Mission conference was this week. Two 12-hour train rides, picked up that package you sent (thank you!!!!!), saw a picture of the next Russian elder, and a LOT of time to think about setting better goals for my mission and the rest of my life. It was a really fun to finally meet our "extended" family (the Romanian Elders and Sisters) down in Bucharest. We never get to see them because we're always up here in our small little group of 10 Russian elders, but they're still family either way! Kent F. Richards was the one who spoke to us for this conference. He basically just wanted us to simplify how we do our missionary work even more. Usually after conference we have to head quickly back up to Moldova, but we had a lot of miscommunication that lead to us missing our train and staying an extra day in Romania. So it was a nice vacation! ;) The train ride back really changed how I look at my mission. All of us were together in one, tiny compartment, and Elder Hollist wanted to talk about our mission/life goals so we could get to know each other better. While everyone was sharing where they want to be in the next two years or so, It made me realize how I need to be more serious about my goals because I was never really a "goal-setter" before my mission. So today, during personaly study, I took a long time to write down some goals to work on. I'm really excited to see how it goes!
The work has kind of slowed down here. We've been teaching some people for a while, but the finding has not been as successful. It's tough. It's really discouraging when nothing seems to go the way we would like it to. Elder Monroe and I have 4 more weeks together, so we looked at our situation and made a "goal" to work as hard as we can to find those who are searching for the gospel and that eternal happiness, and to bring them into the waters of baptism. This is going to be a huge test of my faith, but I look forward to what's going to happen. I'm excited for Erica and the life-changing experiences she's going to have in the next 18 months! There's no better time to go on a mission than now. The works seems to be progressing quickly throughout the world and that's because God is "hastening" his work. The missionary age was changed for a reason, and it's fun to see all these 18 and 19 year olds getting their calls to serve! I heard that we are not getting more Russian elders though...not sure if that's a rumor or not... It would be nice to double the amount of missionaries up here though!
Almost forgot, I said goodbye to Elder Awerkamp because he only has 4 weeks left on his mission, so I'll attach a picture of me and him. It was good to talk to him and hear about his mission experiences. We also got new missionaries: Sister Cook, and Elder Barney. Look forward to getting to know them, they already seem like amazing people! Russian is as frustrating as it's ever been. We've been doing a horrible job of SYL-ing, so from now on we're speaking Russian ALL day instead of one hour in the morning and from 6-9 at night. I think it will help me improve a lot. "You try, you fail, you try, you fail, but the only true failure is when you stop trying." I will always remember those wise words from Elder Grover!
I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week! Remember every member is a missionary, so make a GOAL to share the gospel with somebody this week.