Could I have picked a more cliche title for this week's email? Probably not, but I had to because it's true! There were so many miracles we saw this week as a companionship, as a district, and as a mission.
First off, there was another baptism! Whoo! We had our second baptism this month here in Nakhodka. It was another of the Elder's investigators, and we had it after church yesterday. As a mission, we only have 3 more baptisms to go before the end of the year to reach our goal of 100 total baptisms. We're going to make it!
We have another baptism scheduled for Wednesday, New Year's Eve. This is another miracle. One day we were walking on the street to an investigator's apartment hoping to get in another lesson when we ran into these two ladies on the street. Turns out, Sister Watts recognized one of them. The woman was someone she had taught several months ago when she was on splits in Nakhodka. Somehow the woman had fallen off of the radar, but we invited them to church, and they came! Then they stayed for the baptism after church, and we talked with them about the church and about baptism. The woman who had been taught before said she believed this church was true, but she wanted to keep thinking about baptism before committing. Well, Sister Watts kept pushing and prompting, and she finally agreed to be baptized this week. How amazing is that?! We were definitely guided by the Spirit to be on the street at that time.
We also saw another miracle in sacrament. We had a goal of having 2 investigators at sacrament meeting, but we had 6 there. Sister Watts said the most she's ever had on her mission before was 4, so 6 was awesome. One of the investigators (I think I talked about her last week) is just golden. She came to church, is trying to quit smoking, and she and her husband read together and look at the church website. She really understand 2 Nephi 31 that we had asked her to read, and she offered to make treats for church activities and volunteered to clean the church on Saturday. She is so great.
The weather here has been awesome. It hasn't snowed for a while, and it's been so hot outside. (I guess by hot I mean it's around zero degrees Celcius, but that's Russia.) One day I was all bundled up in my new Russian coat and boots, but we ended up walking up these big hills and I was sooo sweaty! Have I mentioned how hilly it is here? It's kind of cool because we can see the ocean and hills at the same time, so it kind of reminds me of home plus the beach in California. I think Heavenly Father has a sense of humor or something because I don't like hiking, and we go up and down hills all day. I think any other city will seem easier than here if it's flat! There's also this building that says something like "Nakhodka and Oakland - Sister Towns." I wonder why those two are connected? It's cool that Nakhodka is this port town. There's this great view of the water when we ride the bus, and I think part of the harbor is frozen because it looks a little icy, but I'm not 100% sure. They have lots of statues of things like anchors and sailors. Here's another random thing I think lots of people have: animal calendars. I don't know why, but I feel like in a lot of the homes we visit are calendars with pictures of horses and cats and sheep. I guess if it tells you what day it is, it doesn't really matter what's on the calendar. Just interesting.
The members threw a fun Christmas party on Saturday. The missionaries sang "Mary, Did You Know," the kids dressed up and did the nativity, the senior couple in our mission told stories, and then we all ate lots of dessert. It was super fun and so nice of them. They had all these cute homemade decorations for the tree like homemade snowflakes. It was fun to see the members and investigators all there to rememeber Christ.
On the real Christmas day, Sister Watts and I had French toast for breakfast, and I got to Skype home and see my family! I loved seeing their faces and talking with them, and the next time I get to do that is Mother's Day, only a few months away. We had a meeting with our district, and Sister Watts baked mini apple pies for that. Then we met with a woman whom Sister Watts met on the bus. We talked with her, and then she Skyped someone she knew who lives around Seattle, I think in Bellevue, and we talked with him in English/Russian. The woman has a cute girl she's raising, I think it's her granddaughter, who has some sort of disability. It's hard work for her, but we're hoping to share the Gospel with her and help her out. We also got to meet with one of our other investigators. She's 11, and she really wants to be baptized, but she needs permission from her parents first. Her mom won't give permission and hasn't wanted to meet with us, but we asked if we could bring her daughter a Christmas gift. She agreed, on the terms that we wouldn't talk about baptism. So we brought over some cookies and a bookmark for her scriptures and didn't talk about baptism, but at least we got to meet with her, and that's the first step.
This week has just been fun because we get to talk about Christ and share the message of Christmas with everyone. We're going to start a new year and create some new goals that we want to accomplish. I know sometimes it's hard to keep up on goals, but if we focus and do our best and pray for help from above, we can do all things! Hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!