So we went to smolensk round 3 this weekend and it POURED rain allll day and was freeeeezing. but today is sunny and lovely so i still have hopes that summer isn’t over yet. we are headed to voronezh and lipetsk this week which are the farthest away and it always wipes us out but it can’t this week because saturday is Lada’s baptism!!!!! we are so beyond thrilled. she’s incredible.
it’s crazy that we’re doing round three of all of our splits. our training this transfer that we decided to give is about the Book of Mormon. We start off by asking them to close their eyes..(so close your eyes)…and think about this question:
What would your life be like without the Book of Mormon?
just think about it. where would you be? who would you be?
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! it terrifies me. but why? it’s just a book, isn’t it?
it’s not just a book. it’s not just a good book. it’s not just an inspired book. It’s the word of God. it’s additional scripture. it’s another testament of Jesus Christ. I could go on and on simply just about what it is. But more important is what it means.
It means that Jesus is the Christ. Jesus Christ really is the Savior of the world and He really is my Savior. This means that there’s someone who understands me when no one else does…someone who has felt and experienced everything that i feel and experience. it means that i can be forgiven, I can change, I can overcome my weaknesses and faults. I can be clean. I can be healed. I can find peace. I can return to God. It means that i can find peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come. it means that NOTHING is impossible. It means i have an Advocat, a Mediator, a Shepherd. there is guidance and direction to my life. I have a perfect example. If i apply His teachings in my life, I will be happier than I ever thought was imaginable (and i am happier than i ever thought was imaginable). (once again, I could go on and on and on about what it means to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God).
but if the Book of Mormon is true, that means that Joseph Smith really was a prophet. this means that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He called prophets anciently and He calls prophets today. He has a perfect, glorified body of flesh and bones and He communicated with His children. there is modern revelation. this revelation helps us understand and apply ancient revelation and gives us clearer direction in our lives. this means the all revealed truth concerning the plan of salvation and restored commandments are true. there is a living prophet, today-Thomas S. Monson and he speaks and acts in behalf of the Lord. There is a living God who directs His church on the earth through a living prophet.
This means that the priesthood has been restored. which means that the covenants and ordinances that are necessary for salvation are bound on earth and in heaven. this means that families can be sealed by this power and they can be together forever. it means that there are priesthood blessings of comfort and healing. it means that the power of God is on the earth. because of this, we have patriarchal blessings, the sacrament, the temple, etc. etc. etc.
if the priesthood has been restored, then this truly is the Church of Jesus Christ in the latter days. there is organized opportunities to serve, learn, teach, and uplift one another. there is unity of faith. there are programs like Primary, Young Womens, Young Mens, Relief Society, and Elder’s quorums, seminary, institute, sunday school, etc. etc. we can support each other and strengthen each other. it is God’s kingdom on the Earth.
This is just a smallllll teeeeny tiny list of all of the blessings that proceed forth from the Book of Mormon. During language study, we all made lists in Russian: “Because of the Book of Mormon (fill in the blank) ” and we talked about how often on the streets we tell people that the Book of Mormon is ancient prophecies and revelations written by ancient prophets translated by a modern prophet etc. etc. a record of the peoples on the american continent and their relationship with God etc. etc. and if they read it and pray about it, they can know it’s true and it will bless their lives. But how often do we tell people that “because of the Book of Mormon, I know that the power of God is on the earth today and that priesthood power has sealed my family together forever and I would like to invite you to read this book as a family and we would love to teach you about how because of this book, there is peace in my home and my parents and siblings are truly my best friends in the whole world” etc. etc. there are so many specific blessings that can be traced back to the Book of Mormon. It’s probably worth reading it and finding out for yourself. Because of the Book of Mormon, I know I’m a daughter of God and I can talk to Him and He hears and answers my prayers. He cares. I know what He expects of me–I know my potential and how to attain it. Because of the Book of Mormon, I AM IN RUSSIA!!!! and I’m pretty sure I’m the happiest human in all the land.
