Monday, December 10, 2012

The Area is Going Well

Hey everybody, this week has been pretty good. It seemed to go by really fast.

Carson had a good question about how we keep our legs warm when its so cold. There is really not much you can do but wear thermals. So I just wear a pair of thermals under my pants. I think the legs just don't get as cold as the body for whatever reason. I only have a problem with my feet getting cold. And when I wear thermals it helps my feet stay a little warmer too. There were a couple of weeks last winter when I wore two pairs of thermals at a time. I will probably have to do that this week.

Our apartment doesn't have an oven, but it's no big deal we do all stove cooking anyway.

We found the apartment for the new companionship, and signed on it so that's all done. I'm very glad that its all done too, because that was a really stressful process. We went out with a Realtor to look at a couple places and we picked the best one. Then the next day we came with our "visa registrar" (that's the member of the church in each city that handles the registering of each missionary and the apartment signings), Olga and we worked out the contract with them. That was super long and intense, but Olga got it all worked out. I'm still not used to the way business is done in Russia, just long sessions of yelling and saying rude things to each other but then in the end it gets settled. The new place is nice. So whoever goes there will be lucky.

There is only one new elder coming in this transfer, and a few the next couple transfers, so I think the influx will come in later. Probably from those who are receiving their calls around now.

This week we found some new investigators and they all had a similar theme to them -- all through our efforts to find and teach the inactive members. I'll tell you about each one.

The first is an inactive member that we have been trying to help. His mom lives with him and she is legit. She worked in a factory that built Soviet rockets here in Krasno. Anyway, she has been participating in the lessons and if we can get him to come back we are confident that she will come with them.

Then we found a new inactive guy this week who let us when we checked his address. We came back a few days later and during one of our lessons his friend showed up. So the guy invited him in to come meet "his American friends". So it was a really sweet comfortable setting to get to know him and begin teaching him. And he ended up being really interested. And even if the inactive member wasn't the best doctrinal or testimonial support for the lesson, he made all the difference just showing his friend that he was comfortable with us and trusts us, and that its not weird to come to church and stuff like that.

Then the coolest one happened Saturday night. We had a really awesome busy day, but we couldn't get any lessons scheduled for the evening, so it was looking like it would be a tough evening. But we went to the first inactive guy on our list and they let us up. And without saying much to us at the door let us in. Then after a few seconds of talking and introducing ourselves. it became pretty clear that they were not members. So I don't know why they let us in because on the intercom Elder Rubow specifically asked for that guy. Maybe the people living there didn't understand, or maybe they were just prepared somehow and felt like they should open the door. Anyway, we find out that the apartment was sold recently and they are renting from the new owner. The family living there is an Uzbekistanian family with a mom and dad, and 4 kids. Three of which live at home still. The dad is Muslim and the mom is Christian. They are the nicest and happiest family that I have seen in Russia besides members of the church. We spent a good while getting to know each other and taught a little about prophets and families and they invited us back for tonight, so hopefully that will go well. We are really excited about it.

The area is going well and it's cool because we are usually pretty busy and don't usually spend too much time just tracting or contacting. We have a handful of consistent investigators, less actives, and there are a good amount of active members that we visit every now and then. Also I did both exchanges this week so I spent a day with Elder Kelly, and Elder Jones.

Well, that's about all I can think of. We will be in Novo Wednesday for Zone conference and Thursday to do exchanges with the Zone leaders.

Still nothing solid for Christmas, but it will for sure involve the Noels feeding us :)

I'm planning on skyping with you our Christmas morning and your Christmas eve night if that's still cool?

-Elder Topham