Monday, September 16, 2013

"The End" September 16, 2013

Dear Family 

  Well indeed the end has finally come to my stay here in Russia.  These past two years have been the most difficult,rewarding of my life.  I think the greatest feeling is knowing that you have accomplished everything that you wanted to.  I have no regrets and that is what makes me so happy.  
  So I will be coming home Wednesday night.  Please everyone pray that my bags wont get lost on the journey.  Especially the bag that I call santas present bag ha.  It should be a good time to reflect on my mission and remember all of the good times because honestly I don't remember the bad, difficult times.  The happy memories and the fun times out number the difficult times by a 100.  I am excited for the journey home.  Time to finally relax and kick the feet up...Oh wait I probably wont be flying business so looks like no feet up ha.  To be honest I am utterly exhausted.  Relaxation is something I look forward to a lot.
  So saturday we had a little get together with a lot of people at Sveta's house.  We had a little going away party.  It was really fun.  To be honest I don't like saying goodbye to people.  There are going to be a lot of sad people on Tuesday morning.  We have really grown close to a lot of members, investigators and just people.  Elder Wimber and I were quite the dynamic duo.  I love Tyumen.
  I want to talk a little about my companion, Elder Wimber.  This kid has changed my life. We have cryed a lot together and have been through a lot.  We have seen cloudy days where it just seems that nothing is going our way and that the world is against us.  We have also seen glorious sunny days.  I will never forget the life lessons that I learned with Elder Wimber.  He has become my brother and we have grown so close.  Mom looks like you are going to have to add another son to the family.  Trust me he isn't a trouble maker ha.  I wouldn't have asked to end my mission anyother way then to end in Tyumen with Wimber.  It sure has been a ride.
  Sometimes I find myself comparing my mission to Lord of the Rings.  Frodo is the main character and he always has Sam by his side.  No matter how hard the journey gets Sam stays by Frodo's side.  I have had the privilege of having many great companions by my side.  They have been ministering angels that have been miracles to me.  Growing up I never had a brother but now serving a mission I have so many.  No matter how hard the journey got there was always one goal in mind.  For Frodo it was to destroy the ring.  For me, my end goal was to become a better person then I was when I went into the mtc on Sept 28 2011.  I have wanted many times to become the son of God that my Heavenly Father sees in me.  I know and I testify that only through selfless service can I reach that.  I have so much more progress but with tears in my eyes I can surely say, feel that my Father in Heaven is proud of me.  That is the only thing that  matters to me.
  Family and everyone else who will read this email.  Please know that God loves all of us and sees in us our true potential.  Never live short of your potential.  As written in the bible "with God all things are possible".  I know this to be true and I testify that with God on our side we will see miracles and we will live up to our royal potential.  I love you and see you all on Wednesday.
Elder Flitton

Monday, September 9, 2013

"The Last Week" September 9, 2013

Dear Family

  Don't be alarmed.  I still will have one more monday to email you all.  So this isn't the last one.  I will be leaving Tyumen next Tuesday on train to Yekat and then spend the day at Presidents, have a devotion and then my exit interview and then off to the airport the next morning.  
  It is so unreal that this is my last full week of missionary work.  Unfortuntately Serafima isn't ready for baptism.  It has been hard for Elder Wimber and I but we are getting through it.  Our other investigator Masha was in Kurgan for a week.  While she was there she went to the branch there for a baptism.  She said that she cryed the whole time.  Last night when we met her at the bus station she told us that she wants to be baptized and wants it soon.  So we are really happy for her.  She asked me to baptize her when she does get baptized.  Too bad I am going home next week ha.  She is so awesome.  I sure am going to miss these wonderful people.
  Last week was a tough week for my companion and I.  We were really sad that Serafima wasn't ready for baptism.  We did a lot of talking.  But we both came to the conclusion that we need to accept the timing of the Lord.  We don't want to drag her to baptism.  We also don't want her to get baptized just for us.  So we both feel that when it is the right time she will be ready.  She is so awesome.  She came to church yesterday and is still praying and reading.  We love her and know that she has changed a lot.  We also came to the realization that for someone to change their life is not easy and we must accept that.
  Yesterday we got transfer calls early.  President will be in Moscow this week so he did calls early. Unfortunately Elder Wimber will be leaving Tyumen and going back to the office for his last transfer.  President is pretty desperate for help in the office ha.  Wimber has been there before and President needs some experience back in there.  It will be good for him to go back there becasue he is a really smart guy and is super good with that office stuff that they do in the office ha.
  So this week we have a lot of things planned to do.  On Wednesday we will be going on splits again with the other elders.  We just change companions for a day.  Also on Thursday I have to take a bus down to Kurgan to conduct a baptismal interview for someone.  Saturday the youth are having a farewell party for me.  I am super excited for it.  I love the people here in Tyumen.  They are so great.  Mom you need to email Sveta and tell her that she is so awesome.  She really has helped us out so much here in Tyumen.  She has become our best friend.
  My last three transfers here in Tyumen sure have gone really fast.  It makes me sad that it has to end so soon.  Don't get me wrong I am excited to come home but it is going to be really hard to say my goodbyes to people here.  The last part of my mission I have really understood what the word Love means.  When you constantly think about someones welfare and just always wanting the best for them you truly understand what love is.  I am so thankful that I have gotten a little taste of what love really is.  The kind of love that our father in Heaven has for each and everyone of us.  I am so thankful that I have learned how to be someones friends.  Someone that can be trusted.  Someone that listens.  I am so thankful for all my companions because they truly have changed me for the better.  The mission has been a miracle for me.
  Family I love you and can't wait to see you in a week.  Good luck this week with shcool and work. Love you.
Elder Flitton

