Monday, December 28, 2015

New Year! Already?


New Years is like Russia's Christmas. People put up Christmas trees and give presents. They have New Year's carols playing everywhere, and the closer it gets to New Years, the more places to buy presents appear. I can't believe that it's already so close to a new year! I hope the next year doesn't go by so quickly! I'm loving Russia too much!

It's a balmy 0 degrees celcius here in Volgograd. Surprisingly warm for this time of year, I hear. Apparently, there's supposed to be snow up to my neck already, but it appears to be a warm year (lucky me).

Our branch had a Christmas party last Saturday that the missionaries organized. Not to brag or anything, but EVERYONE LOVED IT! We just set up different little games to play in our Sacrament Hall (which doubles as a gym).  Sister Greenwood and I were in charge of this game where you put a cookie on your forehead and you have to eat it without using your hands. (I mastered it the second time I tried). The District President, President Golpakov, loved that game. He got everyone racing to see who could get the cookie in his/her mouth first. The Elders were in charge of making snowflakes, and a fun time was had by all! 

The cutest part of the whole party was the cute little Primary kids doing the nativity play. There's only one boy in the whole primary, and he's about 5, so we had a pretty short little Joseph. We also didn't have a baby Jesus, but last minute we wrapped up my scarf like a baby, so all was well. It was the cutest thing I've ever seen.

Sister Greenwood and I had a fantastic week, as usual. She's really an amazing person, and I'm grateful everyday that I get to be her companion. I've never met someone so hard-working, so we get a lot done.

This week, I've been thinking a lot about the life of Christ. In particular, of course, His birth. I never realized something that I should have realized long ago. The star that shone in the east, pointing the wise men to where Christ lay, symbolizes, in our lives, Christ. We are the wise men, and He points our way to peace and joy.

Through this realization I've found a new love for two of the carols found both in the Russian and English versions of the hymn book.

"And to the earth, it gave great light, and so it continued both day and night. Noel. Noel. Born is the king of Israel."

"Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm all is bright... Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in Heavenly Peace."

I hope your New Year's is just peachy! :D


Sister Jarvis

Our Zone!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas in Russia...

... is actually not this week.

One of the greatest things about Russia is that I can celebrate Christmas TWICE! Once on the Catholic calendar on December 25th and the second time according to the Russian Orthodox calendar on January 7th

BAM! Double Christmas. #RussiaWinsAtLife

I love Christmas. Not just because of the snow, or the songs, or the Christmas trees (which surprisingly exist here in Russia, but they call them New Year's trees not Christmas trees). I love Christmas because it's a time of the year when everyone is serving one another, thinking about their families, and there's just a spirit of love and joy everywhere. I know it's kind of cheesy, but it's true.

This past week, Sister Greenwood and I did a lot of getting lost in Volgograd. Since, I don't really know where things are and neither does Sister Greenwood, we've had a fun time exploring parts of the city we didn't even know existed. Last Monday, we got lost on our way to visit a member in the first snowstorm of the year. Luckily, we met this really nice woman who helped us find our way to the right street. I think the best part about being almost completely new in an area is that you get to meet so many kind, helpful people.

Russians are the best when it comes to helping strangers find their way. Most of the time if you ask where something might be, they will drop everything they're doing and take you to the place even if it's far out of the way or if it's really cold outside. I've been very grateful for their help on many an occasion.

We've had a bit of a hard time finding people to teach here, Sister Greenwood and I. There have been days where we didn't really even want to go outside, but I know that what we're doing is the Lord's work. I know that if we just keep pushing and keep going, we will find success and that the work we've already done is not lost. The scripture I've been thinking about this week is Romans 8:14-18 and the last verse goes a long really well with what I'm trying to describe.

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

Life isn't ever going to be easy, but the joy that lies ahead and around us when we focus our eyes on Christ is sweeter than any pain or sorrow we might ever experience. 

Make sure to keep your eyes towards the source of light, Jesus Christ, this Christmas and to remember that He can make any wrong in your life right through His Atonement. All you have to do is ask for His help and reach towards His love.

I love you all. 

Have a wonderful Christmas,

Sister Jarvis

P.S. You might have thought that I forgot that Star Wars came out this week.  FALSE.  If you have watched it, DO NOT tell me about the plot.  I will watch it in a year and enjoy it then WITHOUT spoilers. Thank you.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Adventure Is Out There

Well, this week was quite the... um...week.

