Sunday, June 2, 2013

June 2, 2013 weekly letter

Everything has gone well in the last week. Not everything was easy but we were successful in working hard. Last pday was pretty good. We had the opportunity to give both of the sister missionaries blessings because sister braithwait's eye was all swollen and you couldn't see her eye and the other sister asked for one when we got there because she was having an allergic reaction. The next time we saw them, they were almost all better and now they are back to normal.
I spent some time writing a response to a few emails i printed off so i can type them faster today. It is hard for me to get myself to take a nap because i always feel i have something to do which is nice because i get things done.
We went and bought a dvd player with a screen. They are super hard to find in Russia because who would really want one anywhere when you can get a tablet, laptop, etc. We found one and it was kind of expensive but it was the last one and the only one we can find anywhere.
We had family night at the Bryson's even though they were gone. We had a song, a thought and then some dessert. We played mafia and i don't really know how to play but it was also in Russian so i was super confused. It makes me wonder if the game was made by the Russians.
I didn't understand the game very well so it kind of messed with it a little bit because i wasn't understanding. I would say things in Russian and everyone was dying with laughter by the end of the game. I really don't know why people think i am so funny. It blows my mind sometimes. In fact, we had to resing the last verse of the hymn we ended with because it was super fast and hard even for the elders who have been here a long time and i kept slaughtering the words and making everyone laugh again.
While reading the Book of Mormon this week, i have gone back to the start several times while continuing with my daily chapter because i understand more and want to mark things i've missed. I take the time to look up deeper meanings to words and phrases and use resources like preach my gospel to explain things better.
I have been working on grammar and going through a grammar book this last week. I am finally understanding things and elder barney is very helpful at explaining things and that is one of his strengths, grammar.
We went to a place called Country Pizza on Tuesday with the district for lunch. It was good for Russia but any place in the USA would have better pizza and this was there best so it was interesting but fun. At least they didn't use mayonnaise (that is how most Russians make their pizzas and salads here). Afterwards we had our district meeting and talked about using the Book of Mormon. We also went to baba alovteena's house again to help her with her garden and chop wood.
On Tuesday's English group night i was supposed to give the story. Elder Barney said i should try to make it funny and i told him a few stories beforehand. I couldn't really think of anything else so i ended up telling a funny story about a friend and they thought it was super hilarious. They were slapping their heads about how oblivious i can be sometimes.
Sister rumnyatseeva brought me a bag of various delicious fruits this week. She had thought it was strange that i didn't eat much, didn't like eating, etc. She found out that i only like fruit so she brought me a bunch randomly one day. I thanked her a bunch but told her she doesn't have to get me gifts. She is very giving to everyone.
We had a few times this week where elder barney and i would study the same things during personal study without realizing it. We would study the same chapters of the book of mormon and preach my gospel because our purpose was the same. However, we tend to get different things out of it. I remember on wednesday we had studied the same things for the same purpose but i ended up planning a lesson for another investigator and we had two really good lessons planned by the end of companionship study.
Another miracle that happened was the lesson i had come up with during that study. I was planning for the same thing that elder barney was but then everything i was reading made me think of uri uta. We have taught him once since i've been here and nobody has really gotten anywhere with him. We called him and invited him to have a lesson at the church. When he showed up, we toured the church and he thought it was really nice and was surprised. Afterwards, we had a lesson and everything i had planned had been going well. The lesson also went well and we used the scripture i found in personal study. It was ezekiel 37:15-20 and i explained how the bible talks about the book of mormon and how they will work together. The lesson went well and we think we can get him to church soon. We also had a hole of time that day that we didn't know what to fill it with and we called him and he just happened to be available at that time.
The walk back to our apartment was very fun. When it rains here, it floods. There is no draining system so the water just goes all over the streets and everywhere you walk. The puddles are huge.
We went to the Shatilov's house on Friday and gave them a Book of Mormon challenge. We watched a video, talked to them about sharing the gospel and we all wrote our testimonies in a separate book of mormon to give to someone. We asked them whom they would like to share the gospel with and finally it came down to their son/brother. They will have to slowly work with him but they really want to develop a better relationship with him. Their family is very nice and they are also super giving. They didn't have much but they had something prepared for us to eat when we got there. The people here would give you anything if you asked for it.
During English on Thursday all of the people talked about me for about 20 minutes and then i finally found an opening to change the subject and they were kind of disappointed. They were so interested in how i was a manager of a restaurant. One woman couldn't believe how i could be 18 and manage a restaurant and know how so she kept asking questions, another wanted to know what i did there, another was interested in how much i made and if i would learn russian recipes and there were several other kinds of questions.
I went tracting for my first time this week. Basically, you find an apartment building and then start ringing numbers till someone answers their domaphone. When they answer, we talk to each one saying we are missionaries until someone lets you in. After that, we went in and started at the top by knocking on doors till someone answers then we offer them the gospel and see if someone will accept. We weren't in luck but maybe that will lead to something in the future and it was a good experience so i am glad elder barney was willing to take me.
We had a lesson with sergei and during weekly planning we had planned out a super spiritual week of events to keep him studying, praying, fasting, preparing, etc so that he might receive an answer. We don't know how well it will work but he will be reading and giving us a lesson. I am really glad for the inspiration i have received since i have been here. The ideas are fantastic.
Elder Barney and I called some people out of the area book last night and we found 3 people we are going to meet with and maybe get some new investigators. One just happens to be a hairdresser and elder barney was planning for a haircut today so that is convenient. She has been very interested in the gospel but was too young to learn because her parent wouldn't sign a paper and then when she was 18 they called but she was busy and there has been no contact since then. She has been super interested so hopefully everything goes well. I am super excited for our new potential investigators.
This week has been great. I have worked hard with elder barney and made new goals to improve. We play catch with a frisbee in the morning now to make exercise more effective. I hope everyone is doing great! -elder elwood

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