BLAKE! I hope all my sons are like you–I’m so proud of my ninja star/knife throwing brother. I hope you have a blast at Raging Waters
This week was wonderful here in Ryazan–it got warmer and we are cherishing this PERFECT fall weather! It is gorgeous here right now and the leaves are beginning to change. And things are beginning to change in Ryazan! There is a noticeable difference in the vibes and we are seeing progress!! real life progress!! and it’s so exciting!
One of our investigators Angela is my best friend and my soul sister. I taught her these phrases in English and she loves them and loves that I use them to describe her. She is the one who is an orphan–her parents were killed in the Soviet days I think and her grandparents gave her up for adoption. She was kicked out of the orphanage at age 17 and now she’s almost 20 and lives alone in the middle of nowhere an hour outside of Ryazan off of the pension from the government which is very minimal. But I remind her everyday that she has a family–us. I am her sister and I will always love her no matter what. And she has a Heavenly Father who loves her no matter what. We have been awed at her understanding–she truly has spiritual gifts and has been taught by the Spirit (definitely not us). We met with her before church yesterday to follow up on the commitment we gave her to read 2 Nephi 31 and we asked her why we are baptized and why it’s a commandment. I will never forget what she said and the way she said it and the way I felt when she did. She said, “So we can be clean. So we can be free from our sins. So we can turn away from evil.” and then tears filled her eyes and she said, “so we can live with God. So we can become one in purpose with Him. So He can be with us always.” then she grabbed a tissue and in her broken English apologized for crying. We assured her that no apology was necessary as we all wiped our eyes. The Spirit was so strong and then she smiled so big and said, “I’m just so happy that I know that I will be baptized. And I will keep the commandments.” She’s going to pray about a specific date and let us know when we come for our usual Thursday visits. She’s amazing and when we finished our lesson we walked into the chapel and she walked right up to Alla (this really cold/sassy member) and smiled so big and shook her hand and said, “hello!! I”m so happy to see you!” and continued to do that to everyone she saw. It’s incredible that Angela is the one that’s being a Christ-like example to all of the members of our branch. No wonder her name is Angela, she is an angel.
I remember in the MTC we’d watch these videos called The District and sometimes the people they taught were so prepared and accepted the Gospel with all their hearts and I would start crying and ask my teachers, “wait! does this really happen?! do people you teach really say things like that? can it really be that perfect?” Well folks, it’s real. It really happens. Sometimes it seems too good to be true. And it’s like what Kevin said–the blessings are too much haha I recognize so clearly that they are not the results of just my prayers–they are the results of all of your prayers–thank you!! I feel them. Everyday.

I hope you all have another great week!! I love you with all my heart (at least with the rest of my heart that’s left over because most of it belongs to the people in Russia right now. sorry!)