Your life, Your choice

Be happy. Mya, Sis Schaff, Sis GuymonSeriously. Are you happy today? Think about it. If not, why? There is nothing in life that can stop you from being happy except yourself. Did you have a hard day? Well, what went right? What wonderful people called you to say hello, sent a nice text, smiled at you on the road, complimented your outfit, or said thank you. That is what is worth remembering. Why think about the things you didn’t do perfectly, or that you wish you had known. Next time, do it better. That is now in the past.

Happiness is such a choice. There are so many people that I meet every single day, and some are happy and some aren’t. Every day, I make a choice to be happy or not. In every situation I have to re-evaluate myself and remember that I am the master of myself. Why am I unhappy? That was just silly. Then, choose to be happy.
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So many miracles this week. Sunday was AWESOME. There was a man and his wife that showed up to church! It was SO COOL! They said they had met elders at some point and had been invited (I don’t know when or by who) and they were interested. She really wanted a book of Mormon, and so we gave her one, got their information and we will be meeting with them! (Unfortunately she said they can’t meet until next week.) They stayed for all three hours, and the ladies in Relief Society were so wonderful at helping fellowship her!  I am so excited to meet with them next week!

We also have a new 84 year old investigator! Hahaha. His name is Boris. He is wonderful and read the book of Mormon! He was on our potentials list, and had come in contact with the missionaries about two years ago? Maybe 4. I don’t remember exactly. But, he is very intelligent and has invited us to come over and meet with him. His son died when he was 54, and so I am so excited to teach him the Plan of Salvation. I really know that it will bless his life and that he will love it. He has kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids and They all WILL benefit from our message!
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We went to Petergot yesterday! Wow that is a beautiful place! We got to be down by the Gulf of Finland and just hung out there for a little while. I miss the beach! I forgot about that. Just listening to the water, the smell of freshness, and the life. It is such a different world. We got to smell fresh air that wasn’t filled with cigarette smoke. It seriously is so overwhelming always. It was so calm and relaxing. Plus after we ate at an italian restaurant that was DELICIOUS. (dad you can look it up online…Mama Roma’s–i enjoyed it! Sister Eyring and i shared two meals it was tasty).
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I have been reading in Alma lately and it is when Alma is teaching his sons and it is interesting because I am just noticing more and more that yes, he has many things he tells them, but more than anything he said KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS and then you will be happy and blessed. That is all that you need. Follow heavenly father. He gives us rules, he guides us through life. All that we need is to follow him. He will do the rest. I am so grateful for him. I am trying to follow him. I see that when I am being better at what he has asked me to do I really am blessed and I really am happier. There are so many blessings that come from following him, and lots of times we don’t even notice the blessings. President Eyring had a wonderful article in the August Liahona/Ensign that talked about looking at our blessings. Pray to remember them. Sit there and just write a list of the blessings that you have seen in your life in the past week. They will come. Just sit there. Don’t stop at ten. They will come to your remembrance, because they are there. I am so grateful for the blessings that I see in my life every day. They are what makes life good. They help us remember to be happy.I love my Heavenly Father and I know that the commandments that he has given me are for my good. I know that he just wants me to be better and happier. “Wickedness never was happiness.” It is true. We can be obedient, and then we will be so much happier. I am so grateful for this knowledge, the knowledge that it is not about the temporary things. That there is so much more to this life. That I am here to prepare for the next life.

Love you all!
Sister Schaff Image 15


вера в христа

вера в христа
pronounced: vera v hrista
means: faith in christ Image 1
We have a new investigator! Yay! His name is Jack (in English) and he is about 25. His mother is an inactive member, and I think I mentioned them last week, but we found him while we were out on the inactive hunt. He said that he has read the Book of Mormon before, (I would assume that he knows what it is or has read bits and pieces) but doesn’t remember any of it, so we got him a new translation and gave it to him and committed him to reading! He said that he has been reading (YAY!) and we will be meeting with him again this week. We really need to get him to come to church, I know that it will help him and that is how he will start to really progress. We still have not met his mother, she is not ever home when we go by there. So, hopefully sometime soon. Wouldn’t it be cool if she came back to activity and he got baptized and their family then could one day have a worthy priesthood holder there?

I have realized a lot lately how important it is to have a worthy priesthood in the home. There are familes here who have that, and then there are a lot of wonderful single women with and without children who don’t get that in their homes. The families that are so strong and that really hold our ward together and are able to help strengthen others and bless the ward are those who have a priesthood holder in the home. I want that. More than ever. I am so grateful that I always had one in my home, that my father and then brother were always worthy of that power. I am so grateful that they used that and helped our family, and that our home was always one of safety for everyone, and still is, that people can come there and feel something different. Such a power. It is an irreplaceable thing to be able to use that power. Those families are so much more happier, there is more trust, confidence, faith, service, and overall just so much more love. We have been visiting with the members and trying to get to know them better and it is just so cool to see the happy families here. I just want these young women (in their 20s) to get married to these Return Missionaries that are in their ward and to have strong church going families. It is so cool because not tons of people here have been born into the covenant. The church is at such a pioneer stage, we get to see it, and help it grow, through the good and the bad. There are so many strong members who are willing to help us and we really do depend on them and need their help to show others that they need this gospel.

