Monday, July 18, 2011

No, we are not journalists! July 18, 2011

Hello my WONDERFUL Family!! Oh how I love you SO very much!!
This has been a fun and very eventful week!  I will try to just give you some of the highlights!  Sister Ivanova and I planned a music night for our ward and the Center Branch.  Well... I really have to give most of the credit to Sister Ivanova.  She was the one who made everything pull together and work out!!  We started the night with a spiritual thought.  Sister Ivanova and I sat behing a white sheet with a light shining on us from behind so that they could only see our shadows.  It was a conversation between two babies in utero.  One who believed in life after birth and one who didn't.  It was cute as they talked about if they would live after birth and see their moms or not.  The music night started with Alexander on his guitar.  We had guitar numbers, some of the Elders sang or played the piano.  Elder White and I sang "A Child's Prayer" in Russian.  And an investigator who plays the harmonica played a couple songs!!!  He is AMAZING and I have it on video!  I played "If you could High to Kolob" with Koste on the piano and then accompanied him for another little part of a song.... but I actually butchered that part... oops :)  All that week Sister Ivanova wanted me to play "Concertino in G minor" by Vilvadi.  I hadn't played it for a while, and when I had played it I had never really perfected it like I should have.  I practiced it as many times as I could and told her that she would have to pray for me and I would be praying like crazy also!  there are SO many fast notes and I wanted to play it well!!  Well, the time came to play and I just felt so at peace!  I just knew that everything would be ok and that I would be able to play it!!  I played it almost flawlessly, except for a quick moment when I got to the bottom of the first page and realized that I had put the pages on the stand in the wrong order... (1, 3, 2) and had to just quickly look to the next page!!  It was WAY fun!  Sister Nechiporova made a chocolate cake and sister Price made Blonde Brownies.  I think that everyone really enjoyed themselves.  We had about 45 people there!  None of the people we invited on the street, but it was still a great way to talk to people!  We ended with the missionaries singing "Army of Helaman."  It was way fun a we hope to do another one!
This week we continued our questions.  We felt a little bit like journalists taking a survey, and one time a lady even asked if we were journalists!  The best is when Cectpa Ivanova had her pen and paper out, then we really looked like we were taking a survey.  I loved this way though, just because people won't usually talk to us, but this is a way that more people will stop and talk.  If they're not really interested we'll just give them a little information to read about The Word of Wisdom or something else.  But or goal, and what we hope happens, is very often we start talking about God and about His plan for us and the gospel! :)
Our track has been closed the last little bit, but thank goodness for Nastia, she knew another track that we could run on.  So every morning we would go to this track.  It was fun to run through a graveyard to get there, and when we are on the track, the one side is bordered by all of these trees with the golden round pinnacles of a brataslovian church peeking up over the tops of the trees!  It's SO pretty in the morning!!  As we ran one day I told Nastia how in Cross Country when we pass someone we call it a kill, and during a race some people count how many "kills" we had.  I couldn't help but laugh when the next day we ran and were coming up on someone and she was all, "a kill!!"  with her cute Russian accent! :)
I think that the highlight of this week was getting to meet with Viktor and Svetlana.  Svetlana is in the hospital right now, and they are having a bit of marital issues right now.  She only wanted Viktor to come if we were there too.  We play acted out 3 different scenarios of a "mock" scenario that could happen in a relationship and different ways to cope with it.  We read the example from 1 Nephi 18:21 and talked about how Nephi could have been SO angry at his brothers, but instead he immediately prayed.  We asked them to try talking about there issues in their family (like companionship inventory--what was good that week, what was hard, what they could do to help each other).  It broke my heart as Viktor looked at Svetlana and asked if they had a family.  I felt the spirit really strong as I talked with them and said that I just watched them and seemed something really special!!  They have such a special relationship.  I told them about our family and how everything is not always perfect, but I know no matter what I do, I'm loved at home.  I shared how you and Dad still sometimes disagree and have struggles to overcome in your relationship, and you have been married for 29 years!!  It's normal and a process, but as we overcome those challenges our families grow closer together!!!  It just broke my heart that they wouldn't want to be a family!  It's Gods plan that we are in eternal families!  And he gives us strength to overcome and grow closer together and to him!! Oh how I love my family and look forward to having my own eternal family one day!!
Alright... this is too long already, but here is something I read today that I wanted to share!
 I loved studying today about how the Lord heals all who come to him!  In 1 Nephi 1:14 Lehi praises the Lord and tells us that the Lord will not suffer those who come unto Him to perish.  I was reading the talk "The Atonement Covers All Pain" by Elder Kent F. Richards and he said that he was pondering about how the Atonement works in our lives , at a time when he was a patient in a hospital.  He wondering how it can happen, that the Savior can so intimately know what each and everyone of us suffer  I loved what he said that the Savior "CHOSE to experience pains and afflictions in order to understand us."  He then said that he read Matt. 8:16 and realized that the Savior "healed ALL that came to Him.  NONE were turned away."  Elder Oaks taught: "All that will come may be 'clasped in the arms of Jesus.' (Mormon 5:11)  All souls can be haled by His power.  All pain can be soothed.  In Him, we can 'find rest unto [our] souls.' "(Matt. 11:29).  Sometimes when we contact people on the street, they ask, "But if there is a God, why do these bad things happen to good people?"  I think that this is a questions that many of us have asked at least once in our lives.  But.... it's the plan!  This is gods plan!  He sent us to earth knowing that we would all have trials, afflictions, pain, suffering, etc.  He knew that they was the only way that we could develop and grow, and also the only way that we could feel joy!  There has to be an opposition in all things (2 Nephi 2:11).  I pondered this as I thought about our work as missionaries, and our duty as members of the church to share the gospel.  We share the message that yes, life is hard, and there will be many things that we do not understand, but the central part of our message is that there is a "balm in Gilead" (Jeremiah 8:22).  God sent His son to earth, and through Him we have the opportunity to find peace and strength to overcome our challenges and struggles.  Elder Oaks quote continues, "Our mortal circumstances may not immediately change, but our pain, worry suffering, and fear can be swallowed up in His peace and healing balm."  And that is where we come in!  We help people find Jesus Christ so that He can lift them and give them strength and peace!!  We are little children, and we can't bare everything, but the Lord is with us and is our good Shepherd (D&C 50:40-42, 44).  And when we come to Him, He can heal us.  And then He will "consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain" (2 Nephi 2:2).
I love you ALL!!
Cectpa Cunningham

