Monday, June 9, 2014

Fwd: Letter #62 - 6/9/14

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Jun 9, 2014 at 5:38 AM
Subject: Letter #62 - 6/9/14
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Dear family,

I forgot to write last week that we got transfo, and I'm staying in Vinograder with Sister Parish! That means 4.5 months with one companion, as opposed to my previous eight companions (6 weeks, 6 weeks, 9 weeks, 1 week, 2 weeks, 3 months, 6 weeks, 1 week...). It's great though; our area is making progress, our ward is still wonderful, and Sister Parish and I do great work together. :)

This last week we did some cute things to thank our ward leaders for their service. We bought some chocolate coins, wrote numbers on one side of the wrapper and a message from us on the other side (word by word), then we mixed them up and gave it to our ward mission leader. So he had to take all the coins, put them in order, then turn them over to see the message. It said, "Dear Brat Maltzev, Thank you for your love for missionary work, for your willingness to help us, for your strong testimony and incredible example, and for your wise counsel. We respect you! Love, The Missionaries." All six of us went over to his house Saturday night and surprised him with it, and though at first it scared him because he thought that we were leaving and it was a goodbye gift, he ended up really loving it. And then we all sang "Called to Serve" with the guitar. It was definitely a uniting experience, and it felt so good to do that kind little deed for him. One of the many things I've learned on my mission is how much joy service brings. There's nothing quite like it! We also wrote a cute little song for Bishop to the tune of "The Piano Man" by Billy Joel, and we're gonna stop by and sing it to him sometime this week. Hope he likes it! :)

We had a better week than last time in terms of investigator work. We taught Yura and Lera the Plan of Salvation, and Polya (15-year-old, Valya's friend) came to church yesterday and loved it! I was worrying the whole time that it was too boring/quirky/political, but she felt the Spirit, really enjoyed it, and totally clicked with the YW President who will soon be joining us on another lesson. I wrote in Letter #56, "Valya is super interested, her friend Polya a little less so," but they've ended up switching; Valya's busy and not super interested, and Polya can hardly wait to meet with us again. She's really a sweet girl, and things are looking great for her spiritual progress. :)

A little spiritual thought to end with: I've been thinking lately about how commitments can be compared to a two-part bridge. The first part is the bridge between people's current actions and their keeping of commitments (or commandments), and the second bridge is between the keeping of those commitments and receiving the associated blessings and testimony. If I had to image these two bridges, with a little island in the middle, the first bridge would be different lengths and qualities for every single person -- some are made of cement (easy for them to keep commitments) and some are barely hanging from a thread (no desire to make changes in their lives). But that second bridge... it's pretty much paved with gold. It is strong, it is sure, and it is unbreakable.

Obedience brings blessings; that's how it's always been and how it'll always be. For example, any person who reads and prays about the Book of Mormon with a sincere heart, real intent, and faith in Christ (the first bridge) will find out that it's true (the second bridge). Sometimes I feel like missionary work is 99% trying to convince people to pass that first bridge and 1% watching the amazing results of the second bridge, but those results and so wonderful that in the end you don't even care how much effort you spent helping them get there. It reminds me of the scripture in D&C 123:17: "Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power [getting them to cross the first bridge]; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed [as their testimony grows and God's blessings increase... if they choose to cross that bridge]."

That's all I've got time for today. I love and miss you all! Have an amazing week!

Sister Montgomery