Monday, November 26, 2012

The Members Here are Awesome

Well I guess this was the end of my first full week in Krasnoyarsk. Its been a good week. Serving with Elder Rubow has been really good. He's easy to get along with and is very funny with all of his stories and how he always speaks his mind.

I feel like the work has been going slow, and Sunday was very disappointing again. We had found two new investigators on our own this week and both of them committed to come to church. And not only did both of them not show, one basically dropped us over the phone five minutes before the meeting started. So it has been pretty slow with investigators.

The good news is that the members here are awesome. And we have been able to go to the homes of some great families who really love the missionaries, and those are always really refreshing experiences. In addition, in the process of us going through the branch lists and with some assistance from the branch council we have worked up quite the teaching pool of inactive men. We've got about 5 who we have met with and taught and agreed for us to come back again. So we have been spending a lot of time working with and visiting them and that can be really rewarding, so it has been a good experience so far and hopefully we will see some big progress. Also we have been doing a lot of service and things for members. Like there is a member here in a wheelchair, and one thing about Russia is that there is no handicap accessible anything. So we help her get to church and back. We gave a handful of sick blessings yesterday, because there are many, many women here without priesthood holders in their family. Also, we take the sacrament to an old woman and she is a saint. 94 years old, and really all she does is sit there and listen to the Book of Mormon and New Testament because she can't read anymore. And she always tells us, "Make sure you call before you come over, because who knows I might not get up next week!" But she says it in a really funny cheery tone.

It feels like the Russian government, media, and church have picked up anti-Mormon efforts recently. I guess there was a big TV special on the network channel last night all about the Mormons. Where they tried to make it look like journalism, but you know how they do it, where they show all the parts of the clips from us to make us seem weird and the way the anchors talk and the words they choose show that they are clearly against us. Then they ended the program with an interview with an orthodox priest who told everyone that we were a cult that doesn't believe in Jesus and blah blah, and they just ended it on that with no commentary or rebuttal. And I feel like you can really feel the effects of that in the everyday person that we talk to in the street.

Thanksgiving was awesome. All the missionaries spent a couple hours on Thursday afternoon at the Noels. They went huge, and had everything you could imagine, which I'm sure was really tough to find all that stuff out here. After the meal I had to sit on the couch and just veg because I ate so much I couldn't do anything else, so it was awesome.

I accidentally missed Dad's question from last time. The new assistant is Elder Probst. He's really cool, came in 6 weeks after me. He served in the office for a while and he's really good and thorough.

People and weather seem about the same here as Novo, although it seems like we haven't gotten much snow here. Transport is a little tougher here without the metro and there is always traffic in the city, so sometimes its pretty inconvenient to get places.

-Elder Topham
Here are some pictures from my last week in Novo with Vanya, and some members, and by a statue thing.