Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Invite Them to Learn More

Hey Everyone,
It's been another good week,  and I'm definitely feeling more and more excited to leave the MTC and get to Russia each day.  Our travels plans come tomorrow I think, so that will be pretty crazy when we get those.  Another cool thing that happened is yesterday we got our new name tags with our names spelled in Russian characters. Just having those made it seem a lot more real too.
The gym finally reopened this week, so gym time has been much better.  Good news, I had an official weigh in and I think I'm up 3 pounds up to 201 so that's good.  And I've dunked several times now, so that's not as cool anymore.
Hey Sam: I don't know if you've been working on it or forgot but if you could get Bronston's address for me from Facebook, just like message him for it explaining what's up, I would really appreciate that.
I guess this week something significant that I've learned is the importance of members in teaching.  From watching the district movies it is obvious how much having a member at the lessons and making the referral helps.  During TRC this week there weren't enough Russian volunteers, so we split up in 3s and someone was a "member" and it was so much easier to teach.  And from what I've been hearing from our teachers, you have almost no success ever going door to door, but pretty much all of their baptisms are friends of members, who invited them to learn more.  So everybody who reads this, make sure that if you've had someone in mind who you want to share the gospel with do it now, even if they aren't interested, if you explain that you are inviting them because of the joy it brings to your life, there is no way they can be offended or anything, they will at least appreciate the thought, and I know it will really help the missionaries there out.
Dad: what do the ward missionaries in our ward do exactly?
Another cool thing that I've heard from our teachers is that ties in Russian are super cheap.  There are places where you can pick them up for only a couple dollars, so it seems like on average each missionary has come home with like 40 more ties than they went with or something like that.  I'm definitely going to do that too, because as my wise uncles told me, it really is the only variation in the wardrobe and if you are wearing a tie you really like it can make all the difference.
But I'm going to want to buy them there because I think I'm really going to be pushing the weight limit on my way to Novo.  Apparently the church will only pay for one 50 pound bag and one 37 pound bag + the carry on, and I've gotten so many Russian books here.  So I need to decide what to leave behind.  I'm not going to be able to bring all of the pictures that you sent me, so would you like me to send those back or toss them? Also, all the mail I've received  - do you think its worth sending back and saving, or just chucking?  Also, my Dansko shoes have kind of been bothering me.  I don't know if it's the style, or that they might be a little too small, I actually think its a combination of both, but it puts a lot of pressure on my big toe when I walk. I'm going to decide in the next week if I want to hang onto them, or send them home and get another pair in Russia, it would help solve my weight problem a little.
This week I finished the Book of Mormon, that I started on the first day of the MTC.  It was really awesome.  I've also read Our Heritage and Our Search for Happiness, too.  So now I'm working on reading the BOM in Russian and I want to get to the New Testament and Jesus the Christ soon.  I won't be able to finish those before I leave, but I will soon.
This week we have been speaking all Russian everyday, except for the last hour of each day.  It's really hard and there is a lot of charades and grunting involved. But it helps to practice.  I think next week will probably just be all Russian the whole week. 
So, Dad mentioned that Eric Leavell knew an Elder Carr from Malibu.  I've been able to talk to Elder Carr a lot because he is my friend Elder Johnson's companion so we sit together at meals often.  He's really funny.  He's going to have a harder time with the Russian weather than I am, I think.
I still get to see Elder McClellan a bunch, I don't see Elder Geist much.  I had the same meal time as Elder Witbeck, so I saw him every day, but he just left early this week.  We came in on the same day, so that means I'm getting close.
Matthew: Good luck in your golf tournament this week bud!  Just try your best and keep working hard and make sure to have fun.  I know you'll do awesome.  That's really cool that you shot a 92, that's way better than I've ever done, so I'll have to practice a lot when I get home so I can beat you.
President Gibbons said they got delayed a little longer, so they are probably flying in a few days after us, so we will probably be greated by the interim mission president.
Well not much exciting news until I actually get to Russia, but I'm just doing really well and really enjoying my time here.  Thanks for sending me those missionary profiles.  Cai's sounded just like him, I know he loves that extra crispy chicken.  Love you all. 
-Elder Topham