I love my ward so much!

Yikes! Can’t believe that it is already June! I have been on a mission since March?! what?!!? I don’t even understand! It’s crazy. Time is seriously flying. It really is. Every time I think I just got here, I realize that I have been here for almost six weeks. It’s not real. Time is fake I think. It’s wild.

President said that we would all be in threesomes before we came but when it came time to transfers and us coming (He hates having threesomes because they are a little bit less effective and harder for the three people) he decided that there would be three people from the transfer ahead of me that would be training and I was one of the lucky ones chosen to have that cool experience! Everyone asks us how hard it is and how we are doing it, but it doesn’t seem like a trial or this burden to us. It just is life and we are being able to learn very quickly and are having to use absolutely all of the Russian that we have! It’s fun and I feel like I am learning so much every day.
Yes, there were two emergency transfers this transfer, it just means that a companionship is not working out and that there are certain things happening that president feels like they need to not be together (sometimes it happens because people are disobedient or aren’t happy etc) and so he has a little transfer and since we are in the city we always have the visitors so we saw a handful of sisters! We have matresses for 8 people to stay with us so next week at transfers we will have six people staying with us again, last week for the mission conference thing we had six with us and for visa trips all week we had people with us. It gets crazy, but it’s fun. I love that you got my videos! Hoped you would appreciate them 🙂 Hahahah. I figured, you will get my camera so you will have time to watch them! Yay!Less actives, people mostly say that they don’t have time. There are people that live about an hour away and for them it is just very expensive to take a marshutka to the church (still not an excuse) and so they don’t. There are some people that have been offended, it breaks my heart, and then others who I really feel like have just forgotten their testimony. We have been meeting with this one less active, and she said “you don’t care about me. It’s your job to be here, it doesn’t matter” and now she said that she won’t come to church because the smell and it makes her cough so it’s not good for her to breathe. I know that it means a lot to the less actives here when someone from the RS comes with us that aren’t the visiting teacher or the president, someone that is just there because they truely do love them and not because it is their calling. I feel like that makes a huge difference. I mean, it would make a difference to me if someone was there out of duty and to know that people are taking time out of their days just to say hello and spend time with them. Just thoughts from me.

Tatiana (member) & Zoya (investigator)

Tatiana (member) & Zoya (investigator)

So, miracles of the week.Nothing huge to say this week, but I do know that the Lord is with me always! Seriously. We see SO many miracles ALL the time. We really do. We met this woman at a bus stop, and as we were pulling out a pen to get her information her bus got there and she had to go! 😦 the saddest. Why we didn’t get on the bus, I do not know. We had nowhere to be! She had told us that she was there every day because it was right by the hospital that her husband is in, and she visits him every day. So, the next day, we went back. We did not find her, but we did talk to a woman that ended up telling us that she comes to that park all the time (the bus stop is right in front of a small park in front of a hispital) to just sit and think because that was the hospital that her daughter was in before she died not too long ago. We proceeded to tell her about the Plan of Salvation and set an appointment to come back there and meet with her on wednesday! Miracles are real. After that we set up another appointment with someone about ten minutes later that we will have tomorrow, and then,ran into our investigator Natasha, that we arent sure if she stood us up or was just confused about our meeting last week! It was amazing! She was so excited to see us and our faces LIT UP when we saw her. I seriously love her so so much. It’s crazy to think how much I love every single person here. I really feel an immense amount of love for all of them, and I know that it has all been given to me from Heavenly Father. I feel a chrustlike love for them and just want them to be so happy and to understand the things that the gospel can give them. I really do!

It has been raining a lot here, so when we don’t have meetings and when it’s pouring out there aren’t lots of people that are willing to just talk on the street, so we just ride busses for a while and talk to people! it’s cool, because people can’t run away! Hahaha! It’s too funny. We have had really good conversations with people and been able to get some numbers that way but more than that just really connect with people and if nothing else, give them a good impression of the church. They now know that we exist, and we have had a good conversation with them about families, life, or just the weather sometimes! I even taughtr the first lesson to a man on the bus the other dya. That was funny. Just started teaching about the apostacy and then joseph smith the restoration and the book of mormon! Yay. Such wild things happen on the bus! Too silly. They will help us with our language, and give us new words that are important, and are always surpruised when they hear how short of a time we have been here!

