Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This is What You Need

Well maybe I'll start with Thanksgiving... It was awesome!  We were at the mission home from 2 until 9.  It was supposed to be from 2 till 7, but Sister Gibbons, with little resistance, was able to convince President to let us stay longer.  There was tons of food, way more than enough because there were quite a few missionaries there too.  Sister Gibbons, and the two senior couple sisters all cooked. Elder Hyde and I made some cookies and brought some ice cream.. the cookies were good but lame compared to the other desserts, so nobody really ate them.  But the ice cream was very useful to have with the pies.  So we kinda relaxed for a while before dinner. Then after dinner, President wanted us to watch a movie together and he chose one that is, I guess, a family tradition for him called Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby.  I don't know if I would have liked it much in my pre-mission days, but it was awesome! 1- because it was a movie, 2- because it was good, and 3- because it had some very politically incorrect parts that were hilarious, and because of Presidents reaction because I think he had forgotten that those parts were in there, and was kinda regretting showing it, but we had fun. Then he let us pick one, and everybody picked Tangled, which is a solid one too. Also, keeping in mind how every movie is 100x better on the mission, so it was amazing.  So anyway, it didn't really feel like a traditional thanksgiving, probably because it was with different people, and no fried turkey, no waking up early to watch Sam go run, no watching football, and so on. But it was amazing, and it did wonders to recharge the batteries and lift the spirits.

So the AP's are actually in a threesome now which is odd, but cool because they are able to split off with other companionships a lot.  Elder Stuart, the older one who goes home next transfer whom i really respect, spent a day with us and it was awesome.  I learned a lot from him.  

This next week we have a leadership training meeting for all the DLs ZLs APs and trainers, so that will be awesome to hear from President again and to see some friends that I haven't seen for a while.  And the ZLs are going on exchanges with us tomorrow so we'll see how that goes.  It's really cool to have a lot of different things shaking up the schedule.

This was cool, our little miracle for the week.  We found a piece of paper from one of our old English club activities with a question on the bottom that asks if they would like to know more about the church, and a guy had checked yes. But there was only an address, so we found the apartment in a sketchy neighborhood, and nobody was there so we left a note and the guy actually came to the next English club, found me, and said he would definitely be at church then came to church! haha It was incredible.   So we'll see what happens there, he doesn't have a phone, and he said it wasn't a good idea for us to go to that neighborhood so we'll see.

This was cool too.  There was a baptism on Saturday. We were there and there was a senior couple who serves in Moscow as auditors. They came in for a mission tour, and were there and they needed someone to show them back to the metro and he actually wanted to buy something, so we took him to a store and then they offered to take us to lunch, so we went to Carl's Jr. and it was awesome! They paid for it and it was just sweet, you don't understand how awesome that stuff is until you are out here. haha

Thanks again for the Christmas package Mom.  I'm still enjoying it, it's amazing. The toffee actually tastes like home.  I actually feel like I'm sitting on the black chair watching football, or that I'm sitting in a folding chair next to the fire working on the puzzle.  It's amazing how vivid those memories are, remembering smells, sounds, emotions everything. It's really sweet.

We are still kinda struggling with investigators.  We had 3 first meetings all "pose us the rabbit" as Rob would say.  Two of them had been confirmed on the phone, one of those only 2 hours before the meeting.  Ilya hasn't answered our calls, but Dennis has.  He said he read all of 1st Nephi, but he said something along the lines that he wasn't really feeling it like we do and he called and set up an appointment to "give us our book back" so we'll see about him tonight. The meeting with Aleksei was pretty intense, he wouldn't even let us pray at the beginning, much less offer it himself.  He kept trying to change the subject during the lesson,  but I said, "Aleksei you need to hear this, this is what you need, listen to me for five minutes without interrupting."  It sounds meaner in writing than it actually was, but we have a good relationship so he took it well, listened and after we read Alma 7:11-13
 11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and aafflictions and btemptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
 12 And he will take upon him adeath, that he may bloose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to csuccor his people according to their infirmities.
 13 Now the Spirit aknoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the bflesh that he might ctake upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.
he said "Wow, those verses really touched me" and he let us pray at the end and committed to read the chapter.  It was a big turnaround in one meeting, but he has a long way to go and it will probably be a slow process but he'll get there. Those verses have become some of and maybe my absolute favorites. 

Well stuff's still moving a lot, I haven't frozen yet. I've learned its all about the shoes, scarf, hat and gloves, it's not really your body that gets cold. We are probably going to Carl's again today with all the missionaries. 

I'll attach some pictures. I hope this is "Russian missionary enough" to give you a few options for your card if it's not too late and there will be some at the zoo. They had some white tigers there too which was cool, felt like home.  It's still not cold enough for the big coat, but I did wear a shopka in some of these. 

Elder Topham

Here are 3 "generations" of missionaries: Elder Drasso, Hyde and I after zone conference

 Russian missionary picture

 me almost being eaten by a dino at the zoo.... only in Russia do they have dinosaurs at zoos

Elder Harrison and I at the zoo with the polar bear

me installing some kind of clothes line thing for a handicapped member

I couldn't resist when I saw this billboard for an "american pub"