Monday, May 28, 2012

Mellow Week

Well this week was pretty mellow.

Monday afternoon we played some basketball at a little park behind a university. It wasn't too bad for being an outdoor court. That was the first time I've played since my first transfer, I think. It was a really casual game, because it was with missionaries who didn't play and some Russians who weren't very good. So I don't really know how much I've lost. It was pretty tough to dunk, so my vertical has definitely decreased. Then we had no meetings in the evening so Elder Anderson and I set up a white board and a table in the park and it said "Why are we called mormons?" It was alright, not too much interest, but we got a couple numbers and a couple appointments set up, it was nice to have a little different approach.

Tuesday we met with the office staff and President. Had a good meeting with an investigator, we hadn't seen him for a while and he had neglected to actually read the Book of Mormon, he just read a bunch of stuff about us on the internet so we had to answer a lot of his crazy questions then actually teach the lesson. We found out he's actually a pretty big wig in his church. Sounds like basically the equivalent of a counselor in the bishopric, he goes to some kind of protestant church. We put on a movie night and showed everyone The Testaments, it's a sweet movie. I think everyone liked it. We had a pretty good turnout. Then we went home teaching.

Wednesday I was with Elder Davis. We got stood up on our meeting that we had during the day, so we went to the park and did the white board thing. This time we did it plan of salvation themed and wrote the big three questions. I thought it would have gone over much better than it did, but I basically generated no interest and we were struggling to get people to come over, then he drew the plan of salvation on the chalkboard, but we didn't have much success with that, that day. In the evening we had a great meeting with Misha and his Mom. Misha is looking awesome and coming to church and is a really active member now, his mom hasn't come yet.

Thursday we met with President and called all the zone leaders together. We had a meeting with a former investigator from the area book. Cool guy, we'll see if we can instill some desire in him to seriously try to find out truth. Then we got stood up on a first meeting, and another investigator cancelled on us, so that night stunk. Oh, but the morning was cool. Elders Ortner and Hyde found a guy who wanted a Book of Mormon and he lives right by us. He was leaving to Azerbaijan for a couple weeks that day, so we hurried over there to get him his book and he was really interested and said we can meet when he gets back.

Friday we had district meeting, taught Marina at the Webb's about callings and serving in the church. We taught Misha again. We had another investigator lesson but he either didn't show or called right before to cancel (if you can't tell by now that happens just about once each day so they all kind of run together).

Saturday we had a sweet first meeting with a street contact, Dima. He's a medical school student and a DJ, he does his own techno music and plays it at clubs. He's the classiest guy you'll ever meet. We had a good first meeting. Then the Novokuz elders were in town on the way back from visa trip so they introduced us to someone who they used to teach. Then we went home teaching that night. Our hometeaching companion is awesome. This little energetic guy, Paval, who is a tram mechanic. I just heard from the other elders that they actually hooked up Aleksei and Paval, and Aleksei wanted to hire Paval to help him fix his roof, but Paval just wanted to do it as service. But Aleksei ended up paying him and they've been working on it together.

Sunday was church, we were really disappointed when one investigator called us the night before and said he couldn't come, another didn't show, and another potential who we thought might come didn't show. We went to branch council in place of Elder Ortner, and that evening we put on the fireside for the youth and young adults in the city. We talked about sacrifice. I told that story about how I didn't make it on the basketball team in 6th and 7th grade, but then once I made the sacrifice to dribble to the park every morning and make 100 shots I received the blessing that I wanted and even more. It's really tough to tell stories in Russian, but overall the fireside was great.

I'm still reading the Old Testament. I'm near the end of Numbers now and I really liked the part about the talking donkey, especially because when I read it the image in my head was the donkey from Shrek and the voice was Eddie Murphy, so that was a sweet personal study to say the least. I usually spend about 20 minutes a day on the Old Testament and the rest on other things like Russian Book of Mormon or specific doctrine of that day and in general lesson plans.

Would it be possible to get me registered to vote?

There are a ton of new missionaries coming in in August, October and November. Only one elder and 3 sisters are coming in this week.

Yeah we just pick the ties out in order each day so it's really easy. Yeah, the second set of bunk beds are usually empty. We have guests in when we do exchanges sometimes. This week has been really cold, so hopefully it warms up. It's way more humid than Vegas or Utah, but not as much as the South from what I can tell. Where is the new theater that you went to? Elder Anderson is going to come to Shakespearean festival with us next summer. We've been talking about it a bit.

Well that's all, hope you liked the really long letter. Here's a picture of me sitting at a bus stop. Love you.

Elder Topham

Us with the Kemerovo Elders when they were in town at our place for zone conference.
Home Teaching (that's Paval in front of Elder A, the lady in front of me is the one who we home teach, the other two are other members).
bus stop