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

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Haircut

I got a haircut from a Russian.  Probably not the best idea I've ever had...I look like I'm from the 70s, but oh well.  It will grow.  Here we are enjoying our haircuts at an Italian restaurant.