Meet Sister Abby Harris. She served her mission in Novosibirsk, Russia in 2012 and 2013. She recently reflected on her unique mission experiences and shared some of her thoughts with us. Thank you Abby!
Serving a mission in Siberia is kind of the coolest experience in the world...or should I say coldest! I served in 2012-2013. The coldest it ever got while I was outside was -40 degrees. You would never understand that kind of cold until you experienced it. We did have a mission wide rule that if it was below -20 degrees, that we were to do missionary work inside as much as we could. The summer was pretty normal, 70-90 degrees. We rode buses and walked everywhere. Most of my mission was knocking doors and inviting on the street. I had the privilege to do missionary work in all 7 cities of the mission, except for Kazakhstan. I know a lot has changed in Russia since my mission, and I feel so blessed to have served with a nametag on my clothes and a Book of Mormon in my arms. Today, missionaries in Russia can no longer preach or wear name tags. Learning Russian was not the easiest, but the Lord still used my simple abilities to teach the gospel. I used my study time sacredly to learn Russian, and it was a constant humbling experience. I tell you what though, I learned the language of the Spirit just as much, if not more than, the language of Russian. Charity is the universal language, and I always found ways to serve, whether dusting out 100 year old rugs or teaching someone basic English. Missionary work felt slow, but I would be lying if I said I didn't see a miracle everyday. In fact, I still look back at my journal often and see so many tender mercies on each page. I would have to say the biggest blessing of my mission was learning how to truly love. I felt as if I had someone open my heart wider and wider each day. Here are a few pictures to show a few highlights of the Novosibirsk mission: