and press forward with faith and courage.  1 John 4 in the Bible also talks about this!  It is such a wonderful chapter about love!

Hope you are all doing WELL!!
Cectpa Cunningham
 Cectpa Ivanova and I on a Russian road.


 Yes.. .crazy... like always!!

This is my little friend at church.  I think we know about the same amount of Russian... so we get along great!

 And this is Marissa's twin!!  Marina is her name! She is SO awesome!!

We met with Alexander on Tuesday.  He doesn't seem to have the desire or faith to do what it takes.  We're there when he's ready for us to help him, but if he won't choose to do what we challenge him to do to help him strengthen his faith and gain a testimony, then we can't do anything.  But he played the guitar for us and it was so fun!  I got it on video and will have to show you all later, but here's a picture!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ariel's Letter #8 THEY UNDERSTAND ME!!!! May 16, 2011


WAHOOOO!!!!  First of all i want everyone to know that i have the CUTEST NEPHEW IN THE WHOLE WORLD!!!  Congratulations to Erin and Ian on the birth of their son Emmett Thomas Fillmore!!  And don't worry, i will be pringing those pictures and learning the word for nephew and showing them to EVERYONE!! :)

This week was outstanding!!  We had transfers this week and my companion was transferred down to Krasnador.  Which then meant that I had to be the one to know the way around Rostov for my new companion!  Her name is Cectpa Ivanova adn I actually knew her in the MTC!  She is from a city near Moscow and she is SO wonderful!  I seriously feel like I am serving with an angel!  She is one of the most humble loving people that I know and I have SO much to learn from her!

The other good news is..... PEOPLE ACTUALLY COULD UNDERSTAND ME THIS WEEK!!! :)   I feel like God finally loosed my tongue and I can speak!!  I have been able to take more of a part in lessons and street contacting and I can understand more!  Cectpa Ivonova's English is not extremely good, so when we're home I help her with English and sometimes I have to translate for her... from English to Russian!  And then on the street and home she helps me with Russian!  It is SO great to have her as a companion!  As we taught a short spiritual thought with a member last night, I felt this burning urge to share my thoughts, but there didn't seem like a good pause, and I don't always understand everything... so I don't want to interrupt with a thought about the Holy Ghost when we've already moved on to another topic, but I felt like Jeremiah in Jeremiah 20:7-9 which says: "O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me.  For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the Lord was made a reproach unto me, and a derision daily.  Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name.  But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay."  

 I thought it was an appropriate time and so I said what I had been thinking.  They listened and then looked at me and Tatiana (the R.S. President in our ward) said that I just listened and watch and then I opened my mouth and I could really speak really well!!  She said in Russian something that sounds in teh English alphabet like, Moletyetz and I think it is the best words that ever be said to me!  It means like, way to go!  You did a fantastic job!!  YAYAYA!!!  It was SO wonderful to feel like people can understand me and I can share my thoughts.  I still can't express myself EXTREMELY well... but that's why we practice right?

We decided this week to pray specifically for opportunities to meet people who were prepared for the message about the Book of Mormon and living prophets.  We met this man that day that had been looking for something in his house and run across the Book of Mormon that was on the shelf.  He said that it was wierd that he had seen it that day and then that he had met us on the street!  funny huh.... not coincidence!  He wouldn't give us his number, but sometimes we are there only to plant the seed!  I can't tell you how many people we've met this week who say that they already have a Book of Mormon!  haha!  The Lord definitely put them in our path because of our prayer I think!

It has been cool this week as I have studied and thought I have had some ideas about Alexander and what we can do to help him!  I hope that this week we will be able to implement them and keep you all updated!  This week we also went on splits with the Assistant to the President.  Elder Dana is majoring in some kind of art at BYU-I and we went out and did another chalk drawing!  This one was of the plan of salvation.  It was way fun to just draw on the sidewalk with the chalk.  Cectpa Ivanova and Elder Kempton did the contacting while Elder Dana and I drew.  The minute we stop drawing people stop looking and asking what we're doing, but it is a great way to get people to ask about the church.

