In short, my mission and therefore life has been changed.
It was incredible. President Bennet is our area 70. He lives in Moscow with his wife. They are the big dogs. They are the mission president couple who took a struggling mission and turned it around. Rules strict, obedience enforced, missionaries loving their missions, baptisms doubling by the end of their time here.
President Bennet is a mixture of three men in my life. Tell ya later. But he is incredible. He's not afraid. He is such an incredible teacher. ANd he's not afraid to let out passion every now and then-- NEEDED passion, to kick some of it in to the future of the Samara RUssian mission. The conference was incredible. We in Russia-- are reminded of our call. WE are directly north of Jerusalem. THIS is where a large large majority of tribes escaped as prophesied in the scriptures. Don't trust me, check the map. THIS PLACE is what was going on with the early saints in the east. Before things take off.
We were told all weekend of the duty that rests upon us and these precious Russian members....as they are literally numbers of Melchezideck priesthood holders away from finally qualifying for a stake in Saratov.
THe first presidency and the 12 know it, and don't shy away from letting Presdient Bennett know. He told us stories, examples, with the most intense eye contact-- and then would break it and say, "I love you." Heh heh, and we'd all be kind of hiding behind our chairs, and then nervously laugh as if we had actually forgotten for a second. (We had.) Hahah, but I dont' care-- because this conference changed. my. mission. We know who we are--and we all know teh potential that we can reach-- the same potential that we see in our minds on a daily basis, knowing it's available, but our reluctance to take the steps up to it allows us to shrug it off for another day. Talking with EVERYONE. Asking EVERYONE if they know ANYONE who might be benefited from this incredible message. CALLING all Contacts, wihtout fail, back wihtin 24 hour time. Meal Times are not our time. LESSONS with members are VITAL to baptism. Contacts on street who they, themselves, write their own phone number and date of our appointment in OUR planners are 400% more likely to not blow us off.
The image of President Bennett, pouding on the table-- saying A Minute late is NOT A MINUTE LATE---with regard to getting out the door on time, just before someone ready to accept the plan of salvation just walked past the stairwell and therefore just lost his chance forever. "We are at war. We are at WAR." He warned us of teh adversary who allows all to justify the seemingly smallest of things. Ugh. It was incredible, invigorating, and inspiring.
SIster Henrickesen and I went out on an exchange the other day. Met a woman named Ballia. I whispered in her shy ear to give her a book of mormon when her head was down--and instead of doubting, she acted out of faith and WENT FOR IT. She opened her mouth and it came, the spirit gave it to her. She has so much more than she gives herself credit for!!! PRetty soon this woman took it, agreed to read, and gave us an address. We walked up in the street in excitment, and then stumbled upon this same Ballia from a distance, BOM in hand and pouring over the pages in front of her grandon's stroller. "What is happening. What is happening. Is she reading it. Oh my, she's reading the Book of Mormon. In the park." describe a few of our thoughts. Hahahahaha, hook and sink-- President Bennet's counsel kicked in--if that pole is pulling, you REEL IT IN. hahaha, Sister Henrickensen and I proceed to casually stroll back over, stumbling upon our 5-minute-long-lost friend, "on accident." Oscar award for most pleasantly oblivious reaction goes to us. hahah. We sat her down on a bench, proposed that we pray, and had a lesson from start to finish. It was incredible.
We have seen so many miracles as ALL of us have been going to new lengths since the conference. I can't explain it, forgive me if these paragraphs didn't do it justice.
BOGDAN!!!! The best littel boy in the world. Ugh, he's our investigator, about 12 years old--with the cutest little voice. His mom is baptized and less active, and gave sisters permission to teach him. He came to church, and then our YOUTH ACTIVITY on FRIDAY!! WE did a huge missionary night for the youth, giving them the chance to participate in member missionary work-- it was a surprise- they all came, received mission calls and badges, and were assigned to different countries with companions. Hahah, we all decorate our respective rooms and had refreshments prepared, as we were to be the non-member hosts, and the teaching was left up to the kids. So incredible. The girls in our room, SIster Young and I hosted America-- were giggly at first, struggling to get a hold on it. But, it was so neat--to be acting as people who had no idea what prayer was, and to see Katya, an 18 year old girl get a hold of herself, and bear testimony in Russia about what it has done for her family and her grandmother who was diagnosed with Leukemia. Wow, it was so incredible.
There was a wrap up together at the end, where a few bore testimonies, and we committed the kids to each think and talk to someone at school, since it starts this week--who would be interested in meeting with the missinoaries. I was then able to share Samantha's experience about Dana, how it was scary---but how Dana is now on a full-time mission, and revelaed in her last letter, "you doing this has changed me and my life, and my family's life forever." Not to many pairs of dry eyes. It was incredbile.
Have a great week,
SAM SISTER CLYDE 2, GO GET EM!!!!!!!!!