this week we learned that the Lord realllllllllllllly knows best. I mean really. On wednesday night after english club we were talking to Nastya and she told us that the only thing she hasn’t received an answer about, the only thing that’s holding her back is the last part of the Plan of Salvation, about after this life and the kingdoms of God. she knows for sure that we lived with God before this life and she knows for sure that our purpose on Earth is to find God and to perfect ourselves so we can return to live with Him about. but all the rest, she’s not so sure. she had called us herself earlier this week to set up a lesson for friday night before she was leaving on a night train friday night and going to her home town for a few days. We felt the weight of this lesson and realized what a vital time this is for Nastya. When we went home wednesday night we started to realllly pray for her and thursday we studied really hard and discussed it and we just had no idea what to do–what to teach/what to plan. we decided that we needed to fast all of friday to prepare for it and we decided that we NEEDED a member present for all the help we could get. the two members that usually help us weren’t answering our calls/texts and we felt like it wasn’t good timing to introduce her to someone knew, because we needed her to really open up and we needed to just listen more than anything. so we just prayed that one of them would respond in time. then we remembered that we already had a lesson planned for friday afternoon with this babushka in our ward who lives far away and alone and has parkinsons disease and we try to visit her every week. we always try to serve her and want to cook and clean for her but she’s so sneaky and always tells us that she’ll let us, but when we show up her apt. is spotless and she has food on the table. we knew she would feed us, so we called the night before and told her we’d be fasting for nastya so she didn’t need to cook anything, but we would reallllly love to cook for her. so that was our plan–fast all friday and have faith that nadya or oksana would call us back. as far as lesson plans, we had none. we planned to just teach by the Spirit–which usually is a bad idea. you have to plan and THEN teach by the Spirit. but we felt like this is what we needed to do.
friday we showed up to babushka’s house and as we walked in she was like, “where are my glasses? i swear my memory is fading…” yep, it sure is. because the next thing she said was, “oh well….i worked all morning long to make this borsh for you!” with the biggest smile on her face! bleeeeeeeeeen (that technically means “pancake” but it also means “dangit!”) we looked at each other and without any words, we both knew that we could not deny that borsh. so we didn’t fast on friday and nadya and oksana never called us back but guess what? it was the most perfect beautiful lesson EVER. it was just a heart to heart and she shared things with us that she would never have shared if nadya and oksana were there-even though she’s friends with them. and we just testified with our whole souls. we talked about the difference between faith and understanding. I don’t understand the eternities. I don’t understand the Atonement. I don’t understand what the Celestial Kingdom will be like. I don’t understand how judgment will work. I for sure don’t understand resurrection. BUT I have received my answer about the Plan of Salvation…because I, too, for sure know that we lived with God before this life. I, too, know that our purpose is to prepare to return to Him. That’s what God wants and wanted all along. That’s the purpose of this plan. So He gave His only begotten Son to show us the way. He is the Way. And I believe that because of Him, I can live with Him and with my God and my family forever, in a state of paradise and peace, in a state of everlasting joy. I really believe that that’s possible. And then she whispered, “of course it’s possible.”
we talked a lot…about ordinances and covenants and about the Spirit. I shared the quote that Kevin sent me last week and his personal thoughts about it and i will never be able to explain what it felt like. at the end of the lesson, she said the prayer and told our Heavenly Father that she felt such an incredible Spirit, “and I think the Sisters did, too” (hah Sister Carver (barely) audibly squeeled with joy when she said that).
THEN the CLIMAX! as we were walking out, she was like, “hey–do you know why i wasn’t at church last week?” she had called earlier that week to tell us she couldn’t come, but we didn’t know why. she told us to guess….”the park? dance lessons? st. petersburg?” nope, nope. nope.
she was in kiev!!! on the temple grounds!!!! she showed us pictures she took of herself with the temple in the background. she was even wearing a white shirt. we almost died. and then we asked her what she thought about it/what she felt when she was there. and she was like, “i don’t think you’ll understand…but i’ll try. it was….light. and…something…new. like a new perspective…but not exactly—just something new. and there were these low-frequency vibrations just radiating from the temple….”
yes. we understood.
obviously sister carver and i sang “How Great Thou Art” on the escalator out of the metro because we couldn’t stand how happy and grateful we were. it was exactly what the Lord intended and exactly what Nastya needed. we were so happy, we wanted to call the mission president. or maybe even our parents hahah so we decided to bug the APs instead. they indulged us and listened to our 20 minute rambling about how happy and blessed we are.
love you love you