So, we had an awesome week. There were 3 baptisms in my city on Saturday, which was also my birthday. I don't think I could have received a better birthday present. One investigator, from Lithuania, was taught by the Elders, and the other two (I think I called them Golden in previous letters) were taught by Sister Watts and me. (It's probably more accurate to say 80% by Sister Watts and 20% by me because I don't say as much as she does. I just go along for moral support.) It was such a great service. There were lots of members there, and we ate lots of food and felt the Spirit, and then they received the Holy Ghost and were confirmed members of the church the next day. They are ready to receive callings and serve in the church, and they're even looking forward to preparing to enter the temple. They have a picture of the Salt Lake temple as the background on their computer, and we're excited for them.
Some of the members are getting involved in missionary work. Some have given away copies of the Book of Mormon with their testimony, and one woman (I'll call her Red-member) invited us to her home to meet with her best friend (Red-friend). They both have red hair, so during the lessons, there are three red-heads (Sister Watts also has red hair), and then me. Brown. Didn't think I would ever be out-numbered quite like that. Red-friend is really sweet, and she genuinely wants to know why we're on a mission, and she's interested in knowing what her friend believes. She and her daughter come to English practice often, and we're hoping to establish a baptismal date with her soon. I can definitely see how much of a difference it makes when we have members help on lessons, and how much more of a difference it makes when the investigators are friends with the members.
We've been having a hard time meeting with investigators because their work schedules are crazy. They work all the time, and it's difficult to get them to come to church because they have to work on Sundays. We meet when we can, but it's so important to make sure the investigators are keeping commitments and reading and praying on their own because that's when conversion happens. We can talk until our face turns blue, but it's up to the investigator to accept the message for themselves.
We got transfer information this week, and... I'm staying in Nakhodka with Sister Watts! I'm not that surprised because we both thought I would finish training with her, and I've only been here for 1 transfer. (Granted, it was an eight week long transfer compared to the normal six, but I still have four more weeks of training, which equals twelve total weeks of training. Got all that?) Elders Alvord, Laws, and Gardner, and the senior couple are all staying here, but Elder Sayers is leaving for Khabarask. He served well as district leader, and Elder Murphy (Murphey?) will be our new district leader. Also, the missionaries I met in the MTC the week before I left (Sisters Allen and Woodland and two elders) are coming in soon. That means I've been in Russia for almost two months. TWO MONTHS! Where is the time going?
Random Russian stuff:
They have parks all over, but they also have ice skating rinks. Not anything too fancy, but they're all over. And they're free. Definitely don't have that in America.
Have I mentioned that shoveling ice is a job here? There are people whose job it is to shovel snow into trucks and drive it away (where to, I know not). They also have these big poles they use to break the ice up on streets and sidewalks. In fact, there's this babooshka who always breaks ice on the street that we walk up to get to the church. We say hi to her a lot, and she just keeps working on that street.
We had a great week and a great first month this year (it's already February!). Happy Groundhog's Day to you all. I hope spring comes soon! (It's actually pretty warm today, so it's coming. Eventually.) :)