I think I titled my first email from Russia the very same, so I thought it would be fitting to title the last one the same way.
First of all, we had an amazing miracle happen. On the way back from the last VLC, Sister Lisitsina and I met a girl named Dasha on the train who had met Elder Dayton and Elder Barnes when they visited an English club. Dasha and I had a nice talk on the train with her mom who was with her, and we agreed to meet up again. We had been trying to meet with her ever since, but it just hadn't worked out, until last Saturday. She invited us to come to the English club the elders formerly had gone to and asked if she could also learn more about our religion. Turns out she had been researching online. We brought her with us after the English club to the music lesson that our other investigator Nastya gives on Saturday nights at the branch. Dasha loved it. She said she loves the way she feels at the branch and asked if she could have a Book of Mormon in Russian and English. We gave them both to her and invited her to come to church.
She came! And not only did she come, but she had stayed up all night the night before reading the Book of Mormon that we had given her. She asked me if she could get baptized that day. I told her that she could in 3 weeks if she came to church every Sunday. And then! Our recent convert Nastya explained to her all about the process for getting baptized and how volunteers have to teach lessons and gave her a conference liahona. Dasha has been excited ever since. She plans on coming to the Christmas party and wants to bring a friend to her lesson beforehand.
It was really quite the miracle. The kind of miracle that is just unforgettable.
Speaking of, the senior couple in our district, the Lunds, challenged us all, a few weeks ago, to give Jesus a gift for Christmas. Their gift is to learn Russian this next year. I had no idea what I wanted to give Jesus for Christmas. There was simply too much that I wanted to do. Until I read this wonderful sentence from a general conference talk.
Please do not forget.
Elder Rasband - Lest Thou Forget- Oct. 2016
So, I decided that my gift to Jesus is to never forget my mission. To never forget these people that I love so much. To never forget what I've learned. To never forget that I am a child of God and what that really means to me.
"In the midst of life’s greatest storms, do not forget your divine heritage as a son or daughter of God or your eternal destiny to one day return to live with Him, which will surpass anything the world has to offer. Remember the tender and sweet words of Alma: 'Behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?'" - Elder Rasband
Thank you all for your support over the past life-changing year and a half. I can't believe that this will be the last time I write a weekly email.
I'll be back in Utah on January 5th. My parents and I will be traveling around my mission for a week and a half. So, maybe I'll send some pictures of that.
I am pretty sure my homecoming will be:
January 15, 2017
1300 East Fairfax Road
Salt Lake City, UT 84103
Here is Elder Altuhov exhibiting the common Russian squat.
Here is the Cemetary in Krasnodar. I finally convinced Sister Lisitsina that it wasn't that weird to go on a stroll through a cemetary. Isn't it so pretty?