Monday, January 9, 2012

Such a Blessing

Hey! What's up?

So it's been another good week. Elder Hyde and I are really pumped and our weekend ended up really good. We actually had the most meetings this week than any other week our whole time together. It's still not a lot, but we are very excited about it. Sunday was a huge day for us. Tamara finally came back to church, and there is another less active family who we started working with, and they were at church too. There's no stat for "less actives at church" but we would have nailed that one this week, so we were already really excited on Sunday. Then Zhenia came to church and just loved it and loved everyone there. He just kept going around meeting everyone and telling them that he finally found the true church. It's crazy, we don't actually teach him, we just kind of give him stuff to read, then in the phone calls and meetings just kinda funnel him in the right direction and answer some of his questions, it's ridiculous. We met on Sunday to talk about the word of wisdom. We had already mentioned it to him before and so he actually started quitting smoking the day before the meeting. He used to do a pack a day and the day before he just cut it cold. He was telling us that it was hard for him, and he kept a big thing of jam with him all day, and would eat a big spoonful of jam whenever he felt like smoking. He said that he ate a liter of jam that day. He's really intense, it's cool. We actually had our Sunday meeting at the Webb's apartment, right after church, it was really cool. At one point he started talking about how he thinks he gets answers to prayers. He said, "When the answer is yes I just feel really good and warm inside, but when it's no it's like the thought kind of leaves me and I can't really think about it clearly any more." I was translating to Elder Webb and I said, "So.. he basically just quoted D&C 9 (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8-9) without ever reading it," and Elder Webb's like well let's show him! and we did, and Zhenia started freaking out. He's like, "Whoa! That's what I said! I've never read this before I promise!" It was really cool. The only challenge with him is getting all the material to him before his date because we have to meet so infrequently and for some reason, he and his wife have this thing, where they want him to kinda get into the church first then bring the rest of the family along later, so we still have to get over that.

So yeah, it was a really good end to the week. Along with that, on Saturday we had to stay in because it was Russian Christmas, and so we just did our district meeting then stayed in at the Webb's house, it was really fun, even though we didn't really do much. The Webb's fed us sloppy joes and pizza, so it was a great day.

Well, I'll be going on visa pretty soon, then right after that will be transfers. I'm pretty sure I'll be leaving this time around, but we'll see. It will be interesting, they are changing the mission to only 2 zones, then they are going to put both zone leader companionships in Novo. It's going to be weird, and also they are changing the way they do visa trips and rather than doing a bunch of small groups they are sending like half the mission together with us, so that will be quite interesting too.

The Russian post office is ridiculous. Its like the American DMV, but worse because there is less order to it. I tried going like 3 weeks ago and it was packed and I didn't have enough time, then it was closed for 2 whole weeks during the holidays. I went today and there were like 4 people in line, so I went and stood behind them, then all these babooshkas who were sitting on benches around the post office started talking to me and telling me that they all had places in the line already and I left again because it was taking forever, so I don't know if I'll ever get letters out.

Hey Mom, I love you. Yeah we went all the way out there for splits, it was awesome. Thanks for those thoughts, I really liked that fable, but I've never heard it! I made a really good taco soup this week, you would be quite proud of me.

Well I think that's pretty much it. Love you all.

Elder Topham

PS - Another cool thing. I talked to Zhenia's wife on the phone a couple times, the first time she asked me how we do baptisms and confirmations, the second she asked me if she and Zhenia could get married in our church in the summer. So we had a good talk about temples. I wish every investigator was like them, it's such a blessing. Aleksei says he won't be ready to be baptized till the spring, so we'll see.

Me at the Webb's for Russian Christmas with Elder Patton

Sam's old car is in Russia!

Me in front of a giant Christmas tree.