Monday, September 26, 2016

Making Friends with Goats

What a fantastic week.

It was definitely adventurous.

We had Zone conference:

We were in Gelendjik again to visit with Katya, the recent convert there. She's been reading the Book of Mormon and she's now in the middle of the Isaiah chapters (probably the most difficult chapters to understand in the Book of Mormon because they are excerpts from the biblical prophet Isaiah). It was so cool to see that as we talked to her about it, she understood it. She started making her own connections and applying it to her own life. Isaiah is amazing, and it's fun to watch someone else discover how needed his prophecies are in our lives today and how interesting what he says can be.

Then we had a picnic in the forest with the members.

We made friends with this goat. We also played guitar and sang hymns and just had a great time together. It really brought the branch together.

Yesterday, we volunteered at the society for the deaf to raise awareness during a street fair that they had. We also sang (with our hands) in their choir. It was a good time. Everyone thought we were deaf/were fluent in Russian Sign Language, neither of which were true, but it was fun and we made a lot of new friends.
The most exciting thing that happened, though, happened on Sunday. Our investigator came to church! Now, I know for many of you that may not sound like a big deal, but it is kind of a big deal when you can't call them to meet with them or call them to even invite them to church, so it was amazing that she came. Sister Kennard and I met her months ago during the last week we were allowed to street teach, so it was just a miracle that she even remembered who we are or what time our meetings are at. Sister Lindquist and I have been working really hard to find new investigators through members and through the activites that the branch puts on, and we haven't seen anything happen. Well, God answers prayers. He wants His work to go foward and He can do it all Himself, He just let's us dabble in it a little bit. How grateful I am that He does so. I've come to love more and know more than I ever have before in my life. Ira, our new investigator, is amazing, and I hope that we can help her come to Christ. She's had a hard life, and I know that the Atonement will bless her life more than she or I can imagine. 

The weeks seem to be getting faster, so it probably won't be long before you hear from me again! 

Love you all!

Сестра Джарвис

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Kids of K-dar

As I was thinking about what I would write to you all, the thought came into my head that I have not told you about all the kiddos in the Primary here. Well, they are all unique and hilarious, so they deserve a weekly email all their own.

Dima- (6 yrs) Dima is a really smart boy. When he is good, he is very, very good. When he is bad, he is terrible. But, most of the time he's great. If you show him a picture of a story from either the Bible or the Book of Mormon, he will describe it to you in detail. But that's not all; he will also tell you what he learns from the story. Like I said, smart kid. His mom has been a member for a year now, and he's just a rock star. Although... last week, he hid my Darth Vader water bottle and I thought I'd lost it forever! But he confessed yesterday that he hid it from me and promptly returned it.

Mila- (7 yrs) Mila reminds me of myself. She is friends with all the boys her age, but they all know that she's the coolest. She knows the primary songs so well and she told us her secret to memorizing them. Never look at the book; you never memorize anything if you look at the book. Just listen. I get to start teaching her piano lessons every Sunday, which I'm pretty excited about. Her family is wonderful. Her mom served a mission in Armenia, and they are the cutest half-Russian half-Armenian family! So cute!

Vladik- (7 yrs) If you could drive a motorcycle when you were 7, Vladik would definitely own one. He's the cool kid on the block, and most of the time that means he incites the other kids to rebellion, but he actually has a heart of gold. Yesterday, he had a vanilla wafer, and the teacher told him that he had to put it away if he wasn't going to share with everyone. At first, Vladik was angry, but when the teacher told him that if he did share, he would be doing what Jesus did, Vladik promptly got up and shared his wafer with all the kids. It was adorable.

Ilia- (3 yrs) Vladik's little brother. He still has a difficult time talking, so no one really understands him (except Vladik who translates for him). But, he turns everything he can into a gun. We gave him a trumpet once so that he could pretend to be the angel Moroni on top of the temple, but it became a bazooka real quick.

Sasha- (7 yrs) Her family just moved here from Kazakhstan. She is a perfect little angel. I'm pretty sure she actually is a little fairy princess. She's adorable, and she has so much fun answering questions in Primary. Even if she doesn't really know the answer.

Varvara- (5 yrs) Sasha's little sister. Varvara is a day dreamer. She's willing to answer questions, but it takes 4 or 5 times of calling her name for her to be taken out of her dream world. It's pretty hilarious to watch. I often wonder what she's thinking about. She must have an amazing imagination.