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I have been studing Joseph Smith History these last few days and the very end it talks about how when he and Oliver Cowdry recieved the ordinance of baptism and the gift of the holy ghost that they had so much more power and knowledge and ability to translate, and their knowledge was increased, and they as a whole felt that much more power. I want to help peple come to that, to be able to recieve that, and to be able to feel that power and difference as they come to make a change in their life.
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Some days I am unsure as to why we have been able to meet so many cool people, and have so many awesome potentials on our list, yet none of them want to meet with us, or will flake out. However, I do know that it is the Lord’s will. (and people have agency). There is something that I need to be learning, and I am learning! Different things every day, and I am really working on being patient! Mom- you would be so proud. I Know that everyone is not me, and can’t multi-task sometimes and that it is okay to sit down when other people need to just have a minute because they are so overwhelmed. I know that if Christ was with them, He would sit with them and help them work through things so that they could really be that more effective and happy in the end. That is something that I just am really trying to be better at. I am praying for that every day, along with a Christ like charity and love for all people. Try it. Pray for things. They really do come. I feel that when I pray for that, it is so much easier, and I really do notice a difference in my life. There are some days when I just forget to pray for things like that and I have slightly gone backwards. I need to continually ask for this gift, and continually pray for it as long as I want it and need it in my life. (that will be FOREVER).
Well, sorry i don’t have much to say today.
Oh funny story quickly.
People are so funny. We were out at the grocery store this morning and I hadn’t even said one word and this lady is staring at me and then starts being very rude and saying that I was very bad, very bad, and I asked her why and she started telling me how we have a different God, and that Russian Orthodox is the only true church with the true God, and that I was a Jehovah’s Witness and that being here on a mission was very bad and that people shouldn’t listen to me. I tried to say that we weren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses, but she wouldn’t listen and so I finally just said well good luck to you, smiled, and went back to my shopping. She wasn’t done and decided that she had to come back three more times to tell me how bad I was and how we were wrong! Some people just wake up and are having a bad day. I hope her day improves! 🙂 But, people are really great here. Most people aren’t like that and don’t want to tell us that we are wrong. They usually just wish us good luck and say that our job is very hard because everyone here is Russian Orthodox. There are so many ready people that we have met though, just need them to meet with us dang it!
This gospel is true. if you don’t know it, read the book of mormon and pray about it. you WILL recieve an answer. the missionaries would be SO excited to meet with anyone! Invite your friends. HELP the missionaries. they need it!Image 9
Much love,
until next week
Sister Schaff

Darkness Exists In the World

This is the first week that I have gone to bed and there has been slight darkness out! We still have all the blinds closed because there is light, but it was kinda dark! So weird. I forget that most people in the world go to sleep in the dark…. what a weird concept. Four months ago I did that too! Hahaha. 

Well, this week has been good, but kind of slow! Paulina did not get baptized, although she met with the bishop yesterday and he said, she is ready, she just needs to get baptized! (This is the same bishop that normally tells people to wait, so I really feel like that means even more from him). It is cool because she really has such a testimony and I guess she brought her son to a meeting with the sisters last week! That is so cool. Plus, she told her family about her decision. Before, she had told us that she wanted to keep it a secret (we discouraged that) because her family is VERY Russian Orthodox and her brother is a priest, but she told her parents! She is wonderful! I love seeing her at church every Sunday! The Center sisters said that she will get baptized this saturday or next saturday! So, that is exciting! I am praying that we will have at least one investigator by then so that I can go! 
This week has been an interesting one. It is kind of hard when you are serving with people who don’t have much faith or drive. There are missionaries that we serve with here that really are having a hard time. I get scared that one day I might be like that, and I pray that I won’t. I don’t ever want to think that some number is too high, and that having baptismal dates is this crazy thought. It isn’t. All these things are entirely possible. We currently have zero investigators, which is kind of frustrating, and I wish we had some, but we will. There are so many people in this city that really are ready. We talk to people every day and there are so many that I am sure if we can get meetings with will be so open and accepting. However, I know that we are out there working, trying to find, and we are now starting to meet with the members this week more because we have lots of time, and it will be important to have relationships with them. I wish I knew how to help inspire peple and help them have the drive to act more, and really do everything that they can to find people. I am trying to just be an example. I really am. 
We are meeting with lots of members lately and trying to devlop relationships with them because neither me or my companion know really anyone in the ward. I feel like that through them we will be able to get things done. There have to be part member families and people that have friends that we can teach. Oh, on that note, we were out less-active-hunting and we had gone to four places, this was the last on our list, and people had either not been home or not wanted the missionaries and this inactive was not home, but her son was! He is probable 25? maybe, and not a member, we asked if he had ever read the book of Mormon, he said yes, and we asked if he would be interested in meeting with the missionaries and learning more, and he said YES! So, we will be taking another member over there this week to meet with him. Already, there is someone that has such great potential. Maybe through him, his mom will come back to activity. There is so much to be done and so many people to help! 
Also, men in america need to step it up! Bring flowers home more often. Bring your girlfriend, wife, daughter, mom, someone flowers! It is not a marriage proposal! Don’t be embarrassed to have flowers. Men here walk around with flowers and you see them giving them to people all the time and they are so happy! It is such a nice gesture and who doesn’t love receiving flowers! (Granted there are flower ladies lined up on the streets here, but still!) 
I have a testimony that the Lord helps things to happen for a reason every time.I know this. There is always something going on every day that the Lord has done to help or challenge me. I know that these things are for my good, and even though this transfer, place, and companion is not my first choice, I know that it is the Lords choice for me. I know that I am learning daily, and that there are so many lessons yet to be learned for me here. I know that Jesus Christ is our savior, and I know that He understands everything that we are going through. I am so grateful that I have Him to go to during days, hours, and minutes of frustration and lnliness and confusion. I know that He will always answer me and that He knows what I need and can give me the comfort that I need. I am so grateful to be here in the Russia St Petersburg Mission ! I know that this is where I need to be right now and that this is what I need to be doing. I know that this is such a good start for me for the rest of my life and will help me to become who heavenly father wants me to be. 
I love you and am praying for you! I am so grateful for the closeness that this gospel gives people! 