Alma 26:12 is an amazing scripture! I love it so much. I am nothing, and everything that I am able to do is the Lord. It is all from the Lord, and he lets me experience things and experience many miracles and be a part of many. I love it!
Jacib 6:12. O be wise; what can I say more? I love that verse. It is so short, yet so powerful. Jacob is talking about enduring to the end, and it is just such a reminer to me that that is all the lord wants from us. He just wants us to be wise. He just wants us to follow his teachings. I have been reminded alot in this last week  how important the words of the prophet are, and how important the scriptures are, but we also have a modern day prophet because WE NEED NEW REVELATION. There are things going on today that we need to be counseled on that the old prophets didn’t know about. We need to love the scriptures, and feast upon their words, but we also need to cling to the words of the prophets and every month there are teachings from them in the Liahona, or Ensign, that we must read. They don’t just write them so that they can look pretty on our tables, they are there for us to read, and to help us center our lives on Christ’s teaching and apply new things all the time to our lives. He wants us to continually fine tune ourselves. That means today. That means tomorrow. That means next week, and next year. We cannot stop preparing ourselves for when he comes otherwise we won’t be ready! Eek!
I know that this letter is a little bit shorter than normal, but I don’t have tons to say! We have been teaching the Plan of Salvation more lately and it’s really cool because I have been able to understand a lot more about it than before. There are many parts of it that I didn’t really understand their importances and every day I feel like I am able to study  more and new things and gain a greater love for the Plan of Salvation. I know that it’s true and I know that Grandma and Grandpa are watching us! they love us. I know that. I feel their love.
Okay, so our ward! I love my ward SO MUCH! It is amazing! I feel like since the first week I have been here every week is a little better and I see them having more love towards the missionaries, and more love towards everyone else. I just see so many more smiles, and people are more willing to help, people go out of their ways to talk to people and people are amazinG! SO many miracles in the midst of our ward. I just cannot be transferred because I love them too much! I need to be here with them! But, I know that whatever happens next week will be what is supposed to happen. I am excited to find out where my home is for the next six weeks. So excited! This last week  has helped me to gain so much more love for our bishpp and all the things that he does and all the ways that he serves those around him. It’s interesting to see how things work the same but differently here because it is in such a pioneer stage, and everything is so so new here, but Ilove seeing people come to understand things and just everything happen! I love this ward so much. I really am praying that I get to stay here.
I am so grateful for this gospel!Lov eyou all so much and REMEMBER. I PRAY FOR YOU EVERY DAY! I really do!

Love,
Your FAVORITE child, daughter, sister, friend, blogger, (etc.)

Sister Schaff
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Always have a plan B, C, D, & E

So this was the week of Elder Ballard’s long awaited visit! Aren’t you so excited to hear all about it?! Well…he didn’t make it! 🙂 The people in London needed Him! The Russian consulate in San Francisco stamped his visa wrong and so he was not able to make it into the country. Need not fear; we had the most wonderful few hours instead with our wonderful Area President, President Lawrence! It was amazing. He and Sister Lawrence taught us so many wonderful things as well as President and Sister Clark. I love them all so much and I know that was supposed to happen. This is what we/I needed to hear yesterday and the things that I needed to be taught. Funny side-note.. Elder Ballard was the back-up plan to President Monson! He was actually the one that was supposed to be here, but because of the death of Sister Monson, he was not able to come. Crazy to think that. Just a reminder to us as missionaries that we need to always have a plan B, C, D, &E! Every day, because our plan A will NOT always work! So, we learned a lot of things. First, never let doubt enter your mind. It is not okay. Seriously. Doubt is of Satan. If you have faith in your mind, you will not be able to let doubt into your thoughts. Also, we learned so much about Satan, and fun fact, he is not able to read your thoughts. (I did not know that!) If we voice them, he does know them, and he can plant thoughts in your mind, but he can not read your thoughts. So if you do not act on them and voice them, he does not know! Ha! Also, we talked about Missionary 301. We got the upper division course! President Lawrence said we were ready! Yay!! The we talked about sacrifice and working with members. Sacrifice. I know I need to do so much more, but I am not sure right now as to what exactly or how. I know that I need to make sacrifices so that I can receive more blessings, I just am not sure what would be worth it to the Lord. I need to do a lot more praying and trying to understand what he wants from me and hopefully in the next day or two I will have an answer! We need 8 baptisms in June (our mission) and it is definitely achieveable, we just have to work so hard and be worthy of the blessings. (BTW I don’t know if I ever told you but we have about-not positive- 48 missionaries in our mission and 22 of us just came in the last two transfers!) So, right now my big things are making sure I am using every single minute of the Lords time in a way that he would be proud of, and then trying to figure out what I can sacrifice, as well as trying to learn Russian, and trying to understand the gospel! Lots of things I need to do. Never fear though, the Lord is with me so I can do anything! Image 4

This week we got a new investigator! Her name is Paulina. She is a cute little lady, probably in her 40’s, and just loves us! She, however, unlike many of our investigatiors, speaks zero English. We have some struggles with the language barrier, but she said, I feel like we are able to understand each other enough that the things that are most important we are able to understand from each other. Touche. Dear Paulina. She is so sweet. She even gave us these cute little postcards yesterday. So, we have never gotten a firm, NO on a baptismal commitment from anyone, but we don’t get Yes either, and people won’t commit to dates. That’s exactly how it was with her. We invited her to church on sunday and she came! I was so happy. SHe didn’t come to the right place though so she only got there in time for relief society, which ended up being good. We then found out from one of the members that we were talking with that she said she wanted to leave in the beginning because she had just thought we were “hanging out” and felt uncomfortable, but she ended up loving it and three of the sisters in our ward ( I LOVE THEM) came up to her and were chatting with her and invited her to come to the Elder Ballard visit the next day! She said yes! So she came last night. It ended up being by president Lawrence as well, and it was about family home evening, and since she is divorced and we aren’t really sure what she understands about what we want, we were a little nervous about having her there. Never doubt though! It was wonderful! He conducted a “Family Home Evening” with the stake and explained what it was and it was so wonderful and simple I was so happy. I feel like she was able to understand so much more on a very basic level the things that we believe and want. He kept reiterating how we are happy because we are grateful and we recognize our blessings and we thank our Heavenly Father for the things we have just like we thank our mom and dad for the things they do for us. There was a promise that he reimnded us  of, that one of the prophets said If you conduct family home evening every Monday night, your children will NOT stray from the church, and if they happen to wander for some time they WILL come back. I want that promise to be fulfilled in my future family. I need that. I need those blessings for my future children! He had some children go up to the pulpit and say thank you to Heavenly Father or to their parents for their favorite things or for their family, etc.  She had said at the beginning that she didn’t have very much time and she stayed for almost an hour and a half! Chuda! So happy. She kept ignoring a phone call from someone that she had to talk to so that she could stay and listen. I know that she could be such a wonderful member of the church. I love her and want her to be able to have all the blessings! I know that the gospel can and will bless her life so much if she lets it!

