Wow, I was so inspired and uplifted by your emails this week–mom, dad, jess, and nicole ==you all testified so beautifully of the plan of salvation. My heart breaks because of all of these trials and I am praying for Denis and their family and am praying in gratitude for this hope and peace. Something that has hit me really hard in the last 24 hours is that because of the Atonement, everything that is unfair and injust will be made right in the life to come. That is a profound promise that I am clinging to right now.

I also had a really sacred experience last week when I asked some elders for a blessing and it was this one elder’s first blessing he had ever given–It reminded me of when I hear an investigator pray for the first time–it’s my favorite part of the mission, perhaps. It is sucha sincere, direct connection with the Lord and that’s what I felt when I received this blessing. It was simple and there were long pauses between each sentence and I could really feel that this elder refused to say a single word that was his own and was allowing the Spirit to communicate through him to me and I felt such a closeness with my Father in Heaven. I will never forget that experience.

This week Sister Carver and I will be going on our first overnight train and it’s going to be crazy hahah but we’re so excited! we’ll be going to Smolensk which is closer to Belarus and is a really old, historic, beautiful city. I can’t wait!! Unfortunately now that im in moscow and have to email at the post office, I can’t send pictures, but oh well–someday you will see!!

Yesterday was Stake Conference and it was at a hotel and the Spirit was so strong–just being surrounded by so many faithful saints. I learned SO much. One thing that I thought was really interesting was that this one lady said that when we cook, it fills our whole house with delicious smells and those smells remain so even when we come home after a long day, we can still smell the lingering smells of what we cooked earlier. And the Spirit is the same. When we take the time to really study our scriptures, it fills our whole house with the Spirit and that Spirit is tangible each time you walk in the door. I loved that! and it made me hungry.

The stake president talked about sacrifice and that sometimes it’s frustrating when we feel like no one sees or appreciates or understands your sacrifice, but we just have to remember that the Lord does. He talked about missionaries who are yelled at and called a “sect” (the worst word in the Russian language haha) and told they are evil etc. etc. etc. and how the missionaries probably want to say, “if only you knew that i helped a babooshka with her bags up the stairs this morning and then went to visit a single mother and told her she’s doing a good job and that we’re here to help her and then taught a family about how they can love and forgive each other if they allow the Savior to be the focus of their home!” but how truly, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. The Lord sees our sacrifices and He is so proud of us. That hit me really hard and I know brought so much peace to so many people.

I love you all so much and am so strengthened by your examples. Honestly, I can’t express what a boost it is to hear from you and feel close to you. I feel your prayers and hope you can feel mine. Have a great week!!