Sister Schaff 
Trying to FORGET MYSELF and go to work. That is the goal for this week. And to not eat chocolate…this whole transfer. 2 weeks down four to go! ahhh. 

Such A Dear Hard Language

Well, fun exciting news of the week, Slava got baptized! He is so cool. He is 24 and he is an investigator in Center ward. I have known him from the beginning when he started meeting with the missionaries. He is awesome, and he really has a strong testimony…and speaks legit english. It was so fun to be able to be there with an investigator and see a baptismal service again. You really do feel such a strong spirit and it’s an awesome way to help people understand that when they are going to do is not that weird. Paulina is on the way to getting baptized saturday so if there are no hiccups in the road, I will get to go to that if we find an investigator to come! I am praying for her every day, and I know that she really is ready. She has a testimony and she really is coming closer to Christ every day. I can see it in her.
You would be so proud! President asked us to speak 100% russian outside and I DO IT! Hahah. It is really hard, and sometimes I sound like such a fool, but we make it work. I get my point across in interesting ways. Also, my grammar is HORRIBLE! I want it to be better, but it really is pretty rough. I try though. I am learning every day. Members always tell me “You have no fear with talking and you don’t always understand all of what you say, but we get your point because you are able to speak enough]!” hahahah. Oh Russian. Such a dear hard language. I sure do love it.
I am really trying to come closer to my Savior and know Him better. That has really been my goal this last week. I know that He is the only one that can really help me and understand me and my frustrations and my struggles. I don’t know exactly how to do that, I am trying to pray to love my companion, I am praying to love my area and my ward. I am studying more and more about the Savior every day and I am working to be a better example of Him in how I speak with people and how I treat people. I hope to be able to emulate Him better and I will continue to work on that every day for the rest of my life.I am so grateful for my Savior and the infinite atonement. I really do know that it was for me, and more than ever I am coming to understand what that means. I feel His love, and I am able to every day try to look for ways that he has shown me comfort and love. It is really cool because at first I was a little bit frustrated that I was going to be so close to my old area, yet not be there, but the more I realize it, it really is a blessing because I am still able to interact some with Sister Eyring and our investigators from there and if  I bring an investigator, I can go to our investigators baptisms. I really am so excited about that.
I know that this gospel is true. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for us. I know that the Plan of Happiness is real and we are here on the earth to learn and grow. I really am so grateful for the knowledge of the gospel and to know that it is not just this life. I am so grateful to know that there is life after this and I like to think that those in our family who have passed on are with us. Sometimes I wonder if grandma and grandpa and grandma are here watching over me, lots of times laughing at me because of the things I do, or the weird things that I accidentally say. I love you all and I am so grateful for your support. I don’t think I could do this if I didn’t have such a supportive lotving family that I knew was with me and had my back 100% of the time. I am so grateful for you and just wish I could show you that better.
Sorry this is a short email, but I love you lots!  Sister Schaff

John Jock ~ Ward mission leader


Image 2What a beautiful part of the world that I get to live in for 18 months. Really. We had a few different days this last week that we walked more than normal, and it was just wonderful to be reminded of the beautiful earth and what heavenly father has given us. W\I realize that I sometimes don’t always appreciate the beauty that is around me. But, I feel like more lately i have been more appreciative of the world, the earth, and just everything around me. it’s starting to get darker at nights, still not dark, but sometimes people turn their car lights on it’s weird. i am not used to dark. i forget sometimes that it gets dark for other people at night haha.

