We had... quite the week. In a good way.First of all, I would like to annouce that I will be spending yet another transfer here in Volgograd. That means that I will have almost spent an entire year just here in V-grad. And I'm probably the luckiest missionary out here because of it.
Second of all, our little Traktorny group opened yesterday with 9 people in attendance! 4 of those are not even members of the church! We sang a barbershop quartet version of How Great Thou Art with the Elders, ate stale cookies, and drank tea with those who came, and began the creation of the future Volgograd Stake. Pretty successful day.
And third of all, we ran into a less active member the other day, and she's a little bit of an eccentric, so when she was whacking the bugs off with a leafy tree branch, we thought it was just a weird thing that she does. And when she tore off branches from the nearby tree to give to us to keep the bugs off, we decided that we should probably put them down somewhere, so that while we were contacting people on the streets they didn't think we were insane. The next day, we noticed that every single babushka was carrying a branch that they tore off a tree to keep the bugs away. We learned two things from this. Volgograd has a lot of bugs (you should see my legs... I look like I have some sort of skin killing disease) and you should always accept bug whacking branches, no matter how eccentric the person who gives it to you is.
Throughout the week we kept running into random people in need of our help or having appointments cancel only to be filled by one of our other investigators moments later, proving to me that God really is guiding us to do His work.
One of these moments happened with a recent convert who has been having a really tough time battling depression. We just happened upon him as a rainstorm rolled in, and we ducked into an alleyway to avoid the rain. He told us that he had been praying, pleading for help because he felt as if all his strength was gone, and as he looked up from his prayer, he saw us. We talked with him and sang with him. All the while this rainstorm just kept getting stronger and stronger. The thunder was so loud and the lightning bright. We were with him for a little over half an hour, and as soon as we parted ways, the storm ceased being so dramatically strong.
It reminded me of the story of Christ, asleep in the middle of the Sea of Galilee during a rough storm. His disciples were terrified that they would sink, that the storm was too strong for them to live through, and as soon as they woke Jesus up, he rebuked the sea and calmed the winds, and the storm cleared. Jesus Christ works through us today to calm the storms in the lives of His children. It may be that we simply say hello to someone or sing them our favorite song. It may be that we are a shoulder to cry on or the giver of a much needed hug. Whatever it is, there is no act of service that is small in God's eyes because everytime we reach out to one of His children in love, He is immeasurably grateful that we were willing to give of ourselves to help someone He loves so dearly.
Я вас люблю!