This week I have a bunch of random thoughts to share.
On Tuesday we had zone conference, and we were able to watch a worldwide mission broadcast that was great. We learned a lot about helping people make commitments and about bringing the message unto people's hearts. We're called to preach repentance.
Our fifteen-year-old member came back from a two-week camp in Vlad., and she said she had a spiritual time and even was able to share her testimony with several people. Good for her!
Yesterday the missionaries surprised me with cake after church for my birthday. The sisters had been plotting with the elders secretly behind my back, and the elders bought the cake. It was so nice of them, and the cake was good too. I was caught off guard and didn't have my camera, but somebody took a picture.
The Andersons, the senior couple, announced that they're leaving in about two weeks. The members already started crying. We're going to miss them and their influence. They've been here for a year and a half. On Saturday they hosted a dinner with an investigator who teaches English and five of her students.
Yesterday as we were tracting (which we've found is our most effective and warmest finding method right now), we had some great conversations with people about the restoration, but several people said that we don't need living prophets, that we all just talk with God through the Holy Ghost. We're trying so hard to find families.
One of the less-active members keeps giving us clothes to pass along to other people, and this week we took a coat to her mother-in-law. She was so deaf that we were writing everything down on paper for her. We were surprised to see that she had a Book of Mormon on her counter. Maybe she's being prepared for missionaries in the Spirit World. She had chickens wandering around outside, and it was funny to watch the chickens shiver from the cold. They didn't stay outside for long.
During church we had a discussion of goals for the new year, and one member talked about how families are like trees. Our ancestors are the roots, we're the trunk, and our children are the branches. We want our trees to bring forth good fruit, so we need to nourish our trees with the right things. Her main point was about speaking kindly to each other. She said that bad words, criticism, gossip, and arguing are like aphids on the leaves, and they slowly eat away at the family. However, we have the scriptures, which is like bug killer. They inspire us to speak kinder. She thanked the elders for working with her husband. Even though he isn't baptized yet and isn't progressing much, she has noticed a difference in their lives and noticed that it's easier to talk with him. It was a really great meeting, and it's easy to see that she gets the gospel.
The church is true! Thanks so much for all the support, love, and birthday wishes!
Dear Brother and Sister Springer
Our Vladivostok Missionaries gathered together in the Vladivostok Branch Building for the South Zone Conference. We had 27 missionaries in attendance. We welcomed our new Vladivostok Mission Office couple, Elder and Sister Crookston who began our meeting with their testimonies of their devotion to this Gospel of Jesus Christ and their desires to serve Him here with all of us! They are wonderful people and we are grateful for their service!
We are truly blessed to be here serving The Lord in this part of His vineyard! We are grateful for the many years of gospel training taught in your own home! Thank you for carrying on the work of the Lord there also as you share the Gospel among your family and friends!
President and Sister Perkinson