Also, fun fact: most toilet paper here is scented. you can find green tea, apple, flower, berries, just all sorts of scented TP. Kinda weird. But hey, it’s russia! haha
Paulina is progressing so well! She really is understanding more and more that this gospel is helping her. SHE HAS A TESTIMONY! she has been praying daily. reading daily. i seriously cannot wait for her she is going to be the best little member and she has started to learn about temples and i cant wait to hear about in a year when she goes! she is going to love it. i just love her so much. i really do. it was so sad to think that i might never see her again. i mean i will write her, and i will do everything that i can to be at her baptism but really, you never know. there are so many unknowns about a mission. that’s the crazy part. I mean I guess I should add that I am being transferred. I am being sent over to Shivolova. it is in the stake, it is right next to where i am right now. They have one set of elders and had two sets of sisters but this transfer there will be only one. it will be cool, it is a good ward with lots of potential. My companion is Sister Guymon who has been in Russia since January and I don’t know tons about her other than that. I will tell you more next week.
Svetlana didn’t get baptized this week, she is going out of town so we changed her date to September 8. I am so excited for her! I seriously love her!
I have been focusing a lot on prayer lately and how that affects me and how I can be more effectve and it is cool, because I really feel happier when I have REALLY prayed in the morinig, and my studies are so much more effective when i REALLY pray to open them. It’s just cool to remember that I can change how my day is and I am the one that makes everything happen. It doesn’t matter what is happening because the Lord will answer me. The Lord wants us to understand what is happening and is willing to show us and give us answers as long as we ask. he has blessings awaiting us and comfort, all he asks is that we follow him and we ask for them. it’s cool.Image 6
I am still working on self mastery and still workiong at being better about what i eat, how much and if i am actually hungry. it’s good cause I have been told that sister Guymon is one of the healthier sisters here (eating habits). so, yay! I might go off chocolate for next transfer. I haven’t decided. eek. i have this new recipe for the MOST DELICIOUS zucchini cookies. mmmmm. we make them for meetings for less actives and stuff its fun.
Sorry this email is shorter and a little more boring. i love you all and i know that everything happens for a reason. i really do. i am so sure of that, and that is what gives me comfort every day.
miss and love you!
Sister Schaff

I Love Fresh Berries

We truly live in a day of miracles. I see them every day, you see them every day. I don’t know why I never thought about it in my life more before coming on a mission, but there are so many things about every day that are just not possible without the Lord. I think a lot of times we take too much credit for outselves and think that we came up with this great idea or that we have just been so clever that day. Nope, sorry. You were inspired from Heavenly Father and he wanted you to do that today and to get everything done!

So, pretty cool week.

Image 8Paulina went to the 12 step program for the first time this week and it was so cool. She really enjoyed it. I really love her so much. She is so sweet and she really is starting to understand more and more what this gospel can do for her. Why she needs it and why we need her. The 12 step program is so cool because it is all about the atonement and it’s not just for overcoming things like drinking and smoking, but anything in life that  someone might need help with . She left that saying that she wants her brother to come next week because it is something that he really could use. She invited us over to her house! I love that! I am so excited because then we can bring the gospel into her home and help her feel that this is something that she wants there and to realize that she CAN have it in her home! She is so awesome. I love her. And, I want to meet her son. She talks about him a lot so it will just be cool to meet more of her family.
We went to Vyborg this weekend to visit some sisters and go on splits, it is about a two hour train ride away from the city and it is a smaller, Swedish/Finish town on the gulf of Finland. it is beautiful! It has a really cool feel to that town and just has a special spirit about it. I really enjoyed being there. It was also fun to be out with Sister Yeates and Boud. We were in a three-some (well we always are when sister porter is not off traveling) so it was sister Eyring Boud and I out and about together on Friday. We got to help them move, which I just want to say that I hope I never have to move apartments for the mission. you have to do SO much! and it just cuts out of your missionary time! Image 1On Saturday, we got to go do service with them on a dacha! I think i have told you about them before, but they are like a “summer home”. Don’t be thinking like beach house, huge cabin in the mountains thing. This is a tiny one roomed shack kind of thing, with a bucket for a toilet, a sink (i think) a bed or two, and a big garden around it. They love their gardens.
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They have tons of vegetables and fruits ane beautiful flowers, and this is what they do all summer. they take care of their garden. We got to walk down to the watering hole, (a big spot with running cleaner water where we filled up pails and walked all the way back to her dacha and then filled up a barrel. Those get heavy after a little while…. But, Hey! I didn’t know people even did things like that anymore! Kinda cool! Haha!
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We stood in the raspberry bushes for a while and just were eating for…. a long time, before we got to work in the garden weeding. I am pretty sure we all ate our fair share of worms and bugs. Whenever we looked in the raspberries there were a fair amount of them but, hey! you only live once, and we don’t know if we will ever be back there to do service and eat her berries again! Plus it was almost lunch time. We were hungry! mmm 🙂 I love fresh berries. There were some other cool ones that I forget the names of in english, but they were so yummy.
We came back to Peter, and church was so great. Svetlana came again and loved it again. We met after church and we finished teaching the restoration. It was so great she was so receptive and so excited to hear about it. We gave her the baptismal committment and she said…. next week! hahah! I love it. She is going out of town on the 10th so she wanted to do it before then (and hopefully we will help her find a church where she is going) and so we are working with her towards getting baptized on Sunday! It sounds soon, but we talked with President and then to the Bishop’s house last night to chat about it and they both felt good about it. We are going to have a nice long meeting with her tonight and that will really tell us if it will happen or not. I really feel so good about it. She is such a light person. She has so much happiness and light about her. I just feel so much happiness when I am with her. She makes me have more fire and enthusiasm about what I am doing and reminds me that there ARE people out here who are SO ready. they want it. they need it. she feels so much better about her life already. AH! I love this work. I love these people!
Don’t forget to be a missionary in your every day life. I am serious. When you tell people what you did over the weekend, don’t forget to say that you went to church. Don’t forget to invite people. They don’t always know that they are welcome. We think these things because it is normal for us, but it really is a whole new world, language, and culture. We need to share this. Just like Lehi thought of his family when he first partook of the fruit, we can think of our friends and family and share this wonderful thing with them. It doesn’t have to be awkward. It doesn’t have to be scary. Just pray for some extra courage. Heavenly Father WILL help you. I know that. I feel it. Every time someone looks scary to me I just say a little prayer and then go for it. They usually are the ones that end up being the best conversations. The ones that I am most scared to approach.
Love you so much and I know this church is true. Praying for YOU!