Let's start off with the greatest example of my life-long struggle in remembering important things.

Sister Greenwood and I were coming back to Volgograd after picking her up in Rostov. We were supposed to be able to move into our new apartment that night, but the rent agreement hadn't been signed yet due to a typo in the original copy of the agreement. However, it was all going to be okay because we were going to stay in the other sister missionaries' apartment that night since they were still in Rostov due to a visa trip delay. 

I had gotten the key from the sisters in Rostov for their apartment, and everything was going to be okay. We got our taxi to take from the bus station, and we arrived at the apartment. We got to the front door, I reached into my purse to find the key, and I could not find the key anywhere. I dumped out my bag and ripped through all of my things and... nope nothing.

I had left the key in Rostov.

As my dad would have told me in that moment, "If your head wasn't attatched to your neck, you would forget it."

So, on Sister Greenwood's first night in Volgograd, we slept in the branch buiding on the floor of the nursery room. 

Luckily, we moved into our new apartment the next day, so we've had a place to sleep ever since. 

Next, the Russian Orthodox taxi driver who sang us The Beatles.

We had to go get my suitcases from the other sisters' apartment later since they were locked in an apartment we didn't have a key to, and we ordered a taxi to take us to our own apartment. Turns out the taxi driver spoke English. He was a very polite man, but he was very concerned about how we weren't married and having children yet. He told us that we needed to go home, so that we could get married and forget about this strange sect that we had joined and join the Russian Orthodox Church. Somehow or other this conversation led to him saying "Just let it be," and he seranaded us with the Beatle's famous song of the same name. Very loudly and with a whole lot of gusto.

Sister Greenwood and I tried our best to testify, and in the end, we just ended up singing along with him.

So far, we haven't had very much time in our area, and we don't have any investigators, but we are working on that.  Step by step we'll get there.

Sometimes, life can seem like this massive hill we have to climb. It's so tall that we feel like we'll never ever get to the top, but I know that Heavenly Father never gives us directions to do something without preparing a way for what He asks for to be done (1 Nephi 3:7). He's always there to help us and with His help we can accomplish anything, even the things that may seem impossible. All we have to do is turn to Him and ask and He will give.

I love you all! Have a great week!

Sister Jarvis

Sister Misuraca and I on one of our last days together

Our "Window to Italy"

Our "Window to Utah"

Sister Greenwood and I in front of our "Window to Fiji"

Monday, December 7, 2015

Горка и Сладка


So, I have some good news and some bad news this week.

First of all the bad news.

Sister Misuraca and I are being split up! Not only that, but we both are leaving Red Army.
Saying goodbye to all the members was one of the hardest things I've had to do. The members of that branch have become members of my own family. While Sister Misuraca and I didn't have a ton of success finding people who were interested in talking with us about the church, we did have a lot of success in helping less active members of that ward return.

One of the less active members we worked with was Sasha Keersheen. He's about 40 years old, and he is one of the smiliest people I've ever met. He lights up rooms with his smile. He loves working with missionaries, and he actually called us to meet with him the first time. It's been such a privilege to watch him grow closer to God and to watch how beginning to read the Book of Mormon and to pray daily again have changed his life.  
Last Sunday, he actually came to church. To see him walk into the building in a 3 piece suit and tie with the biggest smile on his face was one of the happiest memories I have. 

I'm really going to miss that little branch. It's hard to let other people take care of those you love.

Now for the good news...

I'm training! Which means that I'm going to have a companion that is fresh off the plane who knows very little Russian. 

I'm excited and terrified! The best part about it is that I get to return to Center Volgograd! I can't wait to see all the people I've missed so much! Including a brand new member...

On Saturday there was a baptism! Sam, a student here in Volgograd from Ghana, was baptized. It was so fun to be there and to see him be baptized because Sister Marquis and I, way back in September, taught him for the first time. He's an amazing person and his baptism was so simple and beautiful.
I've often found that the most beautiful moments that I've seen on my mission are the simplest w
hether it's someone getting up the courage to come to church after years of not going or watching someone make that first step towards following Christ for the rest of their lives. It's so wonderful to me how simple and pure the Gospel of Jesus Christ is and how simple it is to follow Him.

Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to dowload all the pictures I have of this week, so it will have to wait until next week! 

