Tuesday, December 29, 2015

time is an illusion and so are pants

Large shout-out to the assistants who booked for us a very nice train on Christmas day. Like, really nice. They (the train people) fed us, they provided toothpaste and slippers and boot polish and chocolate and tea we can't drink and various other things. Also we spent basically all of two days on trains, and a day in Toliatti for Christmas conference, so we haven't been doing all that much work around here, and I don't entirely feel like I'm doing that much. But we soldier on.

There's some investigator/part-member-family/less-active people that we've been trying to get to church (and for the last two cycles too) but they always bail at the last minute, so we finally just showed up at their house Sunday morning and knocked on all the windows and told them to get dressed and get in the taxi. They did. Also thanks to the taxi driver for helping us break in to their gated yard. Maybe it was a little extreme, but it worked. 

Christmas conference was awesome and I would like it known that Sister Schwab is the best and that I ate far more food than was actually comfortable once it was inside me.

Our branch decided to have yet another Christmas activity, but fortunately we didn't have to dress up. It was basically like the other one but with fewer children and more recited Christmas rhymes, (probably) famous poems, and parables (all things I don't understand because they use big words and artistically move around the word order). So it was pretty Russian.

The elders have an investigator who isn't really making any progress but who likes talking to missionaries and especially likes my companion. So he has decided to become our investigator. And he's been pretty successful at it so far. You wouldn't think he'd be able to crash our lessons, but he has. I'm not really sure what to do about that.

And finally, it would not be a letter from Sister Nielsen if I didn't talk about the weather, so it has been warm and slushy, which is gross. One day we were out in the rain for two hours and the rain managed to soak my winter coat, all the way through in parts. I thought it was going to freeze solid when we went outside again that night, but it hovered around freezing so I just walked around trying to keep my proselyting material dry and looking like I'd fallen into a river. I'm hoping it gets cold again.

I've been thinking of grace a lot lately because I'll admit, I always kind of thought of it as this bonus extra part of the gospel that you can study if you feel fancy or inadequate. But I've realized that it's the power by which all of the gospel is actually possible. It's the power by which Christ did everything he did. It's not an extra part that you can find out about if you graduate from the essentials. 

So I'm trying to thank God more often for the things that I think of as mine and forget aren't really mine, but are from God. You can never be too grateful. 

You are all excellent! I love you!
Sister Nielsen

Note: This photo is from Rosa Skyping home on Christmas Day

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