Monday, October 17, 2011

We Still Have A Lot of Work to Do

Hey everyone! This week has been really good.  

First before I forget I had some logistical questions for Mom.  If you could please, if it's not too hard, and don't worry about rushing it, send me everyone in the extended family's birthdays and addresses.  Also a good thing for the next package whenever it might be would be just a sheet or 2 of return address labels for letters. Maybe one sheet with the mission home address and one sheet with the pouch mail address, that would be really nice for me to have.  Elder Drasso wants the caramel corn recipe and we both say thank you very much.  We usually enjoy it during companionship study.  Also, if you could find and send me the addresses for Tom Randall and Riley Littlefield that would be great.   Also, I'm going on visa trip soon.  And I've heard from the older missionaries that its a good idea to sign up for (I'm pretty sure it's) Delta's frequent flier program, because we can just check in with that card or number every time we fly for visa trips and it really adds up I guess.  
OK, cool, so here's what was really good about this week.  Both of our other investigators met with us and Sergei has a baptismal date now.  I don't think I've told you about them much so I will a little now.

Elder Drasso found Sergei in Omsk and Serg said sorry I'm moving to Novo to go to college, and Elder Drasso said great so am I, so we've been teaching him sparingly ever since.  He speaks English and likes to talk to us in English before and after lessons, but we teach in Russian, so he will understand better.  He's in some kind of architecture program.  Anyway, last meeting we talked about Gospel of Christ and we worked a baptismal date out of him.  He doesn't "know" that it's true yet, but he's getting there.  His girlfriend, who it sounds like he will probably marry soon, is really anti Mormon, and he smokes, so we still have a lot of work to do, but it's moving forward so that's awesome.

Then Ruslan is our other one, his dad is Muslim, and also very anti- Mormon, so that is also tough and he is also a college student who works at a bank.  I have a special attachment to Ruslan because he was pretty much my first successful gospel contact who we got a meeting with - he's moving forward to. 
Aleksei is still in the hospital and doesn't answer our calls much.  

We are getting better at contacting, and I can get numbers pretty well now, but we are having trouble on the next step and actually getting people to agree to and come to meetings with us. So that's been our problem and that's why we haven't gotten any new investigators recently.

We've also spent some time this last week, and will this week, to contacting specifically for English club.  there is a big sign up, Halloween party, English club orientation thing in a week, and we spend a few chunks each week and all the missionaries in the city go out in street clothes with t-shirts that say "free English" and clipboards getting people signed up for English club. Hopefully it will get a bunch of new people there and we can just baptize them all.

It's been pretty warm here this last week, I'm kind of surprised.  But supposedly it gets cold here, so we'll see.  Oh, here's the worst part, they already turned on the central heating for the city, so every time we come into the apartment it feels like a sauna and we have to throw all the windows open, but after we do that its fine.  It's weird - all of the Russians always wear one layer too much of clothing, and look at us funny when we are "under dressed" but totally fine.  But funny story, that's how the former district president here met the missionaries.  His wife stopped them and asked them where their coats were, and they talked to her and ending up baptizing them.  So when it gets colder we are gonna try going out really under dressed to try to use it as a conversation starter.

I bought some boots this week, they are awesome! Fur lined, have a nice zipper on the side for convenience, they were pretty expensive, but I got them from a good quality store, and they are big enough, so I'm really happy with them, they should work really well.

So I had a really vivid memory recently about the first time, I recognized a distinct answer to one of my prayers, and I'm really happy that I didn't forget about it.  It was when I was taking my black belt test for tae kwon do, and it was at the very end and we had to break a series of boards with about 6-8 different techniques, some that I had never done before.  And if I remember right, I was practically hiding in the corner while other people volunteered. and I was crying because I was so afraid.  and Dad called me over and usually in that kind of situation he would tell me to suck it up and just get out there.  But I distinctly remember that he told me to pray and ask for the strength that I needed.  And it worked.  I don't remember exactly what happened but it was like something came over me I got like all but 2 boards in my first try and it only took me a second on those.  And I remember that Alfonso and Bernard's dad was filming it and he asked us if he could show that to his kids, because that was the most aggressive and intense he has ever seen anyone.  Just remembering that experience was a good testimony builder for me.  So when I remembered that I thought it was really cool.  And I was wondering if you remembered that, Dad.  I think you were the only one there, but I'm not sure. and I wanted to see if I remembered it right.

Well I'm still loving it out here.  I love the other missionaries and our investigators and the members.  It's been tough, but it's awesome.

-Elder Topham