Monday, March 18, 2013


Hey, how's it going?

This week went by pretty quick, a lot of traveling.

By the way, there is a new email rule, and now we are allowed to email anybody that we want, family, friends, converts, so that will make emailing much easier. It's too bad it came out only at the end of my mission. This rule came from the top, so it trumped all the restrictions that the area presidency was putting on email.

So this week we left on Tuesday night for Novosibirsk and had zone conference there on Wednesday. Then Thursday morning Elder J and I took off for the airport and went to Finland, we flew into Krasno on Saturday. So that took up most of the week. Zone conference was great as always. This one was a little weird because the missionaries who I consider my contemporaries like Elders Anderson and Terry were giving their last testimonies. It was really cool to see Elder Anderson, he had been in Kazakhstan for six months so I hadn't seen or heard anything from him, but we had a good chance to catch up.

Everything on the Visa trip went pretty smoothly. We got to go to a temple session in the morning, other than that we were pretty busy because we had to go to the travel agency in the center twice, but we still had time to make it to all-you-can-eat pizza at night and McDonald's for lunch the next day before we flew out.

I'm going to be training another new missionary for my last 8 weeks. I go into Novo again this week to pick him up and go through orientation and everything with him. President changed the structure of the mission leadership. Recently the missionary department put in these things called "zone training meetings" and it's a monthly meeting that the zone leaders teach after they attend ZLC. They also put in a stipulation that people shouldn't have to travel more than 2 hours to attend the meetings, so basically now each city will be it's own zone with a zone leader, and there will be no more district leaders. The zone leaders will basically do the responsibilities of the former zone and district leaders. In the 3 big cities there are 2 zone leaders each, but they are not companions which enables the zone leaders to also be trainers. So that's what is going to happen to me the next 2 transfers. The other zone leader in Krasno will be Elder Harrison who was with me in the MTC, it was also really cool to see him, since he has also been in KZ for 6 months. Elder J is going to Novokuz and will train in a transfer.

Lets see, A is doing well and making progress again, he came to church again. P is still doing well. Other than that, the only investigators we have now are a group of Muslim guys that live together. That is always a fun time and an interesting experience. There are 4 guys that live there and a different combination of 2 of them have been home the last 3 times we went over. Plus, this last time there were 2 other random friends there. It's a challenge because they all believe at different levels. For example, one of them wears a prayer hat and prays 5 times a day on a schedule, and one of them doesn't know anything besides that fact that he is Muslim because he was born that way, and others in between. Yesterday we watched "Finding Faith in Christ" with them, hopefully we are making little steps of progress. On my mission it has been really hard to work with Muslims because its so culturally ingrained in who they are that they are Muslim, You are Christian and that's just the way it is, the concept of seeking for truth and true doctrine and authority really doesn't register at all. But also I have noticed that they are much kinder, friendlier, and just nicer than the average. They actually stop and talk to us on the street, and many will invite you over and offer to feed you.

Last P-day we went to Stolby, it's the state park by the mountains at the side of the city, it was very beautiful there, we didn't get to go very far because of time but it was still cool. A and a few members came with us too. Ok, I think that's it. I'll write a couple more emails to some individuals, but it's already been more than a year that I've lost contact with pretty much everyone besides the family. But I don't have too much longer before I can just see them. OK have a good week. Love you Mom.

Elder Topham