Roller Coaster

Image 23This has been quite the week. It has been emotional and wonderful, hard, and miraculous. I have been shown so many things to remind me that Heavenly Father has got my back. He really knows me and he knows what I need. This weekend we have been on splits, and I was with Sister Dexter and Sister Brown, both of whom were in my district in the MTC! I love them so much! Sister Eyring was off in Petrosavosk with Sister Porter, and later today I will be back in my area. I have been here since Friday evening. It’s been a party! I seriously love them so much and want to be companions with each of them! They are such examples to me of everything. Always so positive, happy and just hard workers. I just have to remember that I am not going to be perfect, so I can’t keep getting frustrated with myself for not being perfect. That is why we have the atonement. It is to help me. I know that! Satan is a mean guy and trying to get us down when we are having success and right when things are about to happen. A couple days were frustrating last week and mostly just Satan putting thoughts into my head and wanting me to get down. Can’t let him have control! We have the most awesome investigators and we have having wonderful things happen and experiencing miracles every day! Paulina, who we have been working with for most of my time here has a baptismal date! She is getting baptized on August 17! I am so thrilled for her and we she is just so wonderful I am so excited to continue working with her and help her get there and beyond! ( I cannot be transferred… I might cry!) She is working on quitting smoking and she doesn’t smoke as much as she did and is now starting the 12 step program. She has such a desire and a love and she bore testimony to another lady that was at English Conversation Group of church and the truthfulness and how awesome it is and that lady now wants to come to church! It was so cool! We have seen so many miracles!

We had another lady that came to English Conversation Group, that felt good at the church and then wanted to come to church on sunday and then SHE CAME! It was so cool. I really felt like she needed to get a Book of Mormon yesterday, and I didn’t want to just give it to her without talking about what it was, so I asked her if we could have a short meeting after church. She agreed, we grabbed a member, and we chatted a little about the restoration and about what the Book of Mormon really is. I told her that as she comes to know that this is true, she will want to be baptized. She said, yes, I will. Later last night I got a phone call from her, and she said, “Sister Schaff, I have been reading the Book of Mormon, and I want to be baptized.” WHAT?! That doesn’t just happen. That happens. This is real life. She said, I can’t wait to meet and talk more about it and talk about my change in life and baptism. She is so wonderful. I love her so much! She is so ready. Heavenly Father really prepared her. She is open and receptive, and she LOVED church. She said that she loved the people and she was avidly participating in Relief Society and Sunday School. It was cool! She is probably about mom’s age, maybe a bit older?, so not super old, not super young, and just ready for something in her life to be changed. She has a daughter, and a four year old granddaughter and just is so happy and loving. Really, one of the coolest meetings that I have been in. I wrote my testimony in the front of the Book of Mormon before giving it to her and it was so cool, although I can just imagine how bad my spelling and grammar was….oops!
I have been reading any praying a lot still abut Heavenly Father and comfort this week and weaknesses, and it’s cool to remember that if I ask for it, I will always have comfort with me. I need that. We all do. We cannot do this alone. Mosiah 24:14 is so cool because we all have burdens and He doesn’t say that He will take them away, but He will ease our burdens. He will help us get through them. It’s such a blessing because I do not know what I would do without someone helping me with my burdens, frustrations, and human tendencies. Really. I couldn’t do it. Life. Any of it. I would be miserable. We can do this and we can endure every day. I love James 5:11- We count them happy which endure. I will endure and I will be happy! This is the message of happiness. Who is going to listen to me about happiness if I don’t have happiness coming from me… one! I mean, I wouldn’t listen to me. That would be silly. I need to be an example of what I am teaching. I want to be that every day because I love this and I want people to have it in their lives too. Like my dearest best friend, Sister Elizabeth Ward wrote to me this week, We all (I) need to be a LOT more like Christ and we CAN! He will give me (and you) the power to do those things. He wants us to do those thigns. He wants us to all be successful. It’s not enough to just go through the motions, and remember who we need to be come once in a while. In one of the Liahona’s it had a Shakespeare quote that I love. It said, “To thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” I took that to be that we need to be true to ourselves and our Heavenly Father. He sees so much potential in us. If we are being true to ourselves, other people will see the real us, and understand who we are, and then, being amissionary will be so much easier because people will want what we have. They will want to know what gives our lives light and happiness. Those people that ask us on the street why we have light coming from us and how we are so light and happy, it’s true. We have this. We all have the ability to share this with others and to be that exampple whether it be full time missionary service, or being a sibling to someone that isn’t a member, or having friends and neighbors who know that we are members and we have such a happy family. There is nothing but happiness and joy that comes from truly living this gospel and embracing it as a real part of our lives.
Wow, that email was not what I had quite gone through in my mind when I thought about what I would write. It just came out. Maybe you needed to hear it, maybe I just needed to realize that I understand thesse things and that I need to accept that Heavenly Father really is blessing me and he is shaping me into who he wants me to be. Either way, I love this gospel and I know that it is true. I know that Heavenly father really is with us like he says in D&C 24:8. unto the end of our days, just like he promises. I feel his love, through the scriptures, holy ghost, prayer, my family, friends, and companion. I am so grateful to be able to share this message of good news with people every day for these 18 months!My prayers are with you, and I feel your prayers every day.  They are what get me through hard days, hours and minutes.

