Oh gosh! Still in Russia! Turns out this isn't a dream after all, still in the Motherland where it's beginning to turn a bit chilly! It's making all the trees turn even more beautiful with tons of colors.Fall is pretty dang sweet here in Russia. I especially like it because it makes everyone wear a lot more clothes that they would during the summer time, woo hoo! I've been able to try my hand at some true legit Russian food lately, and, I gotta tell ya, it's pretty delicious. I was writing a letter today and it made me think about how before the mission, I really hated sour cream. Thought the stuff was disgusting. But here in Russia, they've gotten me to like it! Heck, it was even on a dessert once (gonna be asking the member tonight for the recipe) and it made it taste even better than it already was! I think I might have mentioned this last week, but I've got to say it again. The juices and the yogurt here in Russia are just simply fantastic. Pretty dang tasty and legit!
A couple of days ago I got to see a baptism for an investigators the sisters in our zone found. I even got to sing at it too! It's was the coolest experience and the Spirit was so strong. It was a bit of a bummer that one of our investigators we had invited to come couldn't, but there'll be another baptism pretty soon, so maybe he'll be able to come to that one! In addition, our taxi drive, r gave us his number and we talked a bit about the Gospel on the hour drive there (and the hour back too). He's in our area so hopefully we'll be able to teach him ([...]) soon! Good times!
Language wise I'm certainly a heck of a lot better than I was last week. I've been heading our efforts in contacting on the streets and I've gotten a ton better linguistically even just from doing that. I've finally settled into a language plan that's been working for me and it consists mainly of simply talking to people and learning. And, thus far, it's gone pretty rockin! One of the church members, a 12 year old girl named [...], and I have especially been having fun in teaching each other Russia and English. She even brought a friend to church yesterday and later tonight we're going to be teaching their family with [...] family! So cool!
Contacting has been pretty fun. Something about