Clarice Harrison, a native of Orem, Utah is answering a call to serve the Lord in the Yekaterinburg Russia Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the next 18 months. She will be inviting people in Russia to come unto Christ.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter "Yes its true He is resurrected"

2011 April 25,

This Sunday was Easter for us. We thought it was the one before so we dyed eggs then and they were really cool, let me tell you. We found this dye for about 6 rubles (less than 30cents) that turned the eggs all metallic. We also got these stickers to go on the eggs but they were all of Russian Orthodox churches and crosses so we didn't use them. Although there was one random sticker of a cat so we used that one. They have a fun tradition in Russia of on Easter you are suppose to say "Christ is resurrected!" and then the person who you said it to is suppose to say "Yes its true He is resurrected!" and people give each other colored hard boiled eggs. Sis Knol told me this is a really old tradition and that kids used to go sort of like trick or treating on Easter and they would say this phrase to people and the people were suppose to give them candy or an egg. Here is a fun very Russian thing that happened. Our neighbor one night knocked on our door and complained that we hadn't locked the outside door properly. So to say sorry we made our neighboors banana bread and left them a note saying happy Easter. Later one of our neighbors (not the same one as before) came over and brought us a plate with traditional Russian pastry and colored eggs for us. The really Russian thing that happened is that our neighbor wouldn't hand the plate to us over the door step Sis Knol had to go out into the landing first and then our neighbor could give her the plate. I guess its bad luck if you do anything over the door step or door frame. I didn't see any decorated eggs just colored ones.

Our Easter Sabbath went really well. After church, we had an appointment fall through and Sis Parkinson didn't want to go home so we decided to stop by a babushka, Lubof, who Sis Hakes and I found. Every time we have called this week she said she was "sick" so we decided to just drop by. We got to her door, but we had for gotten which apartment was hers and as we were trying to remember she came out the door with some trash. She let us come in and we talked to her about Christ's Resurrection. She gave us homemade compote, which is a drink here made of boiled fruit in water with sugar. It was cherry and was really good. We have met with her about 5 times I would say, but this time I finally realized she has no real religious background. Maybe because I finally decided to listen to what she was saying or I am now able language wise to understand. She has been telling us this whole time she doesn't understand she just goes through the motions (ie reads prayers from her prayer book) because that is what she thinks she is suppose to do. It was a miracle to me. Hopefully now we will be able to teach more to her needs. It was funny during the lesson because right when I was telling her about Christ's life the phone rang and it was a lady from another church. Lubof started telling the lady that we were there and about us and invited her to come over and meet us. This is not always good because people from other faiths tend to think that we are a cult. The lady didn't come over so it was ok. Then after that another investigator, Nina who hasn't been answering her phone finally answered and we were able to meet with her on a park bench. Yes it is finally warm enough outside! Well it was still pretty chilly but there wasn't any snow to hinder us. We knew that we were in the right place because a less active who has been avoiding us walked past with another less active. God blessed us. We try and try and try with our less actives, but in the end it comes down to their choice to come back. Especially here where its kind of a fight for your life to join the church. So they all have really strong testimonies when they are baptized. This week was also perfect that in my Book Of Mormon reading I just happened to be at 3 Nephi when Christ comes. I would be a very happy missionary if I could just help everyone understand a little bit more about Christ. I am glad that we don't have to be perfect for the Lord's work to go forward. I am sure not perfect. LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sis Harrison

Monday, February 21, 2011

Banana Bread and love

This week I realized something. Sis Hakes and I are like an instant meal that you buy at the store. You don't have to do anything to it all you have to do is open it and eat it. Sis Hakes and I are instant best friends with everyone. No matter who we talk to we love them and wish the best for them. We are the kind of friends that don't judge if you say something mean to us or tell us not to call back. Usually we will just show up at your house the next day with banana bread or a Liahona and tell you we love you. Or we call you everyday until you promise you will show up to your meeting with us, and then we still forgive even if you don't show up for the second or third time. If everyone in the church had friends like this I think more people would still be active. Our area is still in the growing phase. We have found people who are interested, but as of yet are not progressing. Several people have told us they like talking to us, but aren't necessarily interested in our message. So that is a start. We keep trying and working. We have been trying to reactivate some young single adults and we have been thinking about doing a 'FHE' like activity for them to replace the Nehring's (the senior couple that went home) fireside. We hope that this will help them make friendships and support each other and hopefully come back to church. This week our miracle find happened on Sunday. We had a list of apartments without phone numbers that missionaries had contacted in 06 or 07 so we decided to drop by and see if anyone was interested now. The second door we knocked on the sweetest babushka opened it. We told her why we were there and we asked if we could come back when it was convenient for her and talk to her. She invited us in right then. Her husband died in December so I think that she is lonely. She was very nice to us and was so happy to have someone to talk to. I could tell because when I would smiled at her she would smile back and she gave us both a big hug when we left. She invited us to come back this week! It is so fun to find these Gems. These people that even though their culture tells them to be defensive and private open their doors to us. People don't tend to smile here. In fact they think it is really weird when you smile at them. They can tell we are American really easy because we smile and we show our nice teeth when we smile. They also tend to be able to tell that I don't speak Russian. Probably because I don't say anything. Sis Hakes is still doing well. This transfer we are trying to focus on following the spirit. If I have learned anything this transfer it is that every person we find that is prepared to receive the gospel is a miracle. There is no way we would be able to do anything here if the Lord wasn't behind us. I have also come to a greater realization of the Holy Ghost in conversion. We really can't say anything in particular that will convert a person if we have not invited the Holy Ghost to be with us. Words are just words. I love you all! Don't give up on church just because you don't understand one little thing in the scriptures or someone offends you! Because that is seriously just lame. :D If you do sooner or later two very nice Sister missionaries will show up on your doorstep with banana bread and try to remind you that God does love you, and then you will feel guilty.


