Monday, April 25, 2011

Christ is Risen!! April 25, 2011 Ariel's Letter #4

Hello Everyone!!!

Please thanks to President Hunt for his letter (what he shared about the resurrection was AMAZING! and sister Foster! I also got Aunt Shirley's , Martin and Jessi Hansen!!. Thank you all. Letters are the BEST!!!

I REALLY loved your Easter reflections, Mom! It was SO wonderful! It is SUCH wonderful news!! Happy Easter! The good news that Christ has risen is true! And therefore we will all rise also! ( John 5:28-29 "Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which ALL that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."

What a blessing! Before I forget... I don't remember the exact date... but Happy Anniversary to Erin and Ian!!! WAHOOO!!! We haven't been able to meet with Bacili, the man with the baby, but we have talked to him a couple of times on the telephone and he's been nice every time, but no luck yet. Please continue to pray for Alexander though. He hasn't been able to stay clean from smoking yet, so we are going to do all that we can! After the lesson this week with him, i just felt such an overwhelming love for this man, and I desire to help him so much! President Nechiporov told us that this is his 3rd time meeting with the missionaries. He said that it's a miracle that he wants to get baptized. His brother was at the lesson, and was kind of a bit like the devils advocate, as he isn't a member. I don't think that it helped the spirit very much, but Alexander stood up for what we were teaching and the gospel which was really good.

As we taught the lesson the spirit really testified to me about D&C 29:34 which says, "Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created."
God's laws are spiritual. Our bodies are the temple of our spirit, and for the Holy Ghost. However, in order for the Holy Ghost to be with us, the temple, our body, needs to be clean and undefiled. And the Word of Wisdom is the way that the Lord has showed us we can be clean to receive the Holy Spirit! I think I had understood this before, but it just clicked and made so much more sense!

This week I have just felt such a strong desire to talk with everyone and share this message that we have! It's been hard because I don't feel like I can say anything, but the desire is so strong! I see people on the street and just wish that I could speak with them and have them listen!! Also this week as my companion and I have been reading Preach My Gospel I have felt SO much of the truth of what is contained in that book! What a blessing to have such an amazing book all about Missionary Work!

This week we were able to teach a new member lesson to Cvetlana and Viktor. Wow! They are SO great! We talked about the temple and challenged them to prepare to go there together by reading the scriptures together everyday. We framed a little picture of the Ukraine, Kiev temple and wrote, "Together forever" or something like that in Russian on it! Well... Cectra Undezjorova did that!

This week I have been wanting to be more involved when we teach lessons, so I will try to figure out what I want to say before hand and then have Sister Undezjorova translate it for me. I try to memorize it and present it in the lesson. Luckily my companion is wonderful enough to do this for me and the people are patient enough to listen to me!

We had a wonderful service project this week! We helped a younger member named Anya clean up the grassy area in front of her house. There was quite a bit of trash and it took us about 3 hours, but was SO fun! I can't tell you how wonderful it felt to just get outside and get dirty doing yard work! I know dad... you probably never thought that you'd hear me say this, but I love yard work!!! :) Anya's mom is not a member, but she made a REALLY yummy beet, pickle, bean, etc. salad for us after our work. She is a great funny lady, but I couldn't understand barely ANYTHING she said because she talks SO SO fast!! I think that I'm beginning to understand more... but I still can't understand a lot. I'm hoping that I'll keep getting better!

So, I forgot to tell you, but we had a street contact come to church last week!!! And he also brought his sister!! They said that they don't understand the Bratislavian church. We gave them both Books of Mormon and I can't tell you the joy that I felt that they had come!! Wow!! It was SO wonderful!! They didn't come this week, but we talked to her the other day and she said that she has read some of the Book of Mormon. She doesn't understand it and so has written some questions for us!! I hope that we can meet with her SUPER soon!

This week I have been able to study some of Elder Bednar's talk "Of Things that Matter Most." It is SO amazing!! He taught us to focus on the four fundamentals of getting to know and serving God, Family, Fellowman and getting to know ourselves. One of the quotes I like is this, "The reason we return to these foundational principles, to the pure doctrines, is becasue they are the gateway to truths of profound meaning. They are the door to experience of sublime importace that would otherwise be beyond our capacity to comprehend. These simple, basic principles are the key to living in harmony with God and man. They are the keys to opening the windows of heaven. They lead us to the peace, joy, and understanding that Heavenly Father has promised to His children who hear and obey Him!" I love this quote!
Alma 12:9-10 says: "And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of His word which He doth grant unto the children of men,according to the heed and diligence which they give unto Him. And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of His word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of His word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full."

I love how as we are obedient we come to know God more and to understand his mysteries. And that's what we do as we change and make goals in our lives!! And that's what we do with investigators when we ask them to keep commitments! It opens the doors to more knowledge! I also LOVE Helaman 3:35 which says: " Nevertheless, they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God."

What a blessing that we have this opportunity to grow and learn and become more and more purified and like the Savior!!

This Sunday we went with the members and handed out little Easter things with Book of Mormons! There's a picture of us singing! It was fun to see the saints ( members) involved!!

love you all!
Cectpa Cunningham

An excerpt from Sister LeBaron's letter (Ariel's companion from the MTC) explaining how the Russians celebrate Easter.

"It was cool because we learned a little more about the russian orthodox church.  they do this thing where there is an eternal flame that is in jerusalem and the batushka (priest) from the church in moscow goes to jerusalem and gets the flame and brings it back to moscow.  then all the batushkas in other cities in russia go to moscow and light their lanterns and bring it back to their cities.  it's supposedly like a magical flame, too, that for like 5 minutes after it's first lit it can't burn you or something so people run their hands through it and rub it all over their bodies and it doesn't hurt them or something...  but anyway, yesterday one of our kind-of-investigators wanted to take us on a little tour of taganrog, so he took us to the main russian orthodox temple in the city and the timing was just right that when we got there, the batushka was just returning from moscow with the flame so there were TONS of people outside the temple waiting.  then after they took the flame inside, everyone went inside and lit their own candles and took them back to their houses.  it was kinda cool to watch."

Service!  Love it!

 My mom asked how we got around in Rostov.  Well, little did I know
but Russia has actually reverted to a means of transportation that I
didn't even know existed!  It's not by foot or by car... It's
definitely not a Numbus 2000, but it works! hehe!  Props to my
companion for this picture!  Notice the beautiful lawn that we
We were set and ready to work! Anya is in our ward and her friend
Koste is in another ward in Rostov.

The yummy salad!  I know! Marissa will LOVE the pinkness! :)

This is Natasha and Nastia.  They had me braid their hair because
they like the way that I've done my hair a couple of times!  Natasha
works in the mission office and is almost 21 and Nastia is 15!  They
are SO great!  This is in front of our ward building.

This is after about one day of being out and about.  Kind of like
Bau tou huh Ammon?  Super dusty!

This is us singing at the park.


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