The Russian Continues

Well, yet another week has passed. I am still here! Yay. No really though. It is way great. I love it. It’s crazy though because I feel like this is the world. I’m pretty sure that nothing else exists in life. Only the MTC and maybe then one day Russia will be real. Hahah. It is great though! I have already sent some pictures that you can add to my blog and they are so cute. Just kidding. But some of them will be great. The two sleeping pictures can attest to the statement that someone in my district is ALWAYS sleeping. It’s great. Unless we are in “class” with a teacher present, (and even sometimes then) there is someone who is asleep. And the sister that is asleep there…is my companion. Hahaha. She doesn’t know yet that I have that picture, and I will be deleting it from my camera. Oops! So… This has been another great, but long week! I have learned many things, but one thing that we have learned was more about repentance. We had a devotional by David F Evans from the 70 last night about repentance and what it really means to repent. It is important to remember that as a missionary I have been called to preach repentance, not to have people confess to me. I am there to teach how we have been asked to repent, and to remind people who our God is a loving God. He wants us to be clean in his sight. He wants us to be happy and to have no sin, so he has made it possible through the atonement. That does not mean that every time that we sin, we need to talk to the bishop, we need to talk to God and go through the process that he has given to us in the scriptures. Repentance is not just telling God, and not just telling a priesthood leader.

We are reminded many times that when we keep the commandments, we are happy. We have been taught what is good for us, and taught what we are supposed to do, but we sin, and we want to be happy again so we must repent!

also, Whatever the Lord asks me to do, I will do it. Whenever the Lord asks me to do it, I will. However the Lord asks me to do it, I WILL! I have been focusing a lot on that lately and remembering how everything that I am doing and the reasons I am doing it are for the Lord. There is no other reason. It’s great that I get to go to Russia, because it will be a wonderful chance to experience a new culture, but I am only going there because I am on a mission for him, to talk to the people who He has prepared for me. I need to put more energy into becoming the disciple that He wants me to be. My goal for my whole mission is to leave the door with the faith that we will find someone who is ready to hear the gospel and is receptive to it every day. I know that if I have the faith to find people, heavenly father will place people in my path that he has made ready. I cannot let myself get discouraged here in the MTC with the language, or out in the field with the language and the people because I know that with faith, he will help me to accomplish the tasks that He has asked me to do. I have been asked to learn the Russian for one purpose and one purpose alone. That is to preach to people in their own tongue. I have been given the gift of tongues to help me so that I may help them to understand the gospel and understand the way that the spirit might be speaking to them. I need to work on that language and try to become better about speaking it because if I am afraid to speak because I am not good enough, or I don’t think I know the words, I am only thinking of myself and being prideful When I go out of my comfort zone, and use the language to try to help my investigators, and focus on them, I am then using the language in the way that the Lord would have me.

I have been working on becoming better about trying to use new words that I learn every day because sometimes I learn them, and then don’t use them.
Our lessons just get better and better. We are getting better at working together and teaching together every lesson. Our investigator Dima, who has been kind of difficult because he is afraid of god, and would not pray, finally prayed yesterday! That was amazing! The spirit was so strong in our lesson and we had asked him to pray at home but then I though, well what the heck, lets just see if he will pray now! AND HE DID! It was so great to have him pray with us. Then we know that he knows how to pray correctly. I was SO happy.

Another one of our investigators, Luba COMMITTED TO BAPTISM! That was a miracle! We hoped, but I’m not going to lie, I had a little bit of doubt about her committing. She is very intelligent, a lawyer, she is divorced, and has a 10 year old daughter. It was so exciting to have her say yes! And she has been coming to church! So that is wonderful. Kind of a lesson to me. Even if at first they haven’t been following through with commitments, and then they start to follow through, one day they could (and may) be ready to be baptized.

Our last investigator, Darius, is great! He is currently working on living the Word of Wisdom, and the Law of Chastity. I know that he can do it! He is an awesome guy and one of his good friends is in the branch presidency, so he has that awesome support. I love it so much. I am so happy for him. He has already committed to baptism and so we are working towards him being worthy to make those covenants. I am so happy for him. He loves going to church, and his girlfriend also loves church. We are inviting him to attend a baptism soon and it will be so great! I know he will come and be even more excited about his own baptism!

