Monday, March 12, 2012

A Good Amount of Work

Well Hello,

So this had been a very fun week. I got into Novo Tuesday Evening. Then Wednesday Morning Elder A and I went with President to take the 3 departing missionaries to the airport and pick up one sister missionary. (There should have been 5 elders and 2 sisters but the Americans got delayed a week so it was only the one native sister who came from Spain). So we picked her up and did the little orientation and introduction with her at the mission home. And because she only came from Spain, she didn't want to sleep all day so we took her and Sister Trottier to the bus station and sent them off to Tomsk that afternoon. It was fun, but also tough to give the orientation to a Russian sister. I assume when the elders come this week and we do it again when they are still all wide eyed and amazed by everything, it will be easier.

I got both packages right when I got in! Haha it's funny that I always get two at a time even though they are sent at different times. They were awesome. I love the clothes, the shirts look really nice and I love the tie. It's been warm so I haven't worn the sweater yet. Then of course thanks for all the food and treats. Elder Anderson and I are really set now, because of those packages, a couple missionaries went home and left some American goodies in the apartment, and especially because of this interesting story. Ryan Miller, who played volleyball for BYU and the US Olympic team, was playing professionally for the Novosibirsk team and living here. The assistants, about a week ago, went over to his house, and he told them that the season ended and he was going back to the States and he gave them all his awesome food that he had shipped from America for him. Big Costco packs of pancake mix, trail mix, maple syrup, peanut butter, it's awesome. So we have a good supply of everything. Even the things I told you last week in the email, Mom, we have all of those and Elder Stuart left like 10 packs of notecards, so basically I don't need anything, food, seasonings, anything. So unless you already sent the package don't worry about it.

So Mom and Dad, I talked to President about you coming to Russia, official policy in the handbook is that it is discouraged, but allowed as long as you arrange all of the travel, and I'm with you at all times, and that's pretty much it. President said if you wanted to do it we could. I think I need to now look into when my go home date is, and when my visa will expire, because I've heard also that sometimes missionaries' visas expire the next day after they were supposed to go home, so I'll look into that and give you more info.

So I'm kind of been getting up to speed on what its going to be the schedule here as an assistant. Basically, we meet with President twice a week on Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Thursdays we also call the Zone leaders with him. We do some random assignments, and do the new missionary orientation when they come in, and have major roles in all the leadership trainings, but other than that, we have a normal schedule. He says he wants the assistants to build up an awesome area so that they can bring in other missionaries when we do exchanges so they can see what the ideal area looks like. So for the most part we will be staying here and be spending most of our time just doing regular missionary work. But he also said that in the next transfer or two he wants us to go to all of the cities with him really to get to see what it's like there, and how the work is going, and just work with those elders for a couple days. So that will be awesome and I'm really looking forward to that. As far as getting our area going, that will take a good amount of work, there is really only 1 solid investigator right now. The good news is that she will be baptized this week. I've only had a couple meetings with her and she was ready to go when I got her, we just helped her keep going and do the baptismal interview.

I really love being able to spend time with President on a regular basis, he is always really inspiring and uplifting. We had a cool experience that only strengthened my testimony that he is truly inspired. We were at the airport just standing in the check-in line with the 3 departing missionaries and all talking together. The new missionary was supposed to come in about half an hour later. But President just kind of stops in the middle of the conversation and says I'm going to go check the other side of the airport. So he walks around the corner and comes back like a minute later with the new sister missionary who had gotten in way ahead of schedule. There were no boards there telling the landings schedule or announcements or anything, he's just that legit.

So my new companion, Elder Anderson, is awesome. He is just a really awesome and humble guy, and he is a workhorse. He was the Utah 5A shot put champion his senior year. He showed me some of his old pictures and he used to bic his head bald every three days, and I thought he was intimidating now, but man he looked scary. But really he's just a big teddy bear and he's awesome to live with, he keeps everything really clean and neat and is just really easy to get along with. So he's awesome and we are going to really have fun together.

Saturday we went with Elder Davis and Terry and helped Aleksei start fixing his roof and cleaning up some of the fire damage, it was really fun, and I think the other elders are going to pick him back up and teach him again.

And Friday the Webbs threw a little birthday party for Elder Terry and I at the end of district meeting, so that was awesome too. It was cool, I had like 4 different birthday parties here. In Tomsk - 1. the fiesta and 2. my actual birthday when Elder Vargin made me a poster. 3. When I got my packages the next day, and when I came off the bus Elder Harrison was standing there with a big banner that said "Happy Birthday," so that was awesome. And 4 at district meeting, so they've been taking care of me.

Well that's all, hope I answered all the questions.

Elder Topham

Elder A and me

Birthday Party and district meeting for Elder Terry and me (We have the same birthday. Sisters Djurich and Holmes also pictured (At the Webb's apartment)
Me, Aleksei, Elder Anderson and Elder Davis, and Fyodor at Aleksei's after we helped with the roof

Elders Davis, Terry and I on Aleksei's roof. we were using those two beams as a ramp to pull up other large beams with ropes.
Me studying in Tomsk

Me cooking in Tomsk