Alright, I'd like to thank everyone for coming out today! Okay, great. Let's get started!
You can ask Elder CXXX about that one. Heh heh. How's everybody! I really enjoyed the emails back home. I've noticed this and probably mentioned it before, but it seems like we're all in sync with each other. Sam is really lost in the work and talking about how amazing stuff is changing her whole mission, and mom is doing really well right now, too. Crazy stuff is happening up here as well. Literally our mission is changing. The Russia Samara Mission is breaking out and becoming a consistently baptizing mission. There have been months where we get a lot of baptisms (relatively) and then things die down, but this time it seems like we're consistently having more and more success as a mission. Things that used to seem impossible are becoming the norm from month to month. Our mission used to struggle really hard to get over 100 new investigators in a week, but over the course of just 2 or 3 months things have developed so that we're finding around 130 a week on average. The same thing is going on with baptisms. It's really exciting to watch everything unfold. The members are all getting excited about everything, too. People keep talking about how close we are to getting a stake here in Saratov, and eventually a temple. There's been a lot of opposition, too, which means where on the right track. I've been here since May, and the whole time I've been here, I've never seen so much animosity towards the missionaries here in Saratov as I have over the past few weeks. Interestingly enough, right when we started baptizing more people than usual is right when people started getting meaner and more aggressive on the streets... It's definitely a sign that Satan knows what's going on. He doesn't have too much more time before we have a stake established and a temple built in this city, so he's going all out. I've been thinking about that like crazy over the past few days, and I've started to realize how privileged I am to be serving here in this city right at the turning point. The mission is such a real experience, in an indescribable way. I've never recognized the reality of both powers on the other side of the veil as I do now, serving here in Saratov. I feel amazing working here because I really feel like I'm running around in the trenches of it all. It's the most spiritually satsifying feeling. As a missionary, you get called right up into the front lines. It's all just a huge war! I love thinking about it this way: Someone in the MTC said that the Lord doesn't send His missionaries out into the front lines of the battles to hold down His Kingdom--it's an all-out attack on the offensive. It really feels like that, especially serving here as a senior leader in the mission. It really sobers you up. I just can't believe that I get to be a part of something this big. When the church is established and a temple is announced in Saratov (and it won't even be that far in the future), I'll be able to say That's my city! I was part of the battles that went on there! It's an overwhelming thought for me.
That's what's going on in my headddd. Sorry for lack of details of the week. It was a good week though, lots of splits, and I got to set a baptismal date for this Saturday with an investigator in another area. I'm sorry I didn't get to write much, I really spent too much time reading. I love your emails! Thanks for your support and your prayers, we need them both!! Keep on keeping on, Sam. You're an awesome examples. Boys, this is the most incredible thing you could ever get yourselves into! Don't you dare let it get by.
I LOVE YOU