Much love,

Sister Schaff

So Much Food!

So every week we go over to this 92 year old woman’s house that is a member who is amazing and I love her with all of my heart. She cannot really leave her home because she lives on the 8th floor and has no elevator and she is…getting old and frail. She makes us an interesting dinner with lots of bread on the side with too much butter and gross cheese. Nonetheless I love it and we eat every last bite of it. She called us last thursday and said that her son (who is probably older than you-mom and dad) was not feeling well and not okay (he has anger problems and mental health issues, and just about two weeks ago returned from living in an institutional hospital) and so we couldn’t come over. It broke my heart. Not because I live for that food, but because I love her. She is the happiest, sweetest woman, loves everyone, and just has a heart of gold, and she is not very happy. She is missing that light in her eyes. Last week when we were over there she said to us, “There is joy out on the streets and happiness out in the world but not in my home.” What.?! This is coming from the woman who was a decoder during the blockade and she tells us every week what we need to do when we get home and how to date men, that we need to let them come to us, we cannot chase them! Also, she gave us a law of chastity lesson before, she explained to us the importance of chastity and purity before marriage. hahah I love her! She also had a fly in her house and said that it was her friend and she had given it a name because it had been there for about a month and it stayed off the food but just needed somewhere to live. She is the sweetest lady in the entire world, and all I want is for her to be happy and for her to feel peace and joy again. She is not the joyful, radiant lady that she usually is. I just want that back for her. We havebeen praying for her!

Image 14I love the church here. It is such a baby! It is so new and just starting to develop here. Their idea of visiting teaching is to send around a paper every week to see who you visited or talked to from the ward that week. ahaha. It is wonderful. But, last week….they gave out assignments!  They still send around the sheet to see who you visited, but hey, they’re starting to improve! It’s cool to see the ward grow and do things in different ways. The relief society lessons are so fun. They just read from the book and it’s cool to see them slowly ask more questions and start to have more interaction. I love our ward!
We have a little part of our area that is a town/city called Syevolisk. (idk how to spell it in english). It is far away from the metro, it is slower, it is small, and it is so much quieter. We went there one time last transfer, and I didn’t love it. That was a really hot day, people weren’t loving us, and all the people we tried to visit were not home. We returned there this last week and it was the BEST! I loved it! We got the coolest vision for that place. There is only one active family there and a few less actives and a ton of inactive people that live there. Before the stake was organized, there was a branch there, but in the midst of making a stake they were added into the stake and as a result it is far for people to get to church and kind of inconvenient because they have to take a marshutka, which you have to pay for (isn’t part of the public transportation pass). They just don’t come anymore. It’s sad. We set up a bunch of appointments with inactive people and it was such a legit day! We had so much fun! I seriously love that place. They could have a ward or a branch there if they had lots of active people who really would come. We need to help them to understand that they really do have possibilities, and that if they show their faith and that they want it, there are huge possibilities for them out there. We are going to spend one day a week out there and we are trying to figure out how we can help people out there become reactivated and we want to find new investigators from there and have more families that come from there. It is so needed! We there is SO much potential, they just don’t understand that it is up to them to make the change and help build the church for themselves so that we can help them. That is going to be our focus right now, to help them to understand that we need their friends to teach, and we also just need them to be at church and that if they make the sacrifice to come into the city to go to church there are so many blessings that are promised to them! I just want them to see the whole picture!
Also, out there we have our cute muslim friend. Her name is Ruksara. She is so cute. She is here from Tajikistan. we met her the first time that we were out there, and decided since we had some extra time in our schedule that we would call her! She wanted us to come over and so we did! She made us SO much food! (It was…DELICIOUS). She kept bringing out plate after plate after plate and just wanted us to eat and eat and eat. It was cool cause we were hungry and it was our dinner hour, but I don’t know if anyone could have eaten that much food! (Maybe Andrew…haha). It was delicious and then we shared a nice spiritual thought with her and then chatted with her and her brother and left.  She wants us to come back for some more food and some other things… can’t say that I oppose that idea… that was the best food that I have been fed here so far! We might go back for our dinner hour another time that we are there and bring food with us so that she doesn’t feed us everything that she has!Image 9
I have been thinking a lot about humility and charity lately. It has been something that i have been working on. I really want to be more christlike and loving. I have been reading in the scriptures and Christ just is such the amazing and perfect example. He always answered with love, kindness, and didn’t make people feel dumb. He always wanted the best for everyone and wanted every person that He came across to leave better than they came. I just want to be like Him one day. That would be so cool. “Humility is a fertile soil where spirituality grows and produces the fruit of inspiration to know what to do.” _Elder Scott
So cool I want to have that humility where I can have more inspiration and have a growth of my spirituality and understanding of myself and of the gospel. I know that I am growing to love the scriptures and the gospel more and more every day. I just want to understand everything and have a better knowledge of the scriptures and be able to use them more just in my life. I love you all and am thinking about and praying for you daily!
Sister Schaff

