Monday, March 25, 2013

March 2013

March 4, 2013
Dear Family

  Thank you for all of your emails.  Sounds like the weather back home is starting to get better.  The weekend here was non stop snow.  Buttttt today is nice and sunny which means that it is really cold.  It is about -15c right now.  But is is better than -25c.  Last week was the first week of Spring here.  That day it snowed all day ha.  But the sun is out and verrryyy slowly the snow is starting to melt.  Sometimes I feel that the winter is never going to end and that it is never going to be warm.  I have forgotten the feel of sweating and wearing a short sleeve shirt ha.  But I remember last year that it gets really hot in July and August here.  So I am just hoping that the sun decides to shine a little more here in the Mother Land.
  This last week has been a very busy week for us.  We were able to get a total of 14 meetings.  That is a lot of meetings for us here in Russia.  We have a film called PMG of a bunch of missionaries in America.  It showed that they get about 5-8 meetings a day ha.  They had dinner appointments every day and a car.  I am not feeling bad for myself but I feel like the work that the missionaries do around the world is very different in each country that they serve in.  But the cool thing is is that we all teach the same thing. I love how the Gospel is so simple and that a person can understand and know that it is true if they just have a sincere heart and faith in God.  I am so grateful for the kind of missionary work that we do here in Russia.  It is really hard.  We don't get dinner appointments every night and have people giving us referrals every day.  We work hard and spend a lot of our time out on the streets finding people.  This is the work that is perfect for me.  I feel like i have grown so much and that the hard work has really shaped me into a better missionary/person.  The work here in the Yekaterinburg mission is the greatest work ever and I am so grateful that I am apart of it.
  So I have some really sad news.  The four sisters in our zone went to Yekaterinburg last week for training.  On there way back to Ufa on the train they had brought with them some mail.  Well they got off the train and then realized when they got home that they left the mail on the train... Sooo no mail for Elder Flitton.  I don't know what mail it was all I know is that there was something from Chandler.  I am really sorry about this.  It is a huge bummer becuase there is nothing we can do about it.  Let's just say that some of the Elders weren't to happy with the sisters ha.  But they made us cookies to make us feel better.  Sorry for the inconvenience.
  This week we have a pretty busy week.  We have Zone Leader Council tomorrow and then on Thursday President Rust and his wife are flying into to Ufa for Zone Conference.  We have a lot to do so that all is in order when President comes.  It is really difficult because we have to order him a taxi everywhere and make sure that everything is running smooth.  Please pray for Elder Young and I this week that everythign will run smoothly for Zone Conf.
  Brian is doing alright.  He didn't come to church but we have a meeting with him tonight.  We are still trying to help him understand the importance of Church and the word of wisdom.  He still has a lot of work to do. But his niece is getting baptized on the 16th so hopefully that will help him in his decicsion to be baptized.  I am so grateful for the progress that I have seen in him.  I don't know how many prayers I have said to my Father in Heaven about him.  But I know that my Father in Heaven is anwsering my prayers.  I am so grateful for the power of prayer.
  Things are going great here in Ufa and I am loving it here.  There is a family that we are teaching.  They are members and one of the sons isn't a member and the father.  So we are teaching the son.  We have had a lot of great lessons with him.  He has two younger brothers that are so funny.  One of them loves Michael Jackson and he loves to dance like Michael Jackson. It is awesome and we have become really great friends.  He is teaching me some dance moves beacues every one knows that I have no dancing talents ha.  But I am just so grateful for all of the friendships that  I have made here and are making.  I love my mission!
  I love you family and I am so thankful for everything that you do for me. Love you
Elder Flitton
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! 21 you are kind of getting old.. jk Hope you have a great birthday, you have something coming your way, it might take awhile but it is coming. HAPPY BIRTHDAY

This is Reshat. Elder Flitton helped him receive the Mel. Priesthood 

March 11, 2013
Dear Family
  This last week has been quite the week for Elder Young and I.  On Tuesday morning we flew to Yekaterinburg for zone leader council.  We were at President Rust's for about two days.  As always it was really great to see all of the other zone leaders.  It was especially nice to see Elder Latimer there.  He just got called to be a new zone leader so now I get to see him every month.  I have really grown close to a lot of Elders here in this mission.  I am so grateful for the friendships that I have made here on my mission.
  This last week was also Zone Conference.  President Rust and Sister Rust flew to Ufa Thursday morning.  Sister Rust has been having some eye problems so we got her into to see a eye doctor herein Ufa.  This eye clinic here in Ufa is pretty Prestiege.  You have to be invited to get in and be treated.  But there is a member here in Ufa that is a really good business person so he pulled some strings and was able to get Sister Rust in to see a doctor.  So Elder Young and I were at this eye clinic for about 4 hours translating for sister Rust. It was reallly fun becuase I got to be around President Rust.  I am so grateful for an awesome mission president.  We recently found out who is going to be the new mission president in July when President Rust goes home.  His name is President Christensen.  I guess he used to be the owner of Energy Solutions... Maybe free jazz tickets haha.  But it is weird to think that President Rust is going home in July.  I love my mission president.
  So I finally got the calendar and the music.  Luckily they didn't give the siters packages.  Thank you so much for the calendar.  I think it is one of the greatest things that I have been ever been sent.  A calendar comes in to big help as a missionary as we are always planning stuff.  Thank you for it once again.  Also I love the music.  Don't be shy sending me some more music.  I have really come love music on my mission.  It is one way that I feel the spirit.  I love it.
  So transfers is next week.  Can you believe how fast time is going.  It feels like just last week I got with Elder Young.  I hope that I stay here in Ufa.  I love this city so much.  The members are so close to me and I am so close to them.  I have really gained a love for the people/members in Ufa.  I am so grateful for the Gospel and that it really can bring people close together.  That is what the family is for.  If you teach the gospel in your home the closer you will be to your family. I love it.
  So I have been studying lately the importance of going to church.  I am so grateful for the services that we are able to attend on Sunday.  We are so blessed to be able to partake of the Sacrament every Sunday.  Some people have the mind set that church is for them when really it is the other way around.  Church is for our Heavenly Father.  We go to church to show our love to Him.  I look back to when I went to church when I was younger.  The main reason was because my friends went and that my parents made me ha.  I really wish that I would have known the true reason for going to church.  There is a reason why God rested the 7th day from His labors.  He sanctified that day and made it his day.  We work throughout the week and then we have Sunday.  We either go to church or we dont go.  I know that the Lord has given us our Free Agency and that we have the choice to go to church or do other things on Sunday.  I know that when we go to church we become more spiritually/phsyically prepared for the next week.  Now some people might say that church is boring.  Well that is there own fault.  They go to church not trying to get something out of it and just go because it is habit.  Church can be so spiritually uplifting if we make it.  It is like practicing for a big event.  How ever much you put into something is how much you are going to get out.  If we go to church with a firm determination to learn and be uplifted then that will happen.  If we go to church to make it a social gathering and sleep block than that is what it is going to be.  Next time you are driving or walking to church say a little prayer in you heart to Heavenly Father that He will guide you and uplift you at church. I know that it works because I have done so.  I am so thankful for Revelation because we all can recieve it.
  Family I love you so much.  Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support.  I couldn't do this alone.  I love you and pray for you everyday.  Thank you for letting me serve. I love you.
Elder Flitton
ps we got a new emailing rule.  We can email family, friends, priesthood leaders, and other missionaries.  So if you write me you can expect an email once  in awhile. 

