This week I kind of wanted to write a little bit about how I've noticed that the Lord has been preparing me my entire life to serve here, in Russia. I've made some really fun discoveries.
1. Talk to Everyone
As missionaries it's really important for us to talk to everyone. They all need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it's my job to give them that opportunity. Every situation is an awkward one. A lot of times I'll say hi to someone and their response will be "I don't know you." But I learned years ago how important it is to talk to everyone. That's a lesson I learned while selling candybars to go to the National Boy Scout Jamboree. I learned that I had to talk to everyone and at least give them the opportunity to tell me "no" because a lot of times it was the person who I didn't think would be receptive that would buy the very most. Lesson learned.
In 5th grade the cool thing to do at recess in the winter was to slide on the ice. We'd find a good patch of ice and just smooth it out by sliding on it over and over. There would often be more than 30 of us lined up on the playground to slide on this sweet 10-foot long patch of smoothed ice. Now I slide down hills that are ice as far as you can go in either direction. Everyone slides here! Today I saw a man who was probably in his 50's who just took a slide on the ice while walking down the street. A few weeks ago we were helping an older lady get to the bus stop with a big bag that she really couldn't have carried very well on her own, and she started to slip on the ice....but she just slid it out. It was probably 10 feet, down a hill...in heels. I was very impressed. It's a good thing I learned that skill while I was young.
This is also a place for sweet hats! Definitely mastered that while I was younger too. Thank you Cedar Badge!
3. Crazy things in Public
Two years ago this week I took a job as Uncle Sam dancing on the street for a tax filing company in Rexburg. I got comfortable doing things on the streets that without fail seemed strange to everyone who saw me. Eventually dancing led to roller skates and a pogo-stick. I'm still proud of those things. Now I'm doing something on the streets that seems almost even more odd to the people around me. Telling people that there is a God, that He loves them, and that I can help them learn to follow Him. I'm glad I learned that lesson in stars and stripes.
4. Just smiling
I guess I smile more than the average Russian. This week I walked past a man and just said "good day" (I know that sounds really silly in english but people actually say it here) and his only reply was "I'm not a smiling person" as he walked off. I learned at Cedar Badge and Get Connected that nothing is more important than just smiling.
Don't be a grumpy.
When the road gets bumpy,
Just smile, smile smile, be happy!" Thanks Kersie..Sister Babb
People always notice a smile, and eventually it will wear them down and open doors for you. I'm glad that I learned to always smile.
I love to have the Lord close to me all the time to help me through the challenges I face. I remember when I worked with Student Spirit Events at BYU-I how Friday afternoon was always "Grattitude Prayer." That's a tradition that I still keep. Every Friday night I try to just thank the Lord for all the things for which I am grateful. It is always the most rewarding thing. I was teaching a lesson this week to Yulia (I probably spell her name different every time in english..oh well) who is preparing for baptism, and our lesson was on the 10 Commandments. As we taught the 10th commandment "Thou shalt not covet" I thought about how when we focus on the things the Lord has given us, and not the things that we don't have, we find more joy and are better able to live the teachings of Christ. We won't covet or be jealous, because we realize that the Lord has given us everything that we really need.
I'm really glad to have been given so many opportunities to have been prepared for the work which I am now doing. I know that the Lord is always mindful of who we are, and who we will be, and that He guides us from one place to another; knowing the end from the beginning. It's like the hymn "Lead Kindly Light" probably my favorite. I don't need the Lord to show me the distance scene, one step's enough for me.
Я очень люблю кажды из вас! Спосиба за ваши молитвы. (I proably spelled that wrong.)
I met a man at a bus stop this week named Sergei. He's retired and is really cool. He speaks amazing english and travels the world. This summer he is going to Holland.
I only met him on Saturday so we haven't had a chance to have lessons with him yet, but he seems to me to be so prepared to receive the Gospel. He used to work in Vladivostok City Hall as some kind of director in the International Department and did all of the receiving of Church Humanitarian Aid for this area of the world. To me that is a great sign of how well he has been prepared by the Lord to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Isn't it cool that I just happened to run into him at a bus stop that we hadn't planned to be at? It kind of just happened. At the same time as I was talking to him, my companion met a 19 year-old guy named Alexei. We are supposed to have a meeting with him today, he is really cool. When we met him he was smoking and had a half drunken bottle of beer sitting next to him...but we'll take care of that soon enough.
Miracles are happening here. It is so incredible to be a part of it. Prayers are answered as the Lord leads us to His elect and gathers Israel by His hand.