I'm doing great, I hope everyone is doing well. That's so cool that school is out, although it doesn't sound very fun for Danica with all that work that she has to do. Matthew: I hope you are having fun and playing hard at basketball camp. To answer a few questions:
I think my resistance bands are working, I only do them for about 30 minutes in the morning, and with bands like that I don't think you can really build bulk, but I've been getting stronger and looking more toned, but I still haven't gained any weight here despite how much I eat. I do love the feeling for the rest of the day after I've worked out. I don't wake up early, I just get ready quicker than the time allotted, and we have a little free time before breakfast so its enough. Nobody else really brought any equipment, but the pull up bar is nice, and we are creative with some other things. They give us a little missionary health packet with a lame little resistance band in it that does nothing, I'm glad I brought that set.
I'm getting all of your mail so the address seems to be working, but on the paperwork I got on the first day it said August first is my estimated departure date, so I don't really think it matters whether you put 0801 or 0802.
The food here is still awesome, and I'm still loving it. This time, they had chicken cordon bleu for Sunday lunch so that was a pleasant surprise. I'm doing really well on food. To Mom and Danica: I have plenty of mints, thank you and I also have plenty of candy. I'm doing really well on food so I don't need anything, but if you did happen to send something, those fruit leather bars are awesome and maybe some more beef jerky, but please don't go overboard because I have plenty of food. I heard the weight limit for baggage to Russia got lowered so I may have to lose some stuff, we'll see.
We have to teach 4 lessons a week in Russian. 3 are to our teachers who pretend to be someone they taught on their mission. and every Wednesday night we have TRC which is basically a practice session of everything we learned throughout the week. Former Russian missionaries come in and pretend to be investigators, and we have a task like: get to know them, ask about their family, and work, and school. then we have to teach them a lesson. Most of the missionaries dread it because it can be a little embarrassing to look stupid and not know how to say a lot of things or what the heck they are saying, but I look forward to it because its a challenge and I can gauge how much I've learned throughout the week. It's very difficult to answer their questions about the lessons because they usually aren't what you planned to talk about, but I still enjoy it.
I'm glad you found some help with the lawn dad, hopefully it will be looking better than in was when I left. I still haven't me Elder Braiser but I'll keep my eye out for him.
Most of the elders in my district like to play soccer during gym, but we have a few ballers. Elder Mantell who is from London has been nagging me since we've been here to go out and play "futbol" with them, but I keep telling him no. Anyway, I finally made a deal with him that if he memorizes the first vision in Russian by today I'll play for 2 days and if he gets it by tomorrow I'll play that day, because he's pretty close. I'm pretty close too, I'll have it by TRC next week where that is part of our task.
So sad story, I got a note in the mailbox that said, "Dear Elder Topham: a fast food item was delivered to you and because of MTC regulations was thrown away... blah blah blah... we thank you for your understanding." And it was attached to a letter from Laurel who had tried to send me 5 Guys which I would have loved! Because that's my favorite. So I was pretty bummed that I didn't get the food, but it was a very nice thought.
I got some awesome drawings in the mail this week from Bridger and Ryan, and I've also got some from Matthew and some letters from my other cousins. Yesterday at devotional the primary general president was the speaker, and I'm not going to lie, I was a little disappointed when I was expecting an apostle's name and picture on the projector and it came up with Sister Wixom. But I'm also not going to lie, that was my absolute favorite talk. She had a sweet tone, but it wasn't the over exaggerated primary president tone I was expecting. She talked about so many simple things from primary, and I remembered the strong spirit that I used to feel in primary. It was awesome. She ended by reminding us that all of the primary children all over the world are singing songs about us and praying for us. I hadn't really thought about that. That, combined with the pictures and mail I've received from my siblings and cousins made me very emotional, and inspired me to work even harder, and it felt great.
The older group of Russian elders leave very soon, maybe early next week, it's crazy that they are already leaving. Time has gone by very fast here, I feel like I have only just barely arrived and it has already been a month. On the other hand I feel like I've been great friends with the Elders in my district for years. The older Elders have been extremely nice and always very willing to help us practice and they are really cool. I can't wait to be able to do that when the next group of Russian Elders arrive.
A bunch of my friends have been coming in and it's been great to see them. (Funfact: I'm sitting next to Elder Allen right now in the computer lab as I am typing this) I'm excited for Tanner to come pretty soon.
I don't know if you all found out, but they just created the first stake in Russia, it's in Moscow. I hear that all of the Russian members are very excited and that there will probably be a temple there pretty soon, so that's awesome! I'm really excited to go, and I'm just trying to learn as much as I can before I get there so I can be effective.