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September 2, 2013

Dear Family

  Well September is here and August is gone.  The weather is getting quite cooler lately.  The other day Elder Wimber and I were walking down the street and I turned to Elder Wimber and asked him where did Summer go?  We realized that there was no slow change of the weather it just got really cold and wet really fast.  I hope that I don't have to pull out my coat.  I have already packed that puppy away.
  So last week as I explained in my letter we had Zone Conf.  It was really good to see everyone there.  Serving in Siberia you are kind of out of the mission.  Most cities have 8-10 missionries...We have 4 ha.  I like our little zone here in Tyumen.  We have gotten pretty tight.  This week we have planned to do splits so it should be fun.  
  Last week we met with Serafima multiple times.  She is still struggling with keeping some of the commandments.  So unfotunately we are going to have to push her baptism back.  We came to the conclusion that it would be better to have her ready than to just drag her to baptism.  She is so awesome though.  Elder Wimber and I have gotten really close to her.  We are super excited for becuase she is willing to make some big changes in her life to line her life up with how God wants it for her.  She has such strong faith.  We know that she is making really big steps and we are so proud of her just like her Father in Heaven is proud of her.
  The other day I was reading and I learned something that really means a lot to me.  For those who have studyed,prayed, fasted, and done everything to recieve and answere stop worrying.  What you need to do is that you need to thank your Father in Heaven that He trusts you in making deciscions.  God trusts us to do things.  We don't need his voice in telling us "yes that is right" or "this is your answere".  We can pray to Him and let Him know what our desires and wants are.  He will let us know though if it isn't the right thing to do.  I am so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who cares for all of his children.  I know that God lives and that He wants the best for us.
  Family I love you and want you to know that I can't wait to see you in a couple of weeks.  Have a great week.
Elder Flitton

Thursday, August 29, 2013

"Busy, busy, busy" Aug 28, 2013

Dear Family

  Wow this first part of the week has been very busy.  Sorry that I wasn't able to email everyone on Monday.  There was quite the line at Presidents for the Ipad ha.  Well summer is gone here in Tyumen we think.  It feels very fallie outside.  The weather changed super fast.  Now people have already got there winter coats out...
  So on Sunday I had the opportunity to conduct church again.  It is the second time in row.  Our branch Presidency has been gone and the branch President wanted me to conduct.  So I have been in charge ha...I am suprised that things haven't gone too crazy around here yet ha.  Hopefully this week someone from the presidency will be here so we can do some financial work on MLS.  My companion got called to be the branch secretary a couple of weeks ago.  So we stay after with the branch president to do financial stuff.  But since he has been gone we haven't been able to do it sooo we really need him to come on Sunday.
  This week we had MLC and Zone Conf.  We had a member of the area presidency come.  It was really an awesome opportunity to be apart of it and learn from him.  His name is Per G. Malm.  He is the second councilor of the Area Presidency.  He came to council on Monday and talked to the leadership of the mission and counseled with us.  There is a reason why he is a general authority, the things he said were so powerful and when he taught he taught with power.  He really did help the leadership of this mission understand there true potential as leaders.  We have a lot of young leaders so it was really good for them.  It was also really needed for me as well.  I got to interview with President Malm on Monday.  It was a really good interview.  He knew that I was going home soon so he talked to me about a lot of stuff after the mission.  He gave me a lot of great advice and council.
  On Tuesday so yesterday we had Zone Conference.  This was my last conference on the mission.  It was so good to see old companions and friends.  That is what I love most about the mission conferences is seeing everyone.  I am so thankful for all of the friendships that I have made here.  Conference was good.  We talked a lot about the Book of Mormon and how we can use it in our missionary work.  That is Presidents focus right now is using the Book of Mormon in every missionary situation.  After the Zone Conference it was really hard to say good byes to some of the people there.  This mission truly has made such a difference in my life.
  I have been so blessed to be able to preach the gospel to the world, especially here in Russia.  Something that I learned the other day is that this mission was never meant to be a sacrifice.  It has been a privilege.  God has chosen me and put me through "His University".  He has told me "Look, you don't have to worry about work, school, paying bills, getting a car, and the social life.  I am going to teach you what is important that will bless you the rest of your life and all that I ask you is that you serve me with all of you heart, might, mind and strength.  I will give you a full ride scholarship into my university that will give you the best education every possible.  Are you ready?"  My mission never was a sacrifice for me.  It has been a privilege that I will always be thankful for.  The great thing is that God invites everyone to come to "His University".  So for those thinking of serving a mission please consider the following.  I promise you that you will never regret the decision to serve.
  Family I love you and I am so thankful that you send your love to me so much.  Thank you to the Primary class in the Millcreek 8th ward age group 4-7 for sending me your letters.  It meant so much to me.  Thank you to everyone that has ever taken the time to send me something whether it has been an email, letter, package, a prayer or even a thought.  Thank you so much.  I love you all and can't wait to see you in less than three weeks.  Until then be safe and remember that I pray for all of you constantly.  
With Love,
Elder Flitton