March 17, 2013
Dear Family
  I just want to start of by saying thank you so much for the emails this week.  I think loading up email and then seeing that you have so many emails to read is the best feeling.  Thank you so much for all of the support and love.  I know that I say that every week but I am really so grateful for it.  It would be impossible to be 100% in the work if I didn't have support.  Thank you so much everyone.  I love you!
  Well Spring is coming...(knock on wood).  The snow is starting to melt and the roads are filling up with slush.  The streets are so bad.  I think I might have to put plastic bags over my socks so me feet aren't sopping wet ha.  Jk I wont do that but seriously it is crazy how dirty the streets are.  I will take a picture of it next week.  I don't know how the cars here handle it.  Think of all the snow that melts and there are no water drains so it just fills up.  It absolutely destroys the streets. I don't know how the Russians can save there cars.  But spring is on its way and it is starting to get a little warmer.  Today it is supposed to be 8c.  That is a miracle for us.  We are going to the big monument in Ufa today with the other Elders. Yay we can actually do stuff on Pday now.
  So this last week was a very great week for Elder Young and I.  Bryan our investigator told us that he quit drinking black tea.  He told us that he went to the store and saw that they were selling a new tea and he picked it up and was about to put it in the cart but then remembered that black tea is not allowed.  He then put it back on the shelf!!!!! He has made so much progress.  Yes it is very slow but he is definitely doing great. I am so thankful for him. Please keep him in  your prayers.
  This Saturday we had a baptism!  Mariana... her uncle is Bryan.  She got baptized and so many people came.  It was so great to see all of the support.  After the baptism we had a big activity for the women in the branch.  On the 8th of march it was Women's day.  But we had Branch Conf so they had to push it back.  It was a great time to mingle with the members and build trust with them.  If I haven't said it before I will say it now... I love the Ufa members.  I have grown so close to them.  There are two families especially that I have grown to love so much.  They are both from Armenia and are the strongest members.  I really do just having the chance to teach them and just be great friends.  We are actually teaching members of there family that aren't members.  It is so great.  Ufa members are the greatest.
  So I was reading the other day in the bible about the Prophet Jeremiah.  The first chapter is just so awesome.  The Lord calls Jeremiah and pretty much tells him that he is going to prophesy against the Jews and all of the other tribes.  They at this time are really wicked.  Poor Jeremiah didn't want to do it and he definitely didn't feel like he was adequate to do it.  I want to focus on this word, Adequate.  Everyone has felt the sickening realization that they are inadequate for the calling or a job or a captain or whatever it may be.  I know that I felt very inadequate when I was told that I was going to be a zone leader.  I remember saying "Why me".  Just like Jeremiah said I can't do this, I can't speak.  I questioned the Lord and questioned his judgement.  Well that was a huge mistake.  Whenever we receive a calling, new job, or anything we should always remember that the Lord has qualified us.  We are sons and daughters of a King that knows everything, that has created the heavens and the earth, he has created every living creature and he is able to comprehend EVERYTHING.  But He knows us personally.  He has qualified each and every one of us.  We qualified ourselves when we decided to come to this earth.  We can do anything, and we can achieve everything because we have a loving Heavenly Father.  We can do hard things.  If we didn't try to do hard things we couldn't progress, we couldn't learn, we couldn't become like God.  Like Michael Jordan said "I can accept failure but I can't accept not trying."  yah I just quoted MJ.  But it is so true.  So when there comes that moment of feling inadequacy remember what the Lord said to Jeremiah (read Jeremiah 1). We can do hard things.
  Well family I love you so much.  And yes mom I am eating.  Ofcourse I am pale because the sun doesn't shine here in the winter and it is too cold to be out when it is shining in the winter.  Spring is coming so don't worry I won't look like a ghost.  But thank you for worrying about me ha.  Thanks to all that send me emails.  Hope everyone has a great week.
Love Elder Flitton

March 24, 2013
Dear Family

  So sorry for no informing you about transfers.  I am right now still in the city of Ufa and I am so thankful for that.  I am also still with Elder Young and we are doing great.  We are having so much fun together.  I love the city of Ufa so much.  This next transfer is going to be a long one so that is great.  It is going to be 8 weeks.  I think after this transfer i will be getting moved to another city.  And that next city will probably be my last one.  After this transfer I only have three more left.... Time is going way to fast.  But I hope that I can work my hardest this transfer.
  Well next Sunday is Easter! Can you believe it? I can't.  It was pretty funny yesterday as we attended branch council they asked Elder Young and I if we have church activities back home for Easter.  Honestly I couldn't remember.  We told them no.. so there will be no Easter activity in Ufa ha.  If there was one we missionaries would have had to plan it.  Good thing we said no.  But here in Russia they celebrate Easter on a different day then the rest of the Christian world.  They celebrate two weeks later than we do.  The Russian orthodox church just wanted to be different than everyone else.  For Easter here they make this weird looking cake that is way dry, I bought onу last year in Kurgan and didn't really like it.  The orthodox church makes them.  They also die eggs like we do but they have these little wars, where they smack them together and the persons egg that doesn't crack wins.  I like our tradition better, going and finding eggs that have candy in them.  
 General Conf is also coming up in the next couple of weeks.  We will be watching it on the 13th and 14th of April.  I have never been excited for GC as I am right now for it.  Lately in our apartment we have just been listneing to GC becasue we got bored of listnening tothe same music.  I love conference talks.  I can't wait to watch it.  It feels like I just watched the one in October.
  So Brother Bryan is doing great.  So we call him Bryan because it is the english equivalent.  He is from Armenia so it isn't a usual last name.  His name is Edward Bryan.  Lately he has been having a "problem" so haven't been able to meet with him.  But he has been reading and we arу planning to meet with him on Tuesday hopefully.  Also another investigator that we have is Aleexan.  He is 18 and his family are all members but him and his dad.  His mom really wants us to work with him because she wants him to be baptized.  They area  really great family and we enjoy every time going over there.  He is 18 so it is kind of hard getting him to stay focused and interested.  I probably would have done the same if I was in his shoes.  But he is great and we are pulling out the big guns next lesson with him.
  Some news that I haven't informed you about is that we are getting a new Senior Couple in Ufa this weekend!!! We are so excited for them.  There name's arу the Smith's.  Lately Elder Young and Ih ave been trying to find them a really nice apartment for them to live in.  We haven't really had any luck so looks like we might be moving in with the other elders until we find them a new apartment.  This thursday we are getting on a train to go and pick them up at Yekat.  We then will be taking a train back with them to Ufa. We will be with them for the next couple of weeks showing them how to live in Russia.  How to buy groceries, how to use transport, how to do everything pretty much.  I am way excited.  When there is a senior couple in your city the work is just increased and the branch gets 100% better.  I am very excited.
  Today during my studies I was reading the story of the samaritan woman at the well.  I love this chapter in John, I believe it is chapter 4.  But I love it when the Saviour comes to her and asks of her to fetch him some water.  Now back in those days the Jews despised the samaritans.   This lady was so suprised that a Jewish man would ask a woman like her to give him water.  I love how Jesus takes the opportunity to teach this woman.  I'm sure that he was really thirsty but He took this moment to teach her a lesson.  I love how He responded to her.  That if she only knew that he was the Messiah, that he was the creator oа all things she would have asked him for the "living water".  This woman was puzzled and out of pure curiousty asked Jesus if he was better than their father, Jacob.  Christ then anwsered her with the words that only he could have gave. He/she who drinks the water that I give him/her will never thirst but the water shall be in them as a fountain springing up into everlasting rightousness (goes something like that ha).  I really have thought about those words and how the gospel and everything relating to the Gospel is that water.  Christ truly can give us this "living water".  I love at the end of this chapter when the samaritans meet him and then they tell the woman that they have believied in her testimony but that they have their own testimony that this truly is the Messiah.  Our testimonies truly do lead others to action.  When someone acts they recieve experience/truth.  Christ stayed with the samaritans for a couple of days and ministered unto them.  Christ is the perfect teacher and I am so thankful that he realized a perfect teaching moment.  May we find those moments and share our testimonies to others.  So that people can surly say, "this truly is the Messiah".
  Family I hope that you enjoy your Easter celebrations.  Remember the true reason of Easter.  I am so thankful for the Ressurection of our Saviour.  I love you all and hope that this is a great week for all of you.
  Elder Flitton
Ps mom I bought a new suit.  President talked a couple of weeks ago that we need to be well dressed.  My gray suit has fallen apart.  I have a huge hole in my pants and also the lining in my suit is shredded.  I will take a picture of it ha.  Thanks and love you

February 2013

February 4, 2013

Dear Family

  This week is transfer week.  I think this is a very special time for missionaries.  It is like the Super Bowl or a bowl game or even looking on the sheet to see if you made cuts ha.  The Saturday night is probably the funniest times for missionaries as they wait the "call" from the Mission President.  Are they going to get transfered?  Are they going to get a new companion and who is it going to be?  You could say that transfer call is like Christmas morning before you open gifts.  Luckily for zone leader they get to know a little earlier.  We found out last week at Zone Leader council that Elder O'neill will be serving in Yekaterinburg and that I will be staying here in Ufa.  My new companion is Elder Young.  I am so excited to be able to serve with him.  He will get to Ufa on Thursday.  My old companion has already left and I am with on of the elders in my zone.  I am so excited for this next transfer!
  Last week as I said was Zone Leader Council.  Us leaders of the mission were able to meet together and talk about how we can improve the work in this mission.  So many great things were said by all of the different zone leaders.  I love the concept of Counseling.  It is crazy to think that we did this with our Father in Heaven.  We all counseled together on whether or not to accept the beautiful plan that was laid out in front of us.  Can I just say congratulations to every one!! Even if you aren't a member.  You decided to agree with the Father that you would come to earth and recieve a physical body and be obedient to the laws that he set so that after our death here on earth we could return again to our Father.  You are here because you chose the right.  Good job to everyone!  I love getting advice and just listnening to my mission president.  He really is inspired and consecrated to serve in this position.  I love him so much.
  This last week has been a great week.  Our investigator Brother Brian ha ha that is Armenian.  He finally prayed for the first time!!!  For the last two long transfers I have been here he finally prayed.  That is a huge success in my book.  I am so thankful for everything that the Lord has done for this man.  His wife is the Relief Society President in our Branch and she has so much patience with him.  She really is waiting for him so that they can go to the temple together.  It makes me want to work with him even harder.  I know that the Lord is blessing this man with understanding of the Gospel.  I know that in the near future he will be ready to come closer to Jesus Christ.
  I know last week I said that I would share my spiritual thought but I feel inspired to talk about something else.  I have thought a lot about making big decisions and what is the best way to do it.  As a missionary we are faced with making decisions every minute it feels like.  Actually it is for everyone.  But I feel like as a missionary the Lord is testing us on how we are going to use his time.  I am so thankful for the concept of Obedience.  We know that in Heaven the first law is Obedience.  As a missionary we can do anything that we want.  We all have Free agency but when you look at it a different way like... "If I do this is the Lord going to be pleased or displeased with me?"  or we can think to ourselves "how does Christ think of Me?".  Now sometimes in life we are faced with making some really big decisions.  Sometimes it is really scary and we just want to hide behind something and hope that it will go away forever.  But no... We can't do that.  We have to be bold with ourselves and ask ourselves if this is going to be a benefit for me?  We have to ask is this what the Lord wants me to do?  I like to think about the Brother of Jared.  He had no idea how he was going to get light in the boats.  He had quite the decision to make.  He pondered about it a lot, I am sure of and probobaly asked others.  But it wasn't until he acted with faith and brought those stones before the Lord.  Sometimes the Lord is going to require us to come up with the best solution and then bring that solution to him, to get his approval.  As the brother of Jared did we must too bring our stones before the Lord and show our Faith.  I promise if we do that the Lord will reveal His will to us on what we should do. 
  Making decisions is really hard but the Lord loves you so much.  He is wanting all of us to make big steps because he knows that we can do anything.  Remember the Saviour, he had a decision to make.  To die for each and everyone of us so that we could make it back to him and the Father.  If the Saviour can make the hardest decision that has ever been placed before man, we can too.  Do what the Lord wants you to do and he will always support you.  I am thankful for a loving Heavenly Father that made the decision to send His only Begotten Son to this world.  He is our Example and we should mirror him in everything that we do.  Go to the Lord and  He will guide you.
I love you all, thank you for everything.
Elder Flitton 

