Monday, March 25, 2013

July 2012

JULY 2, 2012

Dear Family

How is everyone doing? Love reading all of your emails. It sounds like summer is going great for everyone. It sounds like a hot summer as well. It is pretty hot here in Perm as well. Wearing white shirts and a tie everyday is a killer. I have a pretty bad missionary tan. The funny thing is, is that it gets worse and worse everyday. I can't believe that it is already July. Where did June go. This past month went by so fast. Time on a mission is so crazy. It feels like I have been doing missionary work for my whole life but these past 9 months have flown by so quick. Sorry that probably makes no sense. Time is just going really fast right now.
As you all know we have been living with the zone leaders this past week because the Sisters apartment is being remodeled. We are supposed to move back into our apartment by the 6th, but it is a Russian remodel so you never know when it is going to be done. Hopefully soon... I miss our apartment, it is so much nicer than the zone leaders.
            Wow this last week was a very busy week. Elder Oneill and I are exhausted every night when we come home. We have been working a lot lately with our investigator Alexandera. She is 84 and it is reallly hard to get her to come to church. That is the main thing that we are struggling with her. She is so great. She makes me laugh everytime I talk to her. Also our investigator Slava isn't doing that well. He isnt's progressing towards baptism. He is really hard to teach. He just has no respect for the missionaries and doesn't want to do anything that we ask him to do. But President wants us to keep working with him and try and see if we can get him ready for baptism. So we are trying our best with him.
           This last week was so great. We met a man on the street a couple of weeks ago named Ben. He called us on Saturday and wanted to come to church. Ben is Nigerian and is going to school right now here in Perm. We were so excited to get his call. We met him yesterday at the bus stop next to the church and took him to the services. He was so excited to be there. He speaks a little bit of Russian so the members were way excited about that. After church we met with him and another Nigerian named Michael who is a member. It was one of the most spiritual meetings that I have ever had. We gave him a English Book of Mormon and told him to read it. He was so pumped to start to read it. We shared a few scriptures with him from the Book of Mormon and he loved them. He said "I know that this book is a sign from God, telling me that I have found Jesus." I love black people. But it was so true what he said. People really can come to know Christ through the Book of Mormon. Ben said that when he reads it and meets with us a little bit more he wants to be baptized. When he said that Elder Oneill and I just looked at each other. We were so pumped. He was so ready to hear teh gospel. I know that Ben is a son of our Father in Heaven and that he is searching so hard for truth. I know that the message we have can fill a hole in someone that they knew was never there. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is so true, and it is so beautiful. Those who search will find. If a son asks his Father for bread, will his Father give him a rock. Or if he asks for a fish will he give him a serpent. God will give His children anwsers if they desire and sincerely search for them. I am so grateful for Ben and I am so excited to start to teach him.
             So a little news about our investigator Clinton. We were able to have a lesson with him yesterday. He said on the phone that he doesn't think that the Book of Mormon is true and that the church isn't true. So Elder Oneill and I came up with great lesson for him about how the Bible prophecies about the Book of Mormon.                We went into the meeting with some great scriptures from the bible and some ideas on how we can teach Clinton so that he understands. We had a great lesson with Clinton. He said that he will pray about the things that we taught him and that he will give us a call soon. I know that Clinton knows that the church is true and that the Book of Mormon is true. The only problem is that he hears and sees stuff on the TV and the internet and stuff from friends. It really is sad that there is so much stuff out there that bags on the church. I feel that that is Satan working his hardest so that people wont join the church. If people would just not listen to others and try for themselves the promise in the Book of Mormon, I know that they would know for themselves that it was true and that the church is true. It is sad sometimes to see people who get to caught up on what others have to say about the church and the Book of Mormon.
         Well I just want to thank all of you for your emails. Want to thank you for your love and support. I am doing great here in Perm. I love this place. The people here are great. I love the Russian people. I hope that all of you have a great week and hope that the heat doesn'tget to you. And oh yah.... HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! enjoy those fireworks and hotdogs.