Mark- (4 yrs?) Mark loves cars and airplanes and anything with a motor that moves. He said the prayer at the end of the lesson yesterday and asked if it would be okay if he prayed about his cars. I saw no problem with it. Most of the time he quietly sits and looks really confused while we sing or have a lesson, but yesterday, he surprised me by answering a question with the words of a song we're learning. 

Timur - (4 yrs) All Timur ever wants to do is go outside. He doesn't know how to whisper. He's probably the cutest child I've ever seen. And he's infamous for having spit in Sister Miner's face once. He's a little bit of a rebel, but he loves praying. He only prays in a whisper, though. That's actually the only time he whispers or talks softer than at a yell.

Sasha - (8 yrs) Sasha would be coming to Primary if she hadn't broken her back in May. She's doing physical therapy right now, and the doctors won't let her walk for more than 1 hour at a time. She's a smart girl, though; we visit her almost every week. We asked her how she could help her family once, and she said, "Sometimes my parents fight, so maybe when that happens I can just say "Hey, guys, let's all be friends!"" She's awesome.

I love these kids. I wish you could all meet them. Every Sunday is a new adventure. They have such good insights to questions and are all so smart. I just love being with them. How grateful I am for children. They are kind of crazy, but I love it. I always come out of Primary smiling.

Here's a picture of Sister Lindquist and I on a bus!

Have a wonderful week!


Sister Jarvis

Monday, September 12, 2016

Picture Montage

I don't have a ton of time to write a letter this week, but I wanted to let you know what I've been up to with a picture montage!

For those of you who have been to Scotland, you'll recognize this drink! Sister Lindquist and I found it while we were down in Novorossiysk visiting a member. The branch president down there served his mission in Scotland and keeps a can in the branch fridge.

The vineyards on the way to the member that we visited. Isn't it just so pretty? I love that there are mountains down there... small ones, but hey, I'll take whatever I can get.

Our Senior couple, the Johnstuns, went the way of all the volunteers, and returned home after finishing their mission. The members found this flying lantern shaped like a heart and lit it for them before they left after church yesterday.

We are also learning Russian sign language because we started volunteering at the deaf society, so stay tuned for that! It should be fun!

​​I'm off to answer other people's emails, but before I go, I wanted to let you all know how much I love my time here. I love the people so much. I love Russia so much. Overall though, the reason why I love it so much is found in Acts 20:35.
It is more blessed to give than to receive.I love my time here because when we give, God blesses us more than we could imagine. Not with material things, not anything like that. He blesses us with love. The more of myself I've given, the happier I've been because I've been blessed with love for this work, for the people that surround me, and for God. 

I hope that you have a wonderful week! 


Sister Jarvis

Monday, September 5, 2016

Hawaiian Russian Summer Day

We had a Hawaiian Party in Russia last weekend to kick off the start of seminary and institute (gospel classes that are run twice a week here for kids ages 12-30). It was quite the party. Vitia, he returned from his mission about 6 months ago, wore the coolest shoes ever.

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Pretty cool, right? Vitia's even cooler.
We had 4 non-member girls come who just loved it! They wanted to know more, and they all said, "Wow! Mormons are just like normal people." Yes, friends, we all are normal people. It made me laugh, but unfortunately, a lot of people here do think a lot of weird things about Mormons. So, I'm glad we were able to change their stereotypes. It was a pretty cool moment.
Krasnodar is becoming more and more a part of my heart. I made a goal to love Krasnodar as much as I love Volgograd, and I think that I'm accomplishing my goal. This branch is so wonderful. There's a lot of work to do here and so many amazing people.
 I thought that there could be no possible way I could love this city and these people as much as I love Volgograd. Those people became my family, and it took a year for me to feel that. I thought I wouldn't have time here. I thought that it was something that I had only so much of, but I realized that that is not how it works. Your heart isn't some sort of elevator that you can only fit so many people in or it breaks. Instead, it's something that if you give of, you get more. God is love. If we try to find His love we'll recieve it. If we try to give it, we'll find that we have an unnummerable supply of it.
Well, I love you all. Life in Russia goes on. I realized that what we're now doing in Russia may be a little confusing, so if you have any questions about what we do exactly every week (because we do a lot; somehow we didn't even really have time to eat this week), please go ahead and ask me! I'll be happy to answer.

Sister Jarvis
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That's our district!