P.S. I wish i had time to tell all the crazy thing!  like i.e. there is this man in our ward who is inactive and he REALLY likes Sister Ivanova.  he said that he had a dream from god that he can marry a younger woman because he will live a long time.  He said that she would be his wife and he was told that she needed to pray about it for her to get her answer too!!!  HAHAHAHA!!  CREEEPPPPEEERR!!!!  

P.P.S. Another funny story. We met this guy named Davron and with my bad Russian i didn't quite understand him.  He called us twice but i didn't answer and then he called the third time on a new number because we hadn't answered when he had first called.   Sister Ivanova answered and apparently he just asked where I was!  He wanted to date me, not just talk about the gospel! lol!  ya.... awkward! anyway!

 Sister Zamorina playing the guitar on the Don River.

 This random guy gave us these cookies when we were contacting.  we're still alive, so they weren't poisoned.

  Guitar duet from musical night.


Sasha writing her love letter to Elder Nancallos.

 And this is our baptism!! David with President Konderashov!  Ya... David doesn't look very happy, but after his baptism he bore his testimony and said that when he went into the water he felt like something was closed and when he came up out of the water he felt like something had opened up!! Super cool!!!

I caught Elder and sister Price walking down the streets of Rostov! I love them!!

The story of the violin that Ariel is using in Russia.

From Ariel to her Family: I got a violin!!! The violin is the violin of the mission.  A girl in Volvograd was using it, but President Nechiporov got it for me!! So.... i think i'll have it my whole mission!!! :)  I don't know for sure.  It's a good violin, but we can't use it for street contacting, just ot play in church ect.  We will be using it this week for a music night that we planned! :) 

Russia Rostov Mission
Date: Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 12:45 AM
Subject: FW: Attn Sister Price. Sisters play pix.

Dear family of Sister Cunningham,
The President took these pictures of your special daughter in the mission office a few minutes ago and he wanted you to have them.   I did not get them in the first email that we sent you.   We are looking forward to hearing Sister Cunningham play at our talent program on the 13th .
Best wishes,
Sister Price

Ariel Also wrote: What I shared about the violin is really it.... it was with that girl in Volvagrad.  The sisters went over to get it, on request from president, I think, and they said it looked like she hadn't used it FOREVER!!  Then I got to the office and he said, do you know what I have for you?  I said no and then I looked in the room and there was the violin!!  I knew the mission had one, and at the beginning of my mission he told me, "Sister Cunningham, I will watch you, and if you are a good missionary I may let you use the violin!!" haha!

 Sister Cunningham & Sister Tunney play.

Sister Cunningham plays.


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