He knows

So, Russia. It has been raining here lately and it’s the BEST! That means it isn’t SO hot. Sometimes it just is so hot and humid I shower three times a day :).

Funny experience. I have tried some weird foods here, but this week was just quite the adventure. People don’t ALWAYS feed us, but the times they do it is always like three appointments in a row, and they all want us to eat so so much. Saturday night we were gone all day and so for our dinner we only had about 30 minutes, and we were out, so we went to a little бистро and ate шеверема, which is this russian food…. just look it up. (Sheverema? Not sure how to spell it in english). It’s good, not my favorite, but I enjoy it. So that filled me up So so so much and i had delicious vegetables with that. We then went to one of our investigators houses who we are thinking we will be dropping this week, and she proceeded to feed us candy, which was gross, plus I don’t eat candy and so it made me sick. We then went to another investigators house where she fed us some wierd Russian soup which was some beet thing with some mystery meat that had some weird stuff and sour cream mixed in and a half of an egg. All things which I do NOT like! Eek. And some very very dense weird bread. That was probably the only thing that I literally thought I could not eat. It was just this purpley red soup with weird flavors and textures, (and it was cold). Well, it could have been worse, right? Oh the fun things you get to eat in Russia!
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So we dominated member present lessons this week! We got six! We normally get like 2 or 3 and the most we have ever gotten was 4 one week. That was cool. We made our goal! and that was with having all day gone on Tuesday and Wednesday because our wonderful trip to the airport happened twice and we didn’t even pick up sister Jensen! Tuesday we went and we were waiting for an hour and a half at the airport and president finally called someone because we were so worried about her and then they found out that she wouldn’t fly in until the next day! So we just had a nice trip to the airport from 2-8 with president and Sister Clark and the assistants. Wednesday we went back with just the assistants and the sister who is her companion and we were almost to the airport and we got a call that said her flight had been rerouted through germany so she wouldn’t get in until 1 the next morning. Oops! Well, hey, more bonding time with Sister Kefalas, whom we LOVE so much! She is absolutely wonderful! Then President and Sister Clark went to the airport at 1 to pick her up and dropped her off at our house at about 3. What an adventure! At least she made it to us safely. It was so fun to see her because I already knew sister Jensen from the MTC! Yay!
We have so many investigators that are getting so ready for baptism. One of them, Paulina, is praying about a date and when we meet with her this week we are going to set a for sure date! I am thrilled! We really have been so blessed lately with so much success. I am so excited for what is coming this transfer! It’s going to be amazing! We just have to follow the spirit and trust in the Lord!
I have been thinking about that a lot lately. Trusting in the Lord. What does that mean. Sister Eyring and I were talking today and I realized that when I got my answer to go on a mission, about a year and a half ago, I didn’t trust in the Lord enough to just follow that. When I got another answer about six months later, I also ignored it. I was being a bad disciple of Christ because I wasn’t trusting in the Lord enough. Finally, with enough push, I trusted enough to just do it, even though it wasn’t in my plans. How grateful I am for that. I really need to put more trust in the Lord. I need to put him First. I need to remember that he really knows best. I loved this verse that I read this morning, 2 Nephi, 4:34, and the wonderful reminder that it is really a dumb thing to trust in myself, to trust in man. I really don’t know anything, and every time I think about it and am reminded, the Lord knows EVERYTHING. He knows. So why would I ever doubt something that he ever told me to do. That’s just silly of me! He will answer me if I ask not amiss, and He is the rock. He is my rock. I need to build my life upon Him. I have been given every single thing that I need. So why am I so stubborn and prideful sometimes? I need to just let Him guide me and let Him be my light in the wilderness like he says in 1 nephi 17:13. He will guide me. He promises that He will!Last Monday, we took part of our p-day and went to the park with one of our investigators, Natasha! It was so fun! We were going to play ping pong but it is a park bigger and more beautiful that Central Park in New York, so we didn’t find it and instead we did some stretch like yoga-ish things and then just layed down and listened to the birds and looked at the beauty around us. It was so fun! We had dinner at a cafe after, and we shared a spiritual thought with her, and it was just fun! She is progressing steadily and came to church Sunday! We are planning on setting a baptismal date with her this week! We will see!

