Happy Old New Year! The holidays never end. Russians celebrate them all. Businesses are finally back to working now, and there are even some apartments on the market. We've been searching for an apartment for a senior missionary couple to move to Ussurisk from Nakhodka. They are way cool and I'm excited to get to work with them a little bit. There have been absolutely no apartments in the condition that we're looking for, on the market until today. The Rahis wanted to move here last weekend, but it didn't work out. I guess we can finally start searching...now that we've tried for a month.
This was a really cool week in our area. We learned about planning and using goals a little bit. Funny how you can teach something for all those years at Cedar Badge, and still have to relearn it over and over. We decided to plan a little bit more sensibly this week. Instead of planning our week and then setting goals of what we thought was possible to accomplish, we did what President Pratt has been trying to teach us to do for 3 months now, but never really clicked, and flip it around, setting realistic, SMART goals at the beginning of our planning session, and then finding ways to meet those goals. The Key Indicators are really important. That won't make much sense to those of you who aren't as familiar with the in's and out's of Missionary Work, but the lesson learned is to trust the Brethren. They know what they're doing.
My companion is super weird. He giggles, and is ticklish, and doesn't remember anything. But I love him more than life.
Sunday was cool. Really cool actually. We meet every week with the presidents of different auxiliary organizations within the Branch to talk about how we can help those who weren't at the Church services that day come in the future. It helps us to better care for those who struggle to come to Church, and who are just struggling in general with the difficulties of life. In last week's meeting we decided that we were going to fast for a list of inactive members who we would like to help come back to Church. We all prayed for them during the week and then fasted on Sunday for their welfare and that they could come to Church. We saw miracles.
We had more people at our meeting than at any time since I've been in Ussurisk. Forty might not seem like a lot, but here it was a miracle. There were even a number of active members who didn't make it this week. Of those 40 people at our meeting, I counted 9 that usually don't come to Church, at least one of which hasn't been to Church in a number of years, and just felt like she needed to come this week. We also had 6 investigators at Church, which is great. The Spirit filled the meetings and there was excitement as we met back with the Branch leaders after Church. The Relief Society President said "I want to fast EVERY week!" but threw in a "but you missionaries never really eat...you basically fast every day." (I'm not sure why people think that we don't eat...but they all think that.) We're fasting next week as an entire Branch with the same goals in our prayers. I love to see the blessings of the Lord, and to know that others see it too. The Lord wants to bless us so much, but holds back sometimes, waiting for us to make the plea to Him. When we fast and pray for the righteous desires of our heart, especially all together, united by fasting and prayer for the welfare of those who know not God (Alma 6:6) the Lord pours out his blessings in such a real way. I have a testimony of the power of a meaningful fast and the power of reverencing our Maker.
You'll see miracles in your life too as you search to know what the Lord wants for you, and then pour out your soul in supplication to him. He is in all power to bless you. He will always fulfil his words.
Have a great week. If you have a spare moment, add in your prayers one of my heroes, Dave Falkingham, who suffered a stroke this week and is in critical condition. I appreciate all of the prayers offered in my behalf and for the love I feel from across the world. You're in my prayers too. Send my love to those you see,