Thursday, February 25, 2010
Hello again all my favorite people!!!!
Well it has been a great week!! The last few weeks, or beginning of this transfer had been really hard for me. It was challenging in many ways.... but this last week was a big difference and i have seen the Lord lift me up and push me beyond the point i was before and has helped me become a better missionary. We truelly do have times in our lives that are hard and sometime we even feel like giving up, but if we fight through them and always remember to do it with the lords help, we come out better and stronger. The last 3 weeks were hard because everything was just slow and we didnt really have any investigators, the ones we did have werent able to meet with us. It seemed like almost everyone we tried to set up meetings with either couldnt or just wouldn't show up. So we were spending alot of time outside in the freezing cold Siberian weather doing a lot of contacting, which for anyone reading this that has been on a mission knows that contacting is usually not a missionaries favorite thing to do. Well we were getting really frustrated with it. So last saturday after having alot of days of feeling crummy, we decided to fast. We knew we couldnt do the work on our own. We know that Russia is and has been know as a hard country for missionary work, the work is slow here at times, but its possible and 100 times more possible and successful when we are doing it the Lords way. Well so before we started our fast we we really had no investigators that were progressing... but then with in a few hours we had a new investigator and some numbers of people we had talked to on the street that wanted to meet with us to learn more. This day was so unusual, we had people coming up to us and asking who we were and saying they wanted to meet with us. And the things was that we werent really doing anything different then we had in the past, the lord saw our faith and saw our sacrifice and saw our huge disire to be good missionaries and he providing this people for us and putting them in our path. It was a great day. That day we meant with a girl who had met with the missionaries in the past but not for along time. We had a great meeting with her and then after wards she asked me why we decides to call her, and the answer was that we felt the holy ghost promt. We then said, well why did it take you so long, i have been waiting for the missionaries to call me again!! She wants to meet again, and she is a great girl and we are excited to teach her. Also yesterday we had a first meeting with two girls from english, and it was probaby one the most spiritual lessons and best lessons i have had. We watched finding faith in christ and then after talked about christ and why he is important for us. It was a great lesson and they too want to meet again and learn more about joseph smith and how the church was restored!!! Those are just a few of the things that have happened this last week! It really has been a great week and a week that i has been directed by the lord. The last 3 weeks were hard, but i know i learned for them and have relized again the miracles the lord can do.
Well today we went to LAke Baikal, and it was BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING. Im trying to attach photos but it is takinf forever so you might not get any. But it is so beautiful. The whole thing is frozen right now and we walked out on it and we could look down through the ice because it so so clear. It was just so amazing, sorry i cant even describe it. This lake is the deepest lake in the world and the world biggest fresh water lake. YAY it was huge.
Well i love you all so so so much. Keep being amazing and dont forget about me all the way in siberia OK!!!! haha
Mindy- Sister Gneiting
Sorry you only got 2 pics one of my comp and i on the lake and then one of me lying on the lake. i will send more next week, well hopefully Love ya
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I can't believe it has been another week!!! Time is flying by soooooo fast! I feel like i just emailed you so i am trying to think what has happened since last wednesday. Well Im still trying to get to know everyone here in the branch, but the people here are very busy and its hard to meet with them. This last week was kind of hard for us. We got a lot less meeting for the week then what we set as a goal to get. We both dont know alot of people here so we are trying to meet with everyone, but it seems like right know no one can meet. There are alot of inactive members in this branch. President Trejo has asked all the missionaries in the mission to work alot with the inactives. So Sister Reed and I are trying to find them. we have meet with some of them and we are hoping to help them get back to church. They are all great though. This last week our strong investigator who was progressing and very interested in the church moved back to Mongolia for a few months. It was sad for her to go but hopefully when she comes back we or whatever sisters are here will start meeting with her again.
So our branch building is being painted on the inside so it is closed for almost a month which means we cant have english club, which is a bummer. Twice a week we have english club and we get alot of investigators for it. There are a couple girls from english that we are wanting to start meeting with. We have a meeting with one tomorrow and we hope that goes well and the others will be going to an activity that we have on saturday. We hope the will feel the spirit and want to continue meeting with us. We are really needing new investigator. When i got her the companionship that was already here didnt have many investigator, mainly because they all got baptized last transfer, which is awesome. So we are searching for new investogators.
My Russian I think has gotten tons better in the last 2 weeks since i left Novosibirsk. I dont have my russian companion anymore to rely on when i dont understand or dont know how to say something. This is my first time having an american companion and she is a transfer younger than me, so we both have a lot to learn in the russian language. So we have really had to rely on the lord for help to say what we want and to understand. The Lord is helping us though and we are speaking Russian. I know as we keep working hard and even though things are a little tough right now as we show the Lord we are willing to work and fight throught the hard times, he will bless us.