Natasha, she is an investigator that we have had for a few weeks. She is so cute! Talking about childlike teaching, she is so innocent and childlike. It is such a reminder to me of how I need to teach and how we are always taught in the scriptures to become like a little child. Do you remember when you learned how to pray? Or have you ever taught someone to pray? Mom and Dad, you taught me how to pray, and you taught me by example, and by whispering things into my ear, and then I would proceed to say the exact same things. That is exactly what we do with her. She has never prayed before, and so Sister Eyring will say something and then she will repeat it in her prayers at the end of our lessons with her. She is the happiest person that we know here, so smiley, and cute, and just wants everyone around her to be happy. I know that she can understand the importance of the gospel, we just have to be so plain and so simple with her. We started teaching her the Plan of Salvation and she loved hearing it. She seems to understand so far, and she has a desire to know, she has a sincere interest and desire to learn more and to do what’s right. She said, well I know when things aren’t good because I can just feel it. I just want to be happy and choose things that make me happy! She is wonderful, and I love teaching her. I love being able to see when she understands things and when she’s like, oh! That makes sense! I have such hopes and desires for her I know that she will understand how the gospel can help her to become so much more happy in her life! We had a member present with her the other day, one of our senior missionaries, and she was so funny. We had the Plan of Salvation pamphlet out, and one of the pictures I think the girl is just pondering, but she is not smiling, and Natasha looks at us and says, well if this is the plan of happiness, why is she not happy!? Sister Jacobsen (who doesn’t really speak Russian) said, well she’s just thinking about how she didn’t pray this morning! Sister Eyring decided to translate that and we just started laughing because the look on Natasha’s face was like….uhhh.. what!? hahah. too funny. Maybe you had to be there. Not sure! 🙂 I wish  we could video tape everything and you could really understand what happens because every single day is so funny and so many random things happen that I just don’t understand but love!

Image 5So the other day we went out to Syevolisk. (Всеволиск) It takes about an hour to get to, and it is a smaller place where they just aren’t quite as friendly to us. (You would think in a lot slower paced town people would be more open but guess not!) It is not a “metro” area, because we are downtown St Petersburg and we are in the heart of the city, almost all of our area is accessible by metro. Anyways, we had to take a marshutka, which is just like a van that seats like 15 people. It has the slidey doors like vans do. So, we finally get there, and are starting to get off it, and Sister Eyring is in front of me and halfway off the marshutka, and the driver starts to drive away! They pull out very quickly too. As you can imagine, with those kinds of doors, it just shut! On her! That was NOT GOOD! Noone that was still on even said anything. I panicked because I was thinking of all the bad things that could happen to my companion and how she was going to die, etc. Not good. But, however she was alive! She had a headache for a while, but the driver did geet out and apologize profusely. That was kind of him. Scary though. She had previously been shut in the metro door, and then the next day the bus doors shut on me! Such bad luck with doors this week. We will try harder to be safer this week.
Well, I can’t think of what else I wanted to say, but I love you all so much! I hope that you week is going so well and I hope that you know that I love YOU! So much! I know that this gospel is true. I know that I have said this before, but, I love so much reading in 1 Nephi 17/18 where he is talking about building a boat and how his brothers have so little faith in him, that he will not eb able to build a boat. He reminds them that when the Lord commands us to do something, he really does prepare a way for us to accomplish it. Also, I love how he said that it was of a curious workmanship and it was after the manner of the Lord, and not of men. In the end though, it was exceedingly fine. It reminds me how Heavenly Father sent me to this mission, to teach the people in the Russian Language. He knows that I did not know Russian before this, just as He knew Nephi did not have any previous experiences making boats, but he prepared a way for him to do it, as he is preparing a way for me to do it! Such a wonderful promise. With the Lord on my side, there is nothing to be afraid of. I am constantly reminded of that in my scripture study!!
I am praying for you nightly!
XOXOXOXO
Love,
Sister Rebekah Schaff
PS Reba in russian means Fish. So basically all my friends call me “Fish”. Hahahahah too silly.
PPS I can’t believe transfers are in two weeks. I don’t know what to expect. President does so many crazy things that I know I could be anywhere and I could still be here with Sister Eyring! Can’t wait to find out! Week and a half! Eek!

Self Mastery

ImageIt’s been a good week. Kind of boring to be honest. I mean very exciting, but nothing huge story wise. Here are a couple.

So every week for two of our language study hours we do it with members so that they can help our language, and so that we can build relationships with the members. We go over to the bishop’s house and do it with his wife every Wednesday morning. We love her, and it is right across the street from our dom. This is also a building where a few other members and less actives live. We have been to this building many many times. The other day we had a little bit of time before we had to be in for the night, so we went over to that building. We were at the steps, the domaphone was ringing, and this man comes up to us. He was kind looking at us funny, but that’s not unusual. Then he asked us if we were Russian Orthodox. We told him no. He then told us to leave. We just kinda stayed, because the phone was still ringing. He started to yell at us, and we said, sorry, we have a meeting here. Then I hung up the phone. He continued to yell at us and then say to get away quickly, quickly! We kind of just looked at him and then he got louder and louder and said that he was going to call the police and as we left he said that if we ever came back he would call the police on us. Don’t worry…as we were down the block he still felt it necessary to keep yelling at us. Oh that was so funny. There was a little family near us as we turned the corner and as we said hello to them the said hello, and good luck! Hahahah! What an adventure! II have never been yelled/screamed at before like that for no reason. Poor guy. Oh well, lets just hope we don’t see him again when we are back there on wednesday! Guess we will see.