We also have been praying this week to find a new investigator and while we were on the street we stopped and talked with this girl.  She said that she wasn't interested but she has a friend who is really interested adn so she took a Book of Mormon and our info!  I hope that she'll get in touch with us.  We also got a call from teh Elders of a girl that it is our area who wants to be baptized!  She is pregnant right now, and so she wasn't able to come to church on Sunday because she wasn't feeling well, but we hope to meet with her this week too!  We're excited and ready to move forward and get things rolling!  It says in Moroni 7:27-29, 32-35: "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased because Christ hath accended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men?  For he hath answered the ends of the law, and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwellth eternally in the heavens.  And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased?  Behold I say unto you Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men....And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.  And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.  And he hath said: Repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved."
Thus,  the miracle occurs when each individual person recieves that change of heart!  Like President Eyring said in his amazing talk "Always!"  The power of the church "comes from individual hearts changed by faith to keep the commandments of the gospel of Jesus Christ."  We are here to help people learn to do that!!! :)

Thank you to everyone for your letters!  I LOVE hearing from you all and sorry if it takes me FOREVER to get back to you, but hopefully i can find the time to write you all at least 1 letter!! :) Thanks to Katie Cutler, Simone!, Aunt Susan, President Hunt, Aunt Shirley, Sister Foster, Martin, Jessi Hansen, DaLynn!!  And speaking of DaLynn!!! YOU'RE GOING ON A MISSION!!!!! Miss, I will never serve a mission! :) I love you girl!! I was laughing SO hard when I read your letter!!!!  You better let me know ASAP where you are headed and when!! I'm SO excited for you and that you feel so much peace about it!! It's a lifechanging and crazy wonderful experience!  Now we just need Alicia to go and then our whole apartment will be on missions... well, except the married ones... Jessica and Heather! :)

I love you all and hope that you are having a wonderful week!


Cectpa Cunningham

Cectpa Undejzorova and I with our awesome turkish like pants!! haha don't worry, it was after planning!

We LOVE vskoosnoloobov!!

 Chalk Drawings.

 My new companion!! She is 28 and amazing adn I love her OH SO MUCH!!

And this is Lydia!!! Oh how I love this women!  She is SO cute and 84!!  I think I'll bring her home with me!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ariel's Letter #7 May 9, 2011 - - Stove-top EVERYTHING!!

Please write.  I love letters.  Go to "Find mission" and press "Russia na Donu" and then press" Write Letter" and write me!!!  Thank you!!!
 Make sure and send all packages and snail mail (this does not include pouch mail) pouch mail has been getting here great btw! to the Bolshaya Sadovaya address that I gave you before
Russia Rostov Mission
Bolshaya Sadovaya 39/4
Rostov-na-Donu, Russia

Hello Everyone!!

This week was pretty slow, as Cectpa Undezjorova was sick most of the week, so we didn't go out much this week.... Last preparation day (We get one day each week to do laundry, write letters and see other things if we have time)  we walked down and saw the Don River!!  It was fun to just walk around and see the people just milling around, eating, and having a good time!  That evening we had family home evening with the president of our branch!  I led the spiritual thought!  It was only like 7 minutes long or so.... but hey!  I think they understood my Russian, so that was good!!  We also got a call from our Zone Leaders this week and got the news that they had found Osama Bin Laden, so they told us to be really careful to who we talked to and where we went.
The other week we met this lady named Lydia.  She absolutely LOVES us and loves talking with us.  She is about 85 or so and so animated and happy!  She reminds me a lot of Gramzy! :)  We made no bake cookies, with out Peanut Butter, this week.  We didnt' have any aluminum foil, so we used the wrappers from candy bars to put the cookies on.  We then gave some to Lydia and some other people.  Our "American cookies" were a big hit! :)  I guess you can't go wrong for most people with chocolate and sugar!  We don't have an oven, and since we were home most of the week, I also experimented and made stove top apple cobbler!  It actually turned out pretty good!! I also made my companion her first grilled cheese sandwich!  She is a big fan and now we make them fairly often!

