Monday, January 25, 2016

Children of God

Dear Family and Friends,

What a wonderful week it has yet again been. Unfortunately, most of it was spent on a Visa Trip to Armenia again... As beautiful as Armenia is, it's always a real жаль (jal meaning pity) to be away from your area. 

Luckily, though! Our investigator, Kira, is getting baptized this week! She's 9 years old and the cutest little girl in the world! I wish I could send pictures, but it's not allowed. Sorry. Sister Greenwood had a quick split with Sister Delong while I was in Armenia, and they were able to support Kira and help her and her mom out the week or so before her baptism.

I'm so grateful that I am on a mission. I've learned more and more about becoming a disciple of Christ the longer I've been out here. What it takes to convert oneself to Him and what that even means. I think this week I made a little bit of a breakthrough, probably one that most people make when they're about 9 years old. I discovered that because I am a daughter of God, my worth has nothing to do with other people. And their worth has nothing to do with my own. Comparison is futile because we have a Father in Heaven who loves us more than we can ever imagine, and there is nothing we can do to increase or decrease our worth in His eyes because to Him we are priceless no matter how bad we are at something or how good. He loves us and it's simply for the fact that we are His children.

I hope that this week, you all take time to ponder what that means to you. That you are a child of God, the Eternal Father, The King of all kings. Because, I know that for me, that knowledge has changed my entire perspective about myself and everyone I see. 

I love you all!

Have a wonderful week and pray for Kira!


Sister Jarvis

Our district last transfer.  We were practicing for the time that we will all be bridesmaids and groomsmen at one another's weddings.

Monday, January 18, 2016


We had a wonderful week this week!

It all started out with us being able to meet with Kira, the 9-year-old granddaughter of the Relief Society President who hasn't yet been baptized because her mom is less active. We were a little nervous for our first meeting since we had never met her mom before and we weren't sure how supportive she would be of Kira, but it turned out to be one of the best lessons we've ever had.
Kira's mom, Sasha, has an amazingly strong testimony, and the relationship she has with her daughter is just so cute. They're like best friends; it's adorable. Sasha bore her testimony of the church and how she came to know it was true. We've met with them 4 times since, and every time, Sasha just amazes me with her faith and her testimony of truth. Kira is really making a difference in her mother's life, and I'm so grateful that we get to see even a tiny bit of how much love and support they have for one another.

We actually set Kira's baptism date today with them. She'll be getting baptized January 30th, and it's going to be beautiful. I can't wait to see it happen! The best part is, is that she's going to bring her whole family with her, and it makes me happy to be able to participate in the creation of an eternal family. I can't describe it actually. 

We also saw an amazing miracle last Saturday. Sister Greenwood and I were in the Branch waiting for interviews with our mission president, President Miner, when a girl knocked on the door and came in. We had never met her before, but she introduced herself (her name is Galia) and said that she's been meaning to come to our church for a while and learn more. So, Sister Greenwood and I showed her around the branch building and taught her. Little did we know that she had actually met Sister Marquis, my former companion, 2 months ago, but had been too busy at that time to come to church. Later in the day, Galia met the other Volgograd Sisters, and they invited her to come with them to a teaching appointment they had, which she did. Galia even came to church yesterday! And LOVED it.  I am still in amazement about what happened. Miracles occur all the time, and if this experience hasn't taught me that then nothing will.

I hope you all have a deevnaya nedeliya (wonderful week, as they would say in Russian) and that you notice the miracles that God sends your way. (1 Nephi 1:20)

Love you!

Sister Jarvis

The Provaslavni Temple by our apartment

We got mail this week!  Thanks for all the letters! (Mostly from my amazing stister, Reej!  I love you, Stister!)

Mother Russia!

Russian Orthodox Temple!

Me, Sister G, and Mother Russia

Me in my babyshka socks!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Winter Wonderland

Dear Friends and Family,

First of all, funny story time! I think Sister Greenwood and I have had to clear up the fact that Mormons are not polygamists quite a bit this week. The conversation always goes like this:

Them: So you're Mormons, right? And you practice polygamy, right?

Us: We are Mormons, but we don't practice polygamy. 