Oh, sad story of the day. Our dear investigator with a baptismal date is no longer. We taught her the law of chastity last week, (I talked about that a handful in my last weeks email), and then we met with her a couple days later and she said I talked with my boyfriend and we feel that that would harm our relationship so I am not going to get baptized. She is going back to China in about a month and I guess there are some church members there she was able to find out about on LDS.org and so she wants to meet with them and learn more in Chinese because she feels like she would be able to understand more, and then she said in about a year when we get married I want to be baptized because I know that is what is good and what Heavenly Father wants. I know that she will. I love her so much and just want her to have an eternal family. Maybe her boyfriend needs that time so that his heart can be softened towards the gospel. She said that she will keep reading the book of mormon and praying and learning still. Oh how I just yearn for her to be baptized and go to the temple.

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I just have this desire for everyone to have SO much joy in their lives. Even a lot of the other missionaries, because when we had our dear little “therapy” session, it seemed as though everyone was so sad and that it was so hard for everyone and they weren’t enjoying their lives. I hope they are! I want them to be happy!This week I have been thinking a lot about my faith and how it can help me and how I need to keep having more. I feel like faith is something that I haven’t really struggled with, but I know that I need to pray for more every day. I know that when I begin my days with faith, I am more successful, whether it be that I have faith that I will be able to understand our investigators in our lessons today or that I will be able to memorize a scripture because I need to be able to use it in our lesson or that we will find someone who truely is ready and willing to meet with us. It helps so much to have that faith. I do know, and remember, and have been working on acting on that faith. I know that I need to go our of my comfort zone more. I have been working at talking to people even when Sister Eyring might not be able to hear and be able to just take over like on the metro, where if we are sitting down, she cannot hear our conversation because you can barely hear yourself. I know that it really is helping my language when I am doing that and when I am having that faith I am able to do more, whether it’s just my mind thinking that I can do more, or I really can do more, I feel better when I am exercising my faith. I know that that is an act of faith to act, and do things that I have been asked to do and these things really will help my language, and my knowledge of the gospel, and will help bring me closer to the Savior.

So, basically one thing I dislike more than almost anything is the product mayonnaise. in the top ten of other things includes sour cream. Guess what they eat on and with every single thing that they eat here? Mayonnaise and Sour Cream. It’s…horrible. I guess the elders don’t really ever get much food but I feel like we get way more food than I want. Sometimes it is really good and sometimes it’s really bad, but either way, they feed us enough to feed like three people each. I leave their houses ready to just roll down a hill. We don’t get fed meals all the time, but if we are visiting with people they will want to give us some sort of drink (surprisingly i have never had tea yet!) and then something to eat, but a LOT of it. The other day we had these weird squash pancake things that were pretty oily, but good, except that they had raisins in them, and then they had like a huge spoonful of sour cream on top of them. It wasn’t bad but I would have enjoyed them a lot more without the sour cream. Oh so funny. So we went over to a members house to have a meeting with them because we needed to get some names, and this was right after our dinner hour. well….guess what. they had dinner waiting for us! every single time that I thought it was done, I was given a whole new plate of something new. I seriously don’t know how I have eaten since then. That was probably enough food to feed me for like a whole week. Maybe not. I don’t know. All I know is that there was SO much food. AH! But, that food was SO GOOD and super healthy. One of my absolutely favorite things to eat here is called gretcha, it’s buckwheat! I you just boil it like you would rice or quinoa, and then I have a little oil with salt and pepper and then tomato and squash pieces in it! SO yummy, I love it. and their chocolate here is SO good. I am off candy, so I am not sure what that means chocolate wise. I don’t know. I am just trying to be good about not eating much and not really buying it. Self mastery. I am working on it, especially with my eating habits. Being home all morinng makes it easy to want to just snack a lot, but I can’t do that. We are buying more fruits and veggies, so that I can snack at least on an apple or a carrot if i really have to!I love it here! The people are so helpful, and so loving. I hope you are all having a wonderful week and I hope that youdon’t forget me! Tell people to write me! hahaha… but really. Don’t forget to take Caspian on a run for me. I wish I had him in the morning to run with! It is SO hard to want to like get up and literally work out from that moment on. Definitely am still not used to that. We have, however, been running lately in the mornings and I love that.

Well, love you lots!

Love, your long lost daughter, сестра шафф

я люблю вас монога!!! (I love all of you lots!)