February 13, 2013
Dear Family

  This week has been quite the Hectic week.  I was supposed to go on a visa trip last week on Friday but they delayed my flight to Moscow so President Rust said that I would just go on Monday.  I was really bummed because I really wanted to see all of my MTC buds.  So on Monday my companion and I and the sisters flew to Moscow.  When we got to Moscow we were about to get on our Flight to Finland but as one of the Sisters was going through Pass port control they noticed that her Visa had expired on Sunday... So we got a huge fine and had to wait.  Therefore we missed our flight to Finland and spent 2 hours trying to get her a new Visa for the day.  We got lucky and she was able to get a 1 day visa from the Russian Consulate.  So that night we flew to Finland and then took a Taxi to the Temple.  That night we were able to stay the night at the temple "hotel".  It was a really cool experience.  I got the chance to talk to a couple of temple workers there.  They fed us and we were really happy.  That next morning we got on a plane at about 9am and flew back to Moscow and then back to Ufa.  These last two days have been really tiring.  
  I have only been with my companion for a week.  We are doing great. He is a lot different than my old companion.  Elder Young is so awesome.  We have a lot of things in common so that is way nice.  We changed areas with the sister so now I am in a new area.  I live 10 steps from the church.  It is very convenient.  Also the area is a lot better.  Oh yah we had to move last week as well ha.
  So sorry that I am emailing on Wednesday.  Know that everything is ok and that your son is now back in Ufa.
  The weather is starting to warm up.  It is always a good sign to see the snow/ice melting on the streets and side walks.  I really enjoy spring so I am hoping that it will come a little quicker.  Nothing really has happened these last couple of days just that I have lived in an airport.  The work still continues!
  Thank you Uncle Sonny for the gift.  I really do appreciate it.
Family I love you and hope that all is well with you.  Grandma happy birthday!!!!!!  WIsh that I could celebrate it with you.  Next year!
Love you all
Elder Flitton

February 18, 2013
Dear Family,

  So on Friday I got thee most random call that I have ever gotten on my mission.  President Rust was in Turkey for a Mission president Conference so the Senior couple that works in the office was in charge.  Friday morning we got a call from Elder Meng saying that a Meteor hit Chely.  Us missionaries in Ufa had no idea that any of this happened.  We didn't feel or hear anything.  All of the missionaries in Chely are ok.  My two best buds are in Chely as zone leaders.  Elder King and Elder Lattimer.  But everything is ok and all of the missionaries are ok.  That Friday we met with a lady from the branch and she was watching the news.  So were able to watch a little of it.  It is way crazy that it was so close.  She told us that some of the Government people from Russia think that it was a weapon from America.  Thinking about it that would be a very smart weapon...To be able to control a meteor...Sounds ridiculous to me.  But we gave President Rust a call and just informed him that there could be some Anti American feelings out on the streets.  But everything is ok and they are pretty confident that it was a meteor.
  Elder Young and I are doing great.  He is from Bountiful Utah and loves sports...:)  We get along great.  We have already clicked and having a great time.  I am so excited for this transfer.  We are still teaching Brian and trying to get him to set a date.  He is so great and we are way excited.  I feel like everytime we meet with him, he has grown a little more and a little closer to baptism.  I am so excited for the next meeting with him.  We will be going over to his house Tomorrow.  
  So I have moved areas in Ufa.  I am trying to get familiar with the streets.  I feel like that is a talent that I have.  I get aqquainted pretty fast with new areas and I can navigate myself.  I have had companions that would have no idea where we were.  It would be like they had just gotten into a new area.  I am grateful that I can be able to now where I am and be able to get home ha.  The new area is so nice.  We are kind of in the center of the city.  Ufa really doesn't have a center.  It is all spread out.  But we are literally 15 steps away from the church.  It is so convenient.
  I am still a zone leader here in Ufa.  My old companion went to Yekaterinburg to be a zone leader there.  But I am really enjoying being a zone leader.  Sometimes it is stressful.  Sometimes I fell way inadequate for this.  But I am so thankful for the opportunity that the Lord has given me.  I think the most stressful thing is is making sure the sisters in our zone are alive and safe haha.  Sometimes I worry about the Sisters.  But they are great and we have an awesome zone.
  So winter is finally starting to wind up here in Ufa.  It is still way cold but I am so thankful that the sun is starting to shine and that you can actually feel the warmth from the sun.  There is still a ton of snow here but very slowly it is starting to melt.  The only problem with spirng is that the snow melts and there is no place for the water to go.  There are no emergency drains like we have in America so the water just sits and it gets way muddy and dirty.  They call it mud season.  This is probably the toughest season for missionaries because there clothes just get destroyed.
 I haven't gotten mail in a while so sorry I haven't gotten the calendar yet. Hopefully I can get it when I go to ZL council in two weeks.  But thanks for all of the emails and all of the support.  I am so grateful for it.  Hope everyone has a great week this week. Love you
Elder Flitton

February 25, 2013
Dear Family and friends
  I talked a little to early when I said that it is starting to get a little bit warmer.  For the last three days it has been snowing non stop... Well I'm in Russia what can I expect.  How is everyone doing this week?  I want to first off say thank you for all of your emails.  Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to be able to get mail for awhile.  I am sure there is a bunch of mail waiting for me in Yekaterinburg.  I will be able to get for sure next week when we go for Zone Leader council.  And I hope that the calendar is going to be there ha.
  Things are going great here in Ufa.  Last week was kind of a hard week for our missionaries here in Ufa.  The sisters lost one of there investigators who was going to get baptized.  Her husband threatened her and now she is scared so she has stopped communication with the sisters.  It brought the sisters down a lot this week.  Also the other elders in Ufa had a tragedy happen to them.  There long time investigator Pavel passed away.  He was about 50 and just didn't have a lot of hope in life.  It is really sad because I had the opportunity to teach him a couple of times when we would go on splits.  It is really sad to see what discouragement can do to a person.  Alcohol(vodka) and cigarettes are the worse things you can do to try and feel better.  This is what killed him and it has really been hard for us and the other elders.  It is really sad to think that he was so unprepared to leave this world.  But us missionaries did the best we could to help him improve his life.  The other Elders would check on him everyday and help him with food and other random things.  It is always sad to see someone go but it just adds on more grief to know that that person was so unprepared to leave this life.
  Sorry about the bad news but I thought that I would get that out of the way first and leave the good news for last.  We have been blessed to be able to work with Brother Brian and he has made a lot of progress.  He has had a hard time coming to church but we were able to get him to come to the activity that we had on Saturday.  Saturday was kind of like Veterans day for Russia, also like fathers day.  It is called The day of Men.  Doesn't that sound like a great holiday.  But we had a great activity here in Ufa.  The Relief Society put it on and it was a blast.  He had so much fun and his wife(who is the Relief society president) was so happy that came.  Now we just have to get him to come to church.  He has been reading everything that we tell him to read.  He reads in sequence so now he is in the book of Jacob.  It is so awesome to see him coming closer to his Father in Heaven.
  This last week Elder Young and I have had the opportunity to do a lot of service.  We have had the chance to exercise our Priesthood power.  It has been awesome.  We gave about 7 blessings last week.  We had the chance to go to a family in our branch who has been really struggling.  The mom and her two daughters are members and the husband isn't.  But the husband let's them go to church and everything.  Last week while the husband was working he got burned really bad and had to go to the hospital.  He is still in the hospital with intense burns.  The family is already struggling with finances and to add onto it there father who is the provider is in a hospital.  So we went over with the sisters and were able to give the family blessings, each and every one of them.  It was really spiritual. After we had the opportunity to sit and talk with them.  I thought that it would be a good idea to rather cheer them up then to mourn with them.  So my companion and I were able to make the two girls laugh and smile.  It was much needed for them.  The two girls are 15 and 8.  It made me so happy that we were able to make them laugh and just feel good.  There smiles were miracles for us.  I have never been so much happier on my mission then last week laughing and smiling with those two girls and there mother.  Tomorrow we are going back to there house to give the Father a blessing.  I am so thankful for the power of the Priesthood.  On my mission I have seen that it really does work and that it really is from our Father in Heaven.  I remember when I went to the emergency room when my Great Grandmother was struggling and my father and I were about to give her a blessing.  I had just gotten the Mel. Priesthood and I was a little scared so I had my dad do it.  As I watched my dad lay his hands on her head and give her a blessing I saw that she started to settle down and started to breathe more softly.  I know that my Father is a holder of the Mel. Priesthood and that he is worthy to hold it.  I am so grateful that I get to share that with him.  I want to say thanks dad for helping me be worthy and teaching me about the power of the Priesthood so that I myself get to hold it.  The power of the Priesthood is real and it is another sign that our Father in Heaven loves us so much.
  I want to say thank you for all that you do for me. Thank you everyone for all of the support that you give me.  I am so grateful for the opportunity that I get to fight in the army of God.  There is no other army that I would want to serve in than this one.  God lives and His church has once again been established through Joseph Smith.  No one and nothing can stop this work.  This work will fill the world, the entire world.  I love it and I love you!
Keep your eyes and head up.
Elder Flitton