Them: Yes, you do. I read about it somewhere.

Us: No we really don't practice polygamy. I promise you. I am a Mormon.

Them: No. You do. I know it. 

Us: We really don't, and if we did, my mom would not be a happy camper. 

(Then laughter ensues and people hopefully actually do believe that we don't practice polygamy.)

The Christmas season is finally over here. We had an activity for Christmas on Saturday (in which I played the main role in a skit titled "Hotel my Heart" written by our very own Ward Mission Leader) and a fireside yesterday, organized by the Young Women (in which I sang a lot of solos because I sing louder than everyone else). Essentially, the past weekend was just like home as I got to do two of the things I love the most: singing and acting. 

Sister Greenwood and I have seen a steady increase in the work in our area. After 5 weeks of planning and street teaching and visiting members, I have seen more miracles than I ever have. I know that the promise found in 2 Nephi 25:23 is true. After we do all we can, the grace of Jesus Christ saves us. 

We had 6 people show up to our activity last Saturday that we found on the street, and a former investigator that I had in Red Army came as well. It was a really strange acitivity to be honest, especially if you aren't a member of the church. We did a game where everyone was blindfolded and had to find their way through a maze listening only to voices, and we played jeopardy based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ that involved a lot of knowledge of the Book of Mormon. But, in the end, they still want to meet with the missionaries! One of them even said he knew what he heard was true! Just goes to show that the Spirit is what really matters because even if the people we teach understand nothing else, if they feel the goodness and joy and peace that the Spirit brings, they'll want it again and again.

I'm so grateful that I can serve a mission. I can't tell you all how much happier and much more bright the world seems to me now. I love every minute of every day. Even when the going gets tough and the people aren't all that nice, I know that I'm doing the Lord's work and that He's at the helm. And I just love seeing how having that knowledge changes lives. The peace that comes into our hearts because of the knowledge of a loving Father in Heaven is irreplacable and priceless. It helps us overcome the hardest of times because it gives us the hope that there is a better world and that all things will be made right through the eternal plan of a Loving Father who is always there to help us reach our greatest dreams and desires.

I love you all, and I hope that your January isn't as cold as it's beginning to be here! (Don't worry, though, I've got a nice fluffy coat).


Sister Jarvis

Monday, January 4, 2016

С Новым Годом


New Year's was a weird day here in Russia. We went out on the streets and, I swear, there was absolutely NO ONE outside. Sister Greenwood and I were the only people walking around. It was like the apocolypse happened after a really big party that left sparkles and conffetti all over the ground. 

Other than that, we had a great time this week. Splits and New Year's Day and our Ward Mission Leader's birthday party all happened in a three day succession, so it was quite busy. 

This week is bound to be amazing because now the holidays are kind of over for the Russians. All the people we've been trying to set lessons up with have kept saying, "After New Years. I'm too busy right now." Well, now it is time to see who really was busy and who just didn't want to meet with us. Hopefully, most of them were actually busy.

This week, I've been studying Revelations 21:3-4

"And He shall dwell with them and they will be His people; and God shall be with them and He shall be their God.
And He shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there will not be anymore death neither sorrow nor crying neither shall there be anymore pain..."

(That was from memory so sorry for any wording that isn't right.)

I love this scripture. As a missionary, I've been exposed to a lot of other people's pain and to a lot of my own pain of which I was unaware. But this scripture has given me more comfort and peace than I could have ever asked for. Jesus Christ, He knows us and He loves us and it is up to us whether we will let Him comfort us. Let His love warm us. 

Life isn't easy, and it was never meant to be. Life is supposed to be hard, and it's supposed to make us grow and become, but God hasn't left us without comfort. Our lives aren't forever and sometime, the pain will end, but right now we can reach out to Christ and He can comfort us. He is always there to warm us and to help our burdens become light if we will use His Atonement to rid ourselves of guilt and grief. 

That's why I'm here in Russia. I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He died for us and suffered what we have suffered, will suffer, and are suffering. He knows you, and He will always love you, no matter what.

I hope your New Year started out wonderfully! I hope that it will continue to be wonderful! I love you all!


Sister Jarvis