Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Hey Everyone!
I'm doing great, I'm having an awesome time here and I feel like I'm still learning a lot every day.  Thanks for the food Mom, its very nice to have some snacks for after dinner, and I have plenty now, so thank you.
It's a pretty crazy week here for a couple of reasons.  First, the older group of Russian Elders left on Monday and Tuesday, so it was really weird to see them leave already, it was also pretty sad to see them go.  Also, all of the new mission presidents are coming in today, I think.  There is a special devotional Friday night and it's supposed to be really good, and everyone is really excited about it because usually a bunch of apostles come this week, so that should be really cool.  The down side to all this is that they closed the gym all week! I guess they do trainings and stuff for the new MPs in there, but its terrible because it means no basketball.  That means that I have to play soccer during gym time, so that really stinks.  I tried the volleyball here but the quality of the games is frustrating so I can't do that.  The soccer is actually pretty fun.  I had to play last Saturday because Elder Mantell got the first vision, and I've been playing this whole week because the gym has been closed.  The only problem is that there are too many people, so there is never any space on the field.  Also, they have a no-header rule, so when the ball is up in the air, Elders do ridiculous things to try to hit the ball with their shoulders, which I bet is much more dangerous than letting us use our heads... Anyway it's still pretty fun.
Oh yeah, I guess it's also pretty crazy this week because they changed all of the leadership.  So I was assigned as district leader last Sunday.  MTC district leader doesn't really do much.  I just check the mail now and run the District Meetings on Sunday, the District devotional review on Tuesday and the planning meeting on Friday as well as interview all of the senior companions. 
So we should meet our new mission president on Friday after the special devotional.  Sister Sanford told me that they recently switched the new MP because of visa issues or something like that, and we now have whoever was supposed to be the mission president in Arkansas or something like that, but he has been in Russia teaching law the last few years. I don't know where she got that from or if I heard her correctly or anything, but I'm just passing along what I heard, I should let you know next week. 
The new Russian Elders should be coming in a week from today.  So they do come in every six weeks, but we only stay here for 11, so we have a week by ourselves, if that makes sense.  I'm excited for Carter to come and have another close friend here.  A cool part about the older Elders leaving is that we could upgrade our desks by taking them from their class rooms.  Their desks have more writing space and a basket underneath them and the chair is much more comfortable than our older ones.  It may not seem like a big deal, but it really is.  Things like this make all the difference in the MTC, especially because we spend more time in our desk than we do in our bed -  haha.
I have the first vision down.  It's slow and shaky at the end, but I have it.  Elder Fausett is really good at it, so he is going to do it at our lesson tonight at TRC.  He is better than me at memorizing, and I am able to grasp the language concepts a little quicker, so we make a very good team when it comes to studying and teaching. 
Can someone please copy and paste the results of the NBA draft and dear Elder them to me, I would very much appreciate that.
Bridger had some wonderful questions about the MTC so I would like to answer them now
1. There is some grass at the MTC between some of the buildings, but they are also doing a lot of construction on the walkways and overhanging structures, so its not very pretty around the class rooms right now.  But there is a huge grass field across the street that we get to go to every day where we can play soccer and frisbee and things like that.
2. There are flowers at the MTC, mostly in front of the cafeteria building and they are very pretty
3. They have pancakes for breakfast about once a week and they are very good.  But my favorite breakfast here are the breakfast burritos.
I hope you all are having a great time in Idaho! It sounds really fun and I definitely wish that I could have gone.
I love all of the time I have to study here.  I've been able to read so much of the book of Mormon and other scriptures, I've also been working on reading it in Russian, but is extremely hard and a very slow process, but I'm getting better.  I'm also getting better at making up sentences in my head with the words that I have memorized, but its very tough because of all the grammar rules in Russian that we do not have in English, but its going well and I actually really enjoy it. 
That's about it for this week. I'm having a great time and my testimony is really growing. Love you all.
-Elder Topham