Hello family and loved ones!
So it's never a dull week in Russia let me tell you....
As you may have heard from Luba....we had a slight incident with the police on Saturday while we were district contacting. The four of us decided to do district contacting by singing hymns and handing out invitations and Book of Mormons. Well apparently in Russia it's illegal for more than two people to sing in public because it's considered a "performance" and they're currently having lots of protests in Moscow against Putin and some other stuff going on.
We had a box set up with some Book of Mormons and just me and Sister Johnson and Elder Everrett were singing while Elder Lyons was passing out invitations, which a lot of people were taking. After about twenty minutes though, two policemen showed up and asked us for documentation that we could sing in public.
In Russia as missionaries, you always have to have your passport and immigration card carried on you, but we have pouches that we carry hidden around our waists. If the police ask for your passport though, we're only supposed to give them a copy of a scan we have of it along with our visa and we all have a little booklet that we carry that has a copy of their law saying we can proselyte in their country. So we each gave them our copies. At first I was freaking out, and was on the verge of REALLY freaking out when they asked us to get in the back of their car to go to the station with them. Luckily for us though, the woman who is in charge of our registration and all of the legal stuff is in our ward and lives on the station where we were contacting. Her name is Luba and her and her family LOVE the missionaries, so she's basically like a momma hen and takes care of us if the police or drunk people or anybody else tries to mess with the missionaries or if anybody knocks on your door.
So we called Luba first and Elder Everrett had to make sure to get the cops' badge numbers before we would go with them. They were actually really nice cops though and weren't super scary. They just didn't know what the heck we were doing. So the four of us squeezed into the back of the cop car, which was hilarious. We ended up just waiting in the lobby of the station for two hours while Luba talked to them and explained that we didn't know it wasn't allowed. She ended up signing some papers for us, which she did because she said you have to be careful and not sign anything they try to get you to sign because you could incriminate yourself or someone else or something else really corrupt....While we were at the station, they just made us wait in the lobby but there was a man in the back in a cell who kept yelling at the police to let him out, so they sprayed some weird gas that made all of start having coughing fits to try to make hit be quiet. So that was pretty much the scariest part of it. It was an interesting experience and everything turned out fine thanks to Luba and I know that the Lord wouldn't let anything bad happen to us. And afterwards Luba took us all over to her house and fed us, which was super nice of her.
As far as the work goes, things in Podulsk have been quite a challenge for me and Sister Johnson as we are both very new in our missions and both struggle to understand the language. I love Sister Johnson and we're both committed to being 100% obedient and to work hard, but it's definitely a challenge to find new people in Podulsk to teach.
This past week we tried calling all of our investigators multiple times but none of them called us back. We had a lesson with a member present set up with our investigator Rosa, who had agreed to be baptized last month, but she didn't show up or answer when we called to touch base with her.
We did however, receive a contact on Saturday from a woman who the Palmers referred to us. Her name is Sonya and she works at a sharma stand at Tsareestana and has been reading the Book of Mormon. We also gave her a restoration DVD and I asked her for her number, which she gave us. So we will be calling her this week to try to set something up with her. We also visited a woman who works at a drycleaners that the Palmers also told us about and she has actually read the entire Book of Mormon. We stopped by and also gave her a restoration DVD, but weren't able to get her number because she had customers. But we will stop by again this week.
Another promising development is that we got a referral from a member. She's a young woman named Luba who is his employee and has struggled with health problems recently. She's interestested in English, so we called her after he gave us her number yesterday and she's coming to English club, so we'll try talking to and befriending her then and help ease her into possibly meeting with us.
Despite other cancellations, this week me and Sister Johnson had a really good lesson with an inactive named Sasha. It's usually a challenge to get her to listen, but she was very receptive and we reviewed the plan of Salvation with her.
I'm pretty much out of time but I love all of you and pray for all of you! Please pray that me and Sister Johnson will find someone new to teach this week!
Love, Sister Schmidt