This week was so fun. So much happened, so here we go.
First off, here's something way random. Apparently all of the Russian missionaries have a "spirit animal" which is given to them by the "spirit shaman," so my companions and I got our spirit animals. Sister Brayton is a yellow lab puppy, Sister Balls-Barker is an ibex, and I am a... wait for it... puffin! What?! They said it's like the puffin from the movie "Swan Princess," so if you want to look that up and tell me your thoughts, I would love to hear them, because I have no idea why I'm a puffin.
We ran into two sisters missionaries this week, serving in the US, but they're from Colombia and Thailand. They said they had been here for two weeks, and they didn't speak a lick of English when they got to the MTC. Because they speak different languages, they said their first conversation was basically, "Hi, I'm from Colombia/Thailand." The end. But now they speak almost fluent English! They understood everything we said to them. Talk about inspiration to work harder.
HALLOWEEN! So fun!!! We had the best day. We dressed up (secretly), and it was awesome. Sis. Peterson was a Ninja Turtle, Sister Bentley was Barney, Sister Brewer was Minnie Mouse, Sis. Brayton was Tigger, Sis. Balls-Barker was Eeyore, Sis. Oler was Piglet, and I was Winnie the Pooh. I'm sending a picture because it was so great. We had a party that night, and we all just shared our candy and treats that we had. (Shout-out to my family for the delicious doughnuts!) It was so fun that day.
Sometimes I forget about the real world, but we had a good reminder yesterday because all the missionaries got to take a field trip to the BYU devotional in the Marriott center. We all walked down there together and listened to Elder Evans of the first quorum of the seventy talk about tenacity and sticking to a task until the end. It was so good, and you all should look it up. (I think it's on BYU's website.) Also, I ran into Daniel Taylor! He said he works with the senior missionaries. I only talked to him for a minute, but talk about a surprise. Maybe I'll run into him again later. I mean, I still have 5 weeks here... so long... Almost halfway done, though!
Daylight Savings was this weekend, which means I got one extra hour of sleep! Whoo! Sleep is so precious here. We really try hard to be to bed on time because we need every minute. We work until we're exhausted every day, which is good, but tiring. On Sunday we had mission conference, and one of the speakers had previously asked four missionaries to recite the First Vision by memory in their mission languages: Hungarian, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian, and the Russian was my companion, Sister Brayton! She did such a good job. She memorized the whole thing in about a week and a half, and she really brought the Spirit into the meeting. I'm not that far with the memorization (about halfway), but my goal is to memorize it soon! I have the invitation to be baptized memorized, but there's still so much I need to learn. The devotional that night was by Sister Nelson, Elder Nelson's wife, and she gave a great devotional, but the best part was at the end when she and her friend Sheri Dew (who tagged along with her that night) taught us a new song called "Lord, Make Us a Holy People." It was way pretty, and I want to find it so I can sing it again.
Today we're getting new Russians! About 11 new Elders are coming into our zone, and we get one new sister! Her name is Sister Thomas, and we're going to meet her in a few hours. She's going to be a solo sister, but we get to room with her and be her sort-of companions (which means we'll basically walk her everywhere she needs to go because she can't be alone), and we're way excited. I'll tell you all about her next week once we've had a chance to meet her.
Our lessons with investigators have their ups and downs. Sometimes we have a really spiritual lesson, and sometimes we struggle. It's like what Elder Golden of the seventy talked about in last night's devotional. He talked about how sometimes we get cocky and forget where the power comes from, so the Lord has to remind us who's in charge. We need to always remember to be humble, because it's when we're humble that the Lord can help us. We have four investigators we're teaching right now. Вася (Vasya) won't pray, but one day I felt a strong impression to commit him to pray, and I just said "Вася, tonight I want you to pray because I know it will help you and God will give you an answer." We have yet to talk to him again, but I REALLY hope he did. Настя (Nastia) is super sweet and just listens to everything we have to say. We only had a ten-minute lesson instead of a twenty-minute lesson, so we have a lot to get to in our next lesson that we want to say that will help her get ready to be baptized. Эдуард (Edward) has agreed to be baptized, so we're working on helping him understand more about what baptism is and preparing him for that. I love teaching him because I always feel the spirit so strongly. Света (Sveta) is a new investigator, and she has a son that she loves very much, but we are trying to find out what she needs in life so we can help her. Hopefully she accepts our message.
Funny story. My companions and I were studying in a different room to shake things up, but when we opened the door to go back to our classroom, we heard a THUD, and Elder Williams was holding his head. He sits right behind the door, and it looked like Sis. Balls-Barker had hit his head with the door! We felt so bad, but it was so funny, and we were trying not to laugh. Elder Williams' companion, though, Elder Bodily, was laughing his head off, and we thought he was so mean, until we found out it was a prank! Elder Williams had just hit the door with his hand so we would think it hit his head, and we were so mad! Sis. Balls-Barker was throwing things at him and yelling, but it was soooo funny. We're planning on pulling the same prank on somebody else later, so we'll see how that goes.
Last things: we're losing most of our Russians on Monday (way sad!!!), and we're going to miss them so much. They are so fun, but we got to hear most of their testimonies in Russian in sacrament. (I bore mine too, and my heart was pounding so hard because I didn't want to make a mistake.) Most of them are going to Moscow, and they have a direct flight from SL to Moscow. So many hours of sitting on a plane! Soon that will be me!
Sorry if this message is really confusing, I just threw together a million thoughts. If anyone wants to write me, I'd love to hear from you! You can send me an email that I'll read on Wednesday, or if you use DearElder.com, you can write me any day of the week and they'll print it off for me for free. Hope you all have a great week!