Have a wonderful beginning to your Christmas season! And be sure to check out the video for Christmas on (I'm not really sure if that's right, but you could probably google search it...)

Love you!

Сестра Джарвис

Monday, November 30, 2015

6 Months

So, can anyone else believe that I've been on my mission for 6 months? I can't. It seems like the past 6 months have slipped by all too quickly. 

This week is my last week with my companion Sister Misuraca. She and I have been companions for 3 months, and it's been so fun to be with her. I had no idea how difficult it would be to be with another person 24/7, but she has become one of my very best friends, and I am so lucky to have been her companion. 

This week we moved, and because of that, I don't have too much to report. We've met a lot of wonderful people and had a lot of fun experiences. 

The one thing I can say is how grateful I was for my district this week. We had a Thanksgiving lunch, and it was just like being at home... except in Russia. The missionaries in our district are some of the funniest people I've ever met. I'm so lucky that I get to serve with them!

Next week, I'll try to think up some better stories, but here's a picture of our district on Thanksgiving!

And one of me near the Gippopo bowling center by our apartment.

(Unfortunately there was a lot of humidity, so I'm glowing... sorry about that...)

Love you all! Have a wonderful first week of the Christmas season!

Sister Jarvis

Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!


Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving this week and send some pictures!

On splits last week with Sister Montierth. We pretended to be Babooshka's.

Found in Red Army. It says: "I love you from the Earth to the moon and back again." (Shout out to my mother.)

I hope that your Thanksgiving is full of things to be grateful for, like pumpkin pie, turkey, and peanut butter. But most of all full of people you love and appreciate because there's nothing better than being surrounded by family and friends. (Don't worry, I have both of those here in Russia)

Feel free to send me letters and packages! (Yes, this is a shameless plea!)

Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission
Per. Semashko, 117 V
Rostov Oblast 344018


Sister Jarvis

Monday, November 16, 2015

Strange and Wonderful

This week, I'd like to take some time to acknowledge how strange and funny both Russia and Russian scan be, so here are a few stories:

1) Apparently, I've been saying the word "to write" wrong in Russian. There are a lot of words that are spelled exactly the same but have a really heavy emphasis on a different vowel; "to write" is one of those words. I've been saying "PEE-sat" instead of "pee-SAT," which, I found out through my companion this past week, means "to pee." Apparently I've been saying some very strange things about prophets and the Bible for quite some time now. Maybe we'll be able to find more investigators now that I will be saying "to write" correctly.

2) We went to a member's house this last week. They are a married couple, and they've been members since 2000 or 1990 something. A while, but we went to visit them to give them a spiritual thought and help them strengthen their faith. The spiritual thought went pretty well; it was about missionary work and doing family history work, and they both shared their testimonies of the temple. It was beautiful. To end, Sister Zemtsova (the wife), asked if we could sing "How Great Thou Art" (Kak Tee Veleek in Russian). While we were singing, their cat came up and started messing with Sister Misuraca's, my companion's, stuff. Sister Misuraca tried to shove the cat off, but it started scratching her, and both Brother and Sister Zemtsov got up and started trying to hit the cat with their hymn books all while we're trying to sing this really slow, beautiful hymn. I couldn't keep it together, and I just burst out laughing and couldn't finish the song.

We had a pretty exciting week this week. Our mission wasn't allowed to go to museums for a long time, but today it was announced that on our P-Days, we are allowed to go to museums! YAY! And even MORE exciting, we have a new investigator! Her name is Natalya, and she has the cutest little daughter. She calls me aunt in Russian, and I became her favorite very quickly, mostly because she likes my glasses. (But it's probably also because, let's face it, I'm everyone's favorite).

I love it here in Russia. The strangest, most wonderful things happen all the time, and I can't wait for the day that there is a temple here in Russia. I think that day is soon, and I pray for it all the time. I'm so grateful that families can be together forever, and that I have that gift in my life. I'm so grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and for His Atonement and love for each of us. 

I love you all!

Sister Jarvis

A billboard we found in Red Army that says "Dearest, that you for our son". I think it explains exactly what I mean about strange and wonderful.

The Russian Countryside

I don't know were this boat came from, but it was also in the Russian Countryside.

This Jane Austen-like park around our house. It's kind of blurry sorry.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Wonder of Wonders, Miracle of Miracles


I had a pretty miraculous week this week. 

