Monday, May 7, 2012

Everything Relates to the Temple and Christ

Hey, this week was a little more mild. We didn't travel at all. Next week we are going to Novokuznetsk and the following week Kemerovo, so we will be doing some more traveling shortly.

This week we've been doing some work with President planning the combined Zone Conference and the Leadership Training. On Wednesday, we had a Zone Leader Council. I really like the Zone Leader Councils because they are basically living room chats with President, just talking about the successes and struggles of the mission and making plans to make them better. I love the members of the Zone Leader Council. 3 of the 6 are from my MTC group. Me, Elder Blake, and Elder Davis. Then you have Elder Anderson, Elder Car, (the surfer from Malibu) and Elder Terry. So it's a really good group. One of the things we were discussing at the council was how to use family history as a finding method. Russel M. Nelson, when he set apart President Gibbons, promised him that family history in Russia would soon be as effective as English was in the 90's in Russia for baptizing people. So we took an hour break in the middle of ZLC and the 6 of us, plus President, went out to the park. We had a sign up on an easel with a picture of Tolstoi and it said, "Are you related to Leo Tolstoi?" President was really into that because it was catchy. The sign kinda got some people to stop and see what the heck we were talking about. Between the 7 of us we got a good number of phone numbers of people who said they would be interested to learn more about their family history, so we'll see what we can do with those.

We also discussed and made the final changes to the new way that we are running English group to make it a more effective finding method. We've been spending a good amount of time with the Office Elders making changes to that instruction book.

I had my regularly scheduled missionary interview with President this week also. That was awesome. Among many things we talked a lot about my future career and how I can get revelation and guidance on my mission. We were talking about studies and I asked him if he thought it would be worthwhile for me to read the Old Testament, because I've read all the other standard works on my mission. I was actually pretty surprised with his answer because he said, "Absolutely, without a doubt." He continued on and explained why he likes the Old Testament so much and about how we can really get a lot out of it if we think of everything in the Old Testament with relation to Solomon's Temple, and he drew it out for me and explained some of the symbolism and how it all relates to Christ. So I've been reading the Old Testament, really focusing on how everything relates to the temple and Christ. I'm in Exodus right now, Moses just owned pharaoh this morning so that was sweet.

Saturday was another interesting day. I spent it on left bank with Elder Blake. Left bank felt like an entirely different city. It was cool, we had a good time. He and Elder Car are so out there and outgoing. I don't think I'll ever be quite like that, but it was nice to have a little bit of that rub off on me.

Yesterday night we put on a fireside for all the members to get them excited about missionary work. It was a really good. Not a great turnout, but everyone there loved it. Both the branch presidents spoke, and some people shared their missionary experiences and we watched some video clips.

Some random requests:
Can you send me Coach Sanchez's address?
Could you give me the website where you got the Russian CTR rings?
I'm going to call my Monday morning at 10AM, so if I counted that out right that should be 8PM Sunday night for you. I'll use FaceTime again. Can you you send me your name for FaceTime? Just exactly like we did it last time.
Yeah put me on the (family reunion) Email list, I'm always happier the more full the inbox is. That will be interesting.

Elder Anderson's great. He's very humble and works hard. It is actually impossible to get in an argument with him. I think I already told you that he was the Utah state champ in the shot put.

Those guns in the picture look sweet. No travel the past couple weeks, but the next 2 we'll be going places. After those two cities, Krasnoyarsk will be the only city in the mission that I haven't been to yet. I've been looking into the possibility of opening up Norilsk, and it's less than slim. I don't think any new cities will be opened up for a long time here. There are just so many problems with the branches outgrowing the roots in all the cities and having no leadership and problems. Also in Russia I guess its really hard to open a city, because you need to have a certain number of people already there who can vouch for you and invite you in. And especially with Kazahkstan and President is really about working from our centers of strength. I don't think any cities will be opened in President Gibbon's tenure. But I did meet two people last week who lived in Norilsk, one we taught a lesson to and one we haven't got a meeting yet.

Well I think that's it. Talk to you at about this time in a week.
-Elder Topham

These are the only 4 pictures I took this week. So I figured I might as well send them all.  I really like the one where president is still running to get into the picture.  These are all after ZLC last Wednesday.