Monday, April 16, 2012

Humbly Seeking the Truth

Well another very busy week. I was with Elder Carr on Tuesday and Elder Terry on Wednesday. Thursday we were in Moscow, Friday in Finland, and Saturday and Sunday we watched Conference.

Elder Carr - that was quite a day with him. He literally talks to every person. One time we were on a bus. Usually on a bus I'll try to get a little quiet conversation going with the person next to me, but he just starts loudly kind of talking to everyone, and pretty soon people start getting involved like one time they started arguing between themselves on what you can and can't eat during the Orthodox fast, and one time a guy was being rude to Elder Carr but it didn't phase him, Elder Carr asked him his name and the guy said rudely, "Why do you want to know?" Then Elder Carr just started throwing out guesses, "Sergei, Andrei, Ivan..." and pretty soon the people around him started getting mad at the guy and said "Hey just tell him your name, be nice to the kid." It was quite the interesting day with him. We had a meeting with a big wig politician, he's in the parliament for the Novosibirsk oblast, and he's a communist. He wasn't very interested in talking about religion because he is a hard core atheist, but he was nice to us.

With Elder Terry we had probably the best lesson I think I have ever been on. Elder Hyde had met this guy the day before and he said we could come over. He is a very nice, humble man with a family. He basically agreed already with the idea of an apostasy, and we taught a basic first lesson and it was very powerful. Thinking back on it, the reason the lesson was so powerful was because he was humbly seeking the truth and because of that the spirit was totally unrestrained and was carrying the words that we said into his heart. It was great, at the end, Elder Terry just asked him, "So do you think the things that we have taught today are true?" and he taught for a second and quietly answered, "Yes, I do." It was amazing, those kind of lessons are very rare, and I was very grateful to be able to be there and participate in that.

Wednesday night was also Culture Night, we went to an opera at the big opera theater called "Madame Butterfly". It was awesome, and now that I think about it very interesting. I am an American, watching a bunch of Russians, dressed up as Japanese and Americans, singing in Italian, which is being translated on the screen into Russian. Now that's pretty cool. It was nice, I was able to understand everything from the Russian subtitles. The music was really cool. I really love that theatre, it's awesome.

We had a long layover in Moscow on the way to Finland, so we got out and toured Red Square. It was awesome, we had about 2 hours there so it was enough time to go around and see everything and get pictures, but not enough to really go in anywhere.

Finland was solid. We didn't have much time there. Just enough to go to the temple, eat lunch and go back to the airport. The temple was great, it was amazing because I had a couple specific questions that I was seeking answers to and the answers were so clear, it was incredible and I'm very grateful for that.

General Conference was good. The only bad thing was that I started feeling a little sick in Finland, then the travel on the way back without sleeping just killing me and I was feeling like junk all weekend, so I maybe didn't get as much out of it as I would have usually. But I'll do a good study of it in the Liahona. I got some good sleep the last couple nights so I'm feeling better, and I should be good going into this week. My favorites were probably Uchtdorf Sunday morning and Holland Saturday afternoon, I personally liked those the most. I thought the beginning of Elder Scott's about revelation and especially communications from beyond the veil and dreams and stuff was very interesting.

So for your AP - tracting question. First, when you say tracting, do you literally mean tracting or "proselyting". Because in our mission we rarely actually go tracting because its not effective. But as an AP we do have a little less time to do proselyting things, but for the most part we still spend about half to 75% of our time proselyting. The other part of the time is great, it's not like we do any office work or anything. Sometimes we will have some extra meetings like with President, or doing orientation with the new missionaries or other special assignments, but all that stuff is awesome and is a nice change so I like it.

Elder Topham
Elder Harrison and I on the express train from the airport in Moscow.
Me going into red square from the back.  You can't really see me, but I think its a cool picture.

Me reading the Book of Mormon in front of Saint Basils.
MTC group in front of Saint Basils.
Me in front of Bolshoi Theater.
Saint Basils and the Kremlin
I don't really know whats back there!
Me in front of the Kremlin.