First of all, they created a district in Volgograd!!! For those of you who are not super familiar with the way that the LDS church organizes itself, the smallest level of church organization is a branch, which is what we have out here in Red Army. Branches become wards (what church organizations usually call themselves in the US) when a Stake is formed (a collection of wards). The church in our mission doesn't have enough members to support a Stake, but we do have enough to support a district, which is essentially like a stake, but instead of a collection of wards, it's a collection of branches.

This is huge news for us out here in Russia. It means growth has occurred here, but it also means that a bigger sense of unity is going to be developed between the branches in Volgograd Center, Volgograd Red Army, Astrahan, and Volshki. 

When they announced the new district on Sunday, all of the branches were gathered in Volgograd Center, and I have never seen so much joy in one room. There was a vote to sustain the two new district leaders, and people were raising both hands because they were so happy to finally be able to connect to each other.

It was actually just a wonderful day on Sunday. I was able to see all the members I grew to love so much in the transfer that I served in Center. One of them, Nina, a newer member of the ward, came up to Sister Misuraca and I and gave us both big hugs and kisses. As she looked at us in the face she began to cry.  She told us how much she missed us and how grateful she is for the missionaries. It's moments like that, that keep me going. Knowing that the work I'm doing does help change lives for the better.

Speaking of, we had a lesson with a less active member this week. She's a sweet babooshka who lives out in the country side with her goats. We were able to go visit her, and we knew that we needed to talk about going to the temple with her. So, after she had shown us picture after picture of her sweet husband who died, I testified that I knew she could see him again. Immediately, she began to talk about the temple, and we were able to commit her to reading the scriptures and praying everyday again. 

The thing that's so great about missionary work is that when the Spirit is there, you are not doing the work alone. Hearts are softened and minds are changed because of the Spirit, and it's my job to invite the Spirit and help people make decisions that will keep the Spirit in their hearts.

Being a part of this work, Heavenly Father's work, is the greatest decision I have ever made. I've never been happier, and I've never seen so much joy. Sure, I miss home, but there's nothing better than seeing people change and become more joyful each day.

I love you all! I hope you have a miraculous week, too!

Sister Jarvis

PANCAKES!  We even made our own syrup!

The Volga River

Lenin Statue in Red Army

Lenin from the front

Sister Misuraca and the Volga

I call this one "Inspiration"

A strange fruit that we found at the store.  I really liked it, but then again, I really like almost everything...Even mayo now.  Russian mayo is pretty darn good.

 More Lenin (We had fun that day)

Halloween.  Sister Misuraca is Snow White.  I'm supposed to be Little Red Riding Hood.

Attempted selfie with Lenin

District Pizza Party!  This literally never happens, so it was really exciting.

The sisters in our zone sang in zone conference last week.

And then we all got up and sang in order to learn how to invite the spirit.  It was great.

Back row: Elder Waterson, Elder Foote, Elder Ride, Elder Randall, Elder Brimhall, Elder Barnes, Elder Simenyook, Elder Tucker, Elder Thayer.
Middle Row: Elder Fisher, Elder Berger, Sister Kookoola, Sister Delong, Sister Montierth, Sister Marquis, Sister Misuraca, Me!, Elder Henrie, Elder Barlocker
Front Row: Elder Katcher, Sister Katcher, Sister Miner, President Miner

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Day in Armenia

So this last week I was in Armenia. Let me tell you. Armenians are WAY nice. Much nicer than most Russians. Russians value honesty over anything else. Armenians value kindness. It was great. I met this guy on the plane who just loved the idea of the Book of Mormon, and I promised to get him one in Armenian. It was great.
I'm glad, though, that we only have to go to Armenia every couple of months for visa trips. It's terrible to not be able to do any work at all for an entire day. 

On Sunday there was a stake conference broadcast for all of the Eastern Europe area of the church. Our little branch in Red Army consists of mostly middle-aged men accept for cute babushka, Nadejda, and the Relief Society president, who is married to the Branch President. They're all a little technologically challenged (I'm grateful that I had parents who were technologically challenged as well; it helps me understand what they want to know even if I don't really completely understand the problem). However, everything on the computer is in English for some reason, so not only are they technologically challenged, but none of them know English. It was kind of on our shoulders to get the branch broadcast up and working last Sunday. Gratefully, it did end up working, but only after a lot of middle-aged men staring at the computer screen while Sister Misuraca and I tried to explain how to dowload a video and transfer it to a flash drive a few times over.

