we visited this babushka on saturday who has parkinsons and i thought about my own babushka and how painful and hard it must be for her. this lady’s name is loodmeela (hahah so hard to smell in english) and she’s so lonely and is reallly realllly suffering. we talked about the healing and the hope of the atonement and sang, “where can i turn for peace” together and it invited such a beautiful spirit.
we had an incredible week this week–we were on splits for the 4th of july and ate watermelon and hot dogs and pb and j for a truly american lunch and we sang all of the patriotic hymns and i got a little choked up when i sang, “i love thy rocks and rills!!” this world is so beautiful. and as we sang to the “Author of liberty” I was just so overwhelmed with gratitude for the freedom we so sweetly enjoy and for the freedom that is spreading—for the very fact alone that i am an amaerican girl living in russia…there was a time when i would not have been free to do so and the very thought chokes me!!
 we contacted our brains out and sister nielson and i had a lesson with this wonderful muslim woman and the spirit was so strong, teaching her about the restoration and invititing her to read the book of mormon. I respect islam so much and sometimes it’s hard for me because i don’t want to hinder something already so beautiful and sacred but then i have a reality check where i realize that the biggest difference is that we believe that Jesus Christ was not just a teacher and not just a prophet, but that He was also the Savior and Redeemer of our souls and that only by Him and through Him we can be cleaned and healed and changed and worthy to live with God and our families in glory forever and ever. And i realize the reality of that truth. and how i really KNOW that it’s not just a nice idea and it’s not fantasy but that it’s true. it’s real. and I realized that I need to boldly testify that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. and so I did. and i promised her that if she will read the Book of Mormon, she will know for herself. I can’t pronounce her name because it’s not a russian name but it sounds like Shakira so that’s what i call her and that’s really funny to me. I pray that Shakira will allow the Spirit to enter her heart and enter her home and teach her truth…I hope she will allow Christ to heal her family and her marriage and i hope her husband will be open to this message.
on saturday we had a ward picnic and it was in the woods and it was magical and such a a success!!  so whimsical and there were games with the scriptures–for example for the Old Testament, they had to shoot these things at this cardboard goliath and for the new testament we did charades and the other teams had to guess which verse we were acting out and for the Book of Mormon there was this pillow fight–trying to knock each other off of this log and it was nephites vs. lamanites and for the Doctrine and Covenants there was the stick pull game that was Joseph Smith;s favorite. then there was food of course and frisbee and volleyball and we had 5 people come who we are teaching right now and they had a great time!! two of them are this couple, Aksana and Yuri and they offered to give us a ride to that babushka’s house afterwards which was SO nice because loodmeela lives an hour outside of moscow and that just so happens to be where they live, too and it’s SUPER rare for people to have cars in russia. i can count on one hand how  many times i’ve ridden in a car this last year+ and i often forget that i know how to drive those things.
anyways. this couple is the best and they want us to come rollerblading with them sometime this week so we’re going to ask our new mission president (who is awesome by the way. not at all a greenie–very busniessman/on top of things, organized and unphased by challenges and also very kind), if we can rollerblade with them and then teach them the gospel after. sounds like my two favorite things in one!! woooohooo!!
so many other lessons and miracles and stories to share but there’s no time. but ohhhhhh how i love you so! have a great week!ImageImage