This week has been such a great start to a new transfer! We have been working in parts of the area that we are not familiar with and have been doing all that our branch president (a local small congregation leader) has asked us to do. We have truly seen miracles come to pass.On Tuesday we went and did some Harvest Blessings (They pray for the people of the home and a good harvest since many are involved in the agriculture industry). We drove into a part of the area we were not familiar with and prayed and asked Heavenly Father where we should go. We then continued driving until we came to a street we felt good about. We drove midway down the street and parked. After saying another prayer we went and talked to a man who was outside barbequing. He was not interested at all. So we went and knocked a few more doors. Door after door closed in our faces. But, we decided to knock one more house. This house was a miracle house. The door opened wide open and we were welcomed in. A man and a women who spoke Russian began to speak to us and the man asked us question after question about our religion and about the Bible. He is a book collector. He had thousands and thousands of books and had multiple copies of the Bible and even had a copy of The Book of Mormon and The Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price in Russian! (These are books of scripture we use with the Bible) Eventually, he got frustrated by his English and asked us to come back when his son was home. We did so began to answer his questions. We ended up teaching about the Plan of Salvation (God's plan of happiness) with his son translating. They both were very excited to learn and it all made sense to them. After we finished teaching we began to learn more about him and his family. His name is V. He was an editor in Russia and when he moved to L.A. he met a member of the church who served his mission in Russia. Through him, he was asked to go to Salt Lake City and meet with the then prophet and president of the church--President Ezra Taft Benson. He and this member(a bishop - a congregation leader) went to Salt Lake and met with the prophet for over an hour and discussed how to begin missionary work in Russia. V spoke about some grammatical errors in the Russian translation of the Book of Mormon and how having all of the scriptures together would be more appealing to the Russian people(the quadruple combination). Then he went to Provo for another conference with BYU and discussed how they could change their Russian department. All of this story was told through his son and his scrapbook.
He showed us pictures of General Conference, some of the temples, his trip, and Provo, UT. He also met President Monson (our current prophet) and Elder Russell M. Nelson (a current apostle to our prophet). He and Elder Nelson still keep in touch and Vladmir told us he can call him anytime he would like. What a miracle it was to meet him and to be able to hear his story and share about the gospel with him!
I know Heavenly Father has placed prepared people in our path. I know Heavenly Father put Vin our path that day so we could hear his story and help answer his questions!
A few days later we found 5 new investigators all in one day. One is a part member family and he, J, is ready to be baptized! We are so excited for him to continue to progress and enter the waters of baptism! We also met G and E. G has made so many changes in her life this past year and wants to continue to build her family relationships. She has asked us to stop by at least once a week and we are so excited for our appointment with her this week! E is also a new investigator along with 2 of her sons. We are excited to teach her again this week too!
At MCM (Missionary Correlation Meeting) on Saturday we received a list of people to visit from our branch president. We went and found all the people on that list immediately after studies and because of that we met Cesar. He wants to change and the day before he had been praying to find someone that he could talk to and that could help him make changes and find hope again in his life. We left a Harvest Blessing with him and he felt the Spirit. Later that day after we finished the list, we went through our former investigator records and prayerfully picked a few to visit that night. Through prayer we chose to visit Angelina and we invited her to come to church the next day.
Yesterday, Acame to church and brought her husband and her 2 sons with her. She stayed for Sacrament Meeting and Sunday School and wants to come back next week! She also wants to go see the temple in Fresno, CA and we invited her to go on the branch's temple trip in a few weeks. In addition to coming to church, she wants her daughter to be involved with the Young Women's Program (a youth group for teenage girls). She is so ready to join the church and strengthen her and her family's faith in God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.
I know that the Lord's hand is in this work. I know Heavenly Father puts prepared people in our path when we follow the promptings of the Spirit. What a blessing it is to be a missionary! What a fantastic week full of miracles! May this week be full of miracles for you as well! I love you all so much! Hermana VanWie