Recently the Missionary Department of the Church released a simplified curriculum for training missionaries. Last week we had a 4 day training, 6 hours a day, taught by President Pratt on the fundamentals of missionary work. You'd think that we might have picked up on a few of the fundamentals in a couple of months in the country doing missionary work everyday, but there was so much that seemed so new to me, really just really simple. We practiced doing simple things that we should be great at doing while teaching others the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and you could instantly see results as we took the evenings and put to practice the things we learned during the day. It's so great to be part of an inspired program that can make things so simple a 19-year-old-boy-speaking-a-
foreign-language can do it! As we've made efforts to become better teachers and really meet the spiritual needs of those with whom we meet, we've seen so many great miracles happen. I feel like I've grown as a missionary more in the last week than I have in the last 8 months put together. It's like they teach in Cub Scouts...KISS Keep It Simple...Stupid? I can't remember what the second S was for...but that sounds right. Haha. I glory in plainness. I love simplicity. I've realized recently just how little I understand when things get complicated or confusing. It's been a great time.
The Lord answers prayers. I've had so many of the simple prayers that I've offered in faith answered. Yesterday we went to try to make contact with a woman whose door we knocked on a few months ago, but then lost contact with and haven't been able to get in touch. I have tried at least 10 times to find her home to see if she is still interested in knowing about our message and blessing her family. Yesterday we found our self with a little bit of time, but less than I would have liked to to go to the other side of my area to find this woman, but Elder Conley and I both felt like we needed to go and try one last time. Walking up the six flights of stairs to her apartment I prayed silently for the Lord to bless us with success in contacting her, then we stood in the stairwell and prayed together just before knocking on her door. It might not seem like a big miracle, but it was real to me, when she answered the door and wanted to start meeting with missionaries once her kids go back to school and she feels free again. (Spoken like a true mother of 6 right?) Our prayers were answered, and now the work can continue in her life. The Lord really does work in small and simple means.
Yesterday was a grand event in the history of the Church in Eastern Europe as President Thomas S. Monson dedicated the Kiev, Ukraine Temple. This is the first temple dedicated to the Lord in the former territory of the Soviet Union. President Monson was full of energy and cracking jokes as they laid the corner stone, and the Spirit was undeniable as he offered the Dedicatory Prayer. The Temple in Kiev will serve members of the Church from 13 different countries in Easter Europe and is the 134th operating temple of the Church in the world currently.
I really am glad to be serving the Lord in Russia and to see the blessings of the Gospel bloom in the lives of those who will accept it and live by the teachings of Jesus Christ, striving to follow his example. The doctrines of Christ are really simple. The results are clear. The truth will set you free. There really has been no better time to be here on the Earth and to be serving the Lord. I know that He is with me and that I really do represent the Savior Jesus Christ to the people who live in this land. He has called me, and He directs my paths so that I can bless the lives of others and help them change for good.
I feel like there are even more changes coming in the near future for me, so I guess we'll see what other pages of adventure I get to turn as I continue my full-time service to the Lord.