January 2013

January 7, 2013

Dear Family,

  It is 2013!!! How was everyone's celebration?  Mom I hope that you get feeling better soon.  That is really scary I hope all is well.  Also Chandler thank you for the picture.  I am glad that it was easy and that you were able to enjoy your time on the laughing gas.  It still amazes me that 2012 is over and that 2013 has already begun.  I am very excited for this year.  There is a lot going on this year and I am so excited to experience everything.
  Now don't worry, I was safe on New Year's.  It wasn't like anything in Kurgan.  I am so grateful for quite neighbors as well.  I was able to get a great night sleep so all was good.  New Year's day were inside all day.  I was able to make some yummy creamy, Chicken, cheese, potato soup.  Probobaly one of the best soups that I have ever made.  I think when you cook something yourself and when you eat it, it just tastes better ha.  But my companion really liked it so I'm assuming that it was tasty.  After lunch we had the opportunity to watch "It is a Wonderful LIfe". Definately my favorite movie.  I was sad that we were only able to watch it once.  If anyone hasn't seen the movie you need to watch it.  It will make you so happy.
  I had a really great New Years.  Oh yah I was also able to buy some new shoes.  I tryed to pick out some shoes that weren't so flashy ha.  Russians just don't make normal black dress shoes.  Sooo I have some pretty interesting shoes that I will be coming home in at the end of my mission ha.  
  Last week Elder O'neill and I had absolutely no time to work in our area.  Wednesday we had to get on a train for 16 hours to Yekaterinburg.  We got to Yekat thursday morning and then went straight to President's for Zone Leader Council.  I just want to say that I am so blessed to have the opportunity to go every month for this council.  The spirit is so strong and it is just really great to see other missionaries in the mission.  I love the close/tight mission that we are.  There are only about 56 missionaries so everyone knows each other pretty much.  Unfortunately since our mission is so small we won't be getting a lot of new missionaries.  Here in the Yekaterinburg mission we have really small branches and they don't want more than 4 companionships in each zone.  So we kind of at our max.  But in a couple of months there will be a lot of older missionares going home.  It is really weird to see missionaries going home.  One of my really good buds is leaving at the end of February.  It is a huge bummer because I am going to miss him a ton but there is a time for everything ha.  But back to ZL council.  I really enjoy talking as mission leaders and trying to figure out what we can do to reach our goals.  It is exactly what we did in Heaven a really long time ago.  We all counciled together and agreed that we would follow Jesus Christ's plan.  Something that I have really grown to love and enjoy is setting goals.  I hope as I grow older I will even get better.
  I was reading in my scirptures in 1Nephi 10 where Lehi is talking about the Saviour.  I love the name Messiah that is given to the Christ.  I really wanted to understand what does Messiah really mean.  So I looked it up in the Bible Dictionary.  Messiah means Annointed.  Christ was truly annointed for that calling that was given him.  He was the one that was chosen in that grand council where we all met together.  We all raised our hands in aggreance that Christ would be our Saviour, Redeemer and our Messiah.  As you read on it talks about the history of the Jews a little bit during the time of Christ.  The Jews were not looking for the carpenter's son who lived in Nazareth and who was deemed as a Nazarean.  The Jews were looking for a King to save them from the Roman empire.  They were looking for someone great to come out of Heaven clothed as a king with a crown.  They were looking for this king to save them and to return to them the blessings of Abraham.  They wanted to be lifted up.  Their chosen one came but he was not the one that would come descending out of Heaven.  He was born in a stable with stinky farm animals.  He grew up in the poor city of Nazareth where he learned from his earthly father how to be a carpenter.  He came unto his own but they recieved him not.  After all of the miracles that he performed.  Raising the dead, healing the lepers, giving sight to the blind and even the greatest miracle of all atoning for each and every one of us.  He was still rejected.  He was whipped brutally and had a crown of thorns placed upon his head.  He was spit upon and people mocked him.  He had to carry his cross to the place that he was going to be crucified.  And after being nailed to a tree someone even said to him as he hung there, "if thou art the Son of God get thyself down".  How Christ the Messiah must have felt.  Knowing that before this life he was chosen by all of the hosts of heaven.  That is billions and billions of people.  The majority of them would reject him.  I can't even imagine.  But in the BD it says that those who were true seekers of Christ knew that he was the chosen Messiah. That he was the son of God.  We members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints can look at the life of Jesus and know that he truly was and is miraculous.  He is the Saviour and he is our Redeemer.  We know that he lived a miraculous life.  We know that he has come and that he will come again.  Crowned and robed in glory descending from Heaven.  I know with all of my hear that he Lives! Jesus is the Christ.  He is our Messiah.  So let us be the true seekers of Christ and not as the Jews druing the time of Christ.  I promise you that Christ will come and again and how glorious that day will be.  He truly is magnificent.
  Family I love you so very much and I am so thankful for all that you do for me.  Chandler you don't need to send me another package... I got yours!!!! Thank you so much.  I am so grateful for all of the support and love at home.  Thank you.
Elder Flitton

