Monday, November 25, 2013

Fwd: Letter #34 - 11/25/13

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 8:19 AM
Subject: Letter #34 - 11/25/13
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Hey everyone! I laughed when I read that Emily is staying in her first area another transfer too. Maybe Montgomery's just slip under the radar of mission presidents. If I stay next transfer too, I will be in Voskresensky for officially half of my mission. Time flies!

Let's see... what went down this week? Tuesday night we had two lessons -- one with an investigator (Alisa) that wants to know if the Book of Mormon is true (and therefore will know soon enough), and one with an investigator who has no desire to know it's true because she doesn't want to change her life to be in accordance with it (and therefore will never know, because God won't force a conviction into a heart hardened to the Holy Ghost). It was pretty sad. People... the gospel is AMAZING! Sometimes I just want to pour my entire life experiences into the hearts and minds of those I teach... if only they knew! In any case, all I can do is testify and pray that the Holy Ghost will convince them to keep moving forward. I have seen the gospel rejected more times than I can count, but NEVER by a humble seeker of truth. ANY person who truly follows Moroni 10:3-5 (including the "sincere heart, real intent, faith in Christ" part) will know that the Book of Mormon is true, and therefore that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God on earth (see Book of Mormon Intro). I will go to my grave proclaiming that simple truth.

Ahem... let me step off my digital soapbox to continue the adventures of my week. Wednesday we had a specialized zone training about planning and goal-setting. Good stuff. We also had exchanges, so I was with Sister Farnsworth (wonderful sister) in Voskresensky. I've learned from other people's comments, and especially from being on exchanges, that one of my strengths is being bold. I have no fear calling people to repentance -- if you're a member who's not holding weekly family home evenings, you can bet I'm going to bring it up, continue past your excuses, back up my words with the words of prophets, invite you to change immediately, warn you of the consequences of not changing, and promise you to blessings of making your life more in harmony with God's will. If you're a stranger I meet on the street who says that all that's necessary is to believe in your soul, you can bet I'm going to quote scripture declaring the contrary and invite you to follow the commandments more fully by participating in the only fully true church of Jesus Christ on the earth. I do it with love, but I do it nonetheless. This church is true, it is THE TRUTH, and the world's gotta know about it.

Dang, there I go on my soapbox again. I think it's permanently attached to the bottom of my boots...

Friday was a really rough day -- tried to talk with 50 people, and the only conversations we got out of all of it was the very first (12:00) and the very last (8:55) people we contacted. Phew! But I definitely grew closer to Heavenly Father because of it... we had a long talk that night, and I learned a lot from Him.

Saturday we had a neat experience. We were at a bus stop and Sister Hunsaker started a conversation with a woman next to her (Larisa) and, like a good trainer, I saved her by joining the conversation (but only after letting her appropriately struggle for about 15 or 20 seconds). Anyway, the woman was really interested in knowing what we believe, and since we didn't have an appointment then, we talked with her for probably about 20 or 30 minutes right there. I felt the Spirit so strong as she was describing her search for truth, and I explained the Restoration and testified that she'll find the answers she's seeking for in the restored gospel and especially the Book of Mormon. We read the last two paragraphs of the Intro with her, and immediately her countenance changed; she handed it back to us and said, "I don't agree. There's no way that God called a prophet in our day." I explained how it was possible and how she could know it, but she was getting more and more closed. We had to go anyway, but we left the book with her and told her we'd call her.

Fast forward to Sunday night -- I called her and we had another 30 minute conversation on the phone. She said that she read the first few pages of the Introduction and doesn't agree; she's thinks it's foolish, nonsense. She was about to be done right then, but thankfully I kept her talking ("What didn't you agree with? Why do you think that?") and I was able to answer all of her questions and concerns. There were a lot of good one-liners that came from it, I've got to admit... "Listen, if I hadn't read and prayed about the Book of Mormon, I wouldn't believe it either." "Think of it this way: either we're crazy or it's true. I know for myself that it's true, and it'll be your choice to find that out too." "Do you believe the Bible? [She does.] You said that you think it's crazy that God could call a 14-year-old boy to be a prophet. But you know what else is crazy? The fact that Jesus Christ died and then resurrected. He was DEAD and then came back to LIFE. There's a lot of people that think that's nonsense, but when I read that account in the Bible, and when I live my life in accordance with the Bible's teachings, I experience more joy than I can express to you, and I know by the Holy Ghost that it's true. It's the exact same thing with the Book of Mormon, but you will never know that until you read it." Ahh! This soapbox is on fire!

