I’m so glad you are back safe and sound! you forgot to send me pictures, though! it’s okay, i will send you some anyways.

i loved hearing about the changes of hearts and almost got teary eyed reading tyler’s sweet note in spanish. i’ll have you know that the gift of tongues is real because i don’t remember a single word in spanish and can’t even say, “hello, my name is..” anymore because my mind only functions in russian and english now…but i was able to read that without a problem and understood every word! woohoo!! i’ll have to practice speaking when i am home with dad and kevin so that i can join the troops with nicole and we can all keep secrets from mom! jess can just speak italian and parker can speak portuguese and it will all work out. haha just kidding mom, we love you.
we had a verrrry busy week. people are constantly filtering in and out of their vacations so this INCREDIBLE girl luba (i sent a picture last week) finally came back from her trip to vietnam only to say she was leaving for kazan in 48 hours! but we were so touched when she texted us and said, “but i can meet tomorrow!” we had planned on getting on a train around 5 pm to get to tver (a different city) around 9 for our split but sister carver and i talked about it and decided that we can’t give up a single opportunity to teach–this is salvation and it’s more important than sleep! ha! so we said “of course!” and pushed everything back. we had an incredible lesson in a member’s home and the Spirit was so strong as the member (our bff Nadya who just turned in her mission papers), recited the First Vision and testified of the Restoration. I will do anything to feel that Spirit again and again and I’m so grateful that I can add mine, that I know that Joseph Smith knelt in the grove that day and sincerely sought truth. So he turned to the source of all truth and prayed to God, with faith that he’d receive an answer. and he did. and that answer changed the world. I’ve been thinking about how incredible revelation is. it is God’s communication with His children. Ancient prophets recorded their revelation, then Joseph Smith, through revelation, translated that revelation. We can read this revelation and pray about it and receive our own revelation about it’s truthfulness. It’s a miracle.
Last night after church, we taught this girl named Masha (also a friend of Nadya’s….Nadya is the best). And Masha told us that she gets so distracted and starts believing the words of others and then it’s so confusing as she studies all different religions so she decided that she couldn’t join any of them, because she needed to stop listening to other people and just focus on her relationship with God–ask Him what to do and dictate her decisions accordingly. We were so impressed by her wisdom and her sincere desires. and she was raised Russian Orthodox, yet she said–“you know what? i decided that praying to icons is so distracting and so i decided to just turn to the Almighty God Himself” and she lifted her hands above her head and looked up…then she said, “and I told Him that I was stupid and foolish and that I was easily confused. I told Him that I needed Him to tell me, not through symbols or signs, but in words–in a way I could understand–so that I’d know what to do” we sat in awe as she continued, “and I’ve really come to learn how God communicates with me, personally. Sometimes I just get these thoughts–and it is very clear that it is from God”. this is how i felt about that: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I felt like she was teaching me, and not the other way around. I know that right now she not particularly looking for religion, because she was raised in a world where the true meaning of religion has been distorted. I am so grateful that our religion is a unified set of beliefs that have taught us how to create that personal relationship with God. I’m so grateful that we are taught that questions are good and that God knows and loves us personally and we are not “bothering” Him with mundane minutia when we, as His children, turn to Him for solace, comfort, counsel, answers, peace…or just for someone to listen. Nothing is impossible for Him. I don’t know how it works, but I know that it is true–that He can listen to all of our prayers and answer them all. And that when we are searching for answers, we don’t need to turn to man, we can turn to God. 
I’ve had to do a lot of this myself lately, really asking Him for the strength to trust Him. We were able to go to Ryazan last week and it was a dream being there. Just walking those streets. I can’t explain it. But randomly it was a paratrooper holiday and the morning of we got a text from our leaders saying it was dangerous and we needed to be off the streets by 6. we had a lesson planned with raya and her husband for 7:30! and that’s when she gets off work. My heart broke. We’re not allowed to visit her at work anymore, because her boss is anti. but we walked by, and she saw us and came running out (risking getting in big trouble with her boss). just seeing her and hugging her for a few moments meant so much to me! she told us she’s been having some doubts and right now is a really hard time for her. then we had to tell her we couldn’t meet with her that night—her eyes just killed me. the next day we found out that because three sisters are leaving this transfer and no one’s coming in, they’re shutting down ryazan for sisters for this transfer. I couldn’t sleep at all saturday night and I fasted so earnestly on sunday. i’m so worried and my heart is so broken, but i just have to trust that He knows better than I do. And we’re just praying for the Ottleys (the senior couple down there) and for the one set of elders that will be carrying the weight of an entire city on their shoulder. I know that the Lord works in mysterious ways and i just keep reminding myself of the words, “so long thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on.”
because it’s a transfer week, sister carver and i don’t have any splits this week so we have mega plans for working our butts off in our own area and we’re really excited about it. and speaking of transfers, are mission’s being flipped upside down and there are SO many changes (at least with the sisters there are)…there are only three companionships that are staying the same, and guess who’s one of them?! sister carver and i!!! we can’t believe it!! we are soooo happy!!! this transfer coming up means that we will now have served half of our missions together hahahahah it’s so crazy. but it’s the biggest blessing. 
i love you family!! i hope you have a great week! 
 
Advertisements