Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Turning Point

I haven't gotten the package yet.. haha oops.  It's ok, I'll start bringing them (mints) to church and giving them to the kids.  Yeah, that was the apartment (in the pictures from last week), it is really nice because they just redid the interior.  But it is small and the building's old...but good location.  My coat will be extremely warm, I'm excited to have to wear it.  So this week I bought a shopka from the army surplus store for 800 rubles, you will see pictures of it sometime in the future.  It will be plenty warm.  It's synthetic fur so it was not expensive and I won't feel bad getting some good wear on it, or if it gets dirty.  I'll probably look for a real fur one next year.  I also bought some leather mittens with fur on the inside for 500 rubles on the rinok. Those are probably the warmest things for hands.  But they are not very convenient for doing things, so I'll probably only wear them on the coldest days.  Haven't got boots yet, but I found a store that has some good durable ones and they are getting some in my size soon. They won't be cheap but they will be very good quality.  I would rather buy boots there than on the rinok.  Side note, Grandpa McCoy would love the rinok.  He would do a good job intimidating the vendors and getting good prices.  Good question about the "too cold temperature".. I suppose I will find out if it happens

So this week was also pretty rough.  We have lost a lot of people who we thought would become good investigators in the last few weeks.  And this week we had to spend a lot of time contacting.  I was pretty down near the middle of last week because we had a few days with 1 or no meetings and we were spending a lot of time just walking around trying to talk to people.  With absolutely no success, many times we couldn't even get people to listen for more than a few seconds time after time. So the more that that kept going the more I would get discouraged and not try as much and at the end of the day I was feeling bad about the effort I had put in.  And I was getting pretty down on myself because I didn't see that I was going to be able to improve. But on Wednesday night I think I had a turning point.  I pulled out some of my old letters that I keep in their own folder and read them and it helped more than I could have ever imagined.  The ones that had the most impact on me were the letters that Bishop Lish and Rob wrote, and the blessing Dad gave me before I left.  Just reading those changed my whole attitude, and it was amazing because I feel like all three of them were written to me at that very time in my mission (which I'm sure will reoccur occasionally)  and they understood exactly what I was thinking at that time.  Anyway what happened is they totally changed my attitude and the next day, we still didn't have much success, but when I came home that night, I was totally satisfied with the work I was able to put in that day and I felt great. And that has continued until now, so I'm very Grateful for what I think will be a really big turning point in my mission.

So some really awesome experiences did happen this week.  Our big glimmer of hope in all of our work is Aleksei.  He still has some concerns but he wants to be baptized and he has a date that we are really excited about! He said he will work toward being baptized on Oct 29, but he won't make any promises that he will be ready by then.  So he's been a great blessing for us and is doing awesome.  He fed us an awesome meal on Saturday.  We helped him till his garden for a couple hours, and he had his wife make us borscht.  It was my first time having it and it was awesome.  She also made a salad and tea and honey bread stuff, and everything except the bread and the honey was straight from their garden.  It was delicious.  (Dad: if you still are planning on coming here in a few years. We will definitely visit him.  That will be way more fun than touring any tourist place, to see some real life of a Russian and he speaks English and is just awesome.)  

We also had a really funny experience.  Our branch president just got married and 4 missionaries and some of his family helped him move all of his wife's stuff to his apartment, including some furniture and a piano!  So here's the funny thing.  Turns out a Russian move is nothing like a McCoy move.  Rob and James would have left after 2 minutes there.  There was no order, no prep and mass chaos.  The women were inside just throwing everything in shopping bags, there were no boxes.  Men were just grabbing bags and furniture (often the furniture still had things on it, like a desk with stuff on it, or bookshelves) and putting it in the truck with no particular order.  There was no caution, things were being banged on walls, the piano was hilarious. all of the men just got on it, and there was no order, just a lot of yelling like "go, go go". But hey, it made it down a flight of stairs and up two haha.  And the whole process actually went really fast, took about 30 minutes to load and about the same to unload.

It's starting to get a little chilly, been wearing a light jacket, so hopefully it won't get too cold too fast.

Thanks for the emails, love you all.

Elder Topham