Anyway, I convinced her to give us one chance at meeting face to face, and she agreed. This morning in personal study, I filled my doctrinal arsenal with all sorts of passages that support the message of the Restoration, but unfortunately I never got to use them because this morning she said she doesn't want anything more to do with us. So sad. But hey, since the arsenal is already loaded, maybe one of you can use it in another situation:
  • 1 Samuel 3:17-20 (Lord calls Samuel, very relatable to the Joseph Smith story)
  • Ephesians 2:18-20 (Christ's church built on foundation of prophets and apostles)
  • Acts 3:20-22 (before Christ comes, a prophet like Moses will be called)
  • 2 Nephi 33:10-11 (Nephi's powerful testimony of the truthfulness of his words)
  • Alma 32:26-27 (just try it! Do an experiment with the Book of Mormon and find out)
  • John 7:16-17 (he who acts will find out if the doctrine is of God or just from us [hint: it's the first])
  • Mormon 9:15-20 (we believe in an unchanging God of miracles)
  • Amos 8:11-12 (foretelling of great apostasy)
  • Alma 5:45-46 (pray, fast, and work to know for yourself)
Alright, well I think I've worn myself out with this letter. I'm sure there's more excitement to be found this week. I love you all--thanks so much for all your support!

Sister Montgomery

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fwd: Letter #33 - 11/18/13

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 9:06 AM
Subject: Letter #33 - 11/18/13
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Just a few mintues to write about my amazing week! First off, I forgot to mention that last Sunday was the Kiev Stake Conference. How incredible is it that there's an entire stake in a place like Kiev?! And we were all gathered together with a temple of God right behind us! It gave me so much spiritual strength to see so many Saints together like that, and the broadcast was wonderful (it was one of those area broadcasts from Salt Lake City). The Lord's work is hastening, that's for sure. :)

President (by the means of the mission leadership council, so technically me too) installed a new rule in our mission for the time being, which basically says that we're to talk to (or approach rather) at least 50 people every day. It's a little "Mosaic Law," which is totally unlike President, but it's what our mission needs right now to get us opening our mouths. Anyway, I mention this becuase it has made our week INCREDIBLE. We've been talking with so many people, and even though the ratio of rejection is probably the same, the quality of the people who haven't rejected us has been super high. We've had wonderful conversations, had a lot of first lessons, and have three new investigators (and another one today). I feel like God ripped our area apart the other week just to put it back together in a wonderful way. And here's a miracle story I just wrote President:

"So, when I was in Borshahovsky while Sister Hunsaker was in the training meeting, I was looking through the Relief Society list to find members I haven't met with yet. I saw a name of an old lady and had an impression from the Holy Ghost that we needed to stop by there, so I wrote the name in my planner. We didn't get around to it Friday night, but it was our back-up plan for Saturday night, which became our actual plan when our investigator cancelled on us. So we headed over there, talking to everyone, but nobody was at her home. Luckily I know the Spirit well enough to know that He cares just as much about the journey as the destination, so we continued our journey to go drop by some other members. A little ways away from the stairwell, we contacted this one lady, Olga, who was walking home. As we introduced ourselves, she gave the common line, 'Oh, I already go to church,' but I pressed forward, complimenting her on her faith and asking what she believes and why. After telling us a bit, I asked if she was interested to know what we believe, and she agreed. And THEN, well... that's when the Spirit took over because I literally can't remember what I said except for the fact that it was about the Restoration. Usually I remember my conversations super well after the fact, but this time, I honestly can't recall it (and we talked for a long time too). Anyway, she asked to see the Book of Mormon (we gladly gave it), she invited us over to hear more, and we ended with prayer. How amazing is that?! God led us right to that woman! All we had to do was open our mouths, and let me tell you... they were FILLED."

I was SO happy after that conversation, you have no idea. :) Love moments like that!

Oh yeah, so I got a new companion (good old #6 in Ukraine, hopefully she won't run away from me as quickly as the others ones). Her name is Sister Hunsaker, she's from Syracuse UT, she's 20 years old, and she's doing great. I feel like a mother who gets better at parenting every time she has a new child -- hopefully I'll get this whole training thing down by the time I have my last one.

Spiritual thought, spiritual thought... I'm running out of English ones because they now get programmed in Russian. Have I ever shared with you Joshua 1:1-9? It's the passage that was quoted by President Monson in last conference, and it gave me a lot of comfort and strength when I really needed it a few weeks ago. You'll have to change the situation in order to liken it to yourself, but the principle is there, and I can tell you myself that it's true: "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: the Lord the God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." I'm confident that the day will come when we see Christ face to face, and we will understand perfectly just how true that was during our lives.

Well, I love you all! Have a wonderful week!

Sister Montgomery

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fwd: Letter #32 - 11/11/13

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Nov 11, 2013 at 8:23 AM
Subject: Letter #32 - 11/11/13
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Hey everyone! How's it going? Hey, if you haven't written me for awhile, shoot me an email sometime -- I may be 6000 miles away, but I'd still like to know what's going on in your lives. :)

Well, part of this whole Sister Training Leader thing is that I write President every week about how exchanges went, what I saw, what suggestions I have, etc., and that can be a little time-consuming, so if you've noticed my letters getting shorter and shorter, that's probably why. I'll try to write a little less there and a little more here, but sometimes it doesn't always work out such.