So mom all of your facts about the area are fun to read and they are all true. So you sent me info about lake baikal. Well next week we are going there!!! Everyone needs to look up lake baikal on the internet, because i dont have enough time to tell you about it. But it is like the worlds biggest fresh water lake and a bunch of other stuff. So we are way excited to go there.
Well i love you all so much and love reading you emails. Have a great week!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Well life has changed a little for me this last week. I am now in a new city called Irkutsk. This is a great city, i already love it here. The people are great and the city is great. I miss Novosibirsk and the people there horribly though and so i am trying to get over my homesickness for Novo. I dont know when i will go back to Novo, of course i will because the mission office and stuff is there, but we dont go all the way to novo for conferences so it might be a while until i get there.
So i traveled on the train here for over 30 hours. There was 4 missionaries on the train, 2 elders and another sister and 1. Sister Colderwood and I shared a cabin. The cabina are these small little rooms with 4 beds and a little table. THe beds are like bunk bed style. It was fun. There were a bunch of other russians in our car and most of them were drunk haha and it was pretty funny. They all wanted to talk to us because we were americans, and actually we were able to talk to alot of them about the gospel and some of them were very interested. Hopefully when they recover from being drunk they will remember. It was an eye opener for us though to remember that everyone is a child of god and deserves to hear the gospel, even if they are drunk. Of course we need to be careful but its something to think about. Well funny story from the train. When on the train sisters and elders arent allowed to go in each others cabins, so sister calderwood and i were standing outside the elders cabin talking to them and one of the drunk guys (maybe in his 40) came over right between Sis C and I, he started talking to all of us and was asking us if we wanted some vodka. Of course we told him no and we didnt drink, but he kept asking and was like "no dont worry its on me and its on russia, just have some...) well we kept telling him no. So anyway sis C and i decided to go back into our cabin to get away from the drunk man, so i started walkin to our cabin and then i stopped to turn around to wait for her and this man he was walking the same direction as me and when i stopped he put he arm on my back and started to lean into kiss me,and i thought "OH NOOOOOO" i was quick though and turned my head right in time and he only kissed my cheek/ear!!! I was like "OH MY GOODNESS" and then just kind of stood there for a second shocked and then hurried into my cabin with sis C right behing me and slammed the door shut and locked it as fast as we could. Then we laughed and laughed and laugh! It was so funny! So i have had my first kiss with a russian!! haha
Well now to the more important info. So Irkutsk is a new city to the gospel. It has only been open for 7 years to missionaries. There is only 1 branch but good amount of active members but also of course a lot of inactives. We have 3 investigators. One of them is Mongolian and she is pregnant and later this week she is leaving for Mongolia to have her baby, and she wont be back til may. So thats sad to see her leave because she is close to baptism, she just has a couple things to work past first. So hopefully she will continue investigating the church either when she gets back or in mongolia. Another invest. is also mongolian but i havent met her yet, so i dont know much about her. There is a group of mongolian girls living here and going to school and 4 of them have been baptized in the last few months and the other friends are our investigators. So thats really cool because they are all supportive of each other. The third invest. is a young girl who wants to be baptised but her dad is very against it, so he are not sure what will happen with that.
We are searching for new investigators right now. I feel the work here is going to be great. Its hard coming to a new city and trying to adjust, but i feel i am basically adjusted and now i can get to work. This work is the most amazing thing ever. This is the lords work and he is putting his trust in us, not just fulltime missionaries but all member. He needs our help. We are so blessed to know that we have a loving heavenly father who has prepared a plan for us to return to him and to recieve eternal joy and happiness. This is all REAL!! God LIVES, his son Jesus Christ LIVES, Christ IS our savior and he DID atone for us. Turn to the Lord and allow him to guide your life, without the Lord there is no point to life!
I love you all so so so much. I hope all is well for all of you and i miss you all!!
Hello again everybody!!! It has been another great week. Well i actually have news this week. I am being transfered. I am actually going to see what the rest of russia looks like, and when i say i rest of russia, i really mean the REST well almost, but i will get back to that. So i am being transferred to Irkutsk and will be serving with sis read. Do you remember how i meet that other girl right before I went into the mtc who was going to the Novo mission too through one of my friends.... well thats her!! haha she is a transfer younger than me and I will be senior companion. I have mixed feelings about everything, but i know everything will be ok.
