Monday, September 3, 2012

Technical Difficulties

Hey, what's up. 

I'm a little later today because we had some stuff to deal with today. First, someone offered an apartment to us that is much less than we pay for ours, so we had to go take a look at it. It's smaller which is fine, but the kitchen isn't good and the location isn't quite as good, but it is significantly cheaper, so we'll see if we move or not. Then, Elder Bennett from the Seventy and the Area Presidency is touring the mission this week and he had us come to his hotel and interview with him today.

I feel like this last week has been ridiculous with the amount of stuff popping up here and there that we have to take care of. One thing is the new program from the missionary department of the monthly "Zone Training Meeting" which is done once a month by the zone leaders with everyone in the zone, in place of district meeting for that week. That's really tough for our mission because the 3 cities in each zone are from 5 to 8 hours apart. So this time we ran the zone meetings by the church webcam program. One of them was decent, they just had some cutting in and out problems, but the other one was a disaster technology wise. Also, there is a district conference coming up this weekend, and that will also be broadcast out to all of the cities in the mission. So we did a test run for that on Sunday after church. It was pretty rough, there should be another one on Wednesday so we will see how that goes. There is also the upcoming Combined Zone Conference. Elder Bennett is going to be there for that so we are trying to help plan and set everything up.

We had a ZLC last week that went well.

The most positive experience of last week was Aleksei's confirmation. I confirmed him and it was a really good experience for both of us. I was actually really nervous when we started but once I got the necessary words out, everything felt really good and all the words just really flowed from there.

We hadn't seen Andrei for a while but we went over there on Sunday after church and I think we are making a little bit of progress with him.

Viktor surprised us and came to church. We hadn't seen him or even talked to him for a couple weeks (he got a new phone number)

We taught Nastia, from Kazakhstan, probably about 4 times in the evenings this past week and she came to church. We were really pleased with her progress, she is so shy that especially during our first 2 meetings it was hard to tell if she was getting anything or what she was thinking, but she's been warming up a little more and when we taught the Plan of Salvation and Gospel of Christ she did a really good job showing us how much she understands.

There are a couple other investigators who we just started with.

We did a nice job seeing members this week. Maybe about 4 or 5 member lessons, we haven't seen any direct results from it, but a few of the members who we taught this week were really pumped during testimony meeting and shared their testimonies and included how thankful they are for the missionaries, so that was nice to hear and I know they appreciated it.

As far as I know all the permissions (to preach in Kazakhstan) went to Astana and there aren't any in Almaty yet. And yes, those are all individual. That is something that we weren't expecting to come through until after the church was registered, but it looks like they are both kind of just going through the system parallel.

Elder Harris is looking great, he's out in Tomsk now. I think they tacked 4 transfers on the end of his mission.

Now we have a few more missionaries than we have had for a while, but about the same as when I came in. In a few months we should have more, especially sisters, we will have many more sisters than we have ever had.

Yeah, as far as a member program its seems like it has a much different feel here than in America. Our goal is to really try to help and strengthen the members. Its tough here because being Mormon is much more culturally accepted in America, and you don't get much persecution for your beliefs, so we are trying to strengthen their testimonies, then help them do missionary work from there.

Well, that's all. Hope everything is going well there.

-Elder Topham