We have spent this past week getting back into the swing of things after that wonderful weekend in Prague. The visa renewal process went smoothly and we are now again safely in Russia with new visas and passports. The work at the mission office is picking up a bit as we get ready for receiving new missionaries from Kazakhstan, securing new apartments for some of our Elders and Sisters, and preparing for the weeks ahead. It is a marvelous experience to have this special time in our lives to work so closely together serving in our Heavenly Father’s work and to be able to do so in such a special land with some of the best people we have ever met. This past week we celebrated our anniversary together very quietly at home and enjoyed recalling some of our life’s experiences. We won’t tell you how long it has been (it is kind of scary) and for those who know or think you do – be kind!!!! Life is grand and we have loved living it thus far.
This past Friday we had our weekly district meeting. We have 6 Elders (the AP’s, our Zone Leaders, and the District Leaders) and 3 Sisters (one trainer with two newly arrived sisters from the MTC), plus ourselves. We spent a good portion of our meeting sharing with each other a little about ourselves and why we were serving missions. It was a very spiritual experience to hear the stories of these 9 young people and why they each chose to serve. Each account was remarkably different from each of the rest. We won’t recount each story for you but will just say we have one young man a little older than the rest (about 23 when he came out rather than the normal 19) who converted from Judaism about 3 years ago. He was seeking entrance to law school when he was overcome by the impression that he should serve – He followed that prompting and submitted his papers. He was called to serve in Siberia and will go home next month. He just received notice that he has been accepted to law school with a full ride scholarship and will begin his studies in August. Another young man also a recent convert because of the example of his friends at school who were LDS joined the church just over a year ago and is now serving. One of our Sisters is serving because her brother left on his mission and she too felt the desire to serve. Another sister is a college graduate and a Jr High math teacher for two years. She felt there was something more for her and serving a mission was impressed upon her mind as that something. With tears streaming from their eyes they each recounted the deepest feelings of their hearts and shared the strongest testimonies of Jesus Christ, his divinity, his love for us and the power of his atonement in each of our lives that we have heard from anyone.
Common to each of us was the uncertainty we each felt as our assignments to serve in Siberia were read and re read. Shock, fear and momentary hesitation were the most universal feelings shared by each of us. However, also apparent was the testimony that God puts us where he needs us and strengthens us with the ability to serve as we answer the call, put our trust in him and do all we can do to learn why it is He has sent us here. We are still not quite sure about that last bit in our case but we certainly have seen and felt his blessing in our lives and the lives of our families as we have responded to Him the best that we have been able. We know He blesses each of us in whatever we undertake to do as long as we do our very best to follow Him and when we make a mistake which we are all want to do He will pick us up and heal our hurts, our hearts and our souls as we recommit ourselves to Him.
God bless you all this week. All our love, Randy n Sue.
The day as seen from our window:
and the Gardens keep growing!!