Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!

Don't you worry!  i didn't forget the 4th of July in Russia!  My pictures will show how we celebrated!! :)  I missed making our yogurt with Breanne and Corrie though... :(  But all was remembered!! :)
So much to write from this week, so I'll do my best!!  We had a lesson with this cute little old lady in our ward.  her name is Valentina and I told Sister Ivanova one time that I like to practice my Russian with her at church because I don't think she really remembers a lot, so I will ask her the same question almost every time I talk with her.  How did you meet the missionaries?  And then she will tell her story and I will listen, even though I've already heard it maybe like 5 times!! haha :)  So, we were laughing and joking about that on the way to the lesson, that we should ask how she met the missionaries.  During the lesson she started talking herself about how President Konderashov had helped her into the church.  I couldn't help myself and asked, "So, did President Kondereshov introduce you to the missionaries?"  She didn't here the question the first time, or understand it, so she asked me to say it again, but it was hopeless because Sister Ivanova and I at this point were totally speechless with the giggles.... oopss..... haha! :)  She laughed too... but she didn't know why!!  Then, another funny story, we were at a lesson and had Sergie, a member, there with us.  He said something to me and I just smiled and said, "da." (yes)  Then as we walked out of the lesson with him Sister Ivanova was laughing, she said that she had something to tell me.  Sergei opened teh doors of his car for us and when we got in Sister Ivanova turned to me and said, "you were the one that agreed to this."  it was really funny as we had just had a conversation the other day that we weren't sure if we were allowed to get a ride home from Sergei.  He is married and over 40 and a member of the church, but just with him we didn't think so... but I had agreed to it!  we found out that night that it was ok... but I think that I should be a little more careful not to say da when I don't understand!! haha :)
We met these 2 younger guys contacting this week.  It was cool because it all started out as a joke.  They really weren't interested and just thought that it would be fun to joke around with us and get a laugh.  They mentioned it was strange that people baptize babies, but then were taken aback when Sister Ivanova said that we don't baptize babies because baptism is for sin and babies are innocent.  We wait until they are 8, when they can be accountable for their actions and know what is right and what is wrong.  They started to listen a little bit more.  When we asked for their names, one of them said about the other, "This is the son of God Alexander..."  We laughed and joked back, and I said that we were their sisters! haha!  They wouldn't give us their number, but I hope that they will call and want to learn more after thinking about what we talked about.
We met this mom who was walking with her daughter and grand kids.  We talked to them about families, but the mom didn't want to give us her number.  after we walked away I told sister ivanova that I had wanted to ask for the daughters, as maybe she would give it to us and we had just asked the mom, but sometimes I still feel weird that it may be weird and out of place.  Sister Ivanova reminded me that I should follow those feelings and so we decided to go back... ya... let's just make things more awkward by not asking the first time! :)  well, I said that her mom had so no, but asked if maybe she was interested.  She didn't really seem that interested but did give us her number.  We'll see what happens!  if she doesn't meet with us, maybe some missionaries down the road will call her and she'll be interested!
We also did service this week at a members house.  She has us do the CRAZIEST things!  She had Sister Ivanova climb up on this ledge and she literally became a lumber jack cutting down these trees with this old hatchet thing.  She then passed the trees down to us and we broke them into smaller pieces with our bare hands!! ya!! haha.  As part of the job she wanted us to weed a couple things... one of which was marijuana... just growing in her back yard! haha! yep!  This is Russia! :)  She also had these tomato plants all over her yard, just growing in random places, and I couldn't help but kept accidentally stepping on them... oops.
Sorry this is so long, but another miracle.  We were waiting for someone to meet us for a lesson and contacting.  This young man walked by but then came back feeling bad that he hadn't stopped to talk.  He had met with the missionaries before, and so just came up to us and we actually thought that he was the person we were supposed to meet for our lesson... but it wasn't.  The man we were supposed to meet went to the wrong place and so was about an hour late.  We talked with this man for about that amount of time.  He had a lot of questions.  We gave him a Book of Mormon and told him to pray!  The cool part is is that he was going into the army the next day, but God provide the way that he could meet with us and talk with us!!   It was cool! 
A lot of people from our ward have traveled to the Ukraine Kiev temple for the week!!  It is a big trip and they have to get visas and everything.  The spirit in the church that day was SO strong!  I feel like EVERYONE had some kind of major trial come to keep them from going to the temple.  One lady who is going for her first time had to go to the hospital with her daughter the other day.  It is actually the Grandma and daughter of our investigator David.  While there they saw a lady and her daughter come in who had been in an accident.  After the husband/father had gotten there the doctor said that the daughter wouldn't live.  Ludmilla, the grandma, went over and started talking to the man.  She taught him about prayer and told him to pray to God.  The father didn't know what to do, but Ludmilla reassured him that God would here His prayers.  They watched as he went into a side part of the hospital and held his head in his hands.  They think that he was praying.  Ludmilla and Zara, her daughter, also prayed that his daughter would live.  The doctor came back out a little later and said that she would live!! A MIRACLE!!  Another family, one of the sons got REALLY sick.  He couldn't even walk!  His uncle came over and gave him a blessing and lo and behold he was at church on Sunday and they are going to the temple!!  Sergei and Natasha and their two little boys are going to get sealed this week!!!  YAYAYAYA!!  We went over yesterday and gave a quick spiritual thought about how the temple blesses families and gives them more strength to overcome their differences and strengthen them!! :)  I am SOOOOO excited for them! they are WONDERFUL!!
One of the husbands of a lady in our ward went missing... know one knows where he is, so please keep the Andrev family in your prayers.  His name is Dima.  And Sara... our investigator from Namibia... we have called all week and had no answer... so please pray we can find her this week also!  
I love you all SOOOOO much!! have SUCH  wonderful week!!
Cестра Канингхэм

 A dog barking at us when we knock!

 Super cool sunset with a Bratislovian church.

 Sister Ivanova, and yes... marijuana.

 5 americans came to church yesterday!  It was way fun to talk with them.  They're doing some kind of conference!  her name is Carrie Kent! Us next to our church sign.

 Our 4th of july breakfast!! Russian flag for Sister Ivanova and American for me!  I had to improvise... and yes... it is the skin of a plum that I used for the red and some kind of candy thing for the starts!! :)

 We had a little picnic on the Don River

 While there some russian television place interviewed Elder Beckwith... haha  I think he made us all look bad! haha

 Elder Dana played a song on his guitar he'd written!  SUPER COOL!!

 I attempted to see the mother land... but failed... but I tried!! :)

 Our service again.

 THe jeppsons with our "YOGURT" for the 4th

Valentina!  I thought you needed a pictu as I had told a story about her!! I love her!! She is SO cute!!  I haven't seen Lidia for a while... i should visit my other favorite babooshka!


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