We had a pretty big disappointment earlier this week though as we went to teach Alexander.  We went out and bought everything that we needed to start the quite smoking program with him.  The food, snacks, vitamins, etc.  We got to his house and he seemed a little bit different.  When we started the lesson and gave him the 15 steps that he would need to do everyday, he looked at them and said that he would only do some of them because it was bogus and he knew that it wouldn't work.  It was hard for me to understand why he wouldn't just try it for a week if he really wanted to quit, but there has to be another underlying problem.  I was really sad and just felt really bad.  I didnt' feel like we could ever expect him to progress and get baptized now.  I have really realized that I need to have more faith.  My faith makes a big difference in the work as missionaries.  Like it says in Moroni 7:27,29   " Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father His rights of mercy which He hath upon the children of men?..And because He has done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold, I say unto you Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men."   I know that miracles have not ceased, and so I have been praying for a miracle.  We haven't given up on him and I am going to do all I can to help him come unto Christ!  That's our message!  That Christ invites all to come unto Him and be cleansed and perfected in Him!

We had a lesson this week for our district conference about family history.  I have been reading the family history book that my mom made for me before I left.  Wow!  Families are amazing and the love that I felt for my ancestors was really strong!  That is also our message!  That families can be together forever!  We are here to help people find the path that will enable them to have their families for eternity!

This week we were able to teach an English lesson!  Wow!! It was SO fun!!  I'm excited to someday be a teacher, and I may want to do TESOL!  We sang and practiced knowing parts of the body!

Just to give you all an idea.  The church here is SO small!  In fact, we just heard, I'm not 100% sure it' correct, but they are going to form their first stake in Russia on June 5 in Moscow!  I don't know any 2nd generation members... those that have been born and raised in the church... that are over 16 years old.  At least that I know of... So we are doing a lot of ground breaking and the work that we are doing here is the beginning of effecting many generations to come!  There is a quote in one of our packets we get for the Rostov Mission and Elder Piper said that their are as many people prepared here in Russia as there are in Mexico, we just need to find them!  Now I need to put our faith to the test and find those that have been prepared!

Alright!  My two best friends have very important days this week!  Happy Birthday Martin!!!  I hope that you have a SPLENDID day!!! And Corrie!! I wish you all the luck in the world as you enter the MTC this week!  Oh, don't you worry, you will be hearing from me, and you won't be able to help but see me very shortly after you return!  Even the minute you get off the plane... well, if I can get past security to get to you!!  I love you both!!!!

Cectpa Cunningham

 This is the Don River.

And again.

 My poor sick companion.

No Bakes.

 This is President Nechiporov!! Yes HE IS THE BEST  and serving in Rostov we get to see him in the office almost weekly!

These are his bunny slippers that Cectrpa Nechiporova got for him for Christmas!!

 Trying Apple Cobbler!

Me talking to ......MY FAMILY!!!  Happy mother's day!! I realized I was SO excited I forgot to wish you a happy mother's day!!! i love you MOM!!

 We made this case for my scriptures this week and now I can take the pictures of my family with me EVERYWHERE!  Ammon's pic is kinda wierd... but it was the only one I had!  But I still love seeing their smiling faces and it makes me happy to remember them!!! I love you family!!!

Flowers in Rostov!! ya!! So pretty!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Letter #5 May 2, 2011 Zone Conferences are AMAZING!!

I get to talk to you this week!!  wahooo!!   I think I sent my letter about 3 weeks ago!! so that got there pretty fast!!   For the phone call have everyone think of one question that they'd like to ask me! And I told Alexander and his wife Olga that there are people praying for him and that I knew my family was praying for him!  Olga almost started crying!  They are SO great!  The name of the program Elder Senkens used with his son is "Institute for Achievement of Human Potential" by Glenn Doma.  It's based in Philadelphia and I've heard they've had success with stroke patients also, but this program is mainly for kids.  it's .  i got yours pics and loved them.  Pictures coming soon!!!
Hello America!!