Monday, August 19, 2013

"Big 21" August 19, 2013.

Dear Family

  Well I am  21!   Thanks for putting some money on my account.  Good thing that clubs here in Russia are pretty cheap to get into...Jk For my birthday we went to the restaurant Don Julios.  The only mexican restaurant in Tyumen ha.  It was really good but doesn't compare to LaPuente or Cancun Cafe.  Also it was pretty lame because they don't do free chips and salsa...I kind of complained to the waiter that this isn't a real mexican restaurant if you don't do chips and salsa ha.  I Invited Sveta and also our investigator Serafima to dinner with us.  Serafima gave me a birthday present...She got me a model ship ha.  I have no idea how I am going to get it home.  She is so awesome.  I will talk about her more in this email.  Just want to say thanks to everyone for wishin me a happy birthday.  It was really fun and i will always remember it.
  Last week was a very eventful week with my birthday and also a lot of other things.  On sunday I had to conduct sacrament meeting because the branch presidency wasn't there ha.  It was kind of nerve racking but it went smooth and all of the people that were supposed to give talks showed up so I didn't have to stand up and give an emergency talk ha.  Our branch presidency took vacations.  Except our 2 councilor... he is kind of Less Active, he is also our mission corrdinator ha so it kind of makes working with the branch difficult but oh well.  
  Last week Elder Wimber and I blew our breaker box ha.  Our hot water has beeen shut uff for the last month so we have been using our hot water heater so we don't have to take freezing cold showers in the morning ha.  Well it uses a lot of electricity and it blew our breaker ha.  Our landlord came over the next day with the electrician and kind of fixed it.  They will be coming back this week to fix the whole thing.  We went with out electricity for a day and it was awful ha.  We are so blessed to have electricity.  I don't know how the pioneers did it.  
  I guess the biggest news is that Serafima has a baptismal date for the 7th of September!  Last week she accepted it.  We are so excited for her.  It was such a great lesson.  She has a lot in front of her but we know that the Lord is on her side.  We just have to help her out and guide her the best we can.  Please continue to pray for her.  She needs it.
  I can't believe that i have exactly a month left.  The time sure is counting down really fast.  Next week is already Zone Conf.  President Malm from the seventy is coming.  It will be on Tuesday and on Monday we have Mission leadership council.  I am really excited.  this will be my last Zone Conf.  It is just crazy to think about.  I sure have enjoyed this mission.  It has brought me so much joy.  I still have a month left and this month is going to be teh most eventful.  I am excited.
  Family I love you and everyone else that reads these emails.  thank you so much for everything and all of the support.  your love is surely felt here in Siberia.  Love you all!  
Elder Flitton

