Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Week 11 - August 24, 2014 A Very Slow Week!

        My dearest readers, 

Thank you all soooo much for all your love, prayers, emails, and support!!! 
Again for some reason time has slipped from my fingers so this will be a shorter email. 

It was great to be in my area all week! Balakova is such a small town but it has character. 
Cats. Cats are everywhere!!! Also I  killed the first big spider in our apartment . . .with no tears!!! 
HUZZAH! We contacted most of the week since most of our appointments haven't worked out. 
I've gotten to know the members a lot more. FHE is a ward activity, which is so awesome! 
I practiced my Russian a lot more. I don't know if I've learned more Russian, 
but I've definitely tried to apply my Russian more. We shall see. 

We travel by bus here. All day err day. And we walk everywhere! 
I'll have super human legs by the time I get back. The week overall was pretty chill. 
At the end of the week it all seems to have flown by! We make all our food by scratch here, 
which includes my first apple pie! I'm sooo stoked that it turned out well. 
The members are great here! 
They give us veggies and fruit from their dochas(gardens) all the time. 

Sunday was amazing! We hadn't seen much success in our efforts of the week, 
but we had 24 people at church! Usually there are only two priesthood holders + the elders, 
but yesterday we had 5! A deacon even passed the sacrament. 
I don't think I've ever felt so happy during sacrament. 
It was full of less-actives and even one investigator. 
I love my district. We all get along really well. There is a member here 
who is going back to Saratov. 
I'm going to miss her soo much! Hopefully I'll serve there and see her again!! 

Whelp that's all the time I have for now. I love you all sooo much and pray for you everyday! 
We all are going through trials. We may even be trying out new things or having new experiences. 
It's hard, but worth it. We won't always see how these experiences will help us. 
We may even be discouraged and want to quit. But don't do it! Keep going! It will all be worth it. 
Find the worth in it today. Love someone today. Send a sweet text or call. Smile always. 

Much love, 
Cectpa Spam

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Week 11 - August 17, 2015 Tooda Kooda: Here and there

           My dearest readers,

Man oh man has it been an adventure!!!! In the midst of emailing last week, 
we got a phone call from the AP's that we needed to get on the next bus to Samara! 
It turns out I had an important document of another sister and that mine was over there. 
Talk about crazy. So we cut our PDAY short and took a 5 hour bus ride to Samara. 
We got it all fixed up and left on Tuesday. 

We had zone conference this week which was super awesome! 
We saw all the missionaries in the Saratov Zone. Met some really nice people!!! 
President Schwab and his wife gave us some really good insights and instruction. 
Sis Palmer and I even got an opportunity to teach President and Sister Schwab. 
I was so nervous but luckily we taught in English so I was comfortable. 
Saratov is such a great area! It reminds me of home!!! 
I wish I can serve in that area!!!!! 

I had the russian attempt at boba. It was interesting ahah but I'll take what I can 
since they don't have that simliar of food items. No peanut butter!!!! So sad. 
I guess I'll wait until Christmas packages haha

Whelp time somehow flew by this emailing sesh so I'll be keeping this one pretty short. 
To sum up, We were only in our area for about two days 
so this next week should be a little more calm with more to talk about. 

Fun story: After english club, sis Palmer and this member and I went on the bus to go home. 
I had no other choice than to sit next to a man since the bus was so crowded. 
Apparently he was drunk, I really need to work on figuring that kind of stuff out. 
To sum up, he tried to get me to show him my papers, but I was like uhm noooo thank you sir. 
Sis. Palmer came to my rescue and we were all safe and dandy. 
Just more of a good story to tell haha. 

I know that missionary work is not easy. Neither is life. 
If it's not a foreign language I'm struggling with, 
it could be a super challenging class in school or an ill family member. 
No matter what challenges we may be facing, 
if we follow the example of Jesus Christ and obey God's commands, 
we will see blessings and miracles beyond our comprehension!!!! 
The Lord wants to bless us. He's just waiting for us to do our part. 

Thank you soooo much for all your love and support!!! God lives. 
Jesus knows and loves each and every one of us. He hears our prayers and WILL answer them. 
It may take some partience and humility on our part, but it will be worth it!

Much Love, 
Cectpa Graham

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Week 9 - 10 August 9 - 10, 2015 I'M ALIVE!!!

