Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 26 - December 7, 2015 I made a Russian Бабущка cry. . . .

     My dearest readers, 

I am very sad to admit that I made a Russian grandma cry yesterday! 
Because I'm getting transferred!!!! 
I'm leaving my first area and zone to go serve in Bezzi in Samara!!!! 
I am going to finish training a new sister. That's right, you heard me. I'm training!!! 
Wait it gets better. . . she's a native Russian speaker!!!!! 
Now I'm truly going to be immersed in the Russian culture! 

My District!

I am soooo nervous for all of the challenges and adventures that lie ahead. 
I have a lot of work to do, so keep me and my new companion, Sister Greshina, in your prayers!!!
I know that my Russian is just going to become exponentially better. 
Not only because I'll be senior companion, but also because I'll serve with a Russian. 
Thank goodness she already knows English pretty well. More good news, 
Elder Fletcher, from my first month in Russia, will be in my district, 
so at least I'll see one familiar face. And I'm much closer to the mission office so 
I'll get mail and packages much quicker. 

 I've seen so many miracles the past few days. I have been praying fervently 
ever since I could remember to have an overwhelming love for Balakovo. 
I can testify that I have received that love!!! I absolutely LOVE the members here! 
I am going to miss them so much! I haven't been able to tell in the past  
how much of an impact I've made on the area. Just yesterday, 
I felt so much love for and from the members that I just can't believe it! 

My heart isn't big enough for this! There is one young woman, Nastia, 
who I have gotten to know very well. She can sometimes be a punk ahha 
but I love her to pieces. Nastia, one of the only "youth" in the branch, 
was sitting next to me in sacrament meeting. We have gotten very close the past 4 months. 
I jokingly nudged her to go and bare her testimony during sacrament. She quickly declined. 
But after a while, the Spirit worked within her. While her mother was testifying, 
Nastia turns to me and says, "I love you. This is for you. I'll go first and then you go after me." 
This is the first time since I've been in Balakovo, and I'm sure much longer than that, 
that I saw Nastia go up and bare her testimony. I could not believe it. It was awesome!!!

What a great change! I know everyone in the room was surprised as well. 
I just love her so much and am so glad I got to know all these great members. 
One of the babyshkie whom I met with sometimes started crying as I said goodbye to her. 
I cannot believe how much I love these people. I need to come back to Balakova, 
at least in the next 5 years. 

There is a lot of change happening in the next few days. I leave Balakova on Wednesday. 
I know that my mission president was divinely inspired when he called me to this new area 
and with this new companion. I am going to learn and grow so much this next cycle. 
Man, I'm going to miss Sister Hansen so much. We have become the best of friends. 
I love her soooooooo much!! We have so much in common 
and we've gone through so much together. 
Luckily I'll see her in about 6 weeks for our visa trip, but still.

 My dear Sister Hansen!

The last few days have been really hard on us. 
I never understood the meaning of bittersweet until Sunday. 
It's honestly like leaving on a second mission!!!! 
I'm definitely leaving a huge chunk of my heart here in Balakova. 
The members here are just so incredible. No regrets. Every single second was worth it. 
I have to say goodbye to my district tonight at FHE. 
Luckily Sister Hansen is coming up to Samara with me to pick up her trainee. 
This is already a super long email, anyway. I love you all!!!

Much love, 
Cectpa Graham

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