August 6, 2012
How is everyone doing? The summer is winding down and it is back to school. I can't believe that it is already August. As I said before, Time sure does fly when you are having fun. I just want to say this mission is so fun. Yah I experience a lot of rejection and little success but I am in Russia. I am living amongst a people who is so rich in culture. I get to wake up everyday and just have to worry about missionary work, and that isn't even that bad. Being here has been such great. I have made so many great experiences and have made so many great friends. I love it here and to be honest I can't picture anymore going home. This is my new home and I love it here. I can't believe that my companion is going home in two days. Trying to think about me and being in that situation is just not possible. I am so grateful to be able to have more time to serve.
Well President Rust came to Perm this weekend. He was there for Zone class on Saturday. He talked to us about the goal we set as a mission for baptisms. We are a little behind on our goal but he reassured us that it is possible to accomplish this goal. After class my mind reflected a lot on the number of 91 (that is our goal for the mission). It still weighs on my mind right now. There is something special about that number to me. It just isn't a normal goal that this mission set. It is a sacred number for those of us in the mission. Lately I have been trying to strengthen my faith. I came across a scripture in the Book of Mormon the other day ago, 1 Nephi 7:12. I love how it says that the Lord is able to do all things, only according to our faith is that power manifested though. Let's be faithful to him so that we can see the Salvation of the Lord at work. I know that as we set goals in life we must water them with faith as it says in Alma 32. We must take our desires before God and plead to him for His divine help. The Lord is a merciful God. He love us and He will strengthen us.
News on Alexandera. We haven't been able to get a hold of her. We will try to meet with her this week and find out if she has the desire to be baptized and come into the fold of God. We feel that she just isn't progressing and that we could use our time better and more effective. This week we will know wether or not to continue to teach her or not.
This week Elder Bybee boards a plane back to America. Him and I are getting on a train tomorrow morning going to Yekaterinburg. I will say goodbye to him and then I will pick up my short term missionary at the train station. His name is Andrei and he lives in Yekaterinburg. I will only serve with him till the end of the transfer. I am very excited to be able to work with a native. I pray that this will be a good learning, and growing experience for me.
Thank you for all of your emails. I love you all so very much. Jen here is a shout out to you.. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! sorry it is a couple of days late. Hope you had a great one. Love you all
Did you enjoy mill hollow? I loved it. Probably one of the only memories I have of sixth grade. Well not the only one. But I really enjoyed it.
How is the Russian singing? I love to sing in Russian. I don't have the greatest voice but the words just get to me ha.
Do you work on both sides of the city? Yes our area covers the city across the river. We don't go over there very much. Maybe like 2 times a month. Speaking of that I need to go over there soon.
What is the weather like? This last week it has been perfect. Around the 80s
Home teaching? Yes they try there best here. It is still very small though.
I got your package!!! Thank you so verymuch. You guys are the greatest. One of the greatest packages I have gotten yet. It meant so much to me. I also was able to do the chicken dance.. It was great! I love you.
Thank you so much for the birthday money. I am so grateful for your kindness. I love you and miss you so much. Thanks again grandma you are so awesome.
I got my coat. Thank you so much for letting me get it. It is very nice.
I am out of time on the computer so sorry I wasn't able to anwser all questions. I love you all
AUGUST 13, 2012
How is everyone doing? Thank you for all of the great Birthday packages. I opened them...ha I couldn't wait. Thank you so much for all of the American candy. My companion loves them. He has fallen in love with the butter mints. My companion is a small guy but my goal is to puff him up before he goes home. So when I make dinner I make extra for him. He loves it. I have made him Chicken burritos, American Pancackes, stir fry, BBQ chicken pizza and some other great food. He has fallen in love with all of it. Everyday I have him weigh himself. He as gained 1kg so far...haha.
Well it was really tough to say good bye to Elder Bybee. He was probably one of my most favorite companions. The couple of days after were really hard to get used to. It was really weird feeling to have him not here. We got a long so great. I miss him so much. But my new companion Elder Кирдяпкин he is so great. I had a very long conversation with him on the train ride back to perm. It is good that I am speaking 100% Russian all the time. I love it and look forward to it every day. He is doing great btw. He loves to do missionary work. He was a little apprehensive to contact people on the street but after the sixth or seventh rejection he was fine. We have found a lot of success on the street lately. We have found 2 new investigators, Maxim and Tatiana. They are very nice people and they are very prepared for the gospel. We had a meeting with them last Saturday adn they said they would read and pray. I love missionary work.
