This week was grand and went by way too fast–we went to Moscow (again–I feel like I’m always going there and it kinda throws off our groove and sleeping schedule) for zone conference again. we are going to read the Book of Mormon as a mission starting this week with the theme in mind: “faith unto miracles.” I’m so excited!
I gave a talk yesterday in church and the topic they asked me to speak on was “Preach my Gospel” which was a little hard to know how to approach that so it could appeal to the members and our investigators who come to church, but I decided to focus on commitment. In the introductory letter in Preach my Gospel from the First Presidency it says, “we challenge you to rise to a new sense of commitment” and that was the theme of my talk. I talked about how people are scared of commitment–people hate that word. Our favorite things so say are, maybe, someday, I’ll try, later, etc. We hate to promise because that connotes responsibility and commitment. But as we study and understand doctrine, like in Preach my Gospel, we want to make commitments because we want to change and we want to show our faith. And with this understanding, we develop the strength we need to make and keep commitments. We realize we can trust the Lord and He can trust us. We make commitments to our jobs and to our families, and these are important. But what about our commitment to the Lord? Why are we so hesitant to do so? When we make commitments we simply demonstrate our willingness to change, and our determination to work at it.
Our purpose as missionaries is to invite people to come unto Christ. But faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost mean little if we are not committed to act on our faith, if we “repent” but aren’t committed to change, if we are baptized but don’t keep our covenants, if we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost but aren’t willing to act on the promptings of the Spirit. And of course we can’t endure to the end if we aren’t committed to live the Gospel.
This morning the Blind Library had a celebration/party thanking us because the humanitarian senior couple gave them this shnazzy brail printer. So they had a “concert” for us and there was singing and story telling and poetry reading. and then afterwards we had lunch and all these old people would just break out in song and everyone would join in these old soviet/pre-soviet ballads–it was AWESOME! and perhaps my favorite memory in Russia yet. I just love the kinship we share and it reminded me of the old men in the pubs in Dingle, Nicole–singing old songs they all new or songs they wrote and everyone just joining it. It was so fun!! my goodness and the old lady next to me was mostly blind but is my new best friend–kept playing with my hair and rearranging my scarf, laying her napkin across both of our laps, kissing my forehead etc. etc. it was the sweetest thing. I love it here. I can’t wait for you to see it someday and meet some of these wonderful people–that would be a dream come true.
1. awkward elder photo–Elder Hunt, who was transferred last transfer
2. me on splits with the sisters in Moscow when C. Daniel went on her visa trip