This week has been pretty eventful in finding out transfers and getting ready for transfers. Later today my companion, Elder Birtcher, will be leaving me and going to Omsk. My good friends from way back in the MTC will also be leaving me here in Tomsk: Elder Nelson to Irkutsk and Sister Calderwood to Ulan Ude. I’ll be meeting my new companion this evening. His name is Elder Brightwell and this will be his second transfer in Russia, so he’ll be what we call a “recycled greenie”– meaning that I’ll be finishing his 2 month training period. I have to admit, I’m slightly nervous. I did hope to someday be in a training position, but I just wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon. But luckily, I’ve heard nothing but great things about this elder. A lot of missionaries speak very highly of him.
Also coming up is my second visa trip, again to Helsinki. I’ll be leaving on Feb 14th for a couple days or so, going through Moscow and then to Helsinki.
This week I had some pretty amazing experiences that showed me the power of having the Holy Ghost with us verses not having the Holy Ghost with us. There has been some drama going on with the youth of this branch, which lead to several meetings/lectures to try to fix the problems that have been created. After a meeting with the Branch President, the youth came up a little workshop meeting that Sister Calderwood was going to put on about studying scriptures. Sister Calderwood started off the lesson, after we sang a hymn and prayed, by announcing that she wanted to speak about personal revelation, a very spiritual topic, and that she could not do that without the Spirit. And, she said, we don’t have the Spirit with us right now. So she told us that we are going to sing another hymn until we get the Spirit back and she invited anyone who was not willing to cooperate to try to feel the Spirit to leave. We sang three or four hymns. It was amazing how the room changed after each hymn. As each of the youth and missionaries in that room gradually softened their heart while singing we were all able to feel the Spirit enter the room. Following the singing, Sister Calderwood shared a short spiritual thought– not the lesson she had planned to share all week long, and we closed with another song and prayer.
I had several other experiences this week– some of dischord within our companionship, when we were in disagreement and arguing about things and seeing the consequences of not inviting the Spirit to guide us as missionaries; and some of very calming situations where we were able to teach powerfully and simply and easily as a companionship because we were both striving and desiring to be lead by the Spirit.
We met with an inactive lady with the sister missionaries this week and during the closing prayer Sister Kuhkta prayed specifically so that we can all live worthy of the guidance of the Holy Ghost. I think that sometimes we easily forget about the powerful effect of simply living in a positive, righteous way and consciously seeking for the guidance, presence, and comfort of the Holy Ghost. It’s amazing how badly things can work out when we try to do things on our own, and in contrast, how well things can work out when we do things while seeking the guidance and aide of God.
Thank you for your letters of support. Sounds like you Virginians have some exciting weather to deal with :). I don’t even want to try to think about how deep the snow here is– it’s crazy, it doesn’t get shoveled, just packed down because so many people walk over it. So essentially most sidewalks and parking lots have an increased elevation of 6-10″– it’s weird to think about.
Well, i’ll keep you all updated on my new companion, but wish me luck and pray for us! I just hope I can be a good enough example for him!
(I should be getting mail today too, I just realized)
Love you all!
Parker. I’m sorry. Middle school sucks, i know…. Keep your head up and keep smiling and things will work out.
Taegan– haven’t heard from you in forever. how are things?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRIS!!!!!!!!!!!!
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