I want to testify that the Lord opens the windows of heaven for his missionaries. All of the new elders came in 2 weeks ago and I have made it a personal goal to help them develop spiritually and feel welcome at the MTC. We live in rooms off of one long hallway and every night, I walk down the hallway and pray for the spirit to direct me into whichever room needs a me to say something that night. I open the door and then ask whatever question or share whatever I feel prompted. Usually we get a mini devotional going and it is so amazing when the other elders share the powerful experiences that they are having. I bear testimony that the gift of tongues is real and that the missionaries here experience it every day. I have had experiences shared with me of elders on their 2nd day who give a prayer or a lesson in Russian and afterwards can't tell you what they said. It was perfect Russian and all the older elders and teachers understood but they didn't know what they were saying! That is the gift of tongues working! Miracles happen every day to increase testimony. Divine revelation is poured out on the MTC and I know I have received essential revelation many times so far. Now you understand why I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Don't get me wrong....I am dying to get into the . . . , but I won't trade this experience for anything!
You asked about music...right now I am the only Russian speaking . . . elder here but there are 2 new ones coming in today that I haven't met. There is a chance that I will be with the . . . elders because in the . . . , zebra companionships happen. That's one Russian elder and one elder of another language. I sure hope I get to serve with Verusneesus(elder...of course) Mortenson, he's serving in . . . and he is amazing...and very musical. :)
This week has been a week of enormous revelation. I am continuing to improve on the language but the biggest thing has been the revelation. I have had some big a-ha's about the atonement. I now am really beginning to understand the power that it can be in our lives and how to use that power. I am also beginning to understand the grace of Christ in a way that I didn't get before. I don't have time to share a lot but if you read the bible dictionary about repentance and atonement, and notice that both of them are about changing you. We are preparing to become like our father in heaven and the atonement allows us to become ever more perfect.
I got to Skype with a sister from . . . on Monday and teach her a lesson. It was so amazing! I am SO excited to get to the . . . . I already love the people there. They are just like people in the states...nothing new or scary. They are SO dedicated to following Christ. I heard them described like a watermelon. They are hard on the outside but once you break through that hard shell...they are some of the kindest people on earth.
The gift of music has been such a blessing. I am forwarding some pictures of the special choir that I was in...I haven't figured out how to get the card reader to work so I just have to forward other peoples pictures. Elder Woodward and I did a musical number for sacrament meeting, oh my father, and it was so beautiful. He is a violin performance major and he plays with SUCH beauty! I wanted to cry while accompanying him. Oh, and Elder Woodward is one of the new elders in our zone. We may end up playing that number for a devotional...we'll see whether that happens. The gift of music is one of the fastest ways to bring the spirit and I am so grateful for it.
This morning I got to help clean the temple...kind of deceptive term since they are re-doing the carpet and I spent all morning ripping out the old stuff. That is definitely the best workout I have gotten since getting here! Everything is tired and sore. :) It was great and I am so grateful for all the work that goes into keeping the temples clean and beautiful.
Oh, the other thing that has been one my mind...ONLY 3 WEEKS UNTIL THE BALTICS! I know that is still a good chunk of time but I am well past the halfway point and it feels close enough to touch! Oh, and I get to call home from the airport before leaving. I will let you know a time when I get my travel plans. I can't wait to bear my testimony to you in Russian. Remind me to do that.
I am so grateful for the amazing teachers that are here. Sister Wrigley is an absolute saint! She has been through every hard experience a person can have and she still keeps smiling, turning to God, and building other's faith. Brat Mckay is a grandson of David O Mckay and he lives up to his grandfathers name. He was AP for something like 13 months and knows how to teach with power. He and James Ure are very similar! I am so grateful for these amazing teachers. They really care for us and spend so much of their time building us up.
I have learned how important it is to turn the lesson over to the spirit. In preach my gospel it counsels you to just watch the person you are teaching and try to understand them instead of thinking of your response. We as missionaries are promised that if we do that, our mouths will be filled. That happened yesterday. I shared more in Russian than I have ever been able to and I was able to bear a powerful witness of the truthfulness of the gospel. I know that this church is true! As missionaries we are called to serve alongside the 12 apostles and I know that God has our backs every second if we will turn to him.
I testify that the grace of Christ is the only way that we can return to our Heavenly Father. I testify that ministering angels will bless us at every step if we are living worthy of them. I testify of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Reading that Book will bring a power into your life like nothing else. READ IT! chetiatete! ( That is Russian for READ! in command form. :) ) I testify that the 12 apostles are called of God and that we are led by a living prophet today. I know that if we live like Christ, we will have a light in our eyes that will be visible to others! I know that we each have a special mission here on this earth and if we knock, ask, and seek,....it will be opened unto us. I promise that a mission is the very best thing any young man could be doing! Don't even question it! SERVE! You will change, you will see others change, and you will feel that power of Christ in your life and you will know that he is walking by your side. I challenge every person who reads this to get on their knees, pray and ask God to let you know one sacrifice that will bring you closer to Christ. Think of something you can give up....something that is keeping you from Christ. Give it up and then ask for the Lord to bless you for your sacrifice! I KNOW he will. Family, I leave my blessing with you. I know that the Lord is watching out for you and I know that you are being blessed.
I love you all,