I love these people

Image 3This week was such a good week. We had zone conference and a sisters meeting so there were times that this week was EXHAUSTING because it was so long. But, it was so fun to see all of the sisters and see everyone so that was a grand time. Loved that!This week we focused a lot on Gina, and then trying to make sure that we understand where she is and how we can give her the commandment lessons, mainly the Law of Chastity.  After our Law of Chastity lesson yesterday, I know that she is a little bit (maybe more than a little) confused, and I know that she truly was so excited for baptism. She said she understands this law just doesnt know if she can keep it (because she currently lives with her boyfriend.) I hope that desire will help her to be able to live the Law of Chastity so that she can take this step towards baptism. I love her so much and just wand her to take this step towards baptism and be able to feel the Holy Ghost any time in a greater abundance. She loves reading the book of mormon and she really is trying to understand all that she reads. She is in the Isaiah chapters of the Book of Mormon and I seriously think she knows them SO much better than I do. I don’t think that…I know that. She notices all these little details and it’s so cool to see how much she loves reading the book or mormon and when we talked to her friday to confirm our appointment for saturday, she said I’ve been praying and I want to come to church again on sunday. Oh how I love her and she is the sweetest cutest thing there ever was. Image 5

We have a handful of new people that we want to meet with and give baptismal dates because they are all so ready. We have an investigator, Албина, who you can tell is so ready and just wanted a KM, and was so excited when we gave her one and she asked so many questions. I feel like we have been so blessed with people who we are able to communicate with and who are so ready to hear about the gospel. I can’t wait to meet with her tonight! We were walking with her on our way to our next appointment (uh…we had FOUR appointments that night) and I just had this moment where I was like she would be the BEST missionary. I loved that feeling. I was able to see her as she can become! that was the coolest experience.

So, sisters meeting. That was great! We learned how to braid hair, how to do our makeup, just your typical meeting. Hahaha. It was good. That part was quite…fun. We talked a lot about working on our physical selves…eating healthy and exercising, and our spiritual selves, making sure to really study our scriptures and apply them. I feel like I am so good some days at that and them some days I am so bad at it. Haha. But, it’s okay! I will get better! President talked about Doctrine &Covenants 93 and said “There’s more strength waiting for you than you ever imagined.” I LOVE that. It is so needed for us to remmeber that every single day because I feel that strength when I remember it and I feel like I am able to be stronger and have more faith when I remember things like that.

So english conversation group was fun last week. Haha. It was….my companion and me, and then the other four elders in our district, and then we had two people! And, one of them was Саша! I love her so much. She is so wonderful. She came to an activity that we had on saturday about Jesus Christ. It was cool to have her there. She is going to take a little bit more time and she needs a little bit more reason why our church is so important for her and the differences it has than the Russian Orthoxox church. Image 6

So Saturday night we got a phone call. Sister Eyring answered the phone. It was a man and he said, kind of angrily, why haven’t you invited me to your church yet!! Where is your church. (keep in mind we literally have no idea who this is and he is speaking English with a weird accent.) She tried to get his name, and he kept getting mad that she didn’t know who it was and said well I don’t want to come to church if you don’t know who I am. Finally after a while she gave me the phone and I tried to talk to him. He finally asked if I was someone (sister-not one of us). I basically explained transfers to him because he was mad and said that she gave him the wrong number and that he doesn’t want to come to our church. I finally helped him understand that she wants him to come to church, but that our elders would love to meet him at the metro in the morning to walk him to church. His name was Jackie (or something like that). He finally agreed to that and kept asking how he would know who we were. I kept telling him that the elders would be in a suit and have a name tag on. Then, Sunday morning he calls again. He said, Do you know who this is??? Do you? What’s my name? and Good thing sister Eyring remembered because he was satisfied with that. He said” I am 15 miuntes away. How will I know who you are?” and we then explained the same thing that the elders would be there. It was so confusing! So he was this African man  that had talked to some sisters in a park I guess and they had given him their number and had gotten his and finally he just called. Too funny. There was also a man that kept calling and was talking to Sister Eyring and would ask questions and we tried to set up appointments with but we weren’t quite sure what he was saying and finally he started talking about lunch so we just passed him onto the elders 🙂 we do that a lot. And we aren’t sure if they are interested in us or the gospel but then the elders are able to figure that out! It’s great.

We have so much fun here in Center! I love these people and I love the gospel! Every day is just so fun and we learn so much and we just laugh even more. Language is slow, good some days and so hard to understand things other days. We are going to go to the Russian Museum today so that will be fun! Can’t wait.

First Week in Russia

St. Petersburg at nightWell I can’t believe that I have been here for almost a whole week! It’s crazy! I know that the Lord truely does prepare people and that I have to be prepared so that he will give them to me so that I can guide them to the truth! I love this place! It is beautiful! it is wonderful! I am definiotely serving in the best area! We have so much variation! There is a little island in our area that is beautiful and we have the city city and they the outskirts of the city. it’s wonderful! I love it so much. It is absolutely beautiful and the archutecture is so different but BEAUTIFUL! I am in love with Russia. I am 100% grateful to be here and know that I need to be here.

CompanionsSo, to start, I love my companion! She is WONDERFUL! I actually knew her a little bit in the MTC, would talk to her here and there so that is fun that I already had a little preview to who she is. It is Sister Eyring, and (SURPRISE) this is only her second transfer! So she is still going through the first 12 week program thing that we do each morning as she teaches me! We just started on week 7 and I will do weeks 1-6 next because otherwise she would never do those weeks. President was going to have more companionships of three but said he felt like this is what he should do. There are still 4 or 5 threesomes and three of us that have second transfer trainers and then the rest all have older trainers. I love it! We have so much fun every day. I guess you could say it’s hard work but I really just feel like it is fun. We enjoy what we are doing and we enjoy being together. IThis area that we are in was kind of in a rut and kind of just not doing anything and I know that we can change that. There are so many people here that are ready and just waiting to hear the gospel! It’s so great! The babushkas are always like “i’m too old to change!” but the people a little bit younger are so receptive and ready to hear.

