Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mission Journal October 11-17, 2010

October 11-17, 2010

MONDAY- We had a lot of fun in the office today. Following our morning meeting and later our district meeting we had a lunch provided by Joe and I. Joe cooked a chicken lasagna that was delictable and I provided banana nut bread. The missionaries just love our cooking and baking. Everytime they have the opportunity to be among the group to eat our food they feel very priviledged and blessed.

Later in the day I had several elders and sisters hovered around my desk and we were watching the old TV commercial Joe and I had been asked to do for the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions following our class-action lawsuit win over Household Finance. (I found it by typing in Washington State Department of Financial Institutions on Google). They all loved it! It had been some time since I had seen it and at the time Sam and Madison were so small they both fit in that little red wagon they had. Now they're 7 & 9! How quickly time goes.

We were going to go on a walk after we left the office today, but I wasn't feeling real well. We finished our game of Dominos, and had a spiritual thought for our Family Home Evening, then I took some Nyquil and went to bed about 8 p.m. Joe stayed up on the computer and I have no idea when he came to bed - I was out!

Elder Mower

Sister Eramokova and Stepanova

Elder Berven - Office Elder

Sister Schaefer, Lane, and Brystal

Our district: (Elder Hunt, Berven, Onyshuk, Shrader, Sisters Balashova and Kelnyk

TUESDAY: I slept in a bit and came into the office a little over an hour late. I'm still very sleepy today but know getting one more really good night sleep will help overcome my fatigue. I think I've been overdoing it these last couple weeks and not allow myself more rest time.

Today I indexed census records again for most of the afternoon. I listened to the Mormon Radio Channel as I typed. I really enjoy this channel. They tell true life stories, play beautiful music, and other interesting topics.

WEDNESDAY: Another transfer day. Surprisingly it was the most quiet and smoothly ran day. The missionaries pretty much stayed out in the church foyer or in the office sitting area (where they're suppose to) instead of all gathering around the center of the office where mine and the assistants desks are). I took pictures of everyone so they can be included in the newsletter.

There were a couple of opportunities to have a nice converstions with some of the missionaries that I hadn't seen for a while. Elder Mower came to sit and talk while he was waiting for his new companion to come to the city. We talked of family and he spoke of a couple of cousins that have really been struggling with their lives. One cousin tried to commit suicide by overdosing on pills. Fortunately he was found and taken to the hospital. Elder Mower mentioned that he and his cousin, John, had been very close and for some reason John chose another path in his life away from the gospel of Jesus and has been struggling ever since. Elder Mower loves him and his other cousin, Emily, so much and is anxious to get home and be there for them.

Elder Mower's story is like so many others here. We all love our family members and find it hard not to be there with them when they are struggling through challenges. But, we are comforted by the promise the Lord gives that our families are being more blessed when we serve Him then had we stayed home.

Joe and I went for a walk to a couple little stores close by. It has turned pretty cold now. We bought another pair of gloves for him and a few fruits and onions. Between Joe and I losing one glove of 3 sets we once had, we hope to not lose another. I lost one mitten last winter in a van that took us to Estonia. The other two were lost when we put them in our coat pockets and they had fallen out somewhere during our walks.

Sister Hazlewood brought over a huge zuchini from a family they visited in Novgorod a few weeks back. They said they didn't even want to attempt to try and cut into it and asked if Joe would and we could divy it up with others. She had asked if I would make her some zuchini bread. Well, Joe cut it open, but it wasn't a zuchini - it was a pumpkin. Not having a puree machine, or blender to cook down the pumpkin we ended up throwing it out. :(

THURSDAY: We started our morning with scripture study as well as futher writings about the Doctrine and Covenants. I found a whole section about the Second Coming of Jesus which I found fasinating. It gave a pretty good detail of the events before, during, and after Jesus' coming. Makes me all the more convicted to let others know about Jesus and the Love he has for all of us and how He wants us and our children to be prepared for our safety and salvation.

I spent 1/2 hour exercising during the day. I plugged in my iPOD to the sound track of Happy Feet and I jog up and down the 3 flights of stairs in the church building, jog around the gym and without fail end up dancing around the gym to the music! Fortunately, no one can see me :)

FRIDAY: Our first snowfall came today. It was very light, but we had snow!

SATURDAY: We spent the first 4 hours walking to and from the store and buying groceries. After getting home and putting away our groceries we started to prepare a dinner for a couple from another branch. He is a chiropractor and has come to our apartment in the past to give me an adjustment on our living room floor. I was hesitant to ask him again because the last time he gave me an adjustment it was quite painful, but effective. However, despite all my massages I could not get a painful kink out of my mid upper back. The adjustment went well enough, but painful, but shortly after I had no more pain. I’m going to try and make it the rest of my mission without another adjustment though. I know getting an adjustment shouldn’t be so painful.

