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