Okie-dokie, first off, one year mark! That's all I've got to say about that. Secondly, I have left Ulan-Ude. :( We received transfers on Thursday. Sister Wilson will be serving with the wonderful Sister Brayton in Ulan-Ude, and I am moving to Artyom, the tiny city that's really a suburb of Vladivostok. Everyone says that Artyom consists of about one street, and you get to know that one street REALLY well. It will definitely be a new adventure, going back to a smaller branch. My new companion is going to be Sister Woodland. I have no idea what's in store. The future seems so blurry but so close. I guess this is what it means to take a step forward with faith. Because of transfers, I'm in Irkutsk again for P-day. Fun, big, hot(ter) Irkutsk.
We were so busy last week saying good-bye to everybody. I love Ulan-Ude. The people are so wonderful. We were literally running all over the city to see everyone. I can't wait to go back, whether it's on the mission or after I've gone home. We invited Flower to be baptized, and she said she's thought about getting baptized before, but she didn't get baptized into the Russian Orthodox church because it cost so much money. She wants to hear more, and I know the sisters are going to do a wonderful job. Sister Wilson and Sister Brayton are going to see so many miracles. The city's in good hands.
This is a crazy story. Do you remember the woman who works at a company that's founded by Mormons, she'd been in Salt Lake a week before we met her, and the founders of her company are on a mission in Brazil? Siser Wilson met another woman who works for that same company and invited us to her office (and tried to sell to us). That's not even the crazy part. The crazy part is that while we were talking to her, another employee walks in with one of the Ulan-Ude members! It was totally unplanned, and as they were explaining and talking with us, we were able to say that we're Mormons, we're on a mission, and the message that we share is true and blesses all. It was the best unplanned member-present lesson.
We also found Flip, our investigator who was going to be baptized a few weeks ago and disappeared. We decided to take a note to her apartment and knock on the door or even drop it off in the mailbox if we had to. We decided to pray before knocking, and as we were praying outside her stairwell, we heard steps approaching. We finished the prayer and looked up, and there she was. It was such a tender mercy from the Lord that we were able to see her that night. She explained that some people at school found out she was associating with Mormons and told her mom about it. Flip fought with her mom, and she decided it would just be easier for now to cut off contact. She told us about fifty times how ashamed she was. She said that she will write, and she also admitted to forging the signature on her permission slips for baptism (which may have involved another member). It was a huge blessing to see her and start to clear things up because no strong building can last if it's built on a foundation of lies.
Conference attendance was small, but we know lots of people were watching it at home. A non-member came in partway through the first session on Sunday morning. Sister Wilson had met him on a tramvai, and he had built a Mormon church building in Mongolia and read the Book of Mormon. He said that he didn't really understand what was written, but his thoughts are pointing him toward the message of the Restoration. Two less-actives were also at conference. Conference was so good!!! What were some of your favorite talks? They were all so wonderful, and I know that God answers prayers.
I know that it's time to move on. I don't know why I'm supposed to be in Artyom, but I really want to start off strong and lose myself in the work. Some things I've been working on and studying have been faith, trust, diligence, patience, and obedience. I really hope that I can let myself be an instrument in the Lord's hands for the last part of my mission. This isn't about me, this is about everyone else. I love my mission.
'Til next time!