My russian is ok, but i still have a long ways to go and its hard to understand people at times. im sure her russian isnt much different then then mine so it might be challenging at times with russian, but I know the Lord will help us. This is what the Lord wants so we will work as hard as we can and he will make up the difference. I know this is going to be a huge learning experience and i know my russian is going to get alot better this transfer. The only other companions i have had have been russia, which means they know russian perfectly, and so when i dont understand what is being said i could always rely on them for help but know it will be a little different with have a younger american as a companion. So yes i am a little nervous but i know everything will be ok, the Lord always provides a way for this servants.
So anyway I leave Novo tonight, weds night at 11:30 on the train and ride all night and then all day tomorrow and then all night tomorrow and then get to Irkutsk at 9 or 10 am. So when i said I will see the rest of russia i wasnt joking. It will be cool to be on the train. I will be with a couple other missionaries too, so dont worry about me being on a train all by myself. I am sad though to leave Novo, i love it here and will miss it. I have been here for four month and so i have gotten to know the people here very well. I will miss them alot, but i will see them again. Alot of missionaries have to come through Novo when they are being transferred.
Well mom i still havent gotten that package, but dont worry that normal. it taked about a month to get here. I will eventually get it. They will just keep it at the office until someone go to Irkutsk and can bring it with them. So one day i will be very very happy!!!
So the work here in Novo is going well, i am leaving my area in good hands with the sisters here. We have some great investigators who will hopefully be baptized soon, I will be sad not to be here to see that. Also i had told you how there is alot of inactive members in our branch and how we have been visiting alot of them and trying to bring the spirit back into their lives so that they will want to return to church. Well alot of them have started coming back!!! This last sunday we have a lot of people at church and it was great, i hope that continues.
Well I cant really think of anything else to say. I love you all though so much, thanks for being the best family and friends ever.
Well I love you all so so so much. Keep being amazing!
Well I love you all so so so much. Keep being amazing!
Mindy - Sister Gneiting
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Well Mindy has been serving on her mission now for 7 months. She is doing great. She loves Russia and the people. She has been in Novosibirsk since she arrived in Russia 5 months ago. It is Russias 3rd largest city, after Moscow and St. Petersburg, and is the largest city of Siberia. This is where the Mission home is located. She loves this city and has enjoyed serving there.
Mindy with a couple other sister missionaries
(picture retreived from Bro and Sister Simmons blog - thanks!)She was transferred this past week. She is now serving in Irkutsk. She had quite a journey getting there. Irkutsk is approximately about 1800 miles from Novosibirsk. She took a train to get there and traveled for 35 hours. She crossed two times zones. On the Russian map below (sorry its not bigger) Novosibirk is right in the middle of the map toward the southern border. Irkutsk is east of Novo (about an inch) next to a long sliver, crescent shaped lake (Lake Baikal - more pictures below). Considering that this is almost 2000 miles apart on this map it kind of gives you an idea of just how big Russia really is.
She is now the Senior Companion with another american sister that has been out about one month less than Mindy. Mindys other companions have all been Russian and they have been able to help her with the language and understanding the culture, etc. So now she is going to have to rely much much more on the Lord to help her with her understanding and speaking the language. She has great faith - I know she will do awesome!!
I have been studying about Irkutsk and its history and surrounding area and it is very interesting. I am learning alot about Russia. So I thought that I would give you a some interesting tidbits on this new area that she is serving in.
It is one of the largest cities in Siberia with a population of 593,604.
In the early 19th century, many Russian artists, officers and nobles were sent into exile to this part of Siberia for their part in the Decembrist revolt (Because this happened in December the rebels were called Decembrists) against Tsar Nicholas 1. (Hence the saying when someone does something wrong, "You are going to get sent to outer Siberia!")
Irkutsk became the major center of intellectual and social life for these exiles, and much of the citys cultural heritage comes from them. Many of their wooden houses, adorned with ornate, hand carved decorations ( see picture below), are still standing there today.
It has the nickname ~ The Paris of Siberia.
It is a very prosperous cultural and educational center for eastern Siberia with many museums and universities. The architectural design of many of the buildings and churches is very beautiful and ornate.
Kazansky Church in Irkutsk
Epiphany Minster (built in 1718-1746)
Irkutsk railway station on the Trans-Siberian Railway
(This is probably where Mindy arrived in this city)
A Decembrist house with distinctive hand-carved trim
Irkutsk sits near Lake Baikal. It is called "The Pearl of Siberia". It is the deepest lake in the world (about 2,442 ft) and it contains a total of about 20% of the worlds surface fresh water. It has a surface area of 12,248 square miles and is home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, 2/3 of which can be found nowhere else in the world.
The lake is completely surrounded by mountains, contains 27 islands (the largest is 45 miles long and is the 4th largest lake-bound island in the world. The lake is fed by as many as 330 inflowing rivers.