People don’t want to hear all the ime and we are trying to make sure that we really pray for direction of who we should talk to because we don’t want to waste our time taling to 20 people that dont like us and only one is interested in the gospel. We have been more successful when we do that with getting numbers and having people open to making appointments with us. There was this one lady that I was talking to on the bus that was like nah, no thanks, I am Russian Orthodox so that conversation was over and then this creepy man was staring at me and saying who knows what to me and she looks at him nd was like no! she is a nice girl and they believe in God and was just standing up for us. It’s so awesome to have things like that happen because it reminds me that one day, that lady will be ready. She is one of the seeds we are sowing, and that will just happen while we are harvesting. There are other people who are just ready!

Story time;
My first day here we were just out contacting and we met a girl named Sasha. She was so cute and smiley and just loved talking to us. Said that she wasn’t interested in the gospel but was interested in English club and just enjoyed talking with us. So, we chatted with her and got her number so that we could call her and remind her about english club. So, we did that and then she came to engligh club sign-ups on thursday. She was there and signed up when the elders were in charge and then they had given her a restoration pamphlet. Immediately we were like, can we meet with you on this day at this time??! She said yes! So we have a meeting set up for with her!  She then was talking about how she loved paintings and wanted to see more in the church. We gave her a whole tour of the church and she kept wanting to know the stories behind the pictures so we told her about temples, we told her about Jesus healing lazarus, we told her about the man that Jesus told to give up all his money and riches and that would help him get to the kingdom of God ( i forget what that story is called and exactly what happens) and we sang a song from the hymnal for her and told her about the three hours of church. It was so cool because at one point she said, I didnt hear what you just said I was just listening to my heart. She kept saying how good she felt and how happy she was to be with us and how much she loved us. We told her how much we loved her and how much we love this gospel and it makes us happy. we were supposed to meet with her tonight but then when we called her last night we found out yesterday she ended up in the hospital (we think she said she fell down the stairs and broke her foot or something…not quite sure…she will be okay!) and she will be there for the next few days. (At first we couldn’t figure out what was going on and we were scared that she was maybe bailing on us! That was terrifying. I wanted to cry.) But, she said I can’t tomorrow but I really really really want to still meet with you!! So, we will call her back in a few days and make an appointment with her. She is so ready. We are going to commit her to baptism! She WILL say yes! I know it. I feel it. She knows this is right. She is ready. We LOVE her SO much. I have so so so much love in my heart for her and we pray for her all the time. I can’t wait to meet with her!

Image 3We have this cute little member Elena that feeds the missionaries every friday night and since she is 92 and can’t leave her apartment (she lives on the like 8th floor or something) it is a service hour! It’s fun. She made us a cabbage and onion thing with vinegar and garlic is basically what it was….It is so gross but I can’t help but love it because she just makes it with so much love and is so excited to make it for us. Then we have a glass of hot water with one scoop of cocoa powder and a tiny bit of milk. That’s fun to drink 🙂 None of it is that bad but it is definitely not good….hahah. I just love her so much. She is THE cutest little lady and just so sweet. She loves seeing us and talking to us. She just has so much love to share!

There is an inactive lady here that has a nonmember roommate that is an investigator and we just want her to get baptized! She has said that she would be baptized if she could come to church but (they are both nurses) they can’t come to church because they always have to work on sundays. We went over the first lesson again and want to go through all the lessons again so that Tatiana (the member) will remember her testimony and hopefully have a stronger desire to come back to church and be active again and so that Zoya (the nonmember) will be able to gain a testimony of everything more strongly and have more faith that if she does follow the commandments, and keep the sabbath day holy, that she will truely be blessed and that it really will help her life. I know that this is possible and we are just praying for her to accept this and to be ready to take that leap of faith.