January 14, 2013
Dear Family

  This last week has been a great week for Elder O'neill and I.  We were able to find 2 New investigators.  One of them is our neighbor and her name is Galena.  We decided to knock all of the doors in our apartment building two weeks ago and when we knocked on her door she opened it right up and said come on in.  We didn't have any time that night to sit down and have a lesson with her but we told her that we would come back the next day.  So we went back last Monday and had a great lesson with her.  On Tuesday I was on splits with one of the other Elders and we met with her.  It was such a great meeting.  We talked to her about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon.  It was a really cool experience.  After the lesson she said that she felt something really different as we talked.  She said that this feeling is a good one.  We told her that it was the Holy Ghost.  We then invited her to baptized when she knows for herself that what we taught was true.  She said of course!  We are way excited for her.  We are also a little worried for her because we know that Satan is going to do all that he can to get her to fall and not listen to us.  Unfortunately it has already started.  We went back on Saturday and she said that she couldn't meet because she is having a financial problem and that we need to come back in a week or so.  We were way bummed when she told us that.  We are praying really hard for her so that everything will be alright and that in a week we can return and start meeting with her again.
  Also the Sisters found a guy last week as they were contacting out on the street.  They passed him off to us so that we could teach him.  His name is Eldar kind of like Elder haha.  He is a cool kid.  He is way prepared for the Gospel.  We gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to read it and pray about it.  He said that he would.  We have a meeting with him on Tuesday so we will see how things go.  I am so grateful that the Lord has blessed us with two new investigators.  After November and December working my butt off to find someone we have finally got someone.  And not just one but two.  I know when we do our best and we are patience with ourselves the Lord will bless us in His own time.  I am so grateful for that concept.
  It sounds like Utah right now is starting to look and feel a little like Russia... Well welcome to the gang!  I am so thankful for the big warm coat and the thermals and wool socks.  If I didn't have those it would be bad news.  As missionaries here in Russia it is a challenge to stay in a good mood.  When the weather is always freezing and the wind is always blowing it is hard to stay positive when you are out on the streets.  It is definitely difficult when the Sun doesn't rise till 11am and then it sets at about 6pm.  As a mission we have talked a lot about how we can stay positive and enjoy the work.  We have made an emphasis to work and meet more with members and also to go tracting and not contacting out on the street.  I really enjoy tracting(knocking doors).  Every time you knock on a door you never know what you are going to get.  I have a lot of funny experiences while tracting.  It is probably one of the most funnest things to do as a missionary to find people ha.  Last week when I was on splits with Elder Hatfield we were about to knock a door, when suddenly a older man walked out of his apartment.  We decided to contact him but he wasn't really interested.  He asked us if we would like for him to recite some Pooshkin (famous Russian poet).  We told him that we would love to.  He started to recite it and we had no idea what he was saying.  He was using the archaic Russian Language and speaking really fast.  He stopped half way through and asked if we understood.  We just looked at each other and laughed and said no. He then just walked off.  Elder Hatfield and I just laughed at each other and went and bought a candy bar ha.  I love the concept of just being patient with yourself and enjoying life.
  A lot of missionaries worry and they stress about the language. They are always worrying about if they are understood and are always preoccupied with things on their mind.  They worry about the little things and forget about the important things.  As missionaries we  tend to forget the true reason we are really out here.  We tend to focus our attention on less important things and forget about those things that matter most.  I am so grateful for the concept of being patient with yourself and being patient with the Lord.  When that man recited that poem to us and then just walked away, I could have gotten down on myeslf our complained. But we took that moment and made it into a happy/funny moment.  This applies to all of us here in the world.  Sometimes we just have to take a step back and take a deep breath.  With school, work, church callings, sports whatever it is we need to just pause and ask ourselves if these things are distracting us from the important things.  I like to think about the story of Alma.  He had a son and I am sure that from the the day that he was born his father did all that he could to keep him on the right path.  I am sure that he taught him the gospel and the important things that we teach children.  But we all grow up.  For Alma the younger he was preoccupied with his friends and slowly and slowly he started to forget the important things that his father taught him.  Or with the brother of Jared.  The Lord blessed him so much that the Brother of Jared started to forget the Lord.  It wasn't then until he needed to figure out how to sail across the ocean when he turned to the Lord for help.  Let us now take that pause or that break and really figure out how we can come closer and focus on those things that are most important.  I am not saying take work off or drop out of school what I am saying is when we pray to our Father in Heaven we need to ask Him for that special help.  Ask him for assistance to see the things that are reallly important and how to be more patient with yourself.  This is something that I am working on and it isn't easy.  I need to be more patient with myself and rely more on my Father in Heaven.  I am so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who is even patient with us.
  Family I love you so much and I am so thankful for all that you do for me.  Thanks for the emails every week.  It is my favorite thing to open up my email and see that I have some emails from home.  Thank you so much for the support.  Honestly I don't know how I could continue if there wasn't that support.  I love you guys so much and I am eternally indebted to you.  Love you
Elder Flitton 

January 21, 2013
Dear Family,

  Well another week has come and gone.  It sounds like the temperature back home is getting pretty chilly.  Well you can have a little taste of Russia.  This last week has been very cold.  You know when it is cold when the snot in your nose starts to freeze and your eye lashes freeze every time you blink.  Does it do that back home?  I think that I am starting to get used to the Russian winter.  All you have to do is just make sure that you are wearing thermals and have a nice coat and hat.  Also it is required to wear gloves.  Your hands will freeze even if you put them in your pockets ha.  One day it was so cold that when we were walking home from buying groceries I didn't have gloves on and the tips of my fingers started to sting.  When I got home I noticed that it was so cold that it split my finger next to my fingernail.  It is terrible.  Let's just say that I'm dreaming and praying for summer to come quick ha.
  Last week we didn't have to much success with our new investigators.  WE haven't heard anything from Galena and Eldar is way busy.  Sometimes it gets a little rough when nothing is happening.  But that is why you have a companion.  I am so thankful for companions.  Grandma do you remember that thing in my Patriarchal blessing where it talks about angels.  Well I have found the answer to it.  I will write you a letter and explain.  But I am so thankful for the companions that I have had.  It is the greatest feeling to come home from a rough day and just joke around with your companion.  It doesn't really make sense, but I guess you have to serve a mission to understand.  It is just so awesome that no matter how hard things get you can still be happy because you know that you are doing the Lord's work.  I am so grateful for this.
  So for the mission goals of 2013 we would like to focus on getting men the Priesthood in the branches here.  The main goal for Russia right now is to start building stakes.  And in order to start that you need the Priesthood.  We need worthy, full tithe payers who have the Mel. Priesthood.  Our focus is to work with the men in the branches and help them understand the importance of the Priesthood.  When it all boils down to everything we need stakes so that a Temple can be built here and work properly.  The Priesthood is very young here in Russia.  But things are starting to take off quick.  There are already 2 stakes, 1 in Moscow and the other in St. Petersburg.  The Yekaterinburg Russia mission has a lot more progress before they build a stake here.  But in the near future there will be one here.  We have a man that we are working with.  His name is Reshat Fayzoolen.  He is a communist.... But he is the funniest, happiest communist that I have ever met.  He is just one of those people that are always in a good mood.  He is always making someone laugh.  Every time we go over to his house he is always so excited.  We have been helping him understand the importance of receiving the Mel. Priesthood.  He has made so much progress and he talked with  the branch president and will be receiving the Mel Priesthood in February.  We are so excited for him.  It is awesome to see someone change there life so that they can come closer to God and know Him better.
  So I thought I would do a little history segment for Grandpa.  Ufa is a very historical city.  Before Russia there used to be people that had settled here in Ufa, kind of like the indians.  They are called Bashkeerke.  They had a famous leader and I am not going to try and translate his name into english ha.  But if you look up ufa on the computer there is a good chance that you will see a picture of a huge statue of some guy on a horse.  That is the man.  I talked to someone about him and he said that this guy was a hero to these native people.  He is like their Hercules.  But when Russia started to settle they came to the city of Ufa and met these native people.  Suprisingly they got a long and formed a really strong relationship.  They became allies and started to share the land.  Today there are some people that are descents from these native people.  There are two languages spoken here In the city of Ufa, Russian and Bashkorskee.  The area is called Bashkortastan.  You can tell who is Bashkorskee and who is Russian.  THey have a darker skin color and they have black hair.  Just a little history for you.  Also I'm not quite sure how valid this is.  A member told me one Sunday.  Ha 
  I have been studying lately about becoming perfect and in the same time being patient with yourself.  I was reading the book of Lorenzo Snow and he does a great job explaining this process.  He says that "as man now is, God once was.  As God now is, man can become".  That is so crazy to think that God progressed just like we are doing right now.  If we look at who God is we see that he is PERFECT in everything.  Now when we look at ourselves, intimidation creeps up and we feel that at this very moment we have to become perfect.  Christ even said that we need to become Perfect just like the Father is.  But it doesn't give a time limit or a due date ha.  I like to think that this life here on Earth is the greatest time for us to DO OUR BEST to become like God.  Lorenzo Snow said that day by day we can become perfect.  He said that we can be better than we were yesterday and we can even become better than we are today.  I think of the scripture Grace by Grace.  I am so thankful that the Lord is so patient with us.  He knows exactly how we feel because He himself experienced it.  He knows that we can't become perfect over night.  That is why he has given us the beautiful blessing of life here on earth.  But it also means that we can't take this life for granted.  This time is so important.  It is like the study time before the big test which determines your grade and whether or not you pass the class.  We can waste our time all that we want.  It is our time and we can do what we want with it.  But what usually happens when you procrastinate and the day before the big test you cram.  Usually you do pretty poorly.  Let us right now do our best to become perfect just like our Loving Heavenly Father.  Let's take the time that has been granted for us to "study" and prepare for that big "test".  The Lord will help us if we let him.
  Family thank you so much for all that you do for me.  I haven't gotten the calendar yet.  Hopefull when I go to Yekaterinburg next week.  I love you all so much and am so grateful for all the prayers that are said on my behalf.  Thank you
Elder Flitton

