Sounds like Thanksgiving was a big hit for you all! I can't believe how much has happened, and Jenn Haught is engaged!? Wow, that was a shock to me. Thanks for the pictures. I loved seeing the three redheads on the camel. I was wondering what kind of an animal it was for a long time. Carrie, that picture of you was so stunning! All pretty with a flower in your hair : )
A lot happened this past week, including SNOW! I think we have gotten at least two feet of snow within the past five days. It has been non-stop, which makes travel rather difficult. They can't seem to clear the roads fast enough. I thought last winter really wasn't that cold, but now all the memories are coming back, and I realize that it is a nice thing that our memories aren't perfect haha. Those pictures you sent me Dad are great. I personally haven't seen anything like that, but last winter we supposedly didn't get a lot of snow. With the way the weather has been looking lately, being snowed-in doesn't seem unlikely.
The above picture is me Thanksgiving day here in Russia. Sister Muhlestein and I were late getting to an appointment because of the transport problems, and we were walking down a street I'd never been before. We had our heads down, not really looking anywhere but at our feet as we walked. For whatever reason, I look-up and see this huge Russian Orthodox Church at the end of the street. I felt like I was in a snow globe! Everything was all white everywhere, and the church just looked so mystical. So, despite the lateness, I had to snatch a picture. Speaking of Thanksgiving, we got to have a Thanksgiving lunch on Friday. Last year, we got to celebrate the day more, but that kind of created some conflicts in the mission. We didn't observe the Russian holidays, but we observed the American ones... Anyways, we did get to have a lunch, and the adorable senior couple here in Ekat got all excited and went all out and made it really special. One of the other attached pictures is our Zone at the Mission Office after we finished eating. They even assigned the Elders to make some decorations for the lunch, and it was pretty hysterical what they came up with.
Miracle of the week: We taught Lena on Monday about tithing, and she said that she receives 10,000 rubles a from work, and she uses 9,000 rubles to pay for her apartment. So, if she were to pay tithing, it would be everything she had. I was starting to get worried, like "Oh no! Here we go with the endure to the end part..." But, she is so amazing! She said that she doesn't really need money for food right now, because she could just live off of the Spirit she said, but that she did need money to get to and from work. Her anxiety wasn't over whether or not to pay, but what to do once she has paid, because she was certain that she was going to pay. Anyways, we promised her the blessings, and she said, "Yes, I know God will bless me, because he has already promised me." Her faith is so amazing. At Church on Sunday, she shows up and asks me right away, who do I gove my tithing to? She was all excited : ) The mtg was about to start, so I told her later. By the time Church had ended, she had asked me like three times, Can I pay my tithing now? Once, she paid it, she just seemed so happy! I asked her if everything was going to be okay financially, and she said, "I got paid a lot more than usual this past week at work." Miracle already! The Lord is so merciful and he just loves Lena so much. I just want her to find a good member boy to marry now...
Miracle number two: Vladislav has quit smoking! Well, this is day number three, but that is a HUGE accomplishment for him. He used to be this like, lifeless, lazy man, but he gets up every morning and goes swimming now, and just recently found a new job! The Gospel really does change lives, and he is proof of that. His wife just needs to soften her heart, and then he will get baptized. I know that will happen, and I even feel like it could happen soon!
Funny story of the week: Our Mission President told us that we are the number one baptizing mission in the Europe East Area now for like seven weeks or something! Yay! Remember when I wrote in the summer, that our mission just felt like something was about to happen here in Ekat? Well, it has. I feel like the work is getting easier in some way, and I know that it is the Lord blessing us for doing the things we should. My faith has grown a lot. Anyways, we still were falling short on our monthly baptizmal goal, and he challenged us to go out and get some more miracles. Sister Muhlestein and I took that literally, and decided that we were going to, with the Lord's help, find somebody to baptize by this Tuesday (aka tomorrow the 30th). We went home and planned a course of action for our investigators. We then fasted all day Saturday to find the miracle. Haha well Sunday, a less-active showed-up with her friend at Church on Sunday, and the friend agreed to let us come by that night and teach him a lesson. We were so excited because that like never happens. We were already super booked on Sunday, so we couldn't get there much earlier than 8. He lived WAY far away, and we had to walk for like thirty minutes in what felt like a blizzard. We then get to the right building, and we are like up to our knees in snow haha. We finally find the right number, and go inside, and it was like the creepiest hallway I've ever been in. I'm not supposed to write things home that are negative, so I'll spare you. Just know that I felt like I was in a Haunted House or something. Turns out, nobody was home anyways! Haha. Why do I tell you this? Because Sister Muhlestein and I realized that we love Heavenly Father enough to do that. And it was worth it : ) It will be a cherished memory from the mission I am sure. We even documented the event. That would be picture number three.
I love you all! Thanks for all you letters, love, and support : )