Monday, December 19, 2016

From Russia with Love

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
United States

Love you!
Sister Jarvis

​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?

Monday, December 12, 2016


Just so you all know, this is the second to last P-Day I've got as a full-blown missionary.

It makes me really sad to think about that. More sad than I can really fully express to you all.
But, before we get into all that serious stuff. Here's a picture of Sister Klimash (one of the lovely sisters in my district) putting on the full armor of God!
Now that's what I call a sword of the Spirit!

It was also Sister Lisitsina's birthday yesterday! She turned 20. And we celebrated by drinking the favorite Swedish Christmas drink of Ikea GLOGG! (Shoutout to Kristin!)

Don't worry friends, it's non-alcoholic. 
It tasted a lot like the wassail my mom makes for Christmas, actually. 

And we had my last zone conference this week. 

Yesterday, our recent convert, Nastya, who was baptized a few weeks ago, gave a talk. She was terrified. She's very shy and she didn't even want to bear her testimony at her own baptism because she was afraid of talking in front of others. Well, I was so proud of her as I watched her go up to the podium yesterday, but I could see on her face how absolutely scared she was. She looked out at the congregation and turned around to tell the branch president that she just couldn't do it. She couldn't talk in front of all these people.

Do you know what our sweet branch president did?

He got up, gave her a big hug, and waited for her to calm down. Then, like my primary teachers, older siblings, and parents did when I was little and wanted to speak in sacrament, he stood by her side as she gave her address. Eventually he sat down when she no longer needed his support. And she gave an absolutely amazing talk about how we were called to proclaim the gospel at this time in Russia in the premortal life. 

I was so touched by what President Palenkov, our branch president, did that I started crying. There was my friend, my little sister, who was up there so scared she could barely talk and I could do nothing about it. Imagine how I felt when President Palenkov just took her under his wing and helped her get through her first talk in sacrament meeting. In that moment I understood just a little better how much missionary work means to our Father in Heaven. We are reaching out to His little ones and helping them find their way.

I love the people here. I love this country. I love that although my time is becoming very short, I can still give my all to these people I love. What a wonderful blessing.

I wish you all a wonderful week! 

Sister Jarvis

Monday, December 5, 2016


This week we dressed up like....


Just kidding. We dressed up like pioneers.
Exhibit A

​Exhibit B (Yes, I do have a pillow under my pioneer skirt. Yes, I was pretending to be pregnant... it was part of the story.)

Exhibit C?
We had an activity about church history and the volunteers were assigned to talk about Pioneers! So we told stories of our ancestors! It was so much fun. Sister Lisitsina helped us translate the stories we could find on family search or that our parents had told us into Russian. The branch loved it! And we had a great time putting it together if you can't tell. It was so cool to see how excited these Russian pioneers got about the American ones from 100 years ago.

I can't express how grateful I am for my ancestors who gave me the blessing of having a multi-generational family in the church. And I can't tell you have wonderful it is to work with the first generation pioneers of Russia. It makes me so happy to see how the gospel changes their lives for the better and helps them deal with problems that seem to be unsolvable. Well, "all things are possible through Christ which strengthen me."  I know that that is true. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet and that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today. I know my ancestors believed with all their hearts that this is the true church of Jesus Christ, and I stand with them in their faith. I am honored to help strengthen this generation of Saints in the lovely Krasnodar.

I love you all!


Sister Jarvis