I've been doing great out here! Thanks for the letters and the packages that you guys have sent me. Monday was an awesome mail day. FYI we don't get any dear elders on Saturday and obviously not on Sunday, so anything that is sent after noon on Friday comes on Monday. Monday was so awesome because I got a bunch of dear elders that had built up over the weekend. I also got a letter from Jordan. It was really funny because he put all these hearts and stuff all over the envelope, so the whole district was freaking out when it came in the mail. They were like, "Topham! You told us you didn't have a girl," and stuff like that. But I saw the Texas return address and knew it was from Elder Dudley. It was funny, the first line was, "I hope your district liked this envelope," haha and they did. I also got 2 packages! Thanks for the food and the pants mom, and thank you Ericksons for the Apple pie, my district loved it!
The food here is actually really good. You pretty much have three choices for each meal. Basically two different entrees (sometimes spaghetti) or a burger. They also make really awesome salads so I always get one of those for lunch and dinner. I'm not bored of the food yet, but it is really good to have some snacks back at the room because dinner is pretty early, and especially on the 2 days when we have gym right after dinner I get hungry at night. But now I have a good supply of food, so thank you for that.
The language has been alright. We had our first 100% Russian lesson yesterday and it was pretty rough. I was trying to teach about the apostasy and the message was very hard to get across, but I think I did alright. I've been here long enough where I can kind of project how much I will know by the time I leave, and I'm beginning to see that I won't know very much at all. I mean, Im learning a ton every day, but I'll have so much more to learn once I get to the field. The Rossetta stone definitely helped. I've passed it as far as grammar and sentence complexity, but I know a lot more random vocabulary...like. Nobody else here knows how to say "the brown horse ran fast" because they don't teach stuff like that at the MTC. So I have a little wider knowledge base to work off of.
A little more about my companion Elder Fausett. He is going to St. Petersburg actually, which I think would be an awesome mission. He told me he has a blog too. Look for it Elderfausett.blogspot.com I think. We are getting along well. We are nothing alike, but I think that actually helps in our teaching situations sometimes, when I have no idea how to relate to what the investigator is saying, sometimes he does.
I've been loving the basketball here. My goal is to get a dunk before I leave here. The games are only half court so there aren't any breakaways, so if you try to dunk its always very contested, so you have to earn it. I missed one the other day and it was almost really sick, but I'll get it. Elder Walker and I started working out for half an hour in the mornings this week with my resistance bands, and there is a pull up bar right outside of our door. I've haven't put on any weight yet! Even though I've been eating a ton. But I have been getting more toned from the workouts, so hopefully I'll get a little bulk.
Matthew, I miss you too bud. Good job beating Dad in golf the other day, you would have definitely beaten me too! I love you bud.
Dani, great job getting straight A's, I hope that plaque looks really nice on the wall! I'm so excited you are thinking about running for president. I know whatever position you decide to run for you will do great! Hey Dani I have a special job for you. I need you to send me the lyrics of Never Say Never by the Beibs. Its my favorite song to sing in the shower and it gets everyone pumped up, but I only know two lines, so that would really help me out if you could do that.
I hope you guys had fun at father-sons, I wish I could have gone! There are a few native Russian missionaries. They are in the other Russian zone/branch, so I don't see them as much as some others, but we talk to them every once in a while and practice what we learned like bearing our testimony to them and stuff.
It gets a little discouraging here sometimes when you think you aren't progressing very well, but there are many scriptures that tell us that we can do it if we keep pushing forward and keep trying. Like when Nephi says, "I will go I will do..." so its nice to read those pick me up scriptures or to remember the words of the oh-so-wise Justin Beiber when he said, "I will never say never, I will fight for forever..." Haha we love to sing that one.
I hope everyone back at home is doing well! I love you guys. Thanks for sending the pictures Mom, I love them, I'll hopefully be able to send a few more sometime soon.