I am so grateful for the gospel. I am so grateful for the life that I am able to live while living the standards of the gospel. I am grateful for how happy I am. I am grateful for the joy that it brings to my life, and the perspective that I am able to have with knowing the Plan of salvation, and who God is. I know that God is my Heavenly Father and truly loves me and wants me to be happy. I know more than ever that Jesus Christ died for me and that He atoned in the garden of Gethsemane for ME. He did that for every emotion that I feel, including frustration, and a broken heart. I know that my Savior loves me and I know that he truly wants me to be happy.

I love you all and cant wait to hear from everyone! Can’t believe that in three weeks I will be IN RUSSIA!

xoxoxo

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Another Week

Rebekah and Emily Braithwaite

Well another week has passed! Wait…only a week??? It feels like we have been gone for months! I don’t even know. But… only 17 months left. It’s crazy to think how short of a time that is. I feel like I will barely feel comfortable in the Russian Language by the time that I get home. I hope to be able to keep the language up after I am home because with this much work being put into learning it, I would hate to let it go to waste. I have been reading a chapter a day in the Kniga Mormona… and it is slowly progressing. It gets faster every day but doesn’t always feel like it. 

This has definitely been a humbling week for me. I have been focused a lot on me, and my struggles, and my frustrations with Russian and my companion and stuff that I haven’t really thought about anyone else. I pray for humility and compassion but realized that I hadn’t been doing as much as I could have to work towards that goal. The two sisters that I am the closest with in my district have had really hard weeks with family things and so I have been able to think a lot more about them and what I can do for them than what I can do to make this better for me. I have realized how much my little problems DON’T matter. It shouldn’t bother me when others do things that irritate me cause I am SURE that there are things that I do to irritate them so much more. I have also been trying to have more sincere prayers. My Heavenly Father loves me and knows everything about my life, but he WANTS to hear from me! He wants me to tell him what is going on and let him know how I feel and how my day was and talk to him about what I can improve on and  he wants me to repent. 
I can’t believe I am more than halfway on my way out of this place. I love it yet hate it. But, I feel like they are going to kick me out and I still won’t really know Russian and I will feel so lost. I don’t know. But, all I know is that I can do this. We are teaching three progressing investigators still and it is great. I love it. We are continuing to work better and better together. I love it. 

We heard from Richard G Scott last night at our devotional and it was wonderful to hear the things that he said. He talked so much about our missions and how this is going to bless my entire life. He said, “Every good thing in my life is because of my mission.” That’s a pretty bold statement. Seriously. Like, what?? Every single thing? I guess I better work my hardest here on the mission so that I can be worthy of these wonderful blessings one day. He talked a lot about sincere prayer and how we can recieve three answers to prayers. 1-peace and comfort 2-unsettling, stupor of thought 3-no response. The third is something that can be frustrating because we want an answer and we want it now. It is because he trusts us. He knows that we will make a decision consistent with his teachings. He said something that was very interesting to me. He said, “Give thanks when an answer is with-held from you. It means he trusts you.” What?! I love that. That is so great to think that HE trusts ME! Also, he made a point and said, Promptings do come. They come at a time and in a matter that we need them to. It is not going to be on our time, but on the Lord’s time. Everything that the Lotd does in my life is gor MY good. He doesn’t do it to laugh, he doesn’t do it because he wants me to struggle. He does it because he wants me to grow and he can see farther down the road than I can. I love that. He has also called me on this mission to succeed, not fail. He doesn’t want me to fail. Not at all. He wants me to learn and grow…maybe that takes some struggle and frustration, but I can do it. With his help I can do it.

 
“We can’t be who we want to be all at once. It takes time”–I don’t remember where I heard that this week. That was so wonderful to hear. A great reminder. It takes TIME. Patience. 

We heard from Mary Edmunds on Sunday for Relief Sociey. She was quite the hoot. If you don’t know who that is, google her. She has gone on like 4 missions and has written books and speaks places often. Kinda similar to Sheri Dew…but different. She said something that hit me. Maybe I am just supposed to know that I am supposed to be here, not necessarily why yet. I am okay with that. I am learning slowly but surely reasons why I am here. All I can do is the best I can do. But, I have to do that. I can’t just do a so-so job. We are all here at the MTC to go on a mission. Yet, every single mission will be different. This is the Lord’s mission that he has sent ME on. He sent me for a reason. I need to let him help me so that it can be the mission that he wanted me to serve when he gave me the call. 

D&C 68:6

My goal for my mission (well I have lots so this is just one of them…) is: To leave my residence every morning with the faith that there are people ready to hear the gospel? With the knowledge that with enough faith and enough hard work he WILL put someone in my path that is ready to hear the gospel? That is how I can and will be successful. 