After church, we were able to go out on the streets practically all day (we had a lesson fall through) and talk to people. It gets dark here really early now, though. 6 usually feels like 8 or 9. Sister Misuraca and I were getting cold and tired, but, after a short break on a bench outside a Russian Orthodox temple, we decided to press forward. We've been praying to find a family to teach for weeks. At literally 8:45, 15 minutes before we had to be home, we found them. We found the family that we had been praying for. It was such a miracle. They are the happiest Russians I might have ever met outside the church members here. Their faces glowed with happiness, and I cannot wait to meet with them again. I don't think I've ever laughed so much with strangers in my life.

Sometimes being a missionary is the last thing I want to be when I wake up in the morning. Sometimes I don't want to leave our apartment to go talk to people on the street who yell at us or laugh in our faces, but I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I know that the Book of Mormon is of God and that the message contained in it is the way to find happiness in this life and eternal life in the next. I know that I can help people find happiness in their lives. The kind of happiness that seeps into the soul and stays there, and (like a good wine) overtime grows. 

I go out everyday because I know that I have the salve to every injury anyone could have ever recieved in their life and I can help them heal. 

And then, you find people who want it. And those people are wonderful, and it so filling to be able to help people come to the Foutain of Living Waters and never thirst again.

And that's how Sister Jarvis sees it.

Have a wonderful week!


Sister Jarvis

Monday, October 19, 2015

Imagine All the People

Good Afternoon!

This week Sister Misuraca and I found this HUGE statue of Lenin out by the Volga River. (I have no idea how we haven't noticed it for 5 weeks because it is literally HUGE). So, today, we're off to go take a look at it. Should be fun. 

But, before we do that. This last week was so exhausting and amazing. You know you're a good missionary when you come home unable to do anything after planning but sleep. It's great. :)

There's a member who lives in a town outside of Stavrpol who used to live in Red Army. His name is Andrei and he calls us every now and then to practice English and get a spiritual boost. Andrei also gives a nickname to all of the sisters who work in Red Army. Sister Misuraca is the Italian Queen, and this past week he gave me a nickname! I am now the Snow Queen. He told me it's because I look like Snow White. I really couldn't have asked for a better name. 

We have this investigator here named Denis. He comes to our English discussion group every Wednesday, and we FINALLY had a lesson with him. It was amazing. I've never been able to speak up much in lessons because I've felt like I don't really know what's going on or what to say, but in this lesson I knew exactly what Denis needed. I knew what would help him and what questions to ask. I can tell you that it wasn't me. I can tell you that I still don't know Russian and I still don't understand everything he said, but I can tell you that Heavenly Father is there and He is always helping me in every aspect of the work.

I've been trying to improve my ability to speak to people when I'm on public transport, and this week, I was able to talk to so many people! I love talking to people everywhere I go. They have so many new ideas and interesting things to say and lovely smiles to give. Just talking to them, I know that they are special and individual and loved by Heavenly Father. I love making people laugh. It makes me feel like I've made their day just a little better and just a little brighter. It's even better when I can tell them how loved they are by their Father in Heaven because they can begin to see just how much potential they really have to become so much more than they ever thought they could.

I hope that your week is full of smiles and laughter!

Sister Jarvis

A flurry of cats outside an apartment building in Red Army

Monday, October 12, 2015

Winter is Coming

The cold has begun to seep into our home, the Russians have brought out their big, fluffy, fur-lined coats, and the temptures have already dropped below freezing. 

But, all is well! We have boots and hats and coats and hot chocolate, so we're all set.
(Speaking of hot chocolate. Russians make some really good hot chocolate. Just boil some water, put a bit of cocoa in, and finish it off with sweetened condensed milk. I'm telling you, it's manna.)

We were able to watch General Conference this last week end.


I had no idea General Conference was so cool! Did anyone else know this and just not tell me? I guess maybe I should have just been more focused when I did watch it before. It's probably always been this amazing. I particularly liked Elder Holland's talk and President Nelson's talk. It was mentioned more than once to women to "fulfill the measure of their creation," and I have to tell you, I'm not really sure what that means completely, but I can tell you that part of fulling our creation is striving everyday to be a little better than what we were yesterday. It's a tough thing to be sent from the MTC into the mission field, and it can feel like you have so much to improve and so much you can't do yet, but I think it's most important to remember that you don't have to be good at everything all at once. It's a day by day by day process. And some things take a lifetime to learn.

