So today marks 5 weeks that we've been here in the M.T.C.! At this point we've almost reached the halfway point and we have 6 weeks left! It's crazy, because the older districts had been here as long as we have when we got here!
This week I ran into a Sister whose older sister is Sister Bodeen, the primary president in our ward! We randomly ran into each other in a bathroom one day and it we just struck up a conversation and figured out that we were from the same stake! She's serving Spanish speaking (I'm not sure where) but it was funny because she said that her sister had mentioned me to her and that I was going to Russia! I love how small the world is at the MTC!
So all of the older districts in our branch left on Monday and Tuesday for Russia. Things are pretty lonely without them around. Our district sang "God be With you til we Meet Again" in Russian during Sacrament meeting on Sunday to the older districts. I didn't really have the chance to get to know them super well individually, but it was nice having their spirits and personalities around. So now it's just me and Sister Carver in our room until the new Russian districts come in a week. I'm excited for them to come and to get to know all of them and to help them out!
This past week has been really wonderful. The weeks are starting to seem like a blur to me. I got to do something called Plan, Study, Teach, Cycle with a Sister from the older district as well as my teacher, Sister Alletto. During it, we have personal, companionship, and language study together and plan for one of our progressing "investigators" played by our other teachers.
At this point, we've made a lot of progress with our two longest-running investigators Lora and Kostya. They're both agreed to be baptized and we've taught both of them most of the commandments and they've both agreed to keep the word of wisdom and the law of tithing. Teaching is getting easier and less stressful because we know how to say a lot now and it's much easier to teach by the Spirit and to answer their questions.
Me and Sister Carver got to teach a new investigator yesterday named Vova who has had all of the discussions with the missionaries and has read the Book of Mormon, but doesn't understand why he needs to go to church every Sunday. He's really funny and such a character! He made us try on his Russian hat and told us very enthusiastically how much he loves tennis and likes to play it everyday of course (kenyeshna)! He told us that he felt like he could pray and read the scriptures at home and just felt like church was a social thing. He said he could feel the Spirit just by popping in a dvd into his big-screen tv =)
So we taught him the importance of covenants and how after baptism you need to take the sacrament each Sunday to renew those covenants and repent each week. He still didn't quite understand why he needed to go to church and I told him firmly and bore testimony that it's a commandment and I had him reach some verses in 3 Nephi 18 where Christ introduced the sacrament to his disciples. After that, the light seemed to go on in his head and it was amazing how the scriptures we planned were exactly what he needed to read to understand. He said he'd pray about baptism and the sacrament, which we were super excited about!
We also got two other new investigators, because our teacher Sister Alletto is having us each play an investigator, or someone we actually know and love who's not a member, and then teach each other which is really cool!
It's always really amazing how the Spirit can work during lessons and let you teach people according to their needs.
Something really awesome that we do together during class that I love is read the Book of Mormon together. Our teacher Brat Adams always leads the most profound spiritual discussions. He is so wise and so inspiring when we read and I always learn so much from him! He told us that as missionaries, "We are an act of God's love" and that the charity and love that He gives to us is a "mirror that that Lord sends down for us to reflect."
Elder Naylor in our district wants to make a book of all of Brat Adam's one-liners! We have some of the funniest elders in our district! We have this one elder, Elder Bugg who knows how to play any song by ear on the piano and we were giving him requests to play songs on his recorder this week! So we always have a lot of fun together.
The language is still hard, but I take comfort in the fact that we're here for another six weeks and that the Lord will enable us to do his work!
I hope everyone is well and had a wonderful and safe Memorial day weekend!
Mom-thank you so much for the package and for the book-bag! And thank you family for all of your sweet notes and letters! I love you all so much!
Mom-I was wondering if you could send me my gap, black sport's jacket? It's in either the bottom right of second to bottom right drawer in my big dresser!
I love you all and pray for all of you everyday!
Please keep sending letters =)
-Love, Sister Schmidt