Monday, April 30, 2012

This week was pretty slow. The first big highlight was the culture night on Monday. We went to the Siberian Choir concert. It was pretty cool, they had a big ensemble of singers, a traditional band with accordions and balalaika's. But the coolest part by far was their dance crew. They did all that crazy Russian breakdancing stuff with the squat jumps and kicking the legs out while you're in the squatting position. You know what I'm talking about, it was awesome.
Us at the Siberian choir performance
Us at the Siberian choir performance.

The second big highlight was that we had a couple meetings with President. In one of the meetings we worked out next transfer. He's still going to be looking at and praying about what we had all decided and he will probably make a small change or two, but it was really cool to talk through that all with President. You could tell he really valued our opinions and in a lot of ways it was like a big logic puzzle about who can go where and be with who and make everyone the most effective, especially when you consider trying to put people in certain places to give them the right experiences in order to prepare them for a future assignment. Anyway, that was a really awesome and spiritual meeting.

Other than that we had a couple first meetings this week that I hope will end up going somewhere but you never know. The other big highlight this week was our work with Misha and Olga. They are the inactive family that we thought was a headquarter referral. We have been seeing them often and it is usually the highlight of my day because we have been making a really good friendship with them. Misha came to church yesterday and loved it. He kept saying "Hey, I remember him or her. This is awesome." People were really nice to him also, so that went really well. I think it's going to be tougher to get Olga to come back. Lucky for us she works at an ice cream stand so we have to make frequent trips there and check up on her.

So Mom, when would be the best time to do the mothers day call? Should I plan on calling Monday morning here, so it would be Sunday evening for you? That would work out well for us I think. We can iChat if you liked that. Good luck with the family reunion and the hike. That family reunion would be really cool. I would like to chat with some old people about our family history. We are trying to do some finding methods by getting people into family history but it's kind of tough to get it started. Especially because the church programs don't really have any info about Russia.

Could you send me Coach Riley's address if you get a chance?

So this week it's been hard for me to find the balance between working hard and smart. I've kind of been seeing that nothing has been coming from meeting people on the street and setting up a meeting with them and teaching them lessons. They always fade off somewhere along the process. That's mission wide except for the rare exceptions. And it really makes sense, the people who have a friend that introduces them to the church are about 50x more likely to actually get baptized, and it makes total sense because they can see what the results are of living the gospel in their friend and start finding a testimony for themselves. Not just if two random foreigners come up to you and start telling you about their church. Even if its interesting to hear about, there's no desire there to change, so that's been really hard. And I just don't know what else to do to get a member referral. So I'm just trying to figure out what we can possibly do to actually get those quality investigators with good potential. Sorry for that little rant but that's what's been really on my mind recently. So I'm trying to find this better way because our area is kind of at a stand still it seems and nothing is really getting going.

Well I think that's it, we're still doing well. I'm happy, Elder Anderson is really easy to live with and get along with, so that makes things much easier.
Home teaching with Brother Paval.
This guy is on the wall of the office. So turns out I'm not even the first Topham to serve here.
Elder Anderson and I on the train to Omsk.
Us eating shaurma , we had to take it home that night cuz we were running late.
Us eating shaurma , we had to take it home that night cuz we were running late. Part 2.
Me in Omsk in front of the branch there with Elder Dawson. (It used to be a billiards hall)