Sis Harrison

Monday, February 7, 2011

They don't shovel the sidewalks very much...too much snow

Hello everyone! This week wasn't too cold again! Sis Hakes keeps saying we are so blessed because last winter was really, really cold. We still have the rest of February so it could take a turn for the worse. It snows so much here that they tend to not clear off the sidewalks very much. So we usually walk on a half a foot of ice/snow all the time. One time we walked on real cement and it felt really weird. Harder than we are used to. We had a pretty good week. We are still trying to find people to teach. We have one girl that has been really flaky that we found in the former investigators section of the area book. She has a hard time understanding why she would need to be baptized again. Like a really hard time, but she says she likes how she feels when she meets with us so we will continue to teach her and see if she progresses at all. We met with another potential investigator and his girlfriend. Sis Hakes called them from an old call list. They have met with the missionaries a couple times before. We taught them at the other branch building with the other Sisters (Whiting and Hansen) because we are not sure if they live in our area or the other Sister's area. The guy, Antone, talked a ton and really fast so I didn't understand hardly anything. I could tell that he had a lot of his own ideas that he was trying to convince everyone to believe. Afterwards Sis Hakes told me he kept asking how we could believe in our church and that he could feel that one of us had a huge question about our church. Finally Sis Hansen had to tell him that Sis Whiting and I weren't confused about the validity of our church. We just couldn't understand what he was saying and that is why we looked confused. Afterwards he gave us all business cards and wanted to take a picture with us. I don't know if he is going anywhere, but his girlfriend seemed really nice. About every week we visit a Babushka from the branch, she lives with her son (who isn't a member). Her husband is dead and every time we going she shows us her pictures of her family. This last time we went she fed us some soup. It was good the problem was it had fish in it and we aren't allowed to eat fish. So we just ate around the fish. Then she tried to offer us something with mushrooms in it and Sis Hakes had to tell her we weren't allowed to eat it. She has a really cool black skinny cat. The cats here seem to be smaller and have bigger eyes. Sis Hakes and I agreed that if it were allowed, we would have a cat. Although it would probably be really lonely at home alone all day. Here is a cool story. Yesterday was fast Sunday and one of the Elder's recent convert's Mom has been coming to church and she told them that she wanted to be baptized. She hasn't been meeting with missionaries or anything she has just come to church the last two times. She said that she has seen the positive changes in her son and wants to be a part of that. I love it when people finally understand! Too many people have read ridiculous things on the internet and don't even come and see for themselves what great things we have going on. We have seen that a lot here. The husband or wife doesn't like the church so the member goes inactive. Or parents don't see how much their son or daughter is trying to become a better person and they condemn them when they falter. We met with this awesome kid this week who has this struggle. He said that whatever his friends say doesn't really bother him. It’s his family’s that criticism hurts the most. It is a good thing we have a lot of teenagers/ early twenties in the branch. They are able to support each other a lot. Well that is about all from me. If you have any questions I would love to answer. Love you all!