Joe made fajitas for Victor (the chiropractor) and his wife Larissa. I had made some banana nut bread and we had fruit and veggies. They left for a district meeting and I was very tired and went to bed early. It’s amazing how much energy your body uses when trying to compensate for pain. Once the pain is gone my body is so relieved that I couldn’t stay awake.

Front row: 1st counselor President Blagdaseron, President Klimosh, 2nd counselor President Leostrin.
Sister Podvodova and President Podvodov.
SUNDAY: The St. Petersburg District called a whole new presidency. The District Presidency is like a Stake Presidency. The Church is waiting until there is enough growth to make the 6 branches in the St. Petersburg area a stake. The 5 other branches are under the direction of the mission office. All 11 branches are still under Mission President Podvodov and will be until they are split into a stake.

Following our district meeting we had 5 members over for dinner. Joe had made chicken lasagna and I baked a French apple pie. We over see 9 return missionaries so we have a dinner for them once a month and give a spiritual thought/discussion. Two have now been married and two more to be married next month making our little group larger to where we are splitting up our dinner/discussion to two Sundays a month.

Mosiah2: …open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view.

Saturday and Sunday we had an opportunity to listen to the general conference addresses. I would like to share some of my observations, thoughts, and feelings I noticed that some of our older vanguard are beginning to lose the spring in their step. This was not true, however, of Elder L. Tom Perry. He quickly approached the podium delivered his dynamic address and quickly resumed his seat. President Packard in particular is showing his age.

As usual Elder Jeffrey:Holland delivered a wonderful address. All of the speakers gave inspired messages that if followed will benefit us all. The most thought-provoking speaker for me was President Henry B. Eyring. In his Sunday address when he spoke of the first vision he stated something that I had never heard before. He stated and I quote, “The boy, Joseph Smith Jr., walked among the trees to a secluded spot. He knelt to pray with complete trust that God would answer his pleading to know what he should do to be cleansed and saved through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.” I believe that I like millions of others listening expected to hear what we have heard for years. “to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. I made a quick note to myself and after the meeting was over and back in the confines of our apartment. I looked up his talk on the internet. There in black and white were the words he had spoken with a footnote that took me to ”Teachings Of Prophets Of The Church Joseph Smith” page 28. There I read “I felt to mourn for my own sins and for the sins of the world.” At the age of 14 he was already concerned about his spiritual soul and the souls of all mankind. This question has played out in my mind as I have read and reread his talk. Is this new revelation or have I simply failed to hear this message before? For me perhaps a part of that question is answered in the closing remarks of President Thomas S. Monson, “I hope that we will take the time to read the conference talks, which will be reprinted in the November issue of the Ensign and Liahona magazines, for they are deserving of our careful study.” Is he hinting that there is indeed new revelation to be found?

I can see why people travel to different countries throughout Europe. It's easy and inexpensive for the most part and it's nothing for someone to spend 10+ hours in travel time. I remember thinking it a big ordeal to travel to eastern Washington which is about 5 hours by car. Here is normal to take a train, bus, boat, or plane to visit relatives or other sites. Just to go across Russia has 11 times zones! Yet, people travel to see family. When watching the news I marvel at the events and realize that I live so close by. When in America, world or international news seemed so distant. By being here I seem so much closer to the events and people as described in the Bible and Book of Mormon and see the similarities of their teachings to what is happening here now.
My focus on life isn't about "things" anymore. It's about family and although I can't go back and teach of the Love of Jesus and help my children gain a testimony of that, my life has forever changed to see the importance of living more virtuous. Living my life proud of who I've become and stay confident in that.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Joe and Jeanie,
    Your blog is great! It's wonderful to see you both doing so well in Russia.
    New Zealand is a great place to be this time of year. It's early spring and the weather is wonderful.
    Last week Elder Richard Hinckley came to Auckland for the Pacific Area Mission President's Seminar. Our Mission President requested that he talk to the New Zealand Auckland Mission. He used the excuse that we had met his father's goal of doubling the number of baptisms, which we've accomplished over the last two years. Last month we had 195 baptisms which was the most baptisms this mission has done for many decades.
    We had Elder Hinckley, Elder Hamula and Elder Nielson (Area 70's)talk during the Mission Conference. We were able to have all 190 missionaries as well as 15 Senior Couples attend. Usually when we have zone conference it's over four (4) days since the mission is so spread out. The only other time we've had all the missionaries together was when Elder's Cook & Christofferson and Bishop Burton were here a year ago.
    We've finally got replacements coming to replace us and the other Senior Couple (Elder & Sister Walch). Both couples are scheduled to arrive on February 20th. Our mission was supposed to be complete on Feb. 3rd and the Walch's were supposed to be done on 29 December, but we'll both extend until the other couples arrive and then we'll train them for a few days before we all leave for home.

    Stay warm!

    We Love you both,

    Elder and Sister Robertson