Monday, December 5, 2011

When You Feel Like You Really Made a Difference

So this week has been really good, it's actually flown by with the leadership training and exchanges.  

Leadership training was really cool, we just talked all about finding the whole time, and it was really good to get some new ideas, so hopefully they will be able to be applied well and work.

So I'm starting to go on exchanges with everyone in my district, and those are really fun.  I had Elder Dawson for a day this week, and it's cool, because he is totally fearless and literally talks to every person, which is mostly good, but there are some people where you just have to realize that it's a waste of time, but that's beside the point.  Anyway, we tried one of the new clever contacting approaches that was brought up at leadership training, and here's the story behind the pictures. I had him take a picture of me in this pretty spot,

then when the first guy walked by he stopped him and asked him to take the picture for us.
He did, and I sent it to you, then as he was giving us the camera back, we just chatted with him, and he invited us over to a little cafe to tell him more, so it was awesome! It worked first time and got us out of the cold!  He didn't end up being really interested, but we'll see, we might see him again.

And we even got let in while tracking on the same day! It was awesome, because we didn't have any meetings planned the whole day and we ended the day with two investigator lessons. 

It's been pretty cool, the last two weeks I've given 5 blessings, 4 for health and 1 comfort  It's pretty cool because that is definitely one of my favorite things to do. Dad and I have talked about it some, and it's been really cool how what dad and I talked about and what it says in my P. blessing are really true.  I actually feel kinda drained after we leave those meetings, but it's a really good kind, like I just finished working out, so I love it.  And to make it even better we gave blessings to an inactive guy and his active mother.  We saw them 2 days later and they both were really grateful and said, "thank you so much, I felt better the next morning and went to work" and the guy even came to church! Well, at least sacrament meeting, and he was playing on his phone most of the time, but it's still progress.  It's just really cool to see these instances where you feel like you really made a difference.

So the branch just made home teaching assignments and we have a companion, so hopefully he will be down with going with us and that will allow us to have a few more appointments.

So, to answer a few questions, it's pretty much the same decorations here for Christmas, just not near as nice, as far as homes and things go, they do trees with some lights and ornaments, but it is all just apartment buildings, so there really aren't lights on houses, but Lennin Square looks pretty, they put up some lights and it looks really cool.  So Elder Drasso was looking for a nativity set for a while for his parents and wasn't having luck, but I'm sure they would have them in Moscow.

So for our meals, we pretty much have to cook for ourselves every meal.  Aleksei is the only one who has ever fed us, oh and gleb too back in the day, as far as full meals go.  We have a pretty basic diet, pasta with red sauce and meat, pasta with white sauce and chicken, rice with chicken, rice with chicken and frozen veggies, pelmeini and vereniki, those are the dumplings with meat and potato in them respectively. Sometimes with frozen veggies also.  Sandwiches, American or Russian style. Ummm... maybe a few other basic things with potatoes.  We are going to do a borscht this week, we had this little borscht pack in the fridge you just have to add potatoes and cabbage, so we'll see. I bought a cabbage this morning that's pretty cool, I was surprised with how heavy it is.  We usually do breakfast pretty nice, we take turns cooking up some eggs usually. It's nice because it holds you over through a long time and it's a really cheap source of protein. especially here it seems.  

Dennis is really nice, but pretty much not interested.  Ilya actually gave his Book of Mormon back to Dennis to give to us.  We convinced Dennis to keep his own, and I can see another meeting coming in the future somewhere, but we'll see.

So I just recently finished the New Testament.  Usually during studies I warm up with a chapter or 2 from the Book of Mormon, then some from whatever I'm reading straight through, like the New Testament (I don't know what I want to do next, either Jesus the Christ or Old Testament).  Then I work on whatever topic I want to study that day, usually it has to do with a lesson we are teaching that day or an upcoming district meeting or something. I like the system it works pretty well.
So here's a little story to kind of illustrate how things are just different here.  The ZLs came in to town on a bus, like a 5 hour ride, from Tomsk.  They got off the bus and Elder Erickson realized that he left his backpack, they go back to get it and it's gone.  Elder Stuart (the ZL, not the AP) finds the bus driver, somehow finds out that bus driver hid it, and pays him 200 rubles to get it back.  It's really funny, mostly because little corrupt things like that happen all the time, but it's really funny because 200 rubles is like five bucks.  It might have even been 100 ruble's, I don't really remember but it was something ridiculous like that.

It's been pretty warm considering the season, still haven't been wearing the big jacket yet.  I think there will probably be a big temperature drop soon, so we'll see.  So anyway I haven't frozen yet, the work seems to be picking up, so I'd say everything is good.

Elder Topham
This is Tamara the less active woman who we see fairly regularly, and her teenage daughter, and the little girl is their neighbor.