Monday, July 2, 2012

The Spirit is Helping

The highlight this week has definitely been Aleksei. He's still doing really well. It's been a really cool experience watching him grow and change. It's been great teaching him all of the commandments. It seems like every time we teach him something he always agrees with us, and says, "Yeah I want to live like that, but it's going to be really hard and it's going to take me a while to change." Then we come back the next lesson, and he tells us how miraculous it has been and how the spirit is helping him so much as he is trying to keep the commandments. The other really cool thing about that situation is that we taught a lesson to his wife and son also. It has been tough because the wife usually isn't around when we come over, or one time kind of went and hid in the kitchen. But we have just been trying to be nice to her and befriend her every time we see her. And finally this week she decided to come and sit in on the lesson. We taught a quick first lesson and watched the movie "The Restoration." She has a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon so we also spent a lot of time talking about that. It ended up being great. She isn't as into it as he is, but she has definitely warmed up and hopefully we will be able to make some progress with her. Their son really liked the movie and that was good because it held his attention. He is 8 years old and reminds me of Matthew sometimes. The wife was working and didn't come to church. But Aleksei did for all three hours, and he still really likes it. He also did a good job this week getting by the peer pressure of drinking. One of his relatives had a birthday, and everyone was together drinking. He told us the day before that he thought it was better if he just didn't go. We actually had a lesson during the time of the party and he got 3 calls from his drunk relatives. The next day he told us that we was really surprised that his relatives after the fact told him that they respected that he doesn't want to drink anymore and they weren't mad or anything.

Our next promising person is Evgeni. He's really awesome. His mother was recently baptized and he's already come to church twice also. He seems to really like the Book of Mormon. It's kind of hard to work our schedules out so we have only taught him twice so far, also because he lives far away in Ackadem Gorodok but hopefully we can set a date with him next lesson. I really like him, we get along really well and are good friends.

English started up this week. We had a good 40 people come so it was a really good turnout. Elder Anderson and I are running 1st group this time which isn't near as fun, but the logical choice because those are the people that don't speak any English and the missionaries in that group need to be able to communicate with them and teach them from scratch. We are only running it once a week now, on Wednesdays.

Elders Ortner and Lionhardt had a baptism this weekend, so that was cool to see. Especially because Elder O goes home at the transfer.

Recently I've been reading about Saul, David, and Solomon. Its just so amazing the similar cycle that they all kind of go through with their rise to power and they are so favored by the Lord, but something always happens and their lives just spiral out of control. It's actually been really sad to read about, but I think I've learned a lot from reading their stories.

Dad mentioned that there was a problem in the ward about the "feed the missionaries" calendar being full (note - not everyone who wants to have them over for dinner has a chance, the calendar fills up so quickly). I thought that was very interesting considering that I have never been fed dinner at a members house my whole mission. It's interesting how some members seem to be a little tired of missionaries but some are really nice. And with those ones I've had plenty of good tea and little snack experiences, but never a dinner. I have only been fed dinners by investigators. Oh, maybe actually there is a part member family here and we have been trying to teach the husband and she feeds us pretty well every time we go down there.

Last week on Monday we had a little barbecue. The Webbs and Huffakers cooked up some shashlik which are basically shishkabobs. Today we will probably go to the zoo.... again that's what I get for being in the city so long. 5th time at the zoo. But it's fun every time because you go with different people and different animals are awake.

Thursday we will have a big leadership training meeting and Friday we are going to Kiev.

Well that's all I think.

-Elder Topham
Me, Anderson, Hansen, and Mitchell when they were with us for a week.
This is Elder Rich and I eating Shaurma with Misha.

Eating Shaurma with Misha.

MTC group on the last Visa Trip

MTC group on the last Visa Trip

Zone Conference