Q A time
Aunt Jen
1. How is being 100% obedient? It is hard but I know that it is the thing that i need to do. I know that the Lord will bless those that try there best.
2.Do you like getting photos? I love and need photos
1. Do they shoot off fireworks a lot? They love fireworks on New Years Eve.
2. Big celebrations? They love New Years, May 9th (day they won ww2)
3.Playing Bball? Not as much as I did in Kurgan. It is hard to find Bball courts here.
4.Staying in shape? Trying my hardest....
1. Recieve package? No not yet hopefully soon \though
2.HOw was the Baptism? It was so great. She was so happy to be baptized. It was so great to see.
3. Does Russia do anything on the 4th? No mom, the 4th is an American holiday.... I love you ha
I just want to say thank you so much for your emails. I really enjoyed those quotes that you put in. You are so great Grandpa. I can't wait to get back and go golfing with you. I miss spending time with you. Love you Gramps
1. How hot does it get int he summer? Hot enough for people to take their clothes off.... and they do.
1. How do you feel about 9 months? It is so crazy that I am almost about to hit my half way mark. Time is flying
2.HOw is living witht the zone leaders? It is a hoot. I love them. Elder Hronek is my zone leader so it is nice to be with him again. we are having a party.
3.Anything about transfers? nothing
4.Can you believe that Steven is 50? Nope that is mind bottling... I miss your dad so freeking much. Tell him happy birthday for me and that I would love an email from him telling me sport stats and news ha. Also tell your mom that I say hello and that i miss her too

July 9, 2012

Dear Family,
         It sure was nice to read all of your emails. Sounds like everyone had a very enjoyable 4th of July. For the fourth of July Elder Smith and I opened his smoked Salmon that had been dry packaged from one of his packages that he got. It was sooo good. It was so nice to taste fish again. We also sang the Toby Keith song they always play at the fireworks. It was a great fourth of July for being in Russia.
           Well the new transfer starts this week. I will be getting a new companion once again... I will be with Elder Bybee. Elder Bybee goes home in four weeks so I have the chance to "kill him" (being with a companion for his last transfer). A transfer is 6 weeks so for the last two weeks I will be getting a Russian companion. I am so excited for this next transfer. I get to be with the oldest missionary in the mission and then I get a Russian. I am so excited. I am going to work so hard this next transfer and my Russian is going to sky rocket...Iam so pumped.
         It was a pleasure to serve with Elder Oneill. He is a great missionary. We saw so many miracles in our companionship. He taught me so much about missionary work. I love how you can learn so much from a companion. I will definately miss Elder Oneill. He will be serving in Ufa with my old companion from the MTC, Elder King.
          This last week has been quite the week. We had a ton of meetings with people. Our schedule was packed every day. I love it when you look at your planner and it shows that you have a full day. Elder Oneill and I got work done last week. We had so many meetings that we had to go on splits with the zone leaders sometimes so that we could make it to all of our meetings. It was great.
            So our investigators are doing great. We were able to meet with Ben twice this week. He is doing so great. He loves the Book of Mormon with all of his heart. He said that the Book of Mormon pretty much clarifies what is said in the Bible. The man spoke truth. My testimony has grown so much with jsut meeting with Ben. He is awesome and is on the right path. Our next investigator is Clinton. We haven't been able to get a hold of him lately but our last lesson with him was awesome and we are still hoping that he will pick up his phone and have time to meet with us. Our next investigator is Calvin. We met him last week and taught him 1 lesson. He wants us to read the Book of Mormon with him. So we planned every day that he has time we will come to him and read with him. WE are way excited about Calvin. And finally we have Nana... He is a former investigator and we met with him last night. HE is married and just wants good morals for his family. We told him there is no better help than the Book of Mormon. He agreed and we have decided that we will try to meet with him as much as possible. Well all of those investigators that I talked about are all from Nigeria! We have a huge apartment building in our area where all the foreigners live so that they can go to school here. I love Nigerians. They are so humble and there faith in Christ is incredible. THere lifes are so hard and it is so inspiring every time to meet with one of them. I love all of our Nigerian investigators and I want to help them come closer to there Father in Heaven. That antedote is the Book of Mormon. Please pray for these Nigerians.
         So as you can see we are quite busy here in Parkovy Perm. I am so grateful for this oppurtunity in my life right now to learn how to work hard every day. If you don't work hard on your mission, there is no way to enjoy your mission. I am so grateful for all of the life lessons that I am learning right now. They say that a mission is "The best two years of your life" but I feel that it is "The best two years FOR your life". I am so grateful for having the chance to serve a mission.
        I read a talk this morning during my studies that I really enjoyed. It is by Elder Holland. He said that downing another quart of pickle juice every time anyone around you has a happy moment or a moment of recognition is not the way to live. Be kind and be grateful that God is kind. It is a happy way to live. I love that. Being jelaous is a worldwide feeling. I know that in my life I have felt it and it is the worse feeling. This is one of the things that I am working on righ now is to always be happy for others. This life isn't a race of who has the most money, or who drives the nicest car or who is more beautiful. This life is a race to make it back to our Father in Heaven. When we do what is right and when we are obedient the Lord blesses and we become victorious at the end of the race. The great thing about this race is that there is no First place or second place or even last place. All have the oppurtunity to take the Gold. Those who understand the Gospel are the ones who get the gold medal. That should be our race and our main focus. Elder Holland also said "The thing that God enjoys the most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don't expect it and often feel they don't deserve it." We have a merciful Father in Heaven and he wants all of his children to finish the race and to recieve that Gold medal. It is not an easy race though, but it is possible to cross the finish line.
        Thank you again for all of your emails. I love you all. I want to say that the Lord is blessing each and every one of you. I can tell through your emails and letters. Once again Thank you.

