Monday, July 25, 2016

The Onions Have Punished Us!

Week 1 of volunteer work over!


It was actually pretty awesome! We've had an explosion of people ask us for service or help in some way, which is super fun. Lots of yard weeding and helping people remodel their homes. We have a new elder in our district from Moscow who served a few 6 week service missions before he came on his mission; he told us that service is better anyway because people yell at you less and smile at you more. I agree. It's been a pretty uplifting experience to help people in a different way than before. 

One of the people we work with is this cute old man named Rustam. He asked us to come over and help him make dinner. The whole time we were making his dinner he kept telling us, "When you are cooking, you think about nothing else but that food that you are preparing; otherwise, you will suffer." Well, Rustam didn't follow his own advice, and he ended up discussing the history of World War II with us, and the onions burned a little bit. After which Rustam kept telling us, "When you are cooking, you think about nothing else but the food that you are preparing; otherwise, it will punish us like the onions did." So, lesson learned!  Think about nothing else but the food you are preparing otherwise it will punish you. Like our onions did.

Rustam's pretty awesome, though. He's a recent convert and such a sweet old man. He LOVES my companion with all of his heart, and it makes him very sad that she's leaving to go back to America soon. It's pretty cute. He's basically become her adopted grandfather. 

This week was also a little bit of a crazy one... We recieved a call from President Miner (our mission president) that, effective last Saturday, I would be the sister training leader. We had thought that I would become the STL when Sister Kennard left, but I guess not. So, I went up to Mission Leadership Conference in Rostov last Friday, and since then I've been the leader of the sisters in the southern part of the mission. It's been about 3 days, and no one has died so far, so I'd say things are going good. I'm going to ask you all to pray for me since I know that I'm going to need to grow a lot in order to help these sisters out at a time when no one really knows what is going on. It's going to be an adventure. :)

Every volunteer is being given a calling and mine is the Primary Chorister. (S/O to my sister Reej for having the same calling!) We have anywhere from 2-9 kids in primary on a given Sunday, and they are crazy (but adorable!). Wish me luck in helping these kids learn some discipline and reverence. And if you have any ideas for this, please let me know because I have no idea what I'm doing.

I'm excited, though. I love kids, and I love how strong the Spirit is with them. Although they can be crazy, they say the wisest things. They're so pure and sweet and so innocent. It's so special that I get to be with them. I'm so grateful. One of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon is 3 Nephi 17 when Jesus blesses the children individually. The whole chapter is so sweet and beautiful as Jesus blesses the Nephite children. It helps me realize what a blessing it's going to be to work with these crazy kids, who are the future of Russia. I hope that in the least bit I can help them. 

Well, that's all for this week! Love you all!

Сестра Джарвис

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

То, что вы делаете сейчас, это грех

Hello friends and family!

A couple things just to update you on life here in Russia as a church volunteer.

A law was passed a little while ago here that prohibits missionary activity, so in accordance with that here a few things to keep in mind about what I am now doing here in Russia.

1) We are no longer missionaries! We're on missions, but we have to be called "young volunteers." Seriously. Like, don't call me a missionary. It's illegal.

2) We don't proselyte anymore! We are now a service mission. A bit of a big change for us.

So, yeah. This last week, my new companion, Sister Kennard and I, went street teaching until we dropped since as of today that is now illegal for us. 

On the first day of our being together, we went street teaching in the BEAUTIFUL botanical gardens here in the city of Krasnodar, when a lady who passed by us said the following:

То, что вы делаете сейчас, это грех


What you are doing right now is a sin.

Sister Kennard and I could hardly keep it together; we were trying so hard not to laugh since it was actually going to be the case that it would be a sin to proselyte the following week. So, that's been our motto this whole week. 

We had a lot of really cool miracles happen, though. We met the sweetest woman in the world on the street. She hugged us and was just so grateful that she met us. She repeatedly told us that it was a miracle and wants to meet again. We are unsure of when we can though since it's now not allowed for us to call her, but hopefully we'll see her again soon.

We also met this way cool guy with an elvish tatoo. He became our investigator and promised to come to church... we shall see.

I can't even tell you, though, what a miraculous week it was. We came home every night dead tired, but it was one of the best weeks I've ever had on my mission. Krasnodar is beautiful. The people here are wonderful. Sister Kennard and I get a long beautifully. And I felt as if I was working the hardest I ever had in my life. It was a wonderful week.

I'm not entirely sure what next week will bring, but I do know that God has a plan for Russia. These people are His children, and He will do what He needs to to bring about their joy and happiness. Life is going to change durastically for us, but miracles will still abound and people's lives will still be changed. 

Well, I love you all! Here's a picture of our district!
Inline image 1
We played volleyball together! (Sister Kennard is the one sitting on my knee)

с любовью
Сестра Джарвис

The Snails of Krasnodar. (Aren't they so cute?)

The Krasnodarski Paren is the first burger place that I've been to in Russia that has real burgers. They give you gloves since they're so messy.


