Monday, December 24, 2012

This week was pretty crazy. Tuesday we took off from Krasno to Novo. I was in Novo Wednesday and Thursday. Then on Friday morning I took off for Finland and returned Saturday morning. Then that night we had a train back to Krasno and got in Sunday morning.

While we were in Novo on Wednesday President had a meeting with all the trainers. Then after that ended Elder Jones and I went with Elder Smith and Yatsiuk to help them move a member. That was pretty chaotic as usual for Russian moves. She lived on the 9th floor. There was a little elevator but it only went to the 8thfloor. Plus, she had 4 dressers and a piano. But probably the worst part was outside was about -30 C and we had to keep going in and out freezing then sweating then freezing then sweating. Ok but other than all that everything went really well and was all pretty fun. We got the whole thing done, loading and unloading in a couple hours.

Thursday was interesting because I was on the other end of the trainers and new missionary orientation thing. But it was really cool. I got to meet Elder Jurkovenas finally. He's sweet. It turns out that his English is actually really good. He understands everything and speaks almost like an American. His Russian is pretty good too. He understands really well. He speaks with a good flow and accent. His vocab is limited and his grammar is probably what needs to work on the most. But he is much better than a new American missionary coming in. He's a big guy. I've only got like two inches on him and he has a little weight on me. But he doesn't play basketball, even through it's huge there (Elder Jurkovenas is from Latvia) and everyone told him all growing up that he should play.

After we did the orientation and the Assistants took us out to lunch, I took the new missionaries shopping in Novo. Everyone got some coats, a few got boots and hats and stuff, we also got some Bibles. We did a little work that night with Elders Smith and Yatsiuk.

The Visa trip was pretty tough. Just going through 4 airports, 4 securities and having lay overs in each one. Thankfully by the last flight I was so tired that I just fell asleep before the plane took off and didn't even notice that it took off. It was nice to get to see everyone from the MTC and catch up on things. Talk to them about the release date decision and everything.

Yesterday was Elder J and I's first day together in our own area. We went to church, then visited our babooshka. We set up a lesson that night with our Uzbek family. Only the dad and son were home, everyone else was working. Elder J was pumped, he had the pregame butterflies a little before the lesson. I think he was a little disappointed that everything didn't go perfectly. I remember that is exactly how I felt my first couple days on the mission. But he had fun and liked it.

The next couple days should be really fun. We will spend a little bit of time at the Noels both days. And they will probably feed us really well.

I got Grandma's package that she sent. Tell her a big thank you from me. She sent us a little tree. I set it up in the kitchen with the ornaments on it. It brightens up the apartment with a little more Christmas spirit.

Everything that dad said about the Skype is correct. I don't know what the time difference is. But I'll be calling from here at 11AM and I'll use the name that you gave me. Last week we did that boiling water thing too. It's really cool. About half of it vaporizes immediately. The other half turns into snow immediately.

OK, that's all. Talk to you soon.

Elder Topham
Here is a picture of Elder Rubow and I with the Vetzels on our last day together. They are an awesome family that lives close to us. 

Me with their older son.

 Then Elder and I at the mission home together.

Then Elder J and I at our apartment by our Christmas tree.