January 28, 2013
Dear Family

  Can you believe that February is on its way.  I can't believe it.  Where did the month of January go.  I'm kind of glad that January went by quick because that means that Spring is coming.  I can't wait for Winter to be over.  I feel as if my body is just always cold.  I have like an internal refrigerator/freezer in me.  I feel like spring will never come though ha.  But we can hope for the best.  Sounds like things back home are doing great.  That is so awesome that the 49rs and the Ravens are playing in the Super Bowl.  As a zone leader I might have a Super Bowl party at the branch house on the projector screen and just stream it live from the internet....Joke, but that would be pretty awesome.  I think President Rust would kill me ha.
  Last week was a exciting week.  My companion got sick on Tuesday and was out for three days.  So we were inside for the majority of the week.  Our apartment was pretty much quarantined.  I have never loved fresh air in my life more than I did last week.  So I had a lot of time to do some studying.  I was able to prepare my Spiritual thought for Zone Leader council which is this week.  We leave tomorrow from Ufa at about 8:00pm on a train and arrive in Yekaterinburg at about 12:00pm the next day.  Got to love the train rides.  I am so excited for ZL council this week.  Every time I go I learn so much from President and from all of the other Zone Leaders.  I am also way excited for the spiritual thought that I am giving on Patience.  Next week I will include in my email my spiritual thought so you can hear it :)
  There has been a lot of sickness going around in the mission.  We have had two sisters go home in the last 3 months because of health.  We had a sister in our zone that had to go to Moscow for medical treatment last week.  It is way scary.  Luckily she returned and is doing great.  Please pray for me so that I won't get sick.  At ZL council we will be talking a good chunk of the time talking about how to stay healthy and how to eat healthy so you don't get sick.  Russians have a lot of strange superstitions about the health and other random things.  I want to share some with you.  
1.You can get sick if you drink cold milk
2.If you sit on the ground you can become sterile... That is why they always do that strange squat.
3.If you don't wear a hat out side you are going to get sick right away.
4.Can't shake hands underneath a door way (just random ones)
5 Men must cross there legs when they sit.  They say if you show the bottom of your foot to someone, you are disgracing them.
6 Not allowed to whistle inside of a home.  
7.If you are sick you must drink warm water with honey.  This one I have actually tried.  It works!
  There are so many others that I could list but I don't have time.
  Yesterday we took the sacrament to a man that can't come to church because he lost one of his legs and it is really hard for him to get to church because of the weather.  This man was thee most sincerest man that I have ever met on my mission.  Just his whole out look on life and his attitude towards his situation.  It was really humbling to see how this man lived.  He said no matter how hard things get I have the Gospel.  I have the understanding that God gives me trials because he loves me and wants me to become better.  He told us that we were doing a great work and that he was so blessed that we were serving his people here in Russia.  He told us that no matter how hard things get remember that you have a loving family that is praying for you back home.  The last thing he said was "Everything is going to be alright".  I have never felt that much love from someone on my mission before.  I remember in Priesthood when they asked everyone if two people could go and give this man the sacrament.  No one raised there hand.  I am glad that i raised my hand and said that we would go and give this man the Sacrament.  If only all the priesthood holders in Ufa could go to this mans house and just see his outlook on everything and the spirit that he has.  I feel that every man in that room would have raised there hands.  They would have taken 30 min out of there Sunday to go and visit this man.  I am so thankful that I was able to serve him and let him partake of the Sacrament yesterday.  Service is so great.  You can only know that is is great when you have actually finished serving someone and have that warm feeling inside of you.  That is the spirit of service.  I love it.
  Well family know that I love you and I am so thankful for all that you do for me.  Thank you for you prayers, thank you for you love and support.  THank you everyone for all that you do for me.  I wish I could thank each and everyone of you individually.  Know that I am so thankful for all of you.
Elder Flitton

December 2012

December 3, 2012

Dear Family

  Winter is officially here in Russia.  They say the first of December is the official day of Winter.  So winter just came, honestly it feels like it has been here for awhile.  We had a huge snow storm on Saturday.  It left a ton of snow on the ground.  Saturday night us Elders for about 2 hours went out and shoveled snow at the church.  I have never gotten a workout like that before in my life.  The church walkway and steps are now free of snow and now all the little babushkas don't have to worry.  I'm still soar a little.
  I can't believe that Monday has already come.  It feels like it was just yesterday writing an email.  It seems to me that I have written a ton of emails so far on my mission.  I'm sorry if they just kind of get a little dull or boring sometimes.  I have gotten really good at typing now ha.  Good thing I took typing class in 7th grade from Ms. Stubbs ha.  
  December is here and it's the season of giving.  You are all very lucky that you were able to watch the Christmas Devotional.  I wish so bad that we can watch it.  Maybe President will show it at zone conf next week.  I can't believe that next week I will have been in Russia for a year!!!  The time is going by so fast here in Russia.  Is it the same back home?  It sounds like President Uchtdorf gave a really great talk.  I hope that I will have the opportunity to watch it.  I remember in the Mtc I was able to see the devotional.  It is so crazy to look back that long ago.  The MTC feels like decades ago.
  So lately Elder Oneill and I have been struggling to find new investigators.  We have been searching really hard for at least someone to start to teach.  So far no luck.  But we are still praying and searching for that person on the streets here in Ufa.  Elder O'neill and I are still teaching the same people.  They really aren't progressing.  But nonetheless we are teaching them the best of our ability.  Please remember to keep those people in your prayers that don't know about the gospel or are trying to understand the Gospel.
  Tomorrow we are flying to Yekaterinburg from Ufa for zone leader council.  I am very excited because I get to see all my buds.  We are leaving way early tomorrow and then that day we will be at Presidents.  That night we take a train back to Ufa.  They told us to bring extra bags because there a lot of Christmas packages.  So we are bringing my big luggage bag to stuff all of the goddies in it.  BTW I got a package from Grandma and Grandpa Flitton.  So I got it. I haven't opened the presents yet.  We actually have a little Christmas tree in our apartment. So I put a little blanket underneath it like we do at home and put the presents around it.  It reminds me so much like home ha.  I will send a picture next week.  It is awesome.  Thank you so much for the package.  I can't wait to open the presents on Christmas.  I love you Grandma and Grandpa.
  Here in Ufa we have a bakery across the street called Lidos.  It is the greatest thing ever that happened to Ufa.  I think Elder Oneill and I go to Lidos like 3 times a week.  It is so great.  It almost compares to Glauses bakery...maybe not, but sure close.  Also I haven't explained but Elder O'neill and I have started a vegetarian diet.  We have been doing it for the last three weeks.  Suprisingly I have been doing pretty well.  I thought I was going to die at first but now I am doing great.  I feel like I have put on some weight so far on my mission.  So we have decided no meat and sparingly on the sweets.  I know that I just said we go to the bakery 3x a week but I only allow myself 2 things.  I have seen a huge difference.  I feel a lot more healthier and those love handles that I am so well known for are starting to get go away. So mom don't worry I am taking care of myself:)
  Well I just want to end with saying that I love all of you and that I hope that this Christmas season is good for all of you.  I am missing all of you very much but I know that right now this is where I need to be.  Only one more Christmas away from home so it is no biggie.  Please remember me in you prayers.  I will keep you in my prayers as always.  I love you all. Pleas be safe and know that  your love and support are felt here in Ufa (ooofa).  
  Oh ya before I forget today I am going to be buying some new shoes.  My shoes have put up a very good fight but it is now time for them to meet their maker...:) I think they are ready.

