Nothing like subway sandwich lunches on the mission leadership council---in SAMARA. Woot woot ( we were given pressing notice right after transfers and moved right on up on an 8 hour train the next day), while everyone judged the size and taste of the newly-delivered variety of 50. President Schwab asked if anyone had any recent stories, on a more casual note from our more serious discussion. Well, we'd hate to disappoint....
"So there's a backwoods path that Sister H and I often take home when we're in a hurry to make curfew. At one point on the sidewalk is a thick black pipe that stretches right across the middle---we've noticed it on several occasions, and are always sure to give each other a verbal "heads up" when moving swiftly, before smoothly hopping over it while the desert, hills, mountains and vales sing and ring "carry on." Well, it was a chilly frosted night not 2 weeks ago, when two quick-paced sister missionaries could bne spotted from afar across the dark horizon. Movin, movin, movin through the snow, gots to go. Sure enough we reached the sidewalk, but this time with concentration fixed apparently elsewhere---Thoughts got topsy-turvied as our boots catch something, and our bodies are so to say propelled in to pen air, effectively catapulted by the sly slippery black serpent of a notorious pipe from below. "OOF!!!" we seemed to say as we simultaneously hit the ATE IT on the earth. Hahah--mutual looks of "where in the world am I?" and "I'm so glad you're on the ground with me." Hahah, with President and wife completely laughing at the news of the spill.
You can thank us for the no shame in self-deprecation when we're home.
Fast fast week. Mostly in Samara, then shot to Penza еще by train, for immediate exchange with sisters Coleman and Henricksen. Just neat to see how Heavenly Father knows the exact size and slice of what to dish up for a quadruplet bunch of missionaries on an opening ceremony Friday in February. Sister Coleman and I this time were working together---and it sounds like they lived in NJ at one point and can remember Sam and me from our nursery days??) Usually there's plenty of dross to get through, when it comes to all day street conversations......and therefore rejections:) but, it's all in a wonderful day's work as we are out on the streets to represent Jesus Christ and appreciate just a little bit more what He did and does. I don't know--there was something interesting in this exchange, as Heavenly Father just seemed to opened up the window of opportunity, snap his fingers, and poof, pops the perfect person walking around the corner at drop-second timing. I love picturing that, every time we have a conversation of gold. Sister Coleman and I just laughed together, looking back on the day after coming in 20 minutes early at night due to some good old-fashioned frost bite:) Reminscing about the seemingly perfect situations--of Angelica, a 16 year old who at first had no interest---but then, let the spirit warm her up as she began to randomly tell us of her concerns in life. "I don't know why you would ever choose this town, Penza." Then looked at me and continued, "the devil walks these streets." Whoa. "The sun goes down, it gets dark, and then the violence comes out." She was so stark and serious in expression. Completely unexpected to see a younger girl talk about that kind of thing. And so neat, as 2nd cycle sister coleman was able to bear her testimony about how in our church, she could find safety. Feel safe, and escape the dangers of society, penza, the world. Angelica then insisted that we accompany her a little farther on her walk home, clearly new-found friends in her book. She agreed to drop in to FHE, can't wait to see!!
Then, another couple at night, as well as a former friend that the missionaries had bumped in to. She was speeding home and we joked that she had ample pace for Sochi, and what was she waiting for. Hahah. Something like that, so we stopped and chatted with this here Tatyana for a little. It was nice to have some background conversation before jumping in to our purpose since the allotted time frame doesn't always allow for it. I told her she looked like Liv Tyler, American actress from Lord of the Rings. She was happy to hear it. And then, hear a little more about the gospel. Unfortch she declined to leave her number, insisting that she'd call the next morning since she had our flyer. (New and improved, I might gush.) A little disheartened after the situation, we mutually decided to have faith, saying, "she'll call. she'll call." Haha.
'Twas a sweet experience on the Saturday morning bus ride home through the snowy winter meadows of Russia to receive a text from Penza sisters saying, "Tatyana CALLED!!!!! She's coming to church tomorrow!!!!"
A little faith never hurt anyone:)
Yesterday we were sitting in RS with our baptism-bound investigator Anya in-between us. The teacher is an older, jolly woman with gray hair and a lovely warm winter fleece. All of sudden she starts getting a little flustered and mid-sentence says, "Sisters, everything is bad to me," before 3 hopped up to catch her in a chair while fanning her. Hahah, what's uh...goin on here?? We all just sat and observed, as she must have felt faint in the middle of her lesson. She submitted to the sips of water from a plastic cup, but soon enough couldn't take it any longer--- It was perhaps the oddest thing yet to see her face poke between the nursing arms of her RS sisters in action in order to continue, without skipping a beat, the exact same gospel-topic lesson she had just beforehand truncated. Hahahhaa, I'm not quite sure how many in attendance could take her sincere attempts seriously as she said "the gospel was restored by a prophet in the latter days." Wait, like don't you need an aspirin or something??? We couldn't help but graciously laugh.
Last night we met a nice young man while sliding in to an apartment stairwell to sit on a FURNACE, warm up, and send in our weekly numbers to our district leader. His name was Eric, and he is from Azaberjhan. He is muslim, and thought it was fantastic that we girls were sporting skirts. Hahah he wants us to call him as soon as we ever have car trouble or someone's getting up in our face. Will do.
Hope you're loving life and 'lympics without me!!!
The Olympics will never not hold place in my heart. How is Bob Costas. Anyone. I am here in Russia so tell him to stop by.
Haha, have a lovely week, keep praying for missionary opportunities!!