Elder Flitton

July 16, 2012

Dear Family,

How is everyone doing? This past week sounds like everyone is staying quite busy. Grandma I hope that you are feeling better. Please be careful! Katie good luck with your wisdom teeth. I hope that Jessica can take care of you. Jess all the best to you :). Sorry I didn't anwser questions last time. Every week I am allowed to write a letter home and then to President Rust. My letter to President Rust was a little longer than I expected. I promise that I will anwser questions at the endof this email.
           Well Wednesday I got my new companion Elder Bybee. We also moved back into our apartment. HOOORAY!!! I was at the Zone leaders apartment for about two weeks. There apartment was very tiny so it was a good thing that we all like each other. Honestly it was kind of weird moving back. I miss the zone leaders ha. Elder Bybee are now back in our are and we are getting back to work. Elder Bybee actually started his mission in the area that we are in right now. So he now he gets to end his mission here. Way crazy. Elder Bybee is from California, somewhere in the north, I forget the name of it. He went to the U for 1 year and is planning to go back. It is nice to have a companion that is a Ute and not a cougar. Unfortunately Bybee isn't that into sports, but he will be after these four weeks. Elder Bybee and I clicked really fast. We are getting along great and we are really enjoying our time together. I am really excited to be able to work with him. I am going to try my hardest to learn as much from him as possible.
          Well we have a baptism date for the 4th of August for Ben! Ben is the greatest/easiest investigator that i have ever taugh on my mission so far. He is in love with the Book of Mormon and loves every meeting that we have. He loves it when we reference scirptures from the Bible and then refrence them from the Book of Mormon. He has such a strong faith. Last week he told us pretty much his life story. It was a really sad story. To hear all of the things that he has gone through and still be the person he is today is inspiring. He is a huge inspiration to me. We are so excited to teach him more about the Gospel and the Plan of Salvation. He falls in love with everything we teach him. Ben has been prepared by God to hear the Gospel at this point in his life. You can see it because he is in agreence with everything we teach him. It reminds me of the scripture, "the wicked take the truth to be hard". Ben is the total opposite of that. I love Ben and I am so glad that he has shown the faith to know wether what we are teaching him is true. Elder Bybee and I have a new saying whenever we don't know what to do. "What would Ben do" The man is a miracle.
          Thank you mom and dad for being great examples to me. Katie and Anna, please listen to Mom and Dad. How hard that can be sometimes it is so worth it. What they say to you will be the best advice that anyone could give you. We are so blessed to have mom and dad and we need to show them more love. Please do everything you can to show mom and dad that you really care and that you really love them. I could have done a better job at that when I was home. Don't make the same mistake. Listen to them, please.
          I want to thank Grandma and Grandpa for always being there for me. You guys are my heros and I love you so much. Jen keep doing what you are doing. Your testimony is so strong, thank you for that. Also to all of the cousins, I love you all and am so thankful for all of you. Thank you for all of the good times. I have so many great memories. Garett you are a stud. Thank you for your emails. I love you and can't wait to get home and spend time with you. You are going to be a great missionary. Keep being strong.
        Chan thank you for all of the emails and all of the letters that you have sent. You are such a great friend and I cherish our friendship. You are such a great example to me and I love you for that. Thanks for always being there for me. Tell your family that I say hello and that I miss them.
Well I thought I would just throw out some thanks. I love you allI amso grateful for being a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It truly is a honor. I love this Gospel and I love this work that I am doing.