Last week was a very busy week for Elder Andrei and I. It felt like we were always doing something and always in a hurry. You grow to love that as a missionary. He was exhausted every night we came home, I love it. Elder Andrei is learning really quick how to do missionary work and what the life of a missionary is really like. It isn't easy and he has felt it. I have tried my best to keep his spirits us when we aren't have that much success. He is trying his hardest and I love to see that. He is such an inspiriation to me. I try to learn as much as I can from him everyday. To be honest there isn't a language barrier between us. Sometimes he uses some crazy words but that just helps me out. I have to ask him to sometimes use easier words but it helps me more when he talks normal. I have asked him to be patient with me and he is 101% patient. I love him.
Well this week I get to go on my visa trip. I leave on Friday to finland. I am so excited. Mom and Dad could you put some money in my account so I can go to TGI Fridays for my birthday and indulge myself with a jack daniels hamburger and a strawberry shake haha. I love you. I will be sure to take some pics of Finland.
All is going well here. I can't believe that I am going to be 20 on Friday. Then next month I hit my year mark. The time is going to fast for me. I am already half way done with my mission almost. It scares me. I love this place to much to think about going home in the future. It gives me the chills.
Thanks for all of your emails and thanks for the birthday stuff. I needed them. I love you all so much. Thank you for all of the love and support.
Grandma- No I haven't taught him the chicken dance yet. Tonight though haha.
Yes we have gotten a hold of Alexandera and we are meeting with her on tuesday.
My companion doesn't speak a lick of english.
Russians are intrested if they get gold medals ha. They only talk about the gold medal Russians ha.
The street is called Bochaneenava
It sure is good to hear from you guys. It sounds like you have had quite the summer. I will get a letter off to you this next week about my experiences here in Russia. Thanks for the Email, You guys are awesome, I love you.
Kace and Jordan
Thanks for the email. Love the pictures. You are going to be a mommy!!! I cant wait to get photos. I will wait patiently ha. I love you guys and wish you luck with life. Love you.
I got your birthday package!! I haven't opened it yet because you said to wait. It is sitting in the corner of the closet so I am not tempted to open it. It has been really hard ha. Thanks for the package. I love you.
I got your packages. Thank you so much. Those white shirts were much needed, and the socks. Btw thanks grandma and grandpa for the socks. My old socks were kind of getting a little nasty.
Thanks again for all that you do for me. I love you all. On my birthday I will be sitting in TGI fridays enjoying a large strawberry shake and a Jack daniels hamburger. Nothing more I could ask for ha.
August 20, 2012
Well I just want to let you know that I had the best birthday that someone could possibly have in an airport!!! I went to TGI Friday's twice ha. Please someone go to TGI fridays and try one of there milkshakes. You will be amazed and your mind will be blown. I had my mind blown 3 times... Yah that's right. I had a great birthday in the Moscow airport. I got to go to all of the perfume stores. I have found my new scent. It is a secret though. I unfortunately can only spray it when I'm in the airport ha. Also I made friends with the waitress at TGI's. I told her it was my birthday and she gave me a free small milk shake ha after my second one. She is now a very dear friend to me haha.
Well as usual the visa trip kills me. After four 2 hour flights the last one is pretty rough on you. But good news I was able to go to Finland and go to the temple there. When we walked in one of the people at the front desk asked us why we looked so tired. He then said "have you guys been smoking some cheap stuff. They tend to do that in Russia". It was probably one of the most funniest things that I have ever heard, especially coming from a 70 year old man. The temple was so beautiful and such a great exprience. I wish I could go there more often. Missionaries that have a temple in there mission are so lucky. The visa trip was also a great time to reconnect with my buds from the MTC. Especially Elder King and Lattimer. It is always good to see and talk with them. I love those guys.
Oh yah I forgot to mention opening my big birthday package from Chan. Elder Kerdyapkeen and I had a great time opening it. We had so much fun with the party hat and the badge and the kazoos. Thank you so much Chan, Steven, Karen. Thank you so much for the Ties and the sweet watch. Steven you have great taste in watches. You can't even guess how many compliments I have gotten. I even got a compliment from the security guy in the Finland airport. It was so sweet. Thanks again for the great package it made my day. You guys are the greatest. Love you.
After my visa trip we got transfer calls from President Rust. My companion will be serving another 6 weeks in the city of Ufa. It was really great to see him pumped to serve in Ufa. He is so excited. President then told me what was happenin with me. He said that I will be staying in Perm and that I will be training a new Elder. When he said that I was in shock. I can't believe that I am training. I will be going to Yekaterinbur tomorrow with Elder Lattiemer (he is also training) and the next day we will be picking up our missionaries in the Airport. I am so excited. Right now I still don't know how to feel. I kind of feel inadequate to be training. I hope that all will go well these next two transfers. Pleas pray for me ha.
