Hello family and loved ones!
Me and Sister Johnson are doing well, despite having 4 cancellations within the past 3 days. We continue to strive to be perfectly obedient and to remain focused. We were grateful for zone conference Friday and that it helped to spiritually recharge our batteries. Mission conference was great and I got to see Sister Carver and Sister Welch from my MTC district as well as the Sisters from Nizhny. President Sorenson challenged us to read the Book of Mormon together as a mission starting on September 17th and to focus on faith to perform miracles. I finished the Book of Mormon in the MTC and am in Alma 43 and trying to finish it again, so I'm going to try to see if I can finish it before we start again, but that would require me to read 30 pages a day and I don't think I have time, besides personal study and occasionally on the train traveling. But we'll see.
We did have a couple of little miracles that happened. We always take this train called the Electrishka from Podulsk to Moscow, where we take the Metro to the Central Building. The electrishka is always interesting because you see all sorts of people and people try to go in between the carts selling stuff, and there are always people that run whenever they come to check tickets, even though it only costs half a dollar. On the train ride home from conference back down to Podulsk, the train was literally JAMMED PACK full of people, which I couldn't help but to laugh at how ridiculous it was. I'm pretty sure it probably would be breaking about 10 different laws and fire codes in America to allow that many people shoved up against each other in a train. I just started laughing because of how ridiculous it was and every once in a while I have those moments where I have to go..."Yup....this is Russia....."
I had my package (thanks mom!) as well as my purse and a Book of Mormon. I put the Book of Mormon on top of my package face-up as we were waiting for a stop. A girl saw the BOM and asked me if she could buy it, so I proceeded to tell her it was free and bore my testimony and gave her a little bit of background information. She was very curious about when it was written, so I told her. Before I could ask her for her phone number though, it was our stop and we had to leave, but there's one more Book of Mormon out in the world and she has our number. It was really cool though so pray that she'll read it and call us!
Me and Sister Johnson were also able to get in touch with an investigator who was gone the whole summer but was progressing before, and she called us three times on Friday and we should be meeting with her hopefully tonight. So we were very excited that she was so eager to get in touch with us.
Another story about the electrishka: I had a bit of a scare on Saturday night. When we were about to get onto the train, I stepped with my right foot onto the train, but my left foot missed and I fell in between the space between the train and the platform. Luckily, a man helped me back up and there wasn't any damage done besides a big bruise on my thigh, but I'm grateful to the Lord that nothing worse happened and know that He is protecting me. Never a dull ride on the electrishka though! One of the Elders here in Podulsk who's really thin actually fell underneath a train in Nizhny, my last area, and he pulled himself back out before it took off. So I was grateful that didn't happen to me and never thought I would be grateful for the fact that I'm not thin.
On Saturday we had a ward picnic out in the Russian woods which were BEAUTIFUL and our branch had Russian shish kabobs which are delicious! Sometimes I just have to laugh at how crazy life is, because we go from being in Podulsk, to being out in these beautiful woods, and then later were in Moscow, the biggest city in Europe. We invited a lot of people and all of our investigators to the picnic, but it was mostly just our branch, and then a friend of Irina's came, who's a non-member but not interested in the church. I tried to show her a Book of Mormon during the spiritual thought, but she very kindly turned me down. But she knows that the church members are friendly and normal and she had a really good time and helped out with the barbecue.
This past week things were a bit slower with our investigators. We've been trying to call and meet with our investigator Rosa, who had agreed to be baptized on September 29th. We called her throughout the week as well as yesterday, and then we found out from a ward member, Irina, who is her friend and who helped on the lesson, that apparently she doesn't want to meet with us because she's heard from people in the Orthodox church or wherever else that the church is just out to get her apartment....EVEN THOUGH SHE'S FRIENDS WITH IRINA, WHO OBVIOUSLY STILL HAS HER APARTMENT AND BOTH OF HER DACHAS.....Honestly, it's so infuriating sometimes that people here think crazy things about us because the Orthodox church or the J.W.'s are spreading false rumors! So that's a bit disheartening and may just be an excuse she was looking for, but we will continue to try to pray for her and call her and meet with her. So we'll just have to see.
The woman, Evgenya, who needed money for her son's operation, didn't end up coming to church yesterday because it was raining, but we will continue to try to call her and invite her next week.
We did have a lesson with a member present this past Wednesday, before English club with our investigator Zhenya (Jane), who was progressing with previous sisters but then started going to the Hari Krishna temple and was gone during the summer. She comes to English club and is really good friends with a strong, young single adult named Katya, so we met with both of them and retaught the Plan of Salvation and the Restoration with her. She knows the Book of Mormon is true, but only believes in the Plan of Salvation up until the Spirit World, because she believes in reincarnation. So we challenged her to pray about the Plan of Salvation and to know that there's one, specific plan that God has for all of us. So we will just keep trying to meet with her again this week and follow up with her after English club Wednesday.
Thank you for all of the letters and emails and your love and support! I love you all! Please pray that me and Sister Johnson will be able to find a new investigator and people to teach! This week we're going to have to do a lot of contacting and talk to as many people as possible to find people who are prepared.
Love, Sister Schmidt