Wow, so Zone Leader Council was amazing!!! It always is such a boost spiritually and mentally. The R and J are amazing. I'm a little embarrassed about the aprons, haha but oh well we were glad to help and the scones turned out good believe it or not. haha. So this week was full of miracles! The couple I spoke of last week went out of town but we will meet with them this week. We called them and they are reading the Book of Mormon together and loving it. Also we had a meeting with our new convert about the priesthood Friday night and asked him if he would prepare to get the priesthood and serve in the church. He said of course I will serve in the church but I'm not ready for the priesthood. I'll need to finish the Book of Mormon, read the Doctrine and Covenants and Gospel Principles before I'm ready for that. We bore powerful testimony along with the J's that if he was ready and that if you are worthy for baptism that you are worthy for the priesthood. He still said no but agreed to pray about it and ask the Lord. We all prayed as well that he would get the confirmation from the Lord that he is ready. The next day we met with him and asked if he got his answer. I'm not going to lie, he surprised us with the answer "Yes, when I prayed only one phrase kept coming to me. I got the answer from the Lord that I said answer A but I need to say answer B. So even though I still feel inadequate for the priesthood, it's what the Lord wants and I will accept the Priesthood of God." I was in shock, which I shouldn't have been because I know that the Lord answers prayers but it's just not everyday that the people you work with are so humble and sincere that they receive and recognize the answer in less than 24 hours. Oh my goodness, he is amazing! He got the priesthood yesterday and also got a calling to be a second councilor in the Sunday school presidency. Which is just what President Hinckley said. "they need a friend, a calling and nourishment by the good word." All those things are happening with him. It's great to see the miracles going on here. I saved one of the biggest if not the biggest miracle of my mission for last.The Sermon to the Bus is what Elder S and I are calling this event. Thursday morning Elder S and I arrived back in Ufa from Zone Leader Council. Elder S was in the shower and Brother R called us and asked if we could open the church because he wasn't going to be there for a few more hours. I said yes and figured that we were just opening it for the members to come and do the cleaning because we live right next door. We often get called for that. So we show up to the church and there are people we don't know standing outside and also a bus full of people. I was confused and called Brother R and asked him what was going on. He said "oh sorry I thought you were in the know. There is a group from another city and they are here on a religious tour and want to know more about our church. Do you think that you could take them inside and give them a little presentation?" I said said yes, but then after I hung up the phone I felt very overwhelmed and also was a little sick from the cold I got on the train the night before. Also, I wished that we had known what was going to happen because it was such little notice and we would have liked to have a well planned out plan. So as we unlocked the door, I said a prayer in my heart and asked the Lord what we should talk about. I felt a very strong impression as my answer that we needed to talk about the thing that makes our religion so special. So Elder Smith and I went into the library and grabbed Restoration pamphlets and Books of Mormon as the busload of over 40 people filed into the sacrament hall. We walked in and they were all sitting there waiting to listen. First we felt impressed to talk to them about church services and talked to them about our meetings, about sacrament meeting why we do it and what we do, Sunday school, and then priesthood and relief society. After that we talked about how Christ is the center of our religion and talked about his life, service, miracles and power. We talked about how people rejected Christ and His apostles and that is why we have so many different churches on the earth today. Which was a really powerful part of the meeting because we were able to relate to them because they were people on a church tour looking at different religions. We then passed out the Restoration pamphlet and had an outpouring of the spirit as we talked and bore powerful testimony of a 14 year old Joseph Smith who also was searching for the truth among many churches. We talked about how he studied the Bible and read in James 1:5 and decided that he needed to ask our loving Heavenly Father which church was true. The audience seemed to be captivated as they listened attentively to the First Vision and what happened in that Sacred Grove when Joseph saw God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. We talked about how through Joseph Smith, the same church of Christ was restored upon the earth in its fullness and that we have the power of God and a living prophet today. We then talked about how the Lord loves us all so much that he gave us evidence of this great event and opened up to the title page of the Book of Mormon. We testified of Christ appearing to the Americas after his Resurrection and encouraged them to take a copy and read and ponder the message in their hearts then to pray and ask God if it was true. We then had a very good question and answer session where the majority of the people had the pamphlet open to the page with the picture of the First Vision and the scripture along with it. After the questions and answers they all rushed up to the front to grab a Book of Mormon some taking two or more to share with friends and family. It was a great experience and tender mercy from the Lord. I have never felt so directed and guided by the Spirit as we had this amazing first lesson with over 40 people. We were guided in what to say and it all flowed so well. The Lord gave me strength. During the lesson my headache and cold, strange feeling, were lifted for the time of the meeting but returned after the multitude left. It was a miracle! God is a God of miracles. I know that this church is true and that Joseph Smith really did see God the Father and the Son even Jesus Christ. This is the true and living church on the earth today. I love my Savior and my God. I love the mission its great!So this week was amazing!!
Elder S is from Oregon small town called Baker City. He is a stud and we get along really well. You always ask about what I do as a zone leader. Well here it is kinda short I guess. We have alot of contact with the missionaries of our city and try to lift and inspire and help us all work effectively. Which isn't that hard when you have an amazing zone like us. We love all our missionaries and the work is going great. We have the best missionaries in this zone. We do splits with the Elders and also we have a zone class every week that we teach to the missionaries. We also help the J's in training the branch leadership and translate for them a lot. I translated a talk in church for Elder J yesterday and at branch presidency meeting yesterday as well. Just pretty much anything to do with leadership, we do. I have learned so much in this position. It's not that we are higher than anyone else because I believe that all the missionaries in my zone are better than me and I love learning from them. I have learned more about love and service in my time as a leader than I have the rest of my mission combined. It's amazing and I love it. Well I love you all Hope everything goes well. Pass my love to everyone!
The shirts fit great 15 1/2 is perfect! I got letters from Ariell and Katie :) Also I got a letter from a Sister K is all that it said. It said "thanks for you and your family and sharing your blog" but then most of the rest was just question marks because she typed in Russian and dearelder doesn't recognize the writing. But would you please tell sister K thanks for me, but that dear elders won't recognize Russian.:(
IF SISTER K IS READING. THANKS FOR WRITING ELDER BUXTON!! WE ARE NOT SURE WHO YOU ARE BUT WOULD LOVE TO FIND OUT:)~Elder Buxton's mom:)