I had such a spiritual weekend! We had zone conference yesterday, and it was so amazing. We rode a bus up to Vlad on Sunday morning with a bunch of members and some investigators from Nakhodka for the Sunday meeting where President and Sister Klebingat came and spoke to us. President Klebingat spoke at the last General Conference in October, so if you want to go back and read or listen to his talk, it was great. The Sunday meeting was in Russian, so I didn't understand all of the talks, but luckily I was sitting in the back near the missionary who was translating the talk into English for those who needed English, so I actually did get something out of the meeting. The Klebingats speak German, Russian, and English, and they know all of them fluently, and they didn't even have accents. I want to speak Russian like they speak English.
On Monday, we had our missionary zone conference. The Klebingats taught us so much, and there are so many things I want to work on to be a better missionary. One of the things the Klebingats talked about was how you're not learning just mission skills on a mission, you're learning life skills. When we are released from our calling as a missionary, we shouldn't go home and fall back into our old routines. We want to change. One of the quotes from yesterday was, "don't go through a mission without letting the mission go through you." So many people go on missions and only do missionary things. They never really become a missionary. It's important to take everything you do seriously, even P-day. It is a priviledge to be on a mission, so if you have the opportunity to serve, take advantage of it, because you will never get that kind of time in your life ever again.
The sister training leaders also came this week and did splits with us this week. I loved learning from Sister Dudley and Sister Раджабова (Radzhabova). It was interesting to see different ways to teach and different ways to talk to people. Sister Radzhabova is a fireball on the streets. She talks to everyone she possibly can and doesn't rest for a second. She's Sister Brayton's trainer, so I bet Sister Brayton is learning A LOT. Sister Dudley is super sweet, and she has this quiet, gentle nature about her. I can tell she cares for the investigators, and she has a soft heart. They were great. I also got to go on a split with Sister Холм (pronounced Holm, means Hill, so her real name is Sister Hill, but there were two Sister Hills, so the one I went with was Sister Холм) in Vlad. We talked to a great babooshka who's a member, and we talked with lots of people on the street. Vlad was a little bit colder than Nakhodka, so I'm really glad I'm serving in the "Hawaii" part of the mission for winter. There were some sisters from Sakhalin who said they had a blizzard last week with four feet of snow. It hasn't snowed here for a while... knock on wood.
One day, Sister Watts and I hadn't had much success with our plans, and we were rearranging lessons to make everything work out. One of our visits was with an investigator, and I had left my scarf at her house the previous day, so we were going back to pick it up. Our lesson with her went a little long, so instead of going home for dinner like we usually do, we decided to go to the grocery store and pick something up. We didn't find anything we liked at the first store, so we went to a different store that we had never been to. When we left the store, we ran into one of our different investigators we haven't been able to get a hold of in a while. (I feel like if I would have given her a nickname already, it would have been the Musician. If I've written about her, that's who it is. If not... she's a musician. Plays piano, guitar, accordian, sings, the whole shazam, just not all at once.) Turns out, she had moved and was living with family elsewhere. I know that we were blessed to run into her on the street and meet with her when we did. The Spirit was definitely guiding us.
Our members are awesome. One of the recent converts gave away a Book of Mormon to a neighbor, and she said the neighbor seemed interested. We've invited other members to do the same things, and we're hoping to get some member referrals. Member referrals are so helpful with missionary work because it means those referrals have a friend in the church to whom they can turn to with questions and concerns. We missionaries won't be in their lives forever, but if they have a member who can stay with them and help them on the road to converstion, all the better.
We have some baptisms scheduled for the 31st next week, so we're preparing and looking forward to that. Sister Watts finally got her Christmas and birthday packages from home, and I got some letters while we were in Vlad. Thanks to everyone who sent me mail, it's so fun to get and read!
Love you all, hope you have an awesome week!