December 9, 2012
Dear Family

  It is really good to read all of the emails this week.  It sounds like everyone is getting ready for Christmas and a baby ha.  I feel as if there have been a lot of baby arrivals on my mission.  I can't believe that Christmas is in three weeks.  We here in Ufa are planning to have a dinner and maybe a white elephant.  It should be really fun.  About the Nativity scene... I haven't seen any around but I will keep my eye out. If I do see one I wll let you know and I can go buy it.  This is for everyone, if you would like any kind of souvenir now is the time to tell me so I can plan accordingly.  I will make a list so by the end of my mission i can have a nice checklist.  Just remember that I have limited space in my luggage ha.  So little things are perfect.  
  So I just realized that this is my second Christmas in the field.  I remember before the mission thinking about how it was possible to celebrate Christmas.  I remember thinking to myself that there was no way and that it was going to be really depressing.  But now it is like I can't wait for it to come.  We have a lot of great plans lined up.  We have planned to go to a member who can't walk and stays inside all day.  We are going to go to her house and sing carols and watch the movie Joy to the World.  It should be really fun.  Her daughter is one of our investigators and she also has a hard time walking so it should be a really good night.  They were so happy when we told them that we wanted to spend Christmas night with them.  Their faces lit up and they had the biggest smile.  I can't wait.  I also have planned my Christmas morning ha.  Going to wake up at 6 and open gifts that are underneath our little tree.  Next time I will send a picture of the tree and the gifts.  It is so awesome.  I am very excited to celebrate Christmas this year.  And it is crazy that it is my last one in the field.  Christmas is going to be good.
  Last week Elder O'neill and I had the opportunity to go to Yekaterinburg for Zone leader council.  Elders that serve in Ufa get to fly to Yekaterinburg.  It was a really fun experience.  The plane was very small, there was about 12 of us.  The flight was an hour so it was really quick.  We finally got to Presidents and were there all day.  It was a really good council.  I learned so much. I also learned that I have a lot of responsibility as a Zone Leader.  I really enjoy being at Presidents, I wish that I could stay there longer.  But we talked about Christmas and New Years.  For Christmas he gave us the opportunity to stay inside that day and enjoy the day or go out and do missionary work.  We have decided that we are going to visit members.  We also get to sleep in till eight or take a 1:30 nap.  On the mission I will take a nap whenever it is allowed ha.  For New Years we are going to be in all day.  We aren't allowed to go out on the streets.  Things get crazy in Russia when it is New Years.  I remember last year in Kurgan when our drunk neighbor knocked on the door all night telling us that he wanted us to go with him to buy Vodka.  Never forget that one.  I am excited what crazy story this year that New Years will bring.  All in all Zone leader council was great.  I am so thankful that the Lord has trusted me with this responsibility.
  Lately Elder O'neill and I have been struggling to find some new investigators.  The work here in our area is going really slow.  We are working really hard and we are trying our hardest to be 100% obedient.  But nothing seems to be happening.  We now that this is a trap that Satan has put in front of us.  He wants us to get discouraged and get down on ourselves.  But that isn't happening with us.  Elder Oneill and I have grown really close together.  We are always laughing and having a good time.  I love that about a mission.  No matter how hard things get, you have your companion.  I am so thankful that I have a great companion.  Please continue to pray for us so that we can find at least one person to start to teach.  Thank you.
  Last week I had the opportunity to go on splits.  I went with Elder Krivov.  He is from Samara Russia.  He has been on his mission for a coulple of months.  He is awesome.  We had the greatest time together.  The cool thing about going on splits with a native is that you can learn so much from them.  THey are like your personal tutor for the language.  You better believe that I was all over him during language study ha.  He is a great missionary and has such a strong testimony.  It is so cool to be with a fellow saint from Russia who has such a strong testimony.  It is awesome to see that the Gospel really does have an effect on everyone.  Slowly the Russians are growing.  I am so thankful for that split that I went on.  I hope to have a Russian companion.
  This last week I have been studying a lot about Repentance and what true Repentance really is.  I think the majority of us feel that Repentance is some scary word and involves some scary stuff.  Well we shouldn't think like that.  Repentance is a gift from our Heavenly Father.  Without Repentance we have no way to return to the Father.  No unclean thing can enter into the presence of God.  Luckily we have repentance so that we can have the opportunity to return back to our Heavenly Father.  So what is Repentance?  I quote nothing so this isn't doctrine, I'm speaking from my own point of view.  Repentance for me is humbling yourself enough and understanding that in order to return and receive all that the Father has we have to view ourselves in the flesh of man and desire to view ourselves as the child of God that we truly are.  I read a talk about how there are two phases in us.  There is the spiritual phase that lets us know that we are literally children of our Father in Heaven and that he loves us.  And then there is the other which is the carnal man, the flesh of man.  Satan's big tool for getting us to fall is having us focus on the carnal mind.  When we focus on the carnal mind we make excuses and we justify a lot.  We become spiritually deaf.  That is why we need to understand that we are Children of a loving Heavenly Father.  We need to view ourselves in the spiritual phase.  True repentance is when we come to ourselves and see our selves in the carnal mind.  We see the mistakes that we have made, we see the sins that we have.  That is when we rely on Christ and his mercy.  Christ is always there with open arms to recieve us.  If we only become honest with ourselves.  Repentance has a new meaning to me now.  I know that if we try our hardest to do what is right the Lord will always raise us up.  I'm so thankful for the Atonement.  Without the Atonement we would not be.
  Thank you everyone for your emails.  I love you so much and miss you dearly.  Please enjoy this time of the year.  Please know that I love you all so much and can't wait to talk to you on Christmas. I will let you know the time and everything.  Love you.

Elder Flitton

December 17, 2012
Dear Family,
  Yes it is true, the weather here in Ufa is freezing.  Btw, mom I wasn't able to get some new shoes.  My normal summer shoes took a big hole in them.  They are history.  So I have been wearing my nice winter boots.  I really like them.  But I am going to need a little more money to buy some normal shoes for after the winter season.  Doesn't have to be done asap but just a little heads up.  Thank you Daniels family for the warm winter boots that you bought me at Mr.Mac... They are saving my life literally.
  Last week was a big week for Elder O'neill and I.  We had President coming into town on Wednesday with his wife and daughter.  They were coming for Zone Conf.  We had Zone Conf on Friday but all the zone in Chely came up to Ufa.  So we had two zones here.  We had to make sure that everyone had a place to stay.  Luckily all went well and all of the Taxi's were on time to pick up President.  For the first night we had the zone leaders from Chely stay with us.  I was way excited because my MTC companion Elder King is a ZL.  We were able to talk for awhile.  I have never been able to serve around him.  So this was way nice.  He is doing awesome.  We made some plans for after the mission...  But that night we decided to have a feast.  We bought these really different noodle things.  Let's just say the next day my stomach didn't agree with them.  Unfortunately I was sick at Zone Conf.  Luckily my body allowed me to go and suffer through zone conf.  I was so glad when it was over becuase I was able to go home and get in bed.  It was a really big bummer becuase this zone conf is the christmas one.  It was a huge downer but I'm better so that's all that matters.
  Sunday before church I had the opportunity to do my interview with President Rust.  It was so great.  He tells you exactly what you need to hear and what you need to do.  I am so thankful for a inspired mission President.  He also told me my transfers.  I will be staying in Ufa with Elder O'neill for another transfer.  This next transfer is goin to be a long one.  A usual one is only 6 weeks.  This one is 9 weeks.  They are doing this because they are changing the time in the MTC for missionaires.  Therefor we have to adjust it here so it is equal.  That means that my go home date gets moved up and extra two weeks.  I feel very strange writing this but I will be coming home around September 18th.  I only have 6 more transfers left.  So there you have it.
   Lately I have been thinking a lot about God and who He really is.  I read in the scriptures the other day that if we are obedient in this life we will be able to recieve all that the Father has.  That really stuck out to me.  I thought to myself and wondered.  God has everything, He has all power, wisdom.  He can do anything.  If He can create worlds, we can create worlds.  If He can create cosmos, we can create cosmos.  Most important if He can create Spirit children so can we.  We will be able to do everything that God can do.  As I wrote down my thoughts and as I looked  back on them there was a main theme that stuck out.  It is love.  God has a perfect love for all of us.  Everything He does if for us, because He loves us so much.  All we need to do is to be obedient.  Now that is easier said than done.  But we have help in doing so.  God has given us families and He has given us the Gospel to strengthen our families.  He has given us a Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson to lead and guide us.  He has given us the temple.  It think the temple is the number one help mate.  There we are able to come so close to Him.  There we understand truly our purpose here.  I wish that everyone could go to the temple but God has set requirements. Only those who are obedient may enter.  So let us all be obedient so that we may have the opportunity to go to the temple and truly understand the Love of God.
  Family I love you so much and I am so thankful for next week I will be able to talk to you.  Next Monday I will let you know exactly when ok.  I will send an invitation to your skype so please mom give me your skype address in the next email you send.  Thank you everyone for your emails and support.  I wish that I could email everyone individually.  Know that I love all of you and that I am so thankful for the opportunity that has been placed in my hands to serve a mission.  I am so grateful for this work.  It is the hardest work that I have ever done.  It drains me to the point of exhaustion.  It pushes me to the point where I want to give up but I know that there are those who are home right now praying and fasting for me.  I am eternally indebted to you for this.  I thank you again for your prayers and support.  I love you all. 
  Dad Happy Birthday!!!! Hope that this week will bring you joy.  Know that I will be thinking of you especially on that special day.  Wish I could be home to celebrate it with you but next year.  Love you Dad!
Ps If anyone is wanting to send a package in the future, I would really love a CD burned with all of the talks by Bruce R. McKonkie.  I have fallen in love with him.  Thanks.
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!! talk to you on Tuesday:)
Elder Flitton