Painting with Nastia

Painting with Nastia

We also helped one of our members, Nastia, who is working on her mission papers(!!!!!!!!!!!) paint this week! I am so excited for her she seriously is going to be an AWESOME missionary. She comes and helps us with lessons sometimes and she just loves church and institute and all the activities. Everyone loves her. We got to paint her….ceiling! Hahaha. That was quite the adventure. We were standing on these tables that I literally thought were going to break beneath me. I thought I was going to break my leg while doing this hahah. But, I love her and we had just a wonderful time helping her paint, so that was fun!
Those are my thoughts of today. Sorry they aren’t too exciting.
I know this church is true! I can’t wait to see more miracles every day! Every day is a miracle! Don’t forget that!Love you so much and I pray for you daily! Don’t forget that! Lots of love!

Sister Rebekah Schaff.


Never fear, the Lord is on our side

Oh yes. It’s transfer week! I am not being transferred! SO happy! Sister Eyring and I are BOTH staying here! So that is super fun! We will be able to learn and enjoy and have a wonderful second transfer together! I love it! Russian is still hard and the grammar is even harder. I don’t know how I will ever speak well. I don’t know if it will happen. I mean I can teach you the discussions very well, I just can’t really understand you or deviate to normal topics too much. Eek. I am making language goals for this transfer so  hopefully that will be  helpful and I will be able to be more comfrotable in the language after six more weeks.

Less actives- One lady, Ludmilla, who we met with my second week here and wouldn’t pray, wouldn’t say Amen to our prayers, and was just a very unhappy lady, we have visited with a few more times and (she LOVES Sister Eyring) now PRAYED! and is helping us with language study once a week and we read the Book of Mormon with her and she asks us lots of questions! It’s so great. Another family that the mom is a return missionary is coming back to church! They have been here the last three weeks and they have been participating and staying all three hours. Oh how I just love that family so much! I hope Serioge goes on a mission! He just turned 16 and he will be the most wonderful missionary one day! (She has two sons, Serioge and Syeva). Also, Larisa Zukova, I told you about the terrifying experience at her house my first or second sunday, we have  been working with her a lot, she has a friend who is interested in being baptized maybe, and tried calling her yesterday to wake her up, but next week we are just going to show up at her house and pick her up! She needs it! She will come. I know it! We just have to drag her there at first. :).

Natasha & Rebekah

Natasha & Rebekah

We have our cute Natasha who is just so excited every time to meet with us, and she LOVES the plan of Salvation, she is still slowly progressing and she had a Liahona and read it and we asked her what she thought of it and she said,”I agree with all of it!” Well perfect! The next lesson we were able to get her a Book of Mormon finally, and committed her to reading a chapter out of that. I know that she will and when we told her that she could gain a testimony for herself just like we did ourselves she said, “yes I know I will!” Well alrighty then! I just love her so much! I am so excited to meet with her this week and we really feel like we can commit her to a solid baptismal date this week for sometime in July! Yay!
We met with a new investigator this week, only one new one this week and she is WONDERFUL! She is such a cute girl, mid-20’s and so sweet! She has had no religion and is looking for a religion for herself. Her family is muslim and she thought we sounded interesting when she met missionaries on the street (Sister Eyring met her on the street about two weeks before I got here)./ We had been trying to meet with her and calling her basically every other day and it never worked out until this las week. She came to church and loved it! we have an appointment to meet with her later this week too and get her  a Book of Mormon and teach her the first lesson! Yay!
Paulina is so cute. We have still been meeting with her and she is doing so well. We finished the three main lessons and we are onto the commandments, and we know that is going to be hard because she does have a smoking problem. Never fear, the Lord is on our side, the lord is on HER side! (if she chooses that side). She committed to a baptismal date on July 13! But, it was like a yes, I just have to make sure I have a testumony, so We are planning on solidifying that date. She came to church yesterday and Gospel Principles just happened to be on baptism. That was good. (except for when our teacher was joking around about women baptisimg women and men baptizing men…that was a bad call on her part).
Lara is having a rough time. She had a baptismal date for last Saturday and we hadn’t been able to meet with her for two weeks. She has been having a really hard time because she feels like everything has been going wrong for her (and she honestly has had a pretty rough life) and her exhusband that left her seems to be so happy. I just wish that I could help her reallize that the Atonement is for her. We didn’t know what to say or do so we just asked her if we could kneel in prayer with her then. She was back to the point of not knowing if Heavenly Father loves her. I just want her to feel that love. I want her to understand that she matters. I know she knows that she matters to us, but what is more important is that if she were to know that she matters to her heavenly father. We are all his children and it breaks my heart to see her crying there wondering why he doesn’t love her, even though he does. I wish I could fix it for her, I wish I could help her to really understand His love.

Nap time

Nap time

Well sorry it’s short! But that was my week! Nothing too crazy or exciting. We get to go pick up Sister Jensen from the airport tomorrow! That will be fun! I can’t believe that i have only been here for six weeks! Yikes! I love it. I can’t believe that I live in Russia. I really can’t. It’s crazy. It is unreal. But, it’s real life. It’s my life. And, I love it! I love the gospel.
Love you all so much!
Love you all praying for you and thinking about you.
I hope you have a wonderful week. Don’t forget to read your scriptures every day! They are for YOUR benefit! And pray on your knees. It’s so much better!

XOXO. rebekah. sister schaff. me whom you might not recognize through this email because I read my scriptures every day (and love it) and pray ON MY KNEES without a fight 🙂 hahahah. love you so much!