Monday, April 9, 2012


Well, last Monday everyone went to the zoo for P-day. Yes, that makes it my third time, that's what you get when you serve in the same city for so long, I imagine that I will be there again too.
My National Geographic picture that I took at the zoo of a polar bear catching a fish
We did some early morning contacting this week. The best method seems to be just taking short trips on the metro and talking to the people as they are waiting for it to come, go on with them and then get their number, but we are still working it out.
Wednesday we had ZLC, that was really sweet. It's cool - just us, 4 zone leaders, and President and Sister Gibbons and we just talk about issues in the mission and get fed by Sister Gibbons, so that was awesome.
picture at Zone Leaders Council
This week was pretty tough getting meetings. We spent a lot of time on the phone with contacts getting meetings set up, and we always ended up with meetings scheduled each day, but almost every single one fell through for whatever reason. People calling at the last minute to cancel, people not showing up and not answering their phone, we go to people's houses but they aren't there when they told us they would meet and all kinds of stuff, so that's been pretty discouraging.
Friday after district meeting was really fun. We went with Elders Ortner and Hyde to the park and set up a table with a bunch of Books of Mormon and other materials. We were there for a little over an hour and the other two for about two hours and it was great. I was just at the table talking to people who would come over to see what we were doing, and the other two elders where kinda going around or getting the people who would walk by. It ended up working great. We got over 20 books handed out - almost all of them with a commitment to read, and their number.
Saturday we were first to have 3 first meetings and 1 recent convert meeting. The first guy brought a friend and there was already a member chilling at the branch so we had a nice unexpected member present meeting. He's the guy in the pictures that I forwarded to you. The recent convert meeting went ok, we did that over at the Webb's. They live just across the street from the branch. One of the first meetings canceled, and the last one is quite a story...
Flashback to earlier in the week. Elder Anderson and I decide to follow up on a church headquarters referral from the Nauvoo Pageant. It's been in the area book for about 6 months it looks like, the phone number is bad but nobody had checked out the address. It was only like a 10 minute walk away from our place so we went there Tuesday night. All it says on the referral are two names, M and V, their number and address, and it's from D. We go and M answers the door, turns out he's a really old guy. He was super friendly and he kept saying stuff like "Oh how wonderful these big strong, smiling, American missionaries." Anyway we mention D and he says, "Oh that's my grandson." Then he says, " ok well, my daughter isn't home now you want to talk to her and he gave us her number. We call her the next day, and says "Oh great, please come over and teach us." So then we have this appointment for Saturday night. We think it's this golden investigator member referral. We go in, the daughter answers the door, and looks at Elder Anderson and says "Oh we've met before" and he is very surprised and says, "oh yes we have." I'm thinking what is going on right now? She goes out to put our coats away and he whispers to me.. "I've been here before, she's an inactive member." So turns out that we teach a lesson to an inactive member, which was ok. Also kind of sad, sounds like about ten years ago, she was the go-to person. We'll see, hopefully we can really help her. She works at an ice cream kiosk, so we might have to schedule visits to her very often.
Sunday was sweet because all of the missionaries in Novo got to go to the mission home to eat an Easter dinner, awesome food. Also, I had gotten your Easter package a couple days prior so Elder Anderson and I dyed some eggs that night. Turns out that Russians actually celebrate Easter next Sunday for whatever reason, but in church we are watching conference next Sunday, so they did an Easter program this week. Thank you very much for the package, we have tons of stuff now, I was giving out a lot of candy to the kids at church yesterday, they loved it, but don't worry we still have plenty.
Elder Anderson and I dying Easter eggs last night
Elder Anderson and I dying Easter eggs last night
The eggs

We are going to Finland on Thursday. The workouts have been going well, I'm really liking doing the stairs, got well under 2 minutes with hitting every stair (16 floors), so hopefully I can get that under 1:30 this week. Dad asked about Russian, it's good, I understand everything. I still make some mistakes while teaching, but relatively few. I make a lot of mistakes while talking about unfamiliar subjects but I'm understandable, and can talk around pretty much anything even if its a subject I don't know well. I can speak fast, so people don't get bored, so that's all good.
Good job on hitting hard now Dani, and good job on reading those books Matt, I really like those. And of course on getting the golden egg.
Well that's all, I hope Dad's tongue isn't too swollen.
Elder Topham
Me, Elder Anderson, and Brother Pyotr with our matching ties
With our investigator
Pictures our investigator took