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