There is a less active family that we met with last night and they are so cute. It is a mom that has two sons, 16 & 11. They are too funny. The boys were just trying to irritate each other the whole time. I just felt so at home! The older boy came to church last week on his own and that is huge for a 16 year old! Great family and we just want them to be reminded how important it is to attend church. The mom talks about the boys going on missions and it is amazing! Here, a lot of peple will miss a lot of weeks of church and tell us that they are active and we are like…well… you need to come to church more often to be “active”… . Her mom goes in for surgery today and she said if she is well enough to be left at home alone she will come to church with her boys.
We were on our way to visit someone the other day and we met a member on the street! I guess that is very unusual because there are so few members that that doesn’t really happen. She went on and on for about 20/30 minutes and it was so funny because We weren’t quite sure if she was crazy or if she was just excited or ybe a little bit of both! Not sure. She was saying in the beginning how she had been praying and then she left her house and then she saw us so I definitely think it was an answer to prayers of some sort, not sure what she needed but I feel like it was good that we ran into her. She seemed very happy to see us.
So we went by Larisa’s house last night, this inactive lady. It was a little creepy. She lives in the “basement” level of a dome here. Sister Eyring warned me that it was kind of creepy and as we went in it just was smelling worse and worse. We were just walking down this creepy barely lit hallway that had stuff all over and then we get to her door and she said her lightbulb just burnt out so she went to the neighbors to see if she could borrow one. they were talking (sounded like yelling) in russian and that was fun. It smelled like she had 20 cats and then maybe there were about 2 or 3 in there that were dead. It didn’t help that it was raining out and so it was a cloudy afdternoon and it wasn’t super bright and light. All of a sudden when we were in the darkest part of the hall there was just a huge bo of thunder and i just grab Sister Eyrings arm and were both standing there like…uhhhh!?!??! can we just leave?! Then she wanted to have us come back next week because she wanted to clean before we come so that we can have a lesson with her. She was just quite the lady. And she was trying to pay her tithing to us and we were like….no no no we can’t and she was like well just keep it and give it to the bishop next week…. we were like no sorry! and finally she was like okay you can take it next week, so uh that will be fun to go back and visit her! As much as we didn’t necessarily want to go because it was kind of creepy and she’s kinda crazy we could tell that it was good because she was happy to see us and we felt like we should go so we did! Hopefully she will come back to church eventually. There are about 500 names on our ward list but only about 100 come. it’s sad.
Image 8Church is so great here. It is a bit overwhelming though. I don’t have the greatest Russian, so it’s always hard to communicate with people, but at church it is nice because they are a lot more understanding that we are missionaries and that we are trying to learn Russian! It’s overwhelming because I have no idea what is being said. Sacrament is a whole hour that they are just going on and on and on and you can’t stop them to ask what’s going on like you can in sunday school or Relief Society. Our ward mission leader is an African American French man that is doing his residency here in Russia. Don’t ask. I don’t understand who he is because our meeting yesterday after church was quite confusing. Hahah. He spend about 10 minutes at the beginning with the elders talking about shoes and telling them the should buy shoes like his.
It seems that the biggest thing is getting people to understand that taking a leap of faith is okay and that it will really bless their lives and that they truly WILL be happier. I know that when I did that by coming on a mission that it helped me and I feel like my testimony is so much stronger. It’s amazing to see that when you act on faith we REALLY are blessed. Heacenly Father does not give empty promises. He WILL follow through with them if we keep our part.
I want to hear from people! Hahah. But seriously.
There is so much to tell!
I love you all so much.
Also, people can email me but I love mail and mail DOES get here.
with so much love,
Sister Schaff
Please write her!
go to dearelder.com and write her using the information below
Sister Rebekah Schaff to the Russia, St. Petersburg Mission
we are so glad it is one of the pouch missions so it is free, but if you want to write a physical letter she would also LOVE that.
Russia St Petersburg Mission
pr Malookhtinsky 16/1
POM 11-H, 12-H
St. Petersburg
Russia
195112

4 more days!

Well, FOUR days left in the MTC! It’s wild! I can’t believe that I am leaving here! It is crazy how long we have been here, yet…sometimes it feels like I don’t know any more than I knew the second week. (However, I know that is false!) We have been doing a lot of review, and a lot of lasts! It’s crazy how much we have gone over in 9 weeks and how much I have (and have not) retained. It’s wild! Today has been busy with packing an dgetting things done that I need to do before we leave. I have almost everything packed and including my book weight I think both of my bags are under 40 pounds! I am stoked! That means less for me to carry and lug around next week while I go to the mission home and then to wherever I end up serving! SO that’s cool. Never thought that day would come. I thought that I would be in the MTC forever!! Hahah!! I see Emily Braithwaite all the time and I LOVE that. It makes me so happy to see people I know because it’s just a familiar happiness and comfort. It’s just great. I lvoe her! And her speaking japanese is so cool! 

This week was mission conference, so that was LONG…plus it was fast sunday. It’s basically stake conference. and it was a good time I loved hearing everything and I love hearing talks but some days I just am so tired of sitting all day. It gets exhausting.

 
Sunday night. AWESOME devotional by Chad Lewis. Seriously. Like one of the best devotionals that I have heard in these 8.2 weeks! It was PHENOMENAL. He has written a book too…so yeah. Look that up. He just was real and made a lot of sense and always was like I have done this I kNOW it worls and I have seen it in my life! He talked to us about the choices that we are making and reminded us that the choices that we make today will never go away. He also reminded us that we will always be a missionary. I will not alway swear a name badge, but I will always be a missionary, if I make that choice to be. I need to not go back to being the same old Rebekah since before the mission I need to be a new and improved Rebekah that is always serving and showing love to those around me. I Know what is right and wrong and I know that little decisions affect my life. Also, another great point that he made was that the things that we do over and over and over here are so that we can do them without thinking about it once we get out into the field. THere are so many repetetive things that happen that we need to remember to still do. Sometimes I know at least I check out when we are doing dumb little things that I think, “Uh we do this every day…I know how to do this” I need to remember that I won’t be in a bubble of the MTC with teachers reminding me of what to do so when I get out into the field… (Wedesday)…I need to be ready to react in a way that I have thought about! He also talked about a time that he and some othjer pro football players hiked mt kilimanjaro with some “warriors” –veterans, and how hard it was but they kept going. We are warriors too and we need to not give up no matter what. We cannot give up. The lord WILL help us! NO MATTER WHAT! 

We have been talking a lot about contacting and being in the mission lately because…well. we are leaving here… haha. and we have been talking a lot about being a missionary and BEING the message. I thought that was so interesting. We need to be the message because that is why people will first stop to listen. They will continue to listen because of curiosity, the spirit, or other reasons, but: Would I want to stop and talk to me on the street if I were a Russian person and I saw me out contacting?” (I hope that makes sense). It is so true though! Just like I used to always want to make sure my FHE lessons were something that I would wan tto come to, I need to be sure to present my message in a way that people will want to listen to. It is really important because I don’t wnat someone that could be a “golden investigator” to miss out on the gospel because I was too  boring and robotic about it. It is SO important htat we TEACH PEOPLE NOT LESSONS. I hear that ALL the time. Hah. Yay. We have also been talking a lot about success as a missionary. I know that I vcan be successful….bhut How!??? My attitude. Do I have a good attitude about the work> Do I want to share the gospel today? Am I going to keep contacting even when the last two hours have been -10 and every person has said no? Yes. I will. Because being successful depends on my attitude and I want to be successful and so I want to have a good attitude. That is all it takes. Simple as that. Also, in 2 Ne 2:26 it talks about acting and not being acted upon/. That means that I have to act and decide how I would like to feel and not be acted upon and let someone make my decisions for me. It is up to me. What I want to feel, how I want to act, how I want my life to be. So, I can and will be a successful missionary because I will act. I will decide. It is my choice!