  My dearest readers, 

It's been super crazy. Where to start? 
I don't even know. We traveled for almost 40 hours, 
between three flights and layovers. Luckily I am used to long flights.

Elder Brundage!!! ANd my dear Cectpa Foote of course

In the process, I managed to talk to two Bible preachers. 
The first man didn't seem to like us much. 
He politely alluded to the fact that we are going to receive greater punishment 
for teaching false doctrine and leading others away. 
He doubted our intelligence. That was fun. 

Before that, we were able to talk to and teach a little bit 
to a lovely French couple on their honeymoon. 
They we are the SLC airport and had gone to temple square.
We got to try on our teachers hat before we left 

Anyways, the 2nd preacher was on our 9 hour flight from NYC to Moscow. 
He was a super nice Moldolvian man. 
He said that me and this other sister were really brave 
to go out and teach the gospel to all of these Russians. 
We probably spent 5 or 6 of the hours talking with him. 
Some of which might have included of bunch of Bible references 
and scriptures being tossed to and fro. 
It was pretty frustrating since we didn't agree on some points. 
I'm just grateful to have the knowledge that I can pray to God about anything, 
including questions to gain further knowledge. 

Look at all those strapping Russian Missionaries!

At last, we finally made it to Russia. 
Our mission President and his wife are super sweet. 
They picked us up from the aiport. They made us breakfast the next morning. 
Probably the last homecooked meal from someone else that we'll receive in a very long time. 
The juice is really yummy here. During training, 
it was cool being debriefed on all the safety procedures. 

Then we found out who our trainers would be and where we are going. 
My trainer is Sister Palmer and I'm serving in Balacova in the Saratov district!!! 
DUN DUN DUN! Yup I'm not in the actual city but in the general area haha. 
YASSSSS! I am sooooo stoked. This is the area they anticipate 
to have the next stake in Russia.

Our first picture together!!! Featuring Sis. Mckell's eyebrows 

We are expecting to have the stake by the end of the year!!!! 
This just means that we need to work that much harder, be that much more obedient, 
and have that much more faith. We are sooo close to having a temple, I can just feel it!!!!

Me and my trainer Sis. Palmer!!! Also, this is our view from our branch building.

The most noticeable miracle for this week would have to be 
when we went contacting on Friday night. 
We must have walked around for an hour without talking to much of anyone. 
Then on our way home, a young girl calls us over asking if we give out Bibles,  
we (as in Sister Palmer) told her that we are giving out a book like the Bible 
in the sense that it is another testament of Jesus Christ. 
The young girl was so excited to hear what we had to say. She was with two other friends. 
We explained some of the things we believe and she said she believed them, too! 
We then gave her a Book of Mormon and one of her friends one. 
We would have given the third girl a Book of Mormon but we ran out. 
We have to meet them again and give Sonya's friend one. 
It was really cool to see how God works. 
She seriously came out of nowhere. I'm so grateful to have been there to experience 
that miracle and look forward to many more to come!

The first dish I made in Russia! and my baby water bottle.

I had my first Sunday in Russia. I understood very little of it all. 
It's been great to meet all the members. 
It's super tiny, but I love it. There are Elders in our ward, too, which is nice. 
We can only really teach women and they teach men. 
One Elder is new to the ward too so he bore his testimony with me. 
He also got proposed to by this babooshka. It was gold. She said he was beautiful hahaha.

On our way to Balacova. So many Sunflowers! Russia is sooo beautiful!

Okay call me crazy, but I think I may have found someone I knew in the pre-mortal existence. 
There is this inactive member and her 12 year old son. 
He is so amazing! He has such a light about him. He just seemed sooooooo familiar!!!! 
Like I've known him before, which I'm starting to feel confident that I have. 
I can't make any guarantees, but I'll keep you updated. If we can get him to church, 
then he can be baptized!!!! I'm soooo excited. I already have so much love for them. 

I have been really humbled. It's insane, I thought the MTC was a challenge. 
Luckily I have an amazing trainer who is teaching me the ropes around here. 
She is carrying the team since I don't undertand Russian at all. 
I know a lot of gospel words haha. I have contacted a little bit. Things are different here, 
but also really simliar. It's sooo interesting. We have a tiny little apartment. 

My time is up!