PS Mom and Dad would it be ok if I bought a Russian coat for the fall. It is like the Calvin and Klein coat. The CK coat is broken, i have taken it to repair places but they say they cant fix the zipper on it. It would be great to get a new one. They arent that expensive as well. It would be awesome for me to get one. I just want to ask and get permission to.

QA time-
Do you know Perm now? Yes I have gotten down the streets and all the buses.
What is Perm like? Perm is a really big city. One of the biggest rivers in Russia runs through it. They have a lot of city festival things. It is a very modern city. THey have a MCds and a KFC. They have a bunch of movie theaters. They have a ton of shopping here. They have a huge bus system here and also a trax system. We are on them everyday. It is very muggy in the summer. These last coulple of weeks have been really hot. 
Is perm a clean city? Yes it is a very clean city. They put a lot of focus on having clean streets.
Is perm Green? So green. It is so beautiful here. 
Trout fishing? I haven't seen any trout here. They catch some pretty word looking fish here.
Do theyhave a licsene to fish? Probably not
Have you gotten any of our packages? Nope I havent gotten any yet. 
How do you like Perm compared to Kuran? I miss kurgan a lot. But I love Perm, it is a huge city. I miss the small city of Kurgan. I would rather want to serve in a smaller city than in a big city. 
Have you gone to any sporting events? Nope
HOw is Nana doing? We haven't been able to get a hold of him. But we are going to still keep trying. He is reallybusy, he is in school for medicine. We aren't giving up on him. Right now he only has a wife. No kids yet.

July 23, 2012

Dear Family,
          How is everyone doing? I sure did enjoy reading your emails this week. Katie I hope that you are feeling better and that mom is giving you Pain killers ha. I can't believe that the 24th is tomorrow. It feels like the 4th was just yesterday. Time on the missioin is so crazy. July is flying by so fast. There are so many things happening in my mission right now. I am just trying to take it step by step.
         Well Ben's baptism isn't going to happen. He told us last week after we set a baptism date with him that he is illegal here in Russia. He doesn't have a visa and he is just living here with some friends. So we called President Rust and asked him what to do? He said that Ben can't be baptized unless he has a visa here in Russia and is legal or he goes back to Nigeria. Elder Bybee and I prayed really hard that the next meeting that we were going to have with him, all would be ok. The meeting didn't go the way we were hoping for. He was so distraught that he couldn't be baptized because he wasn't legal. We tried our best to describe to him what he needs to do so that he can be baptized. I felt so unqualified because i'm only 19 and I'm giving advice to someone who is older than me. I am not going to lie, I was really nervous. During that meeting I felt the spirit come over me and I bore powerful testimony to him about the Gospel and how we have to do hard things in our life. I have never felt the spirit like that when I was testifying to him before in my life. He sat there in silence after I got done and told me that he is going to need some time to think about what he needs to do. I haven't heard back from Ben yet, but I know that the Lord is giving him the anwser that he needs to go back to Nigeria and make ammends with his parents. I don't care if I'm not able to baptize him. What I want for Ben is for him to do what he needs so that he can be baptized in the future. I know that the gospel and the lessons that we have taught him have had a powerful effect on him. Ben met us so that he could get his life straight with his family and then be baptized in to the only true church on this earth.
       There is a purpose for everyone here on this earth. When we introduce the gospel to our lives that purpose becomes more solid and more clear. That is our main focus on earth is to find that purpose of why we are here? And where are we going? The gospel of Jesus Christ that was restored through Joseph Smith anwsers all those questions. I love in PMG where it says that the Restoration appears as like a Diamond on Black velvet. The world right now is a dark place. People are becoming more wicked everyday but the diamond (the gospel) shines so bright against the world.
       I am so grateful for all of you and the love and support that you show me. I need it so much. Thank you for all that you do for me.
Elder Flitton