We started out this week, well Tuesday, with Zone Conference.  Elder Senkens of the 70 (from Latvia) and his wife were our guests!  It was AMAZING!  President and Sister Nechiporova spoke and the Zone Leaders and Assistants to the President!  IT was SO wonderful!  He told a story that I'd like to share with you.  When their son was about 3 years old, he still wasn't able to speak.  They took him to the doctor and the doctor said that everything was fine and that it was normal for boys to start talking at a later time.  When he turned 5 he still wasn't talking.  They took him in again, but this time the doctors said that he was mentally retarded and they couldn't do anything to help him.  Not wanting to give up, Elder and sister Senkens did a lot of research and found a program not recognized by doctors that helped children like their son.  The brain doesn't stop growing until the age of 8 (interesting that's the age of accountability when we're baptized huh?! :).  So they work with these kids to get their neurons working properly.  Elder Senkens and his wife went to a week long seminar in Philadelphia and were in classes every single day learning how they could help their son.  At the end of the week they formulated a program that they could use to help him.  I was able to talk with him for a little bit after the Zone Conference and he said that it was just a lot of movement, crawling, doing a ton of exercises all day to get their sons body working.  He said that he literally saw the lame begin to walk and the blind to see!  They returned home and looked at their 5 year old son lying on the floor.  He wondered how he could ever help him understand everything that they had just learned, and why he would have to do these things everyday that were SO hard!  They told their son, "your brother and sister have a job.  They go to school everyday and study.  I have a job and have to go to work, and your mom also does many things that are her jobs.  Now you are going to have a job.  If you do your job well, all will be well with you!  "This is just like Heavenly Father's plan for us!  We are his children and he loves us SO very much.  HE also has a plan for us, and if we follow and do his plan, all will be with us.  But we must trust Him, because ,"Verily, Verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you." (D&C 78:17).  We cannot understand all that God has in store for us, but as we trust Him and follow His plan for us, all will be well!

I felt frustrated this past week as I couldn't really talk to people and I couldn't share what means SO much to me!  Russian has stresses on the words, so even if you say the word right, but you put the stress on the wrong consonant, people can't understand you.  Elder Senkens also talked about light and truth.  As we study and gain intelligence we gain this light.  That light is from our Heavenly Father.  We don't have to prove our message is true, we just need to bear testimony of the simple truths.  I know that it's true because as I've tried to follow my Savior, I've come to know him personally.  And I know that He loves me, he loves the missionaries, he loves every single person in Russia and wants them to know of His plan and follow Him because then all will be well with them.  (I don't know if you want to share this next part I'll write in parentheses in the e-mail to everyone who isn't members but these are some quick thoughts/scriptures you should study)

(I studied more about what Elder Senkens said.  It's really interesting and you should study them!  d&C 93:36 and 93:24.  Science can't define what light is, but we know that it's intelligence. That's why God is full of light, because He knows everything and has gained intelligence.  And that's why the more intelligence we gain in this life, the greater advantage we have in the life to come D&C 130:18-19.  As we gain intelligence we become more like Him and receive more of His light!  And James 1:22-27.  Our church isn't just a church.  It's something we BECOME!  It's a way we live and who we are!  We strive to become like the Savior and do what He would do if he were here!)

This week we taught Alexander and told him that next time we will come prepared to start the quit smoking program with him.  We asked him to read the Book of Mormon everyday and pray in order to prepare. We told him that we would be praying for him and I knew that many of you were also praying for him!  Thank you SO much!  His wife and he were very touched when I told them I knew that my family was praying for him! We called him the other day and he said that he had woken up that morning and read 3 chapters from the Book of Mormon.  HE said that he hadn't smoked as much that day and was going to try not to smoke at
all the next day!  He said he felt  like our prayers were working!  He is SO great!  We fasted for him on Sunday and asked another family in the ward to also fast with us.

A miracle also happened this week!  I have been able to understand more of what people say!! And if I can't understand, I can at least differentiate between the different words!!  Thank you for your prayers!

We started knocking there little houses this week.  I got my first sunburn because this lady talked to us for a good hour and the sun was right on me!  Rostov is blooming and beautiful! Every once in a while Sister Undezjorova just like to stop and smell the flowers!  But soon it will be SOOO hot!!

The other day we walked by a track and found out that it was free and open from 7-8 pm daily!!!!  WE had to wait until P-day to go, but we went today and OH MY GOODNESS IT WAS THE BEST THING TO RUN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 5 WEEKS!!  My normal daily routine must help a little bit because I glad I was able to run 4 miles in a little under 32 minutes!!! yayaya!!!  well... hopefully their track is the same size!! IT felt SO good!  Just wanted to share the joy!!

Statue of the postman!

Jesus Christ is Risen!!

My sunburn... ouch!

Some of the beautiful flowers.

Sister Undezjorova and our friend Frisky!! He followed us around
town as we contacted for a good hour or so!! a little disruptive, but
a good friend to make us laugh!

This picture is for Martin! haha  We don't know what happened to
our former investigator... haha