This letter is pretty long. So many little miracles happened this week. (Lots of walking happened, too, but that's not as fun to write about.)
We've adopted this new schedule (called "Schedule C") where on Tuesday and Wednesday, instead of getting ready for the day, studying, eating lunch, and then leaving the apartment, we get ready for the day, go outside and contact on the street for an hour and a half, and then go back home to study and eat lunch. It's something that shakes up our everyday routine, and there are lots of people on the street going to work or taking kids to school, but someitmes we go home afterward and feel like it's already bedtime. It's fun to be trying something new.
We visited a member babooshka who can't come to church because she's so old and sickly. It was her birthday on Tuesday, so we helped by buying her groceries and cleaning her dishes on Monday. We went back on Tuesday with Sister Veselova and the Relief Society President and took her some flowers. She had this huge feast laid out for us. She had made plov, chicken, dumpling-things, and Russian salad, and she had bought juice and cake. Soooo much food. The thing is, she doesn't have the cleanest house, as in, there are cockroaches. All over. It was a beautiful meal, but we just tried to eat very carefully and sparsely. The cake was good (store-bought, still in its case), and she told us about how she met the missionaries five years ago. She was super thrilled to have us there. We had to leave the party early because we had another meeting, but the babooshka really wanted us to finish our meal, so she invited us back the next day. Well, the next day we were prepared with bags and napkins to politely hide the food in our laps, and we were really glad we did because Sister Isaac found a lovely dead cockroach in her plov. Five star meal in Russia! Even if the food wasn't the best, the babooshka was adorable, and it was worth it to see the smile on her face.
We've been calling this former investigator (I'll call her Blondie) for a few months, and she finally said we could visit her. She is absolutely amazing. She's still reading from the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants when she has time, and she has a testimony that the church is true. All we need to do is fill up the font and ask her to be baptized. She came to church yesterday without a reminder call, and she has great potential. She also has an adorable granddaughter who is three years old and likes to watch "Губкабоб" (goobka-bob = Spongebob).
We've been trying to find other former investigators, and some of them were busy when we visited but said we can come back. Twice, we've had people say "thanks for not forgetting me." It's so great that we can find these people who have been taught by the missionaries before and continue helping them on their path back to God. Every person is important, and that's why we save information for other missionaries to use. It's so important to keep good, clean records because one day, these people will be ready for baptism. One time, while we were looking for an address, we asked some people for help, and the man standing there decided to help us find the address, so he walked with us for about twenty minutes while we looked for this address. He was nice and interested in why we were there, and he gave us his contact info. so we can visit him later. He had a mouthful of gold teeth, a baseball hat, and sweatpants, and his accent reminded me of Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump. We'll try to visit him again this week, but probably with the elders so we can hand him over to them.
Owl didn't come to church, so we had to push her baptismal date back. We're not sure she understands everything we're teaching her or why it's important to be baptized. We're going to try to focus on comprehension this week and do our best to help her come to church next Sunday.
Sometimes missionary work doesn't go the way you think it will. You plan a lesson, and it works out well one day and then is super awkward the next. You can plan out a bunch of lessons for your day, end up running from one to the other so you're not late, and then have nothing to do at night for two hours. We do our best to plan so we can use our time effectively, but it's difficult because people cancel or don't want to meet. It comes down to just relying on the Spirit to know where to go and what to do and trusting in God's timing.
On Saturday, there was a Relief Society activity for the birthday of the Relief Society. Lots of women were there, and several of them dressed up as women from the scriptures and acted out their stories for us. It was a great meeting, and they all did an awesome job. I love all the women in the branch! The members here are so special, and I'm so blessed to be serving here.
I love Russia! Have a great week!