How are the libraries in Perm?
-They are really nice. Not very many people go to them so it makes a great spot to do email. The librarians are mostly elderly people but they are really nice. I met a member whose wife works at a library herein Perm. I told him that I have a grandpa that works at a library back in the states. He thought that was so cool.
About the coat... I havent gone looking yet but is should only be about 3000 rubles which is about $100 but just in case could you put extra money in my account if it is more. I plan on going looking next week so I will let you know next email. You should just put the monye in the account because I might go soon.
How is companion?
We are doing great. I love elder Bybee. Me and him are like two pees in a pod. It is the greatest experience when you and your companion have a great relationship. I am so grateful to be with him right now.

July 30, 2012

Dear Family,
      It has been quite the week. We have had some ups and downs this week but it has been a great week. The weather has not been treating us to well. It rained about every day last week. Now it has stopped and it is very cold. We got lucky on monday and were able to go to the zoo for P-day. It was really fun. The hogle zoo is so much better but this zoo you can get so much closer to the animals. All there is between you and the Tiger is bars and then a chain link fence. I could even put my finger through it and touch it but I didn't so no worries. To my suprise they had a lot of great animals there. The only thing that I was a little upset about was that they didn't have a butterfly enclouser. But I lived and was able to go to the petting zoo where I got to touch a goat. I would prefer to be with butterflies though.
        This last week was the 24th and the church wants everyone around the world to celebrate it. So our branch had a little picnic up in the hills ha. It was really fun, the weather held up so that was a good thing. It was funny to see Russians celebrating Pioneer day. The senior couple taught them how to square dance...that was a hoot. We then had cornbread and beans ha. We then played the stick game that Joseph Smith was really good at. It was just a really good time. We were able to strengthen our relationship with the ward members and have fun. I really have grown to love the saints here in Russia. They are a very special people and I feel honored that i have the oppurtunity to be able to serve around them. I especially love the members here in Perm. They go through so much living here in Russia. They are so strong and have the strongest testimonies. My testimony has grown so much by being around them. I love them so much.
           So I got news that I will be getting a new companion in a week after Elder Bybee goes home. I will only have the oppurtunity to serve with him for only two weeks but that is ok. His name is Andrei and he lives right now in the city of Yekaterinburg. I am so pumped to have a native companion. I can't wait for him to get here so my Russian can get better ha. I am really sad to see Elder Bybee leaving. He is doing a really good job right now. He isn't letting the fact that this is his last week of being a missionary effect him. He has been focused and I am very thankful for that. We have been going around town lately and searching for souvenirs for him. It has been really hard not to buy some souvenirs ha. It is getting me excited for when the time comes that I get to buy souvenirs ha. But nonetheless we are having a great time together. We have been working our butts off to get as much meetings as possible. I am so grateful for Elder Bybee, he has taught me so much so far. He is a great missionary.
         So today for P-day we are going to the Planatarium here in Perm. We are way excited. After we have a lesson with our investigator Alexandera in the park. We gave her a baptism date for the 18 of August. She said that she wasn't sure so we told her to pray and think about it. We are very anxious for this meeting because we are going to set in stone the date for the 18 with her.
         Also another fun little thing Elder Bybee and I did last week was that we helped a ward member on his Dacha(a little cabin with a huge garden). Russians love to garden. They all have a little country house where they go to in the summer. It is probably on of the most popular thing to do here in the summer. It was a really fun experience and I was so amazed how beautiful it was. He had so many different kind of vegetables and fruits and all different kinds of flowers growing. It was so awesome. After we got done doing some service he treated us to his garden. We had a feast of vegetables. That was definately the most healthy lunch that I have ever had in my life. I ate a couple of cucumbers and some green peppers and some really big tomatos. It was just a great oppurtunity to help on the дача and do some service.

