Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 16 - September 28, 2015 Saratov Adventures

My dearest readers, 

How is everyone doing? I love reading all of your emails! I really appreciate all of the love 
and support I get each week! 

Our Otkroog (district)

Hmm where to start? Well, I'm happy to share that sister Hansen 
and I survived our second week together. 
We literally have so much fun together! 
We have decided when we get home, to make an all girls indie-folk band! 
We have so many great plans together. It's really just one big glorified sleepover. 
Of course we work hard. We work sooo hard! We come home every night exhausted 
but glad we did it. Man I love her so darn tootin much.

We had such a great week!!! We had Zone Training on Friday. It was so great! 
Balakova isn't the most social area for missionaries 
so it was great to see all of the other missionaries serving in the Saratov Zone. 
Man, I have the best mission president ever! 
His wife, Sister Schwab, gave all the missionaries Oreos, which is such a treat! 
They gave such inspired advice. Our zone leaders are great elders too! 
One is from Germany so not only does he have to learn Russian, 
but he has to learn English to train us. I got to talk to him a little bit. 
He trained one of my friends from my MTC district. So much fun. 

​This is us at the baptism 
(sorry would send photos of my Russian friends but just too many restrictions)

Last Saturday was the first baptism I've witnessed on the mission. 
He was one of the elder's investigators. He's definitely golden. 
He got baptized in the Volga!!! Ain't that so great???? 
Sis Hansen and I hope that we can our two investigators get baptized this cycle. 
We shall see :)

My cute new boots!

I bought cute boots when I was in Saratov on Friday. 
I can't wait to wear them! It's the little things in life. 

I have come to realize that exercising faith in Jesus Christ takes great effort. 
Yes, we can all have faith all the time. But exercising faith in Jesus Christ is different. 
It's a decision you make every day, several times a day. 
I would even go as far to say every moment of everyday - if you are doing it right. 
Praying with faith has been something I've been working on this week. 

The prayer of faith is something that is so powerful! 
Although in order to properly access this power, 
we must be sincere and actually working during our prayers. 
It should take up all our time and attention. 
I can guarantee that 90% of my prayers are not like this. 
I definitely have a lot of work to do in order to improve my prayers, 
but I'm just so grateful and excited to be able to access this power. 
This knowledge that something so great exists gets me through the day. 
Instead of being discouraged at all the progress I still need to make, 
I'm choosing to look forward to all the growth! 

Another thing that has really helped me when work gets tough is having a thankful heart. 
If I find myself feeling down, or negative thoughts enter my mind. 
I think of random things to be grateful for. 
Every time, I find myself forgetting those things that tied me down with sorrow. 
I am lifted. It's a great feeling!

I feel like my prayers have greatly improved. We really need miracles here in Balakova, 
so we are praying each day for them. Man, miracles are everywhere!!! 
I have felt my understanding of the language improve drastically and so has my speaking. 
I definitely consider that as miracle. It's just soo cool to think less than 4 months ago 
I knew just a few words of Russian. 
Now I'm living in Russia and can understand what's going on . . .most of the time.

​Awesomely creepy baby photo ad

I find myself more at ease and really enjoying the work. 
We went out finding on the streets last night for 3 hours straight, yet it wasn't so bad. 
I would even venture to say that it was enjoyable. 
I am so humbled to be out here working in the Lord's vineyard. 
He has trusted me with His children. I think the more I remember this fact, 
the more devoted I become to this work. It truly is a privilege.

You know we were ready for P-day last night. . .thank goodness for self timers 

I feel myself growing and improving each and everyday! I know the Lord is aware of us 
Whelp I don't have much time, I have to go. But know that I love you all so darn tootin much. 

Be safe and remember that Heavenly Father loves you. Godspeed. 

General Conference is this weekend!!!! Can I first say how much I love 
and admire and sustain our church leaders? 
I just found out about Elder Richard G Scott's passing. He is an inspired man. 
Please please please watch conference this weekend. 
We can't watch for another week or two. Let me know which talks were your favorite! 
Also, let me know who have been called to be the 3 apostles. 

Much love, 
Sister Graham

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