What. A. Week. So many miracles every day! I'm glad we're not doing this work alone because there's no way I could handle this all without divine help.
We have a new mission president! President and Sister Brinton left on July 1st (and we miss them terribly), but we're really excited to get to know President and Sister Perkinson. Sister Cavaness had a short conversation with President Perkinson on the phone, and she said he is such a cool, funny man. We'll get to meet them in about a week and a half when we're at zone conference in Irkutsk, so we're looking forward to that. I'm really excited to get to know them better.
We also celebrated the 4th of July by quietly singing American songs in our apartment and making hamburgers and drinking cream soda. See enclosed pictures.
We met with the Name Tag Family, and Sister Cavaness and I had a great talk with just the parents about baptism and getting answers. We learned a lot about the dad's concerns. He still hasn't received an answer to his prayers about if this message is true or if Joseph Smith really was a prophet. However, he seems a lot more open now than he was in the past (according to what he said), and he says he prays to receive an answer in every prayer. We committed him to try picking a date and praying with that specific date in mind, and he said he will do that. We're hoping to follow-up on that tonight. They are getting closer and closer all the time.
Auburn had a hard weekend because she lost her wallet, work was boring, and she really wanted to drink some water while she was fasting, but she really has strong faith and keeps reading and praying. We're still giving her lots of love.
One of the biggest miracles this week was on Wednesday when five people walked into the church on their own. Five! Two of them were drunk, although they each took a copy of the Book of Mormon home. Another man said he's a member who was baptized in 2002 and has been less-active for a really long time, but now he just decided that he wants to come back and hear all the lessons again. The other two people were a father and a daughter. They are refugees from Ukraine, and they came in looking for help. Thankfully, we had a member there who called the branch president, and they helped out a lot. We got to teach the daughter and the elders the father, and they soak up everything like a sponge. The father had a baptismal date after their first lesson, and they brought their whole family to church yesterday. (They have two girls ages 12 and 9 and two boys ages 4 and 2.) The elders taught the entire family after church, and now both of the parents have baptismal dates. Sister Cavaness and I are working with the two girls, and they both prayed during our lesson to know if the Book of Mormon is true, and they received answers right there. They have such a light about them and are so prepared. At church, they looked like experienced veterans who've gone to church for years. As Sister Cavaness would say, "The Lord is so kind."
One of our other miracles was on Friday. We did some service and helped a member who teaches English by visiting one of her students and practicing English with him. After we finished, we were on our way home, and as we got off the bus and were walking toward our apartment, we heard somebody yell, "Hey, guys!" in English. We turned around, and this man and his friend walk up to us, and our first thought is that they're drunk and wanting to make fun of the Americans, but they were actually just looking for help. They had been talking with our friend who sells vegetables on the street, and maybe she mentioned that we speak English. One of the first things they asked us after noticing our clothing was, "Are you Christian or something?" Sister Cavaness said, "Yeah, actually, we're Mormon." Then the one who asked the question said, "I'm Mormon too." (This is all in English.) We did not believe him for about two minutes. He kept saying, "I'm Mormon, I'm Mormon," but it wasn't until he said that he's an, and I quote, "RM" and he served in the Washington D.C. South Mission that we finally believed him. They're from Mongolia, here for work and touring, and they wanted to know where to go to look at sights but meet up with their group in time to head to Lake Baikal. They don't speak Russian, just Mongolian, and the RM speaks English. It's definitely no coincidence that they were lost on our bus stop. We took a selfie with them, gave them our contact info., and he said he'll probably be back in August and he wants to see our church building. So cool! (I hope that all made sense. I tried to put it in an order that would be somewhat understandable.)
Let's not talk about the fact that this week I will hit 9 months and my halfway point and just close with some wise words of Sister Cavaness.
"I was talking about how one day I'm going to be a super space cadet with jet pack shoes who can juggle and save the world from meteors and other space terrors, but then I realized that could never be real because I can't juggle!"