So lately I have been working on the Christlike attribute charity and love. I feel that when I have more love for people and my companion I better enjoy the work. When I love someone that doesn't show love to me, it is easier to keep my head up. To have love for everyone is very difficult. The Savior and our Father in Heaven knew that it would be hard for us to love perfectly but they also knew that when love is shown the spirit manifests itself more strongly. That is why God and Jesus Christ want us to love everyone. When we love everyone we have a better outlook on life. President Uchtdorf said it perfectly "When we truly understand what is means to love as Jesus Christ loves us, the confusion clears and our priorities align". I have a strong testimony that when we love others, our love for God increases. God doesn't need us to love him, but oh how we need to love him. I know that God loves all of us and when we show love to others, that love that God has for us increases. President Uchtdorf also said "For what we love determines what we seek. What we seek determines what we think and do. What we think and do determines who we are, and who we will become." Let's show a little more love to others. Let's always keep in mind that when we try our best and try to love perfectly we ourselves become stronger and become more like God. I know that some day it will be possible for all of us to become like God and have the joy and peace that he enjoys. There is nothing more that I look forward than to be able to live with my family, my future family and friends with our Heavenly Father and His Son. I love you all and I am so thankful for all that you do for me. Thank you for the support and for the love. It is felt thousands of miles away.
Elder Flitton

QA time
Aunt Jen
Do you still have a camera? Yes i do
New pictures? I will send some right now. I am sorry it is just very difficult to send pictures here on these computers here in the library.
How is the Weather in Perm? It was very cold and rainy this week. Now it is starting to get sunny and warm up a little. 
Is your apartment in downtown Perm? Yes it is on Pushkeena 109 (пушкина 109) next to the Рынок.
Are you close to the river? Yes, we are about a 15 minute walk from there.
Do you hear about Kurgan? NO not a lot, unfortunately. 
When do you go on your visa trip? About the 20th of August. Very soon, I am very excited. I hope your talk went well BTW.
We are allowed to teach everyone. We just have to make sure they are legal here so that they can get baptized.
No most of them have visas here for school.
How do we find investigators? Talking to people on the street. Getting names from members.
How is ben doing? We had a meeting with him last week. He couldn't get over the fact that we couldn't baptize here in Russia because he is not legal. We told him that if he wanted to get baptized here he would have to get legal adn get a visa. Or he would have to go back to Nigeria and get baptized there. He said that he isn't going to go back to Nigeria. He shook our hands, gave us back his Book of Mormon and left.
I finally got your package. Thank you so much for everything inside of it. You are the best. And tell Pat and Carl that I got there package and that I love the book. They are so great people. Thank them for me and give them a hug and say that, that is from Elder Flitton.
Did you make some new contacts this week? Yes we called this guy named Sergei and he has been taught befor by missionaries but he is really excited to meet again. We asked him why he wasn't baptized. He said that being a member is a lot of responsibility. We asked him if he would prepare to be baptized and he said that he would give it a try. He is a very nice guy.
How is President Rust? He is doing great. Did you know that if you serve as a mission president here in Russia you only serve for a two years. There is to much work that you do so they limit it only to two years.
When is the next zone conf? It will be in October or the end of September.
How is the language? It is getting a lot better. It is really easy now to understand and talk. Now I just have to expand my vocabulary so it is not just the simple vocab. I want to exceed at this language and do something with it when I get home. I don't want just a missionary vocab, I want to learn this language.
Are the Russians excited about the olympics? They arent that excited about the summer olympics ha. They just can't wait for the winter olympics in Sochi. I can't wait either ha. 
Thought I would end this email with a shout out to Grandpa
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Hope that you have a great birthday today. I love you thanks for being the greatest grandpa.

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