I want to thank everyone that sent me something for my birthday. Thank you especially to Russ and Robin. You guys are so great. Also thank you Pat and Carl for the CD. I got it two days ago. I love it. I listen to it every day. You guys are too kind. Thank you family for all of the packages and cards. Yah it was tough not being with loved ones on my birthday but I felt your love thousands of miles away. THank you again.
1.My birthday celebration
2.Elder Kerdyapkeen and I
August 27, 2012
Well another week has come and gone. I can't believe that next month I hit my year mark. I am about half way done with my mission. It is impossible for me to picture myself with only a small amount of time left. If you can't get the jist, I feel as if I am getting a wake up call. I still have so much to accomplish being here on a mission. I have made a rededication of being a missionary and using my time wisely. I am so thankful for the chapter in Preach my Gospel where it talks about using your time wisely. I have never planned in my life like I do now. I remember when they would give you planners in Jr. High. I turned them into paper for art... I am so grateful that I can set goals and plan how to accomplish them. As missionaries we set goals everyday. We plan everyday and I like it a lot. Someone asked a very successful business man who was Mormon, Why are Mormons so successful at business. He said that for two years you talk to people, you knock on doors and you do that every day. Not only do you just do it, you plan how to do it. When I heard that it made me laugh. Because it is so dang true.
So last week I had to say goodbye to Elder Kerdyapkeen. It was tough, I loved serving with that kid. He taught me so much about just enjoying the time that is given to you. He only had the oppurtunity to serve in Perm for 2 weeks. He wished so bad to stay. We made every second count as we were together. He is now in Ufa. I really miss him but I am so glad that he is serving again. He needs it. There is no better place for a young man to be then on a mission (19-26). Also my English is very bad now. When you speak Russian for 24 hours it kind of screws up your language. All of the other missinaries just laugh at me when I try to speak. Thats alright, I wouldn't mind loosing my English.
I got on a train last Tuesday to Yekaterinburg and dropped off my companion and then was companions with Elder Lattimer for the day. It was a really fun day. We walked around the city and got to know Yekat. We went to the tallest building in Yekat. It was a really cool experience. Then we went to the Temple onthe Blood where the Russian Czar was killed. There is so much history in that city. We also got a free tour from this guy. He wanted to show us around the city. It was awesome. Later that night we stayed with the assistants and then the next day we went on splits with zone leaders in Yekat. At about 8pm we went to Presidents and then went with him to the airport. We waited for our companions to come out of the terminal. It was really exciting. When I saw my companion I kind of freeked him out ha. I ran up to him and gave him a huge hug. He was really tired ha. So my companions name is Elder Riddle. He is from West Jordan Utah. He is really funny. He has a really deep voice and is really goofy. I love him though. He makes me laugh. He is so excited to do missionary work. He just wants to talk to everyone and I think that that is awesome. He really has inspired me. He is a great companion. We are going to have a great 12 weeks together.
So we got back to Perm Friday night after two days of training at Presidents. My companion has really bad Jet lag. He is tired all the time ha. He isnt letting that get to him though. We have been trying to get a hold of our investigators. We got Alexandera and our investigator Sergei to come to church yesterday. We have a meeting with Alexandera tonight at the Pococks. This will be my companions first lesson in the mission field. We are way excited. We are going to get a baptism date set with her tonigh. We have a activity this week for our investigators here in Perm. We are going to watch the movie The Testaments on Thursday. It should be really good. We have been inviting everyone and their dog to it. Hopefully we can get a good showing.
Well just a little story that happened to us last week. Well yesterday we decided that we would go out and talk to people until we had to go inside. We started to talk but we got rejected by everyone. Felt like everyone that we tryed to stop would just keep walking. We would get "im in a hurry", "not interested", "we are Russian Orthodox", "I already know about you guys", There are so many more. Honestly I was just getting frustrated and discouraged. I really just wanted to give up and just call it a day but we decided to talk to one more person. Well that one person was the person that Heaveanly Father wanted us to find. His name is Maxim and we talked to him for about a half hour. We got his number and he told us to give him a call. I learned something from that experience. When the going gets tough you just have to try a little harder. I know that Heavenly Father knew that I was getting down on myself. I don't want to do that to myself anymore. I need to understand who I am and the potential that I have. I think it goes for all of us, not just a missionary. We need to realize our potential and understand who we really are. I am a son of my Heavenly Father. I have been called of Him to serve here in Perm. We all have different callings and we need to realize them. I have definately been trying to work on that. I know that Heavenly Father blesses those who try their best.
I just want to say thank you for all of the emails everyone. I love you so much. I hope that everyone has a good week back at school and everything. Good luck! I love you.