I know that we have so much potential to learn and grow and become because we are children of God, but I also know that Heavenly Father will take us as we are because we can't become all that He knows we can without Him. So, turn to Him! He'll make you into a masterpiece that you can hardly begin to imagine. 

Being a missionary is amazing. I love it because I get to watch people begin to start that process in their own lives and see their light begin to brighten.

I love you all, and I hope your weeks are full of joy!


Sister Jarvis

Winter weather has begun!  (Mom, we're wearing your scarves and the hat you knitted!)

Watching conference

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Hunt for Brown October


What a crazy week I've had this week! 

It all started with the water going off in Red Army for 2 days.

After I emailed last Monday, we got a call from the Branch President here in Red Army who told us the water was about to go off for repairs and we needed to run home and fill up as many buckets as we could with water. Unfortunately, they had already turned off the cold water in our building, so the water was coming out boiling hot and brown. It was quite the adventure trying to fill up metal pots and random water bottles with burning hot, muddy water. It was fun, and Sister Misuraca and I laughed the whole time, no worries. (Also we have separate water that's clean, so not a big deal.)

We then had splits on Thursday, so I was with Sister Montierth! It was quite the day we had. Neither of us have been out for very long; in fact, Sister Montierth has only been out two weeks, so I guess I was the "senior" companion. (Those 6 extra weeks there really make a difference.) We didn't know much Russian between the two of us, but we sure did have an adventure. We met a grandpa outside the city who started off the conversation by telling us what beautiful girls we were and finished the conversation by trying to convince us that Obama was using the Book of Mormon as a political trap... Or at least that's what I understood. Either way, he was a very nice old man, and I'm sure we'll run into him again since he lives by a member. Later, we street taught and met a bunch of veterans from World War II coming out of a concert for "wise" people (that's the polite way to say elderly people in Russian). They were great. I love the babushkas and dedushkas here. They're adorable and usually very kind.

In the end we made it back to our trainers in one piece. AND we had zone conference. Which was just exactly what I needed. 

President Miner and Sister Miner are some of my very favorite people. I'm so lucky to have them as my mission presidents. I really feel like they're my extra set of family away from home. They're loving and kind and just full of wisdom. 

I haven't watched general conference yet; we'll watch conference next week with our ward when they upload the sessions in Russian.

Hope you all have a wonderful week! And I hope you all had a chance to watch conference! I'm sure it was absolutely amazing. I know I'm looking forward to it immensely. :)


Sister Jarvis

Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission
Per. Semashka 117B
Rostov 344018

The sisters in our zone watching women's conference

Our Zone!  Names! (From back row left) Elder Foote, Elder Fisher, Elder Randall, Elder Barnes, Elder Cox, and Elder Barlocker
(Middle Row left) Elder Simenyook (He's Russian), Elder Berger, Elder Wilcox, Elder Henrie, Elder Waterson, Elder Corbridge
(Front Row Left) Sister Montierth, Sister Marquis, ME, Sister Misuraca, Sister Miner, President Miner.

Sister Montierth and I on splits

Pretty field in Red Army

This is how Russians pose for pictures.  I thought I'd try it.

Sister Montierth and I

The various assortment of pans and bowls we used for water.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Sunrise, Sunset

Dear friends and family,

What a strange week we had. Red Army is just full of adventures waiting to be had. 

We had a lesson with one of our investigators, Anya, this week. She is a fireball. We think she was formerly a Jehovah's Witness, but she won't tell us, but she has the most amazing questions because of it. I'm so excited for her. I love teaching her because she just wants to know things so badly, and I think she's finally getting answers to questions she's had for her whole life. 

Teaching in Russian is so fun. It's hard, but I love it. And, luckily, I have a companion who really understands Russian and that I can rely on. It's always a wonderful thing when you're with a companion like Sister Misuraca. 

The past few months of my life have been the hardest I have ever had to go through, but they've also been the most wonderful and miraculous. 

