This was my first full week in my city, and it was full of miracles. The people here are amazing, and I love this city!
Sister Cavaness and I are having the best time together. We have so much fun and laugh really hard all the time. There are times when we flash back to what it was like in high school, and it's interesting to see what things have changed from that time.
The members here are awesome. I love meeting with them. Yesterday we visited a Young Woman and her grandma who live in this small area that's kind of on the outskirts of Ulan-Ude, and if I thought I was living in the middle of a remote corner of Siberia, they're really living in the middle of a remote corner of Siberia. They were so excited to show us pictures of other missionaries they've met in the past, and it's crazy to see pictures of people who served here ten years ago and see how their influence has made such a lasting impact on these people.
We met with a different member who wanted help translating a letter to Thomas S. Monson. I don't know if that letter will ever make it to him, but it was touching to see how she wanted to share her testimony with the prophet. The letter was beautifully written, and it was a privilege to help translate it.
We've also had a testimony builder of how much more effective missionary work is through the members. We've met with this family where the grandma is less-active, the grandson and mom are new converts, and we've begun teaching the mom's sister (if that family tree makes any sense), and she has a baptismal date for July 11th. There is this other member who has invited a relative to church, and he has a baptismal date for June 6th. These people are so amazing, and members are the greatest help in this work.
We had a great FHE last Monday with the Name Tag Family (who came to church yesterday), and we made chicken rolls - Russian style! This is the meal my family makes all the time, and although we couldn't find exactly the same ingredients that we use in America, we made it work somehow, and they were a big hit! Sister Cavaness likes them too, so we'll be making them again soon.
Sister Cavaness and I have also been working with the youth. The recent convert who was supposed to get the priesthood yesterday slept in and missed church. Because we'll be in Irkutsk this weekend, that means he might have to wait two more weeks before he gets the priesthood. We've also had a fun time meeting with the young women. The group is small, but they're all adorable. Sister Cavaness and I have made a goal to memorize the YW theme in Russian. I didn't realize how much I missed reciting it every week at church.
Some news from Nakhodka: they have a new branch president made up of four priesthood holders living in Nakhodka! It's so exciting to hear about the city that I served in. Even though I don't live there anymore, I still care about the people there, and it's exciting to hear about their growth.
Random Russian stuff:
There's a statue of Lenin's head here, and it's supposedly the biggest Lenin head statue in Russia.
There's also a missionary who served here about ten years ago named Elder Springer, and the members keep asking if I'm related to him. As far as I know, the answer to that is no (unless you take into account that we're all children of God and we're all brothers and sisters, then yes).
That's some of our awesome week. Hope you all have a great week!