Monday, October 10, 2011

I Love it Out Here

Well, we hit a new low in almost every stat this week, so that was definitely disappointing.  But it's interesting, because I feel really good about the effort I put in and we did do a lot of good things this last week.  And just overall I feel good and love being here. So to accurately describe how I feel, I am definitely disappointed and anxious with how things have been going lately, but I'm not discouraged and I'm still very hopeful, because I know we have been doing good here and I just really love being here, it's kind of hard to explain actually.
So guess what Mom? I got both packages on the same day! haha.  Last Friday, who knows, one might have gotten to the mission office a few days before and sat there.  But thank you so much! They are awesome, and getting packages is the highlight of the whole week, so having two was even more of a surprise.  They both arrived in good condition and unopened.  The pictures you sent are awesome and I already added some of them to my small photo album that I always take around with me, for when I meet members and just new people in general, I guess.  The only thing that happened is that a lot of the individual baggies that the caramel corn was in ripped, but it was all still in the box, so its all good! It is is all very good. Thank you so much!
So some more ideas or advice on packages is probably more candy, especially chocolate. I wasn't big on candy and treats before I got here, but I think it's different now that I have to always cook on my own and there's not just stuff laying around the house. Also if you have a candy bar in the middle of a long day especially when you are contacting or what not, it can be a really good morale booster.  Some candy is found here, especially Snickers are very prevalent, but Reese's are definitely not, so I would have to request, some Reese's Fastbreaks because they are a little more convenient than the cups, and Paydays, and just any other variety of candy.  Also you cannot buy note cards here. and I like to make flashcards out of them to if you could just send a small pack of 3x5 blank on both side note cards, that would be great. I have enough for a little while.  Also Ziploc bags, don't send just bags, but like if you are doing caramel corn or something, put a Ziploc bag around it too, 1 its a stronger container and 2 we can reuse it.  And those fruit bars or something like it are awesome. 
So to answer some questions mostly from Mom's email last week
So as far as activities with other missionaries here, we see them a lot between English club and district meeting, but now we only see 1/2 at district meeting.  We are invited to FHE every week.  But we've only ever gone twice,  the first week here just to meet people and we brought Grisha one time when he was still being reactivated.  But we don't go usually unless we have a good reason or investigator who wants to go, which hasn't happened yet.  I've talked about some of the P-day things we do.  Usually the missionaries like to get together and do something,  even something small, we haven't done anything big or really fun recently. 
So Aleksei has been in the hospital all week.  That was a big part of the reason we had no investigator meetings at all this week.  We tried to call him every day but he only answered once.  But the good news is that he brought his Book of Mormon, and before he went in he said that the only thing he will have time to do in there is read it and pray, so I sure hope he's still doing that.
One of our previous investigators wouldn't answer our calls, so we went by because "we were in the neighborhood and needed to use the toilet" which was actually true, he was very nice and let us in but said that he didn't want to talk to us about religion at all but we were welcome to come by and hang out, so there is not much we can do there, just stay in contact every once in a while, but we don't meet with him.
Another figged us once on a meeting, and has been totally uninterested in any gospel conversation.  Explanation: Rob said the french term is "posing the rabbit," in Russian the "fig" is a rude gesture made by sticking your thumb through your fingers as if to say "I got your nose." It's mildly rude, so like it's really rude to do it to a stranger or someone older than you, but its' appropriate for us to do to a teenage member who we are friends with who is messing with us or something.  Anyway in Russian the term for standing you up at a meeting is "they gave us the fig" or the more English version, they figged us.
Which leads me into my next story.  Another reason for no investigator meetings is that our two others who we actually consider investigators both had back to back meetings set up and they both figged us and had their phones turned off, so that is extremely frustrating.
We spent a lot of our time this week more like private investigators than missionaries, because yesterday there was a big ward council where they finally went through the branch list and got off the names that moved and the bad addresses and numbers and stuff which hadn't been done for years.  So we were going all over this week trying to hunt down these inactive families that nobody has ever heard of.  Banging on apartment doors and finding out where they moved and stuff, so we accomplished a lot from that, but it didn't help our proselyting numbers very much.  The best thing that came out of it is that we found two young adult men with whom it looks likes we will be able to have some consistent meetings and really be able to help.  Also, my contacting is getting better and better,  which is good because we need it.  And I've felt really good lately about the effort that I've been able to put in contacting and in general.
I watched general conference this weekend and it was awesome!  Its amazing how much more excited I was and how I thought it flew by now that I'm a missionary, and it used to seem so long.  My favorite talks were Elder Packer, the Japanese 70 in the afternoon session, President Uchtdorf, and Elder Waddel, probably because I thought all of those really applied to me personally and missionary work, and of course I loved both of the prophet's talks and pretty much all of them.
I love it out here and I'm really happy so that's good, hopefully next week will be better.
-Elder Topham