Hey what's up.
So last week on Monday night I called President and talked to him about the release date question and told him what I was thinking. He was totally behind me and said that I absolutely made the right decision. So I felt really good about it and didn't think about it any more. Then yesterday President sent me a text and said, "Elder Topham, FYI after trying to make transfer scenarios it was logistically impossible using both of the release dates so now everyone will be going on the regular May 15 date anyway." So turns out it wasn't even a big deal.
This week was pretty rough as far as success with investigators. Really I can't think of anything good to report about that. I just hope it's not too tough on Elder J. I can see it's just a down cycle and it will get better soon, and he still thinks so too.
Monday was New Year's Eve and Tuesday was New Years so we had to get back to our apartments by 6:00 both nights. The streets were dead on the mornings of the first and the second. The nights were really loud. But during the day when we were out all we saw were empty alcohol bottles everyone, used fireworks, and other drug paraphernalia sometimes. We gave a handful of blessings this week. A couple of the people we stumbled upon when we were visiting all of the inactive members.
We also had an interesting tracting experience. We usually go contacting instead of tracting because its a little more successful and less crazy. But one night we both felt like going tracting and decided to just go out contacting and just stop at an apartment building whenever we felt like it. So we took off in a certain direction and, probably earlier than we planned, I suggested we stop at a building. We went up to the door at the same time a guy was going into the building. So I started talking to him, primarily just to know what apartment numbers were at that door so I could know what numbers to dial on the dial pad. He turned out to be a nice guy and just told us to go in. We talked to him as we were going up the stairs. He was in a hurry but took the Book of Mormon and told us that we could come back later. Elder J and I were both pretty happy with that and assumed that that was probably the reason that we were led to that building at that time. So then we went up to the top to start knocking on doors. We took turns, both of mine weren't interested and both of Elder J's didn't answer. Then on the next floor Elder J got his first door opened to him on his mission and what a great first door it was! It was a guy wearing only little tiny European underwear. The guy did not like us at all and started yelling at us. Then another guy dressed exactly the same way came out of the room and started also yelling at us until we left the building. So the Lord either led us to that building to give that guy the Book of Mormon or so Elder J could have a great story to tell. I'm leaning toward the first.
Saturday was the branch Christmas party. They went all out and it was really good. They had a big play with an interesting take on the Christmas story, especially focusing on the Herod and wise men aspect. And there were quite a few musical numbers at the beginning of the program, including one by all of the missionaries.
One thing that has been a big undertaking but has been very fun and fulfilling has been teaching Elder J Russian grammar. His understanding and fluidity when speaking is amazing and his vocabulary good. But his grammar is awful. He said that the teachers in the MTC would always take him out of the class and spend an hour with him to try to teach him the principles but he could just never get it, some of the problem is that he doesn't know some of the English grammatical terms. But we have been working on it everyday. We take 30 minutes of our language study (which often ends up being more, sometimes the whole language study) as I teach him the principles and we do examples. Then throughout the day I continue to drill him on what we learned. He is really persistent and really wants to learn so it's fun for both of us, and I really like teaching.
Ok, well that's it. I hope things pick up next week. We are hoping they will with people being back in a normal schedule and not on holiday. Have a good one.
I got those videos and pictures of Brian Head, it looks like it was an awesome trip. Have a good week. Love you Mom.