 
I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn and grow from the gospel. I am so grateful to be able to share something that is so important to me with those whoare going to be ready and willing to listen and accept the gospel. I am so grateful to have people that support me and love me and remind me that I can do this. I can be a successful missionary and I will be able to do anything with the Lord’s help. 

I love you all so much and think about you all the time! 

Love, 
Sister Rebekah Schaff

PS. WRITE ME! I love letters. No matter how short or long. Dearelder.com me! It’s so easy!

I love life.

This week has been wonderful! Things with my companion are only getting better, Russian is getting better (I think…) and the weather is getting better! Just a wonderful week! I love life. We went to the temple this morning and it was great! I almost fell asleep (but didn’t).

So basically Easter is one of my favorite holidays. It is such a wonderful reminder to me of the savior and what he did for me and not just the Atonement but being here on the earth and being an example to me. If I want to be more like Christ that means I need to remember to be (practically inhuman) by thinking of everyone but myself. And I am trying! It is soooo hard. But slowly I am getting better at it. Sunday was a monumental day! The sacrament was served to 3000 people at once. It was so cool because it was done within like 10-15 minutes just like regular. We got to hear from Bishop Causse from the presiding bishopric and his wife and it was wonderful. John 3:16 says that we can have everlasting life because we are children of God. I love that! It is such a good reminder. Back to the Atonement, have I rejoiced for all of the things that I have recieved from it? He gave his LIFE for me. DO I thank him EVERY DAY? One day I will meet the Savior in Person and I will feel his love. How can I thank Him better now?
Would I be willing to give my life for him??
As I experience the atonement more I will have a stronger desire to share it with others.
The test of Thomas “blessed are they who do not see me yet still believe” —I need to remember that, and always believe that he is there with me supporting me and there to lift me at any time that I ask for it. I must ask for it. He knows, but waits for me to open the door for him to enter.

I need to desire the salvation of those who I will be teaching and serving. I also need to repent daily to be worthy of having the holy ghost with me.

Can I say “I have not seen Him, but I know Him”?

I need to be humble enough so that He can guide me.
The song “teach me to walk in the light” has a line that says ‘teach me all that I must do’–but we should think of teach me all that I must BE, so that we can be that person and if we are them then we can teach it. We can not teach someone to be something that we are not. If I do not have a testimony of the Book of Mormon how am I supposed to help someone else to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon?

Also, our devotional that evening was Sheri Dew! She was wonderful!
Talked a lot about that there are so many influences in this world. I need to realize that and I also need to be that kind of influence. People are going to have other influences in their lives that I won’t know about but If we pray and come to understand we can work through or alongside those things. I have been endowed with power from on high and I will never be alone. However, I must ASK for companionship of the Hioly Ghost.
We are armed with righteousness and and the power of God so we need to show people that.
Who is influencing me?
How am I influencing others?

I have the potential to be a rare and necessary influence.

Okay, I know this is all over the place (IM SORRY!) But, back to the atonement. The Savior is my only chance. He did the only thing for me that I CANNOT do for myself. I need him. Left by ourselves we would not be able to withstand the adversary. He gave us the only chace to find peace and joy and return to our father in Heaven. He WANTED to take away our pain. He will strengthen me and help me overcome my weaknesses. VOLUNTARILY he did this. He has even taken upon himself feelings of inadequacy. I need to stop harboring hurt and frustration and learn more about my savior so that I can love him and understand him and serve him better.

Also watched a film of President Uchtdorf and with a short time left I will leave a few notes. (Editor’s Note: I believe she meant Elder Ballard, as she was rushing to finish this letter and the quote is from Ballard)
“This is not a time for spiritual weaklings”
Learn from my companions

And to my family-physically we are divided but spiritually we are united!!!

Michael T Ringwood -of the 70
The most important part of the Lord’s work will be done in my own future home.
D&C 15:4-6
Matt 28:18-19

ENDURE TO THE END.

Why did Nephi go back to get the gold plates before he went back to get a wife??
He had to have a spiritual foundation before the most important thing came along–his family. I am starting to understand why I am going on a mission. Little possible reasons.
I need to be the kind of mother he wants me to be one day. This is preparing me.

I love you guys so much!

thanks for your support through this emotional roller coaster!

LOVE YOU GUYS!
XOXOXOXOXOOXOXOXOX