 
I cna’t believe that two months of my mission are gone. It is crazy. I love this gospel. I am so grateful for the plan of salvation. I am sograteful that families can live together forever. I am so grateful for the atonement of my savior, jesus christ, and that he went through every emotion that I feel. I know that he can help us when we feel  loss and when we feel frustration or confusion or hurt. I know that. i ahve felt his love all throughout my life. I know that he lvoes me. I love him and am so grateful for him. I am so grateful that I can talk to my father in heaven at any time and that he listens to me. I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost and the prom,ptiogs that I can feel and the comfort that I can geel through him. I love my family and I am so thankful for them!!!! 

MUCH LOVE, 
SISTER SCHAFF 
сестра шафф

communicating in a universal way

So…the big news of this week is that they changed our schedule! SO RUDE. We finally got so used to our schedules every day and then with two weeks left they decided it would be fun to change it. Oh well. We’re surviving. But, the sad thing about that is that we aren’t on the same scheduel as the other Russian zone. They have Tuesday P-Day  now, and we still have Wednesday so that is sad. Can’t complain too much because we only have ELEVEN days left!! WAHOO! It’s crazy what a time warp this place is because seriously I have no concept of time anymore. It’s great. But, sad. 

More about my week. We….ate, slept, studied, studied, taught, and then studied some more. And…ate some more. 

We brought a member to our lesson (one of our elders) yesterday and it was AMAZING! It is crazy to see the difference in reaction from an investigator when you have someone that they can relate to in the lesson. All he did was bear his testimony, but when he did it, our (practice) investigator, Dima, was so much more attentive and it was so powerful. We had a new investigator for a little while, Roma, who is an ER doctor, and 26 years old. He is very intereested in tons of churches, and has met with the missionaries before. The big thing with him to us was, does he have a desire to know the truth? Or does he just want to learn more about churches because he loves to learn and he loves to know more about churches. I have been going into lessons with only a notecard with some vocab of things that I know I might need and that I have needed in our “practice” lessons as a companionship. 

OH OH OH!!! THE FIELD IS OPEN!!! IT’S SO GREAT! I love it. So much. We play lots of soccer, some softball, and it is so wonderful! 

This week we have been doing something new, thanks to Adam Ostergar! He just left yesterday (Tuesday morning at 4am) for Italy! But, while he was here, he and his companionm would testify to X amount of companionships every day. They testified to us a couple of different times, and it was SO cool to see how confident they were in their speaking and how they sounded like it flowed SO well. We decided to follow in their footsteps! We now testify to 10 companionships a day. It’s cool, because I have come to figure out what I am super comfortable talking about, and what I feel like I have nothing to say about. So, they I go back and make a list of words for the next day or two that I have to use in my testimony and those are words that I will practice, and hopefully retain. The cool thing about this is that not very many people here at the MTC are speaking Russian. So, when we go and testify to people they are almost never people that understand what we are saying.  There have been tons of times where the missionaries that we have testified to will say, I have no idea what you said, but I can feel that you know it is true, and I can feel something when you testified. This elder from Mexico, that didn’t speak very good english, said, “You are going to be a wonderful missionary because you know it’s true. I can feel your knowledge and testimony! People aren’t going to care so much what you say as what they feel, because that is what converts people!” That was such a wonderful reminder at that moment to me of the Spirit and how it testifies to people and it really is not me. Yes, I am here. Yes, I am the one testifying. However, the spirit is the one speaking to people and softening their hearts and showing them what is important, and helping them to feel a difference in their life when they are exposed to the gospel. I am so grateful that the Lord is here for me no matter what and that he always has my back even when I can’t really speak any Russia, and he will help me communicate in a universal way. 

I need to be worthy of having the Spirit with me ALWAYS, and I need to be able to llisten to him so that I can teach in a way that will better facilitate other peoples learning. 

Also, last nights devotional was on Family History. At first, I didn’t really like it. but then thinking about it more I appreciated it some more! It is cool because people care about their family. We all have one. That is something that we can tell people about in a non-threatening way, and spark their interest. Even if someone isn’t interested in the gospel they might be so excited to hear about family history because of parents or grandparents or siblings that might have passed on. I might not love family history yet, but I am coming to understand it more and I feel like it will be a wonderful tool to introduce people in Russia to the gospel. 

I know this church is true, and I love it so much. My testimony grows every day. I love my family so much and am so grateful for the Plan of Salvation! I am so glad that I can live with them ALL again one day when we return to our Father in Heaven! 

Thank you for your prayers and thoughts. I just think about that when I am having a hard day! 

Love you all. Hope you have a wonderful day! LOVE YOU SO MUCH! 

Love, SISTER SCHAFF

These pictures… the one smelling the flower is elder shepherd…that’s what happens when the elders have my camera…
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me and parker, thank goodness he just loves to smile! Hahaha.
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one of the portrait elder hunter drew me–I look GREAT don’t I??!?!?! hahahah. 
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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

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