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 12, 2013

Dear Family

  Another week has come and gone.  Everyone here in Russia is starting to get ready to go back to school and everything.  The first day of September is called "day of knowledge".  So that is coming up quick and everyone is buying new school clothes.  The kids in elementary school have to have suits the first week of school.  So all these little guys are getting suits.  It is cute. 
  Sounds like this is happening also back home.  Back to school is here.  Where did summer go?  I can't believe that time has flown by so fast.  Today in Tyumen is a very chilly day.  It is 11oc right now.  Everyone on the streets is dressed up as if it is winter haha.  So to fit in with everyone I pulled out my little fall coat ha.  
  Today before internet elder wimber and I and the other elders went bowling.  We have made it a tradition now.  We have been bowling for pday for the last three weeks.  I have come to love bowling ha.  The only thing is that the first time I pulled a muscle in my butt haha.  My body has gotten very rusty.  I was very embarrassed ha but all is well.  Now every time I go I have to stretch.  It isn't fun getting old hahaha.
  So our investigators are doing very well.  Masha has been reading from the Book of Mormon regularly.  She is doing great.  She soon starts school so we are trying to meet with her as much as possible before she is super busy again.  Also Serafima is so awesome.  We had two meetings with her last week that were so good that she started to shout for happiness haha.  We nailed it pretty good.  She is definatley progressing very well.  We hope this week to invite her to be baptized.  She is so great.  She has brought me so much happiness.  She is such a great example of showing love to others and just being a true friend.  She is very special.
  I can't believe that my birthday is already here.  The big 21 ha.  I guess now I am a real adult...kind of scary.  I am not expecting a big change on the 17th ha.  I think the big change will come when i return home ha.  It is a very weird feeling that in a couple of weeks I will be packing up and coming home.  It is a very strange feeling.  I just still can't imagine myself coming home so soon.  It hasn't hit me yet.  It probably wont hit me until I sit down with President in his office and then get on a plane headed to NY.  I have been studying lately what it means to endure to the end.  Luckily I have some experience with this.  As you all know I played football for Murray High and they aren't quite known for their football ha.  Sometimes I wanted to quit but my Dad was always there telling me to finish strong.  Right now I can still hear him in the back of my head saying finish strong.  I am so excited for these next 5 weeks.  God has some big things in store for Elder Flitton.  I can't wait to see what it is.
  Family I love you so much.  I am so thankful for everything that you do for me.  Also I will probably go out to a restaurant on Saturday so if the money is on by then it would be great.  I love you all so much.  Thanks for all the Birthday wishes.  I will definately be celebrating this birthday. Also Russians love to celebrate birthdays....And everyone knows that it is my birthday so I am sure there will be a party ha.  I love the members here.
  Love you all! Have a great week.
Elder Flitton

Monday, August 5, 2013

August 5, 2013

Dear Family

  Good to hear from all of you.  It sounds like Youth Conf was a huge success.  It sounds really fun.  So transfer week is indeed here.  I got my transfers and I will be staying in Tyumen with Elder Wimber.  I am actually really glad that this is how it is going to end.  I really do love this city so much.  The members are so awesome.  If you could just see the testimonies that they have it is undescribable.  I can really call this place my home.  I am also very happy that I will be finishing my mission with Elder Wimber.  We have become best friends.  We have some great goals for this transfer and also goals for after mission... I love him so much.  He is like a brother to me.  I never had a brother but serving a mission I truly have felt what it is like to have one. 
  So this week is transfer week.  Elder Hill will be training.  He is the other elder that is in Tyumen.  He just got done being trained so he is very nervous to train.  He is stressing a lot so could you please keep Elder Hill in your prayers...Thank you.  
  The mission is getting very young and also changing really fast.  For my first time on the mission we have a Russian missionary as a assistant.  President C wants to have the Russians in leadership positions.  It makes sense because they are 100% going to be the leaders of the church here in Russia in the near future.  I am glad that Elder Gladkov is now the Assistant.  Me and him are pretty good buds.  I think the world of him and have total confidence in him.
  So now I am the oldest in the mission.  It is really weird to think that.  My mission has truly benefited me so much.  It is crazy to think how much I have progressed in the Gospel and in general life.  Russia is a great place.  I am so thankful that I have lived here for the last 21 months of my life.  I really want to come back in the future.  The people here are truly special.  I have seen so much here.  Here it is 100% different than what it is like in the safe enclosure of Salt Lake ha.  I am glad that I have had the opportunity to see how the rest of the world lives epecially this part of the world.  I am so thankful that the gospel is going to the whole world.  Only the gospel will bring true happiness to the world.  Only through the Gospel will we have peace one with another.  The world is getting worse but the gospel and the church will never change.  Those who live the gospel have no need to worthy.  I testify that Christ lives and that He loves all of us.  I testify that Joseph Smith was a uneducated farm boy that was called of God to lead and restore everything back into its perfect order.  The Church is true.
  Family I love you and hope that you have a great week.  Thank you so much for everything that you do for me.  Enjoy these last couple weeks of summer.
Elder Flitton