Monday, October 24, 2011

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! October 24, 2011

Since we probably won't be celebrating Halloween, I still figured I should say happy Halloween!!

Thanks to Aunt Becky, Britt, and Simone for their wonderful letters!  I loved hearing from all of you!!

I feel like we didnt' really do that much this week, it was kind of a weird week!  We had an amazing Zone Conference on Tuesday! My interview with President was way funny too because almost half of the time he just asked me about Russian food!  haha if I had learn to cook anything etc. and told me how he likes to make borsch! :) Sister Nechiporova talked about loving the people more here in Russia, President about Baptism, the Zone Leaders about Book Of Mormon missionaries, and the Assistant to the Presidents' about the Atonement.  President always makes really funny comments too!  After we recited Section 4 from the D&C in Russia, Sister Nechiporova got up to give her presentation and said, President and I are still trying to learn it by heart.  President from off the side says, "ya, we're stupid!" haha! :)  We love President!  The Potter's also did a way cool presentation where they gave the stats of the areas we are serving in.  In Krasnodar we have 745,000 people to 6 proselyting missionaries.  In our zone there is about 1,400,500 people to 14 missionaries.  That means that to reach everyone, each of us would have to contact about 100,000 people!!  wow!! crazy!! they had us open these envelopes that were like our mission calls again!  I felt like I was opening my call again!  It was WAY powerful!  The Lord knows exactly who we are and where we needed to serve!  They told a powerful story of a missionary from Spain sent to serve in AZ.  At a conference he said a few words and after a man came up to the missionary.  After asking several questions he realized that this missionaries father was the only man that he had baptized on his mission.  He had felt his mission was a waste and that he had done nothing.  He went inactive and only came to the conference because a friend invited him, but God sent a missionary all the way to AZ to a conference just to testify to a man there that his mission was not a waste!! It was a story from the previous Priesthood session of Conference!! wow!!  So cool!!  We are like babes, not being able to speak very well, but the Lord uses us where we are needed!

This week was also really special because the Patriarch was here in Krasnodar.  So many of the members were able to receive their patriarchal blessings.  My favorite family in the ward, Vitya, Amy, and Irina even got theirs!    All of the 13 tribes of Israel (Joseph has two--Ephraim and Manasseh, his sons) have been found in Russia.  Just in Amy's family they all had different lineages!  Asher, Zebulon, and Benjamin! it's AMAZING!!   We also were SO blessed to be able to hear from Patriarch Browning at Zone Conference.  He said that he has learned that the Spirit speaks by quiet thoughts and tender feelings.  Even he as a Patriarch, he receives inspiration to give Patriarchal blessings through these things!  It was just SO amazing to know that we can also have that same inspiration!

We had some fun appointments this week.  We went out to Tatyana's house and they fed us soup for dinner!  She said that she wished we could just stay there with her!  I love that family SO much!  We watched President Monson's talk from General Conference and challenged them to live the Word Of Wisdom again as we had noticed that they drink tea.  This week we were trying to find the theatre building as we wanted to get tickets to a ballet for our cultural night.  Unfortunately they were all sold out... :(  But on the way there we asked this girl for directions.  I then noticed that she was crying.  We asked her what was wrong.  She was all, nothing.  I then asked if it was because of a boy and she said yes.  She had started crying openly now, and I said that I would beat him for her if she likes! :)  We gave her our contact information and several hugs.  I don't know if we were able to really help her at all, but I at least hope that she didn't feel like God had left her alone!  And I hope that maybe she will one day call or come to church!  As the Assistants to the Presidents' gave their talk about the Atonement I was thinking about how very little I truly know.  I'm 21 yeas old and have lived in America my whole life.  I have never gone hungry, always had comfortable clothes, a place to sleep, and more than enough.  I am among a people that many have very humble circumstance.  One of our less active members Axcana just had a baby.  She is about 16 years old.  We were over at her house the other and talking with her.  She was telling us how she pretty much always has to hold her baby standing up or her baby will cry, so most of her day is spent standing.  She went on to explain that sometimes she couldn't go to the bathroom for a really long time because she had to just hold her baby just standing up.  I really didn't understand and just thought, well, you could just set your baby down for a minute or two while it's crying and use the restroom.  Then yesterday when we were at her house Meela, a member, came with us.  She asked where the bathroom was.  I then realized and understood what Axcana had been talking about.  She has to walk outside her house down the stairs and use this very run down outhouse for her bathroom.  Don't worry mom!  I got a picture!  Right as Meela and I were getting ready to take the picture both doors of the outhouse opened! Rather funny!  But after as I thought about it, I felt humbled as I realized this...  There is NO way that I can understand this people.  What they have been through, what they have to go through, etc.  But there is someone who does!  Our Savior Jesus Christ knows each of us, our pains, sorrows, afflictions.  He has cried every tear that we have cried and felt the pain of every trial we have been through.  I cannot understand the people that I meet and teach, but He can.  And I am here to invite them to come unto Jesus!  Come unto Him for "his yoke is easy and his burden is lite." (Matthew 11:30) And He knows their sorrows.  He knows their pains, and only through Him can they be lifted and saved!

Thanks again dad for your wonderful journal.  I read a couple entrances this week and felt SO grateful that you have experienced and been through some of the same trials that i have been experiencing!  The struggle with the language, and following the spirit!  I hope that I can do better!  I can't believe how the time has already flown.  In my interview President reminded me that I have already been out half way.  He did say though that that meant that now I could do more!  Now I could speak the language better and understand more so I can do more now than I did the first half of my mission!  I truly hope that I can live up to that!  I hope that I can help make a difference in the lives of the people here!  I love them and love just watching them on tramvais and on the street and I hope that i can be an instrument in the hands of God in helping to bring them some happiness and joy as they come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and Savior Jesus Christ!

I love you all!!  Go carve some pumpkins for me and eat lots of candy!! :)
сестра канингхэм

Sorry I don't have pictures.!! :(


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