Service is hard because there's always that voice in the back of your head saying, "Where's MY time, why aren't they serving ME?" But, the thing is, that little voice won't ever open the windows of heaven. That little voice cannot change you, cannot allow you to become better. That little voice will never make you into anything other than what you already are. It cannot help you grow.  Growth comes from discomfort and struggle, yet smiling all the while. And it's easier to do when you ask the One Who Created All to help you out. 

Well, that's all from this corner of the world this week. 

Love you all lots,

Sister Jarvis

One of the views outside our apartment (10th floor perks!)

Sister Misuraca and I

Sister Misuraca with our rent money

Marmaev Koorgan (Russian Statue of Liberty)

Funny poster

An old picture: Sister Marquis eating food from a member, which is actually against the rules.  But we couldn't really do anything.  She had already made it when we arrived.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Here, There, Everywhere

The first week of a new transfer (the time unit that missionaries stay in an area or with a certain companion) is always the craziest I feel like. I've only been through 2, but I feel like they were the craziest weeks I've had.

So, like I said last week, I've been assigned to a new area called Red Army. I'm still in Volgograd, but Red Army is kind of like a suburb of the main city. My companion, Sister Mizuraka, and I are the only missionaries here. It's kind of cool.

We had to go to Rostov-na-Donu earlier this week. Sister Mizuraka had to go on a visa trip to Armenia, so I had to drop her off and spend a day with the sisters in Rostov. We also got to take a train! It was awesome. Although, I have to say that I like car rides better...

The branch here in Red Army is so great. They have so few members that I feel like I'm a part of a new family. There were about ten people total at church on Sunday, but it was okay because we all ate a delicious watermelon afterwards. 

I love the people in the ward here. All of them have such quirky personalities; I feel like I'm in a play. And, they're all so happy to be here and so loving towards each other, even though, life isn't easy for any of them. Many of them have family members who no longer talk to them because of their membership in the church or medical problems that make it hard for them to attend church. It amazes me that they still come. That their faith in Christ and His church is undaunted even with the challenges they all face.

It made me think about the promise that Christ gives in Matthew 11:28-30. He says "Come unto me, all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest". 

If there is one thing I know, it's that Christ fulfills His promises. If you read the whole verse (which I, of course, will invite you to do), Christ does not say that He will take away our heavy burdens, He says that He will put His yoke upon us, meaning that He'll share the burden with us. He loves us so much that He lets us fall so that we can learn to pick ourselves us, but He's always there to make sure we're not going to fall so hard, we can't get back up. But, we have to take His hand because He won't save us against our will; that's contrary to who He is.

So, I invite you to take Christ up on His offer! Pray to Him! You can't know if He's there to help you if you don't ask for His help. So ask! I promise that if you do so sincerely, an answer will be given, and you'll be able to decide for yourself if He's really there.

Love you all!

Sister Jarvis

My old companion, Sister Marquis, and I

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Winds of Change Are Blowin'

Hello all!

Things have been busy here in Volgograd. 

This week was Volgograd's birthday (426 years old and not looking a day past 70) (Because 70 years ago, they entirely rebuilt the city after it was destroyed in WWII). There were a lot of police on the streets that day and Sister Marquis decided they needed the gospel, too, so we talked to a couple police women, who were very nice, but not interested. She's such a maledetz (good-jobber in Russian).

We got transfer calls this week, and I'm being transferred out of Volgograd early and will be serving in Red Army starting this week. 

Red Army is about an hour and a half away from Volgograd, no elders serve there, so it'll just be me and my new companion, Sister Mizuraka. They have a small branch with about 15 members who regularly attend, so we will have a lot to do out there.

It's amazing how much I've grown to love the people here in Volgograd in just a few short weeks. It's even more amazing considering we can barely understand one another. I love Volgograd, but most of all, I love the people here, and I know that love comes from God. I've learned so much about how the Atonement works and how the Savior loves us, as well as an amazing amount of Russian in just 6 weeks, and I know that it's not my doing. 

Scriptural thought! I've been thinking a lot about missionary work and why we do it and I came across this verse in Alma 26:37 "we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever."

I know that God loves us all and that he's sending people to us to help us everyday because He loves us. So look out for it in your lives because I know He's there if you seek Him.


Sister Jarvis

Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission
per. Semashko, 117 V
Rostov Oblast 344018

This hair salon man looks like Jason Bourne

Sister Marquis and Me

Preaching the Gospel

This is the only building remaining in Volgograd after WWII

My District