December 24, 2012
Dear Family,

  So I can't believe that today is Christmas eve.  I woke up this morning thinking to myself that Tomorrow I get to talk to my family.  I can't believe that the time has gone by so fast.  I remember last May when we skyped.  I was still in Kurgan.  Now I will be in Ufa.  The time is really going fast.  Alright news for the "CALL" tomorrow.  I will be calling at 7:00pm here in Russia.  So that means 5:00am back home.  It is going to be really early for you I know and I am sorry about that.  The internet at the church is really slow so we have been trying to find a member that we can go to.  We found one and the night time is the only time for them.  So 5am be ready for the call.  Before the call I will be sending you an invite to the skype so if there is a random name it is me ha.  I am so excited.
  Yesterday at church we were able to watch the First Presidency message.  It was really good, we had to watch it in Russian so us missionaries didn't get the full affect ha.  But is was very spiritual.  As the Quire was singing I felt the spirit so much.  I thought about you guys back at home.  It put a big smile on my face to think about my family back home enjoying this special holiday.  I started to think about when we together will be able to celebrate this holiday.  I can't wait for the next Christmas to share it with you.  I love you.
  So tomorrow Elder Oneill and I will be waking up at the normal time and opening our gifts.  I got your package and I got grandmas/grandpas and then I also got the Capson/Nielsens package.  I haven't gotten Chandler's yet.  Hopefully that will come soon.  But morning we will be opening gifts then we will have our normal studies and then we pretty much have the day to ourselves.  We are going to have a dinner at the church as a zone.  We are really excited and then I get to call you guys!!!! I can't wait
  In our apartment we have a little dvd player that we watch movies/listen to music on.  We have the film the Testaments.  Honestly we watch it every meal ha.  I have fallen in love with this film.  The part that is so spiritual for me is when Christ shows himself to the Nephites.  The part gets me every time when he heals the father.  I have been thinking a lot lately about my Saviour and how this holiday season should be centered around him.  It is really sad to see the Russians.  They don't really celebrate Christmas as much as we do.  They don't celebrate it till January and it is just another light holiday.  They focus their celebrating and give most of their attention to New Years.  It is sad to see that New Years takes precedence over Christmas here.  I am so thankful that back home we give the whole month of December to celebrate Christmas.  Christ did so much for us and we owe him so much.  God really did give us the PERFECT gift.  I am so thankful that I will be able to see and talk to you tomorrow.  I love you.
  This morning I was doing my reading in the Bible.  I have gotten to Job and I am really enjoying it.  Today I read the 28th chapter in Job.  It talks about what is the most important thing in this world that we can receive.  He starts talking about how Gold and crystals and ruby's and all of these precious stones don't measure up to receiving knowledge and Wisdom.  He talks about how we cant receive knowledge and wisdom from the earth and we can find it in the sea the only place that we can receive it is from God.  He says that we can receive knowledge and wisdom from Fearing the Lord and avoiding evil.  I looked up what Fear the Lord means and it says in the footnotes reverence.  So it took me to the TG and I started to look up the scriptures that it offered.  It took me to DC, I forgot where it is but it pretty much said that we need to humble ourselves before God and then we will be able to know the desires of our hearts.  It really got me thinking about Humility.  I think the Lord is telling me something.  I need to humble myself a lot more.  Lately I find myself with pride and sometimes putting my self above others.  Reading this today really helped me.  I know in the past I have worked hard in trying to be humble but I need to try a lot harder.  I am thankful that Christ has given us all the opportunity to change and become better.  
  Family I love you so much and I am so thankful that tomorrow we will have the opportunity to talk.  I am so excited.  Please come with questions, lots of them.  I love you so much and I hope that this Christmas is special for you.  Know that I love you and pray for you.  Thanks for all that you do for me.  Talk to you Tomorrow.

I haven't done Q and A for awhile so I am going to do it because this is a small email and I have a lot of time left.

Yes there is snow on the ground.  We got a big snow storm last night so this morning was really white.  Usually it doesn't snow for awhile and it gets really dirty.  But we got snow last night so it is clean today finally.

How is the work going?  It is really slow but we are excited for this winter because we know that we are going to find a lot of people.  The other day we knocked doors in our apartment building.  Out of the 25 apartments 2 of them want us to come back and talk with us.  We are so excited because tonight we are going back to one of them and we are making them cookies and giving them a Proclamation to the World.  It is going to be great.

How are the investigators?  Great we have one who is progressing very well.  His name is Edward, he is from Armenia.  His wife is the Relief Society President so it really helps to have her there.  We have a meeting with him tonight about Repentance.  He is having a hard time praying.  He says that he isn't worthy to pray.  So we are going to talk to him about how everyone sins and that Repentance is for everyone.  We are pumped for him.
Zone Conf?  Yah it was a big bummer to be sick but it was good to be there.  We watched the movie 17miracles, it was a good movie.
Favorite Russian food?  I love Palmeni and making Russian pancakes they are called Bleenie.  I have become quite the cook. 

December 31, 2012
Dear Family
 I can't believe that last week I talked to you over Skype. Thank you so
much for that wonderful hour. You all looked so great. I can't believe
how much Anna and Katie are growing up. It was so good to see Grandma,
Grandpa, and Jen. Thank you so much for making the trip down to the house
that morning on Christmas. Chandler thanks for being there also I am just
so grateful for a loving family. That was the fastest hour of my life. I
wish that we could have had some more time. Looks like we have o wait till
Mother's day... I can't wait ha. But really thank you so much for getting
up really, really early on Christmas and talking to me. It was very
needed. I love you guys so much.
 So tomorrow is New Year's and I get to sit inside all day ha. I have got
some plans to make some kind of fany meal ha. I'm quite not sure what yet
but we will see and I will let you know in the email next week what I
created. But tomorrow we get to watch the movie "It is a Wonderful Life".
I remember last year when I was in Kurgan and watched it. I am so excited
to watch it tomorrow. It is probably one of the greatest movies ever
made. That is probably because it is the only movie that I have seen in
the last year. But it does remind me about being home on Christmas eve
watching it on ABC and having the fire going, ah great memories. But I
hope that you all have a great New Year's.
 The weather here in Ufa has been great. It has been snowing for the last
week and it is so awesome becuase it gets warmer when it snows. The worse
is when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing, it is a nightmare. So
right now I am enjoying the weather. This last week my companion went on
his Visa trip so I stayed here in Ufa and went on a threesome with the
other Elders in the city. We had a blast. We went to dinner at a huge
mall that is called MEGA. It is probably as big as Fashion Place mall.
But we went to Ikea for dinner and ordered the Meetball challenge. You get
40 meatballs and then some gretchka(boiled buck wheat) the Russians love
it. But it was the greatest meal that I have had in a while. It is so
cool to see Ikea here in Ufa. Honestly being at Mega reminded me of back
home. Probably wont go back there again ha. But go to Ikea and order the
meatballs ha you wont regret it.
 This week Elder O'neill and I are going to Yekaterinburg for zone leader
council. We leave on Wednesday and get on a train for 16 hours and then
get to Yekat early in the morning. We are going to be at Presidents for
two days and then we get back on a train Friday evening to Ufa. So I get
to do a lot of traveling this week. I am really excited because I love to
travel. The Russian country side is so beautiful. I love taking train
rides also just because they are so classic. And plus I get a ton of time
to do some studies and write some letters. So it is going to be good.
 Yesterday at church for the third hour we had a combined meeting with the
Relief Society. They talked about the importance of holding Famiy Home
Evening. Before the mission and growing up I just wasn't for Family home
evening. That is probably one of the biggest error/mistake of my life. I
need to appologize to you, mom and dad. I am sorry that I was such a butt
and never wanted to do it. I just didn't understand the importance of it.
Now it has really sunk deep. Now I don't want to sound like a nerdy
missionary who all of a sudden knows everything and understands everything
but I do know that Family Home Evening is one of the greatest/most
important things we can do as a family. Katie and Anna be excited for
Monday nights now. Be excited to be able to have FHE. I was a terrible
example and now I ask for your forgivness. Please let Mom and Dad do FHE.
Free your monday nights so you can have it. I know with all of my heart
that the most important work that we can do as a family and as Saints
starts in the home. FHE is for our benefit and will help us build eternal
realtionships. As they talked about FHE yesterday it got me so excited to
do FHE with my future family. I can't wait to grow together and learn from
each other when I get back and when we can start doing FHE. It is going to
be the greatest. Family I love you and I want you to know that there can
be a fresh start to everything. Let's try to make FHE a time where we can
grow spritually and build those Eternal relationships, because the
relationships that we have here on earth and the joy that we feel being
together carries over into the Eternities. FHE is so important and I can't
wait to get back home and be apart of it once again. I love you.
 So today I took some money off to go and buy some new shoes for the
summer. Just want to say thank you to all that have put money on my
account. It really does mean a lot. Thank you Grandparents for all of the
support that you give me. Grandpa Kay thank you so much for the help, I
love you. Also all those that have sent me letters I thank you. The
support that I recieve back home is so strong and I am eternally grateful
for that.
 I am so excited for this New Year. I remember last year thinking to
myself that I have a full year to serve my Heavenly Father. Well that year
has come and gone so quick. I have made so many lasting realationships
here in Russia. Ivan from Kurgan is my greatest friend and I miss him so
much. I pray everyday that the Lord will send me back to Kurgan so that I
will have more time to spend with Ivan before I go home. He helped me
recieve my testimony that I have today. I will eternally be grateful for
that man and hope that in this life I will be able to see him again. But
if it isn't in this life then in the next one, which I know will be. I
will always remember Igor and the sacrifice that he made to change his life
so that he could be baptized. I will never forget the day when he was
baptized and we were able to talk to him about recieving the M.
Priesthood. He had the biggest smile. My dear Vera who was the last
person that I baptized in Kurgan. She is my dear Russian Grandma. I will
never forget the night that we saved her from perishing in the cold
freezing water ha. Her smile and laugh has never left me. I can see here
smiling righ now without any teeth and hearing here one in a kind laugh.
She holds a special place in my heart. Last is Natalia. She is a pioneer
here in Russia. I know that someday ALL of her family will recieve and
enjoy the blessings of the Gospel. She is a inspiration to me and helped
me understand what it means to be patient and enjoy life. I have made so
many more lasting realationships in 2012 that I could type right now. But
the people that I have listed are the ones that have changed/impacted my
life the most. I will have the opportuntity after this life to enjoy
eternal life with them. I pray everyday that they will remain faithful and
hold fast to the iron rod. I know that in the end we will all have the
opportunity to meet together after this life and enjoy what our Heavenly
Father has in store for us. It makes me so happy. I am so excited for
2013 and the things that wait for me.
 Family I love you so much and I hope that you have a great New Years.
Thank you once again for all that you do for me. Remember that it is
always better to look up. Love you
Elder Flitton