"And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things for myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety? 46. Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God... 48. I say unto you, that whatsoever I shall say unto you, concerning that which is to come, is true; and I say unto you, that I know that Jesus Christ shall come, yea, the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth. And behold, it is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world, yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name. 49. And now I say unto you that this is the order after which I am called, yea, to preach unto my beloved brethren."
"Come unto Christ and be perfected in him and deny yourselves of all ungodliness."
The tailgate party was so fun! It really made me miss hearing you guys watching football games down stairs. I could just picture the disappointed screams from you guys when BYU lost by one point. I saw the Hardmans and Tyler Lawson at the tailgate though! I keep seeing old faces from home and it's pretty distracting hahaha so I'm glad you didn't show up to the tailgate because that would've done it for me. I told Sister Iaboo that you were in town and we were joking about how you could possibly worn a disguise and pretended to be an investigator hahaha that would be funny.
If there is one thing I learned this week it is patience. And I still haven't learned it fully. Honestly I thought I had it down with having four brothers but that's a different kind of patience. Thank you so much for your mission story about your companion. I can't control what my companion does or what she says or what the investigators do or don't do; all I can control is myself. And with that comes A TON of humility. Being new from the MTC and opening up a new area with a companion who doesn't know the area or the members or most of the language is very hard and it's not what I wanted or was expecting when I came out on my mission. I expressed some of this to my mission president and he told me that two elders came to this mission straight out of the MTC as companions and had to open an area and they were supposed to be speaking Korean. They couldn't get any help from members because they all spoke Korean and no one was there to help them. So yea that really put things into perspective for me. I know that nothing in the mission is going to be perfect because we are all imperfect people striving for perfection. And that's all that really matters as long as we are putting in the effort to become perfect like our Heavenly Father and follow the will that he would have us we don't have to worry about what situation we are thrown into because he knows us and he knows what we can and can't handle.
Having faith in Christ comes easy for me. Having faith in myself is a bit harder, but if my faith in Christ is strong than the faith in myself should be easy.
Did your work in LA go well then? Anything specific I need to pray for?
I made it through my trip to LA without spying on you or taking you and your companion out to dinner. It was tough. Mom tempted me on staying an extra couple of days and joining your tailgate party at the BYU / UCLA game. The last two BYU games I'm sure you know ended in miracles. Beating 10th ranked UCLA would be another miracle. I quickly got out of town before I thought through that temptation to stay. LA is different - I have never seen so many homeless people walking around in nice neighborhoods. Of course in Culver City where I stayed, multi-million dollar homes bordered rough neighborhoods.
I remember that talk by Elder Wirthlin "Come What May and Love it." - great wisdom. You don't have to look too far around you to see that some people make the best of their situation, despite the difficulties and then there are some that don't. It's tempting to take a break and self loathe. I just read a letter from Kyler about struggling with his companion, investigators, leaders and he is having physical issues again. When I think about my mission, I only remember the great times and have to really concentrate to remember there was also really tough times. Finding people to teach. People constantly turning you down or looking at you like you're a crazy religious fanatic... Then I really didn't expect to have issues with my companion, investigators and church leaders who you expect great things from. Thank goodness I rarely got sick, just depressed at times. I had some strange companions, which made missionary work interesting. It took me 6 months to learn 3 critical things and it came from a missionary companion who conducted himself much like the savior - my 4th companion Elder Wilde. He taught me three life saving things that I still use to this day when I'm struggling - 1) Am I doing the best I can to keep 100% of the mission rules (or for me today, the commandments)? 2) Am I studying the Book of Mormon every day? This was a big one, because it was unfortunately over 6 months out that I finally gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon, but fortunately a glorious experience for me to see that book come alive for me personally and then realizing that book is the reason I'm serving a mission, it's the cornerstone of our religion and what we ask the investigators to pray about. 3) Seek answers to your prayers by being extremely thoughtful to what I am praying about and what I need to be praying about. Elder Wilde and I were companions for 3 months and we got more accomplished in our first month together than I had gotten accomplished in the first 6 months of my mission. We were "one" as a companionship. We were humble, there was no contention between us, which unified us in the work. We experienced personal revelation and miracles together as companions. I learned going forward as a missionary, I can only control what I'm going to do. I can't control what my companion, investigators, church leaders... are going to do or how they are going to act. I can can only control my own decisions and that not only freed me up to choose for myself to be happy despite what strange things my companion, investigators or leaders were doing, but it also gave me a huge power of spiritual influence, worthiness to have the spirit and the ability to hopefully persuade others to do the right thing. The ability to avoid contention, to be patient, to find peace and be positive during difficult times, to love when it's justifiable to be angry... or as Elder Wirthlin stated "Come What May and Love it." Elder Wilde's love for the work, love for me and faith to do the right thing - influenced me to be like him or like the Savior. I still had my agency, but I chose to be humble, set aside my pride and love what my companion was trying to do despite the temptation to take a break and relax on some of those rules or the work. Moving forward it helped me be less self righteous and more patient with struggling companions. My goal with one strange companion was to inspire him to work harder with me than he did with any other companion and to feel the blessings of it. He still slept in, but at least he did some work with me and he we were blessed for it.
