This week was grand and today we get the new load of russian missionaries!!! I’m so excited! We’re even getting two new sisters in our bedroom which will be crazy crowded but so fun to get to know new people so well! The older districts left us two weeks ago so it’s been a little lonely around these parts. but now we have to be the role models-what?! too crazy. but it will be great! All of the russians have been making some big goals–every Monday and Tuesday is SYL (speak your language) and we have to ONLY speak Russian all day (this happened this week and will happen next week) then we’ll add on Wednesday, then Thursday, etc, etc. one week at a time until EVERY day of the week is SYL. I know I sound like a nerd but i LOVE it! I love speaking Russian all day and I think it’s so fun. It’s humbling to realize HOW MUCH i don’t know and can’t say but it’s motivating to realize how much I can. The gift of tongues is SO real….I feel it working through me every day and I am so grateful. I have had the First Vision memorized (in Russian) for about a week now and that’s a huge blessing. I am very grateful for my memory and Sister Prows has SO many gifts I don’t have but she has a hard time memorizing and so it helps me realize I shouldn’t take anything for granted–she works so hard!
This last week we had a really cool experience because we’ve been teaching Teema (I think that’s how you’d spell it in English–FYI my English skills are continually decreasing). But Teema loves the gospel but has kept telling us how his mom is completely against it. This last week we had a surprise!! His mother came. (P.S. Teema is actually my teacher Brother Eckersley playing the role of Teema, someone he really taught while he served in the Ukraine and “his mother” was Sister Kuznetsova, the Russian native who is our language coordinator). Anyways, His mother was a very typical russian babooshka (english spelling?) /old lady and was super rude and talked really fast but Sister Prows prayed to have the Spirit nonetheless and to be able to understand her and I must say it was one of our best lessons! It was so realistic as Teema’s mom asked what the heck we were doing in Russia and the mood just completely changed as I was able to testify why I’m “here” and I told her how much I love this Gospel and how much I love her son. And I admitted that yes, I’m American and I don’t speak Russian well but I love this people and want to help! And the best thing about the Russian people is that they pretend to be cold but then they melt right in front of you!! And that’s what happened with Teema’s mom–I don’t think she believes what we said about the Book of Mormon but she can’t possibly deny what we said about how much we care…and for now, that’s enough. I’m so glad that we were still able to feel so much love for Teema’s mom because our lesson could have eeasily just been Teema’s mom going off about how corrupt we are and it could have been a lesson of discouragement and confusion (when I say she talks fast, she reallllly talks fast). But instead it was wonderful! And I’m so grateful!
I was reading in the beginning of Helaman and it talks about how the prosperity of the people and the blessings poured out upon them from God were so abundant that it caused even the priests to be “astonished exceedingly.” I can relate! I am a missionary and have been set apart to invite people to come unto Christ and yet when they do, and as the blessings from God are SO apparent, I am astonished exceedingly!!! I’m so glad that I know God and that I know He is a God of love and of mercy and I’m so glad that I get to teach that to people. It’s the best ever!!
I can’t believe Nicole has returned from her adventures–I can’t wait to hear all about them and to see pictures. Only a mission could keep me from being jealous! It makes me so happy that everyone is getting to have such wonderful experiences. and my BROTHER!!! Is coming home in a week!! How is that even remotely possible?! time is such a strange thing. But Kev I don’t know what I’d do without you. You are finishing this race and beginning a new one and everyday I am reminded of the legacy I must keep–you are a 4th Missionary and a true servant of the Lord–you are everything I aspire to be. I have been trying to be a Preach My Gospel Missionary, as you suggested and am trying to prepare to love and serve the Russian people the way you have served the people of Oregon. I love you and am so proud to be your little sister and to wear the same name as you on my tag (except “Sister”….and in Russian).
Have a great week!!!
-CECTPA Hawkins