and it was consequently a crazy week, how many days did we manage to get all our studies in? one? maybe two?
The baptism was great, and I also managed to pour boiling water all over my hand and the relief society room about three minutes before the service started. One of my more legendary moments.
Conference was also great, we managed to watch all but one of the sessions in English, so that was really good. I especially liked the women's session, with its emphasis on service. Something that touches me pretty often here is just how in-need so many people are. Example: Zina was telling me about how her daughter-in-law lent their kind tadjik neighbors a dish, and then they needed it again, so Zina went over and knocked and asked for it back. Their neighbors returned it with some grapes and an apple, which she took back home. Ramil and Zakir, who are about 8 and 11, got SO EXCITED to see the fruit, and they carefully divided it in fifths so that everyone had an equal part.
Our fabulous members have also recognized the need and are always sending Zina home with various leftovers or cookies or food.
Basically, I've understood that I can't understand, I really can't- how many needs there are in the world, I can't even understand how much need one family can have. The worth of a ruble to so many of the people around me versus the worth of a ruble to me.
Serve people. Do what you can. Help your neighbor. Recognize those needs, physical, emotional, otherwise.
Speaking of service, we wore pants to do service for a less-active that did us a huge favor the other week. It was really strange. We looked so ordinary.
I really don't know what we did to deserve such a busy, happy, miraculous week. But I guess we don't ever really deserve anything. Grace.
We even acquired Dima's plov! One of the biggest miracles, actually. 21-year-old body-builder Dima has been slowly coming back to church since I've been here, and everyone was telling us he made great plov (which is this uzbekski rice and meat dish). We've been trying to plot ways to get the plov, but it's hard, because sisters can't just invite themselves over to a household of two men that live right next to the elders. We just can't. So we dropped hints about it all cycle and got him to bring some to an activity this week.
On a more serious note, we got him to give a talk at Zina's baptism and he did a really good job, bore a short testimony. It's neat to see peoples' spiritual progress. And he played chubby bunny at the aforementioned activity (it was a late april fool's activity, they told us to bring jokes) and I'm pretty sure neither him nor Ulijana nor Vanya the elder's investigator want marshmallows ever again ("you did that on purpose so there would be more plov for you!" maybe)
and also for one of the sessions watching conference in English we had two members and two investigators (aka anyone in the building under the age of 35) in with us, I'm pretty sure it was just fear of missing out on an imagined party, because no one really got anything out of it, except maybe Ulijana who was diligently writing down words like "tribulation" and "prompting" in a little notebook.
The gospel is true! mission is the best. Go share things, service, build your trust in God. Worth it. I promise. I love you. Have a great week!
Sister Thomas, Zina, and Zakir in the back
I made the mistake of handing Vanya my camera at the baptism and most of the pictures have other peoples' cameras in them. whoops
trying to watch conference in English, there's another elder back there somewhere