Remember faith is the power and you have been set apart to do this great work. I can only imagine the many people who will love you because of the decision you made to serve a mission and the compounding affects of that.
Tyler Lawson and Sister Plumb. This is Zhenya's best friend, Abby's, brother. Abby or Sister Lawson, is currently serving in the Richmond, VA mission and has been out 3 months. Zhenya just reached her 1 month mark! Zhenya ran into Tyler and the BYU vs. UCLA tailgate party before the game. The missionaries had a special treat to go to this. Unfortunately, there weren't tickets available for the game. BYU lost 24-23. Tight game!
Sister Plumb, Hermana Budding (good friends with Elder Wandry who just returned back to our area (Home) after serving Spanish Speaking Arcadia, CA mission for 2 years), Sister Iaboo. Zhenya mentioned they had to stay with Spanish Sister Missionaries while they were temporarily Homeless, so this must have been one of them they stayed with for a few days.
A good friend of mine, Jodie Wandry, received an email from Sister Budding who is in the middle of the picture. She had this to say about Zhenya, "This
week though I had the pleasure of meeting a beautiful soul! Sister Plumb! She
says she's in your stake! I took a picture with her so you can see her and show
her mama! She is doing really good! She is very obedient and lovely and she
says she loves your family a lot!
Budding ( A Spanish speaking missionary originally from Argentina but her
family lives in the states now). THANK YOU Sister Budding for making her mama’s
This week went pretty well. Almost like a mission should go I guess. We had to drop a couple investigators and a ton of appointments were falling through for us which was tough and stressful, but when doors close even more open! We some more investigators who are so awesome and the family we have been teaching is progressing towards baptism we just have to set a date now! Opening up an area for me is going slower than I would like it to go but I have learned to have patience with it and mostly with myself. This week though I had the amazing opportunity of going to the BYU vs UCLA tailgate. It was so fun and I saw the Hardmans and Tyler Lawson! It's been great to see some old faces here on my mission but it is a bit weird at the same time hahaha.
Interesting story for the week:
So I'm sure you're all a little curious by the title of the email for this week and that is because Sister Iaboo and I had a little experience in being homeless. Yea.... so we are staying with a member of the ward and it is just her, her husband, and her son living in the house and on Wednesday we see her packing some suitcases into her car and she told us that she was going to be babysitting her grand kids for the weekend and then left. and we aren't allowed to stay in a house without an adult female there so we had to scramble to find a place to live for the next 3 nights. So we were just traveling around in the car with the sister training leaders in our zone calling as many people as we could to find a place to stay. Then finally some Spanish sisters were able to let us sleep on their couch so that was an adventure hahaha love the crazy things that happen to us as missionaries, never a dull moment.
I hope you all are doing well! Let me know if there is anything you guys need. I want you all to know that if you are going through a hard time the best thing for you to do is serve. Serve the ones that have wronged you and the ones you have wronged and miraculously everything works out I promise! Try it out!
Love you guys
fun fact the missionary on the left in the stripes has the last name of Magnum (which is also the last name of the BYU quarter back) so she got a lot of questions about that hahaha but ya shes not related to him.