So I'd be lying if I said this was a good week. :/ It was actually pretty dreary, and literally the hardest week on my mission. Basically rejection was just at an all time high / all time rude, and it really took a toll on me. It's been nearly fruitless working with members, people we talk to outside won't stop long enough for us to get a word of testimony in, and our investigators have been dropping like flies (including those I really care about it). It's been rough; not quite Alma 26:27-30 rough, but close. I even got sick on Saturday and stayed home all day. Bleh. But hey, things are looking up, and I learned a lot from all of it. This area needed to be "renewed" anyway... one batch drops to make room for another, that's just kind of how it works. I could use some extra prayers, though, so keep sending them this way.

Transfers are Thursday -- I'll be getting my new trainee. This transfer is only 4 weeks long and the next one is 8 weeks, so we'll wait and see where I'll be in a month (anyone want to put their money on Voskresensky?)

Well, per usual, I shall leave you with a spiritual thought, this one in the form of a poem I finished this last week. Consider it a peak into my woes (and other woes I've heard here) and the revelation that got me out of them. It applies to, well... every laborer in Zion.
To the Laborer in Zion
To the weary leader of a wild or struggling fold
Who listens with an open heart while his own problems go untold
And who at times thinks silently, "What good am I doing here?"
And while thinking at the task at hand, becomes filled with doubt and fear

Remember Him whose church this is, the Leader of us all,
Who knows your imperfections well, yet still issued your call
So while you're preaching what you practice, practice what you preach
You may be a shephard, but to Him you're still the sheep

To the mourning mother of a weak and wayward child
Whose love abounds unceasingly, tender, meek, and mild
And who at times thinks silently, "What could I have done more?"
And starts to count her follies till it stings her to the core

Remember Him whose love abounds far greater than your own
Who knows your flaws but still forgives and brings you safely home
So while offering the Bread of Life, drink the Living Water
You may be a mother, but to Him you're still His daughter

To the doubting missionary in a tough and fruitless place
Who's given heart, might, mind and strength to preach of peace and grace
And who at times thinks silently, "Surely I'm the one to blame"
Focusing on only failure, giving way to shame

Remember Him who gave His son, not just for them but you
Whose mercy is for all you teach and for their teacher too
So while kindling the Refiner's fire, stand to take the heat
You may be a sifter, but to Him you're still the wheat

So to every striving laborer in the fields and homes of Zion
Who's realized that you're mortal, much more lamb than you are lion
I plead with you, think silently, "I'm weak but He is strong
And if I seek to do His will, He'll lead me safely along."

And if while pondering, you can say, "I tried to do my best
And where I fell, I got back up," in Christ you'll find your rest.
You are His hands, you're in His hands, though earth and hell may shake,
You are His hands, you're in His hands, He'll not fail thee nor forsake.

Love you!
Sister Montgomery

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fwd: Letter #31 - 11/4/13

Enjoy!  I just love her letters!  Have a great week!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Nov 4, 2013 at 7:44 AM
Subject: Letter #31 - 11/4/13
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Heya fam. There are cinnamon rolls awaiting me at home (my new companion bakes!), so I'm gonna cheat and copy you what I just wrote President to save time. Here's my week in a nutshell:

Well, things are moving right along in Voskresensky. Sister Gillespie is AWESOME. We get along great, are super focused on the work, have been getting revelation right and left about what to do, are talking with a ton of people (not quite "everyone," but we're getting close!), and it's just been an awesome half-week with her. She's such a great missionary, and we're having a lot of fun (don't worry, it's purpose-focused fun) :) together -- it's too bad I only get to work with her another week and a half!

Not only has our companionship been doing great, but our area is really looking up. A lot of people we've talked to have been receptive to our conversations (or in the very least, kind), and we even had a new investigator. She was a walk-in to the church awhile ago while we were studying, she came to English a couple times, and then the other day she called us and invited us over to her house, and then she agreed to hear the lessons. It was a literal answer to one of my prayers. I prayed the other day, "Dear Heavenly Father, I'm trying really hard to take care of your children here in this ward, help them stay strong in the gospel, and help them share it with others. Because of that, will you please bless us with someone new to teach?" And wallah! After two member lessons in the morning (taking care of God's children), Sveta calls and sets an appointment with us! She's got a husband and 6-year-old daughter, and her and her husband really liked the Family Proclamation. Great potential there! :)

We've got a lot of great finding ideas for this week, and we're planning our ward missionary conference coming up next Sunday. Things are super great around here -- it's definitely been an "up" week.

Yay for good weeks! Looking forward to another one. Oh yeah, and I went up to Chernigov for a couple days this past week on exchanges -- what an awesome place! The people are super different there than in my area; it's a smaller town, more cozy, a lot more greenery, slower-paced... I would NOT complain if I get to serve there sometime on my mission (if I ever leave Voskresensky, that is). We had four first contacts (taught a gospel principle and prayed with people on the street) in one day! It was awesome. I had a lot of fun there, and the sister I was on exchanges with, Sister Thomas, happens to be the niece of Jeff (I think?) Thomas, former stake presidency member in Fort Collins. Small Mormon world, I love it.

Hmm... I can't think of anything else to write. Let me know if any of y'all have questions for me. If you want a spiritual thought, just go feast on the Bible videos... every P-Day I look forward to watching new ones. These are the ones I saw today: and . I cry every time!

Have a wonderful week!

Sister Montgomery