So this is a crazy time, just out of control. Of course I enjoy it and I always love what I do, but when Paul wrote to the Ephesians and said "we wrestle..against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" he meant it. As of right now, Yulia isn't going to be baptized...not yet at least. It has been so tough to watch the temptations of the adversary ware her down. I still very firmly believe that she will be a great, active member of the Church...just not this week I guess. It's a really complicated situation, even more so because she knows that she received an answer to her prayers, just this weekend, while asking the Lord if it was His will for her to be baptized and if this was His true church. She knows it is, but because of some of the things a few members of the Church said in a Sunday school lesson she's doubting again whether she is ready for that kind of covenant. It really reminds me that when we have even a little chink in our spiritual armor, that the adversary will find a way to get in and make us struggle. Of course he wants to keep us from the happiness we have the potential to have, of course he wants to keep us from doing the small things like praying and studying the scriptures each and every day; but we have to let him. We're the ones who choose liberty and eternal life, or death and damnation. Choose life.
That said, I am learning so much from the people of Russia. I have a greater understanding of them and their circumstances each day, and each day my love for them grows. Of course the language is difficult, but people are SO understanding about that. When I tell people that I only really began studying the Russian language just over 3 months ago they are always very impressed. I just wish I could help them realize in whom they should be impressed. It's definitely not me. If we only realized the miracles that happened right in front of us each day there is no way we could deny the truth of this work, or the reality of the Restoration. But all too often "in seeing we see not, and in hearing we hear not." After many of His parables the Savior exhorted "those with ears to hear let them hear!" We have been given the ears, both physically and spiritually, which we need in order to hear the truths all around us. Life is filled with parables. You have eyes to see, just look!
I'm so grateful for the miracles that I see each day. For the miracles of understanding just a little bit more of the conversations around me each day, for members of the Church who give so much to build the Kingdom. This week we helped a young man named Arcaadi start filling out his Mission Papers. He is such a great example to me. And Alexei, who was baptized about a month ago with his girlfriend Ksusha, is thinking really seriously about a mission too. He showed up to church in a suit this week (which doesn't sound like much in the States, but here that is a really big deal) and he has a Preach My Gospel that he's been studying. He's only been a Member for a month and he got the Aaronic Priesthood last week! His faith and desire to serve are so incredible. I really look up to him.
The work here really is great, there is absolutely nothing I'd rather be doing right now, and nowhere on Earth I'd rather be. I am so blessed that the Lord has given me this opportunity and that He takes care of me from day to day.
I love you and pray for your success. Wherever you are in the world, from Blackfoot to Washington DC, to China, my prayers are with you. Thanks for the examples that you are to me and thank you for your prayers and support.
May the Lord continue to bless you and keep you,
Старешина Файф (or sometimes Elder 5)