Sis Harrison

Monday, January 31, 2011

31 January 2011 Working in Perm

2011 Jan 31,

Well this week was an interesting on. We still don't have any progressing investigators, but we have a couple of potential progressing investigators and a baptismal date. Yep a baptismal date. That is our miracle this week. We have tried to do some contacting on the street, which doesn't work that well, and we have been calling people from old contact sheets that we found in the area book. One girl was contacted on the street 2 years ago and Sis Hakes called her and she was interested to meet and she showed up to the meeting on Sunday and she was smiling when we first saw her. (I have to tell you people don't smile on the street or on the bus and they think it is really really weird if you try to talk to them.) So that was a good sign. We took her to the church building and she told us that she had been thinking for the last couple of months that something was missing and so when Sis Hakes called her she thought that this might be it. She was so happy through out the entire lesson and when we testified of Joseph Smith we felt the spirit. At the end Sis Hakes asked her if when she prayed she felt that the Book of Mormon was true and that what we were saying was true would she get baptized. She said yes! How cool is that? I didn't think that actually happened. The only catch is she doesn't live in our area. She lives in the other Sisters area so in the end they will get to teach her. But that doesn't even matter because it was so awesome that we found her! This was a pretty big miracle for us because we have been praying and fasting to know what to do to be able to find people to teach.

Other things that happen this week: We contacted a kid on the street named Stas who was so excited when he found out we were American and that I was from Utah. He said "Salt Lake City" in English and I asked him how he new it and he said "Jazz". Turned out he was a basketball player and really into American basketball. We meet people fairly often (especially younger people) who are really excited when they find out we are from America. We always invite them to English club and hope they come. English club is a lot of fun. This last week we taught the beginners class and we have everyone say one think they liked and one thing they didn't like and why in English. It is always fun when we hit upon a word most people don't know and everyone tries to guess what the word means. We always have a spiritual thought after and this time we talked about Prophets. We showed them the recent Conference Liahona with all the pictures of the Prophet and 12 apostles. It was really good.

I still don't speak Russian very well. I think I can understand more, but when someone tries to talk to me one-on-one I always second guess my self and so if I really did understand I come off like I didn't. A lot of people just revert to whatever English they know with me. One girl I was trying to explain something to and she said (in English) "just say it in English." I really need to practice more. Sis Hakes says I haven't gotten to practice as much because we haven't had very many lessons for me to practice in. Everyone here really likes Obama for some reason. He always comes up at some point if the conversation is in anyway connected to America, or even if it is not. I love you all! Hope everything is going well!


Sister Harrison

Does Perm mean permafrost?

2011 January 24,

Well I am still alive if you are wondering. And I am not that frozen either. It has actually been really warm for winter (-10 to -20 instead of -30s) They keep saying that it is going to get colder though. So this week I have a list of some firsts: First frozen dead dog that I almost stepped on. For some reason it reminded me of Dad. I don't know why. There are a lot of homeless dogs wandering around. They tend to not really bother anyone, but they do spread the trash around. First Bible bashing on the street. I couldn't understand what he was saying, but Sis Hakes said he was Baptist and was trying to explain why the Book of Mormon couldn't possible be scripture because there is no scripture after the Bible. Sis Hakes didn't want to argue, but he kept going on and on about saving us. There are a lot of different religions represented here in Perm. For example we live really close to a Lutheran church. I was led to believe that everyone was Russian Orthodox. I played the piano my First Sunday here and my second and I probably will every Sunday here on out. The Senior Couple serving here is going home this next week so they had a going away fireside and guess who got to play the piano for the entire thing including all the musical numbers? I am really going to miss the Nehrings (senior couple). You can just tell that everyone in the branch absolutely loves them. They have opened doors that regular missionaries could not. They just make everyone feel at home. My first real Russian tea!!!!!! Of course it was herbal. We went to our first meeting with a recent convert family (Grandmother and Daughter). They live in a house in a more neighborhood type place. I was also led to believe that everyone here lived in huge cement apartment buildings also not true. We went and they fed us mashed potatoes and we had real Russian tea. We sweetened it with homemade jam. It was very good. They are very strong recent converts. They were both so nice to us. I just love them! The babooshka's name is Maria and she has only one tooth. She is so cute! The members here are just amazing, and they have to get through so much culture just to become members. Everyone smokes. Everyone drinks. Temptations are everywhere. Contacting is hard because people really don't talk to each other on the bus or on the street. They really aren't into pleasant conversation here, but we really have seen some miracles with talking to people. One kid we talked to on the street randomly said that he had a friend who was a member and that he wanted to find out more about what she believed. Sis Hakes has also been calling a lot of people from the Area book. I tried to help her a couple times, but they couldn't understand what I was saying so she had to take over. Russian is still coming along. I can sort of understand the general gist of what people are talking about at church, but anyone else I really don't. It’s a process. Oh I had to translate for the first time! I had to say you have a very nice family. Sister Nehring asked me to say it to a member. It’s a good thing I know how to say it. Please pray for the members here. They are trying so hard to create Zion in the midst of the world. All I have to say is it is really easy to live in Utah. Also pray for the nonmembers here; pray that their hearts will be softened. I love you all so much!!!


Sister Harrison