Sister Kennard and I! Everyone thinks we're sisters.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Winds of Change

Well a few of BIG things happened this week.
Numero Uno:
STEPHIN GOT BAPTIZED! I'm so proud of him! He was going back and forth not because he didn't know that the church was true, but because he was afraid his family wouldn't support him. When he initially met Sister Greenwood and I, they were very against him being baptized. He was afraid that he would be all alone in starting up the church in India with no one to support him. But a miracle happened. On Tuesday night Stephin skyped with his family. He was able to bare his testimony to them of why he wanted to be baptized again. About how Jesus Christ was baptized by immersion and he wanted to be baptized the way Jesus was. He wanted to fully follow Christ. Much to everyone's surprise, Stephin's dad said, "That's right. Go for it." His mom said, "Do what you feel like you need to." We had a lesson set up with him the next morning. He came in, sat down, and said, "A miracle has happened." And he told us everything that happened with his parents. Sister Lindquist and I just kind of sat there in amazed silence. I honestly don't really remember much of what happened after that. We somehow planned everything, and then we were on a train to Astrakhan for our visa trip. (more on that later) 
And so, Stephin was baptized! After 6 months of meeting with us! And coming to church EVERY week. He's such a молодец. (I am unsure what the correct English word would be, so sorry.)
Numero Dos:
The visa trip! We went to Kazakhstan (shout out to Natalie!). It was a fun time. We did splits with the sisters in Astrakhan. It's a really cool city, very old. A lot of different nationalities live there. They have these beautiful canals all throughout the city. Here's a picture of Sister Lindquist and me on one of the canal bridges.

And Numero Tres:
I'm being transferred. After almost a year of serving in the same city, I'm being moved down south to the city of Krasnodar. My new companion's name is Sister Kennard. This is her last transfer, so I'll be "killing off" a companion (that's what it's called when your companion goes home). The good news is, Sister Montierth (with whom I've been serving my whole mission) is coming with me! And I'll be reun​ited with Sister Greenwood! She's down south in Krasnodar too. Not to mention one of my former zone leaders, Elder Barlocker, and another elder who served with me here in Volgograd, Elder Barnes. So, it's bound to be a good transfer.

It's been really difficult to say goodbye to Volgograd. It made me realize how temporary everything in life is. (Cue cheesy 80's music) Everything in life is meant to continually change to help you grow and learn. I've been studying a lot about that this week. About why we're here on Earth, and what exactly we're suppose to be doing here. My favorite scripture so far that I've found is Moses 1:39:

"For behold, this is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and the eternal life of man."

 God's whole purpose for us being here is for us to learn and become like Him. To perfect ourselves and become better than we were. And he gives us trials in our life to do just that. They can be very difficult, but He never leaves us alone. If we turn to Him, He will always help and guide us. We're His children, aren't we? So, although I'm leaving my beloved Volgograd, it's time for me to move on and learn more in a new place where I'll be able to help even more people.
Well, until next week! Hope your week is full of sunshine and sparkles!

Sister Jarvis

Elder Osborn rocking my sunglasses. (He's in my district here in V-grad. He's assigned to Tranktorni as well)

Freesia and Freda (some of the members from Ghana here for school) made us African food for 4th of July! Oh, also that's Elder Wride (one of my zone leaders) and Sister Kukla (one of the sisters in my district).

Monday, July 4, 2016

Forever Plaid

What a week!

We met with a lot of people, got to know a lot of cool people, and Stephin may just be getting baptized this week. I'd say it was a good start to a new month.

One of the cool people we were able to meet, we met last night. Her name is Natasha! We were street teaching late last night, and we started talking to this adorable woman in a cute plaid dress. Turns out, last year she was working on a trolleybus as a ticket collector (I'm not really sure what we call this job in English; in Russian, it's conductor) where she would watch these two boys in white shirts and ties get on the bus at the stop for our branch building and off the bus at the stop for their apartment almost everyday. They would always be reading this book called the Book of Mormon. She wanted to aske them what it was, but she never had the opportunity to and had to quit that job. So, when we asked if she had heard of the Book of Mormon, she was so excited to meet people who knew what it was! We explained it, gave her a copy, and will hopefully meet her tomorrow.

Miracles happen, my friends, miracles happen.

Stephin may be getting baptized this Sunday! We aren't sure yet, but he's so close! It's been so fun to teach him. I've never met anyone more kind and genuine in my life. He once asked us what this quote means (English is his 2nd language, so it's kind of difficult for him) "Some people you meet to be a blessing, others a lesson." He didn't understand why some people would be a lesson.  We asked him, "Have you ever met anyone you didn't really get along with?" He thought about it for a minute and then said, "No. Never." Now, Stephin can get pretty firey about his belief in Jesus Christ, so one would think that he, coming from a non-Christian country, would have met someone with whom he would have severely disagreed. But, no. Stephin is a wonderful example of forgiveness, kindness, and many other wonderful Christ-like attributes, so he's always looked at everyone around him as the children of God that they are. It made me think if I do the same.

So, pray that he'll be ready for his baptism on Sunday! It's been a rough road for him since English is his 2nd language and the Book of Mormon is not translated into his native language as of yet. He'll have a mountain of barricades to jump over as he makes this step, but I'm positive that he can do it with Jesus Christ. Stephin is just an awesome kid.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and take time to see other people as the wonderful children of God that they are, even if you disagree, even if they hurt you, because every person has the eternal potential to do good and become good. 


From Russia With Love,

Sister Jarvis

P.S. To celebrate the 4th of July, I translated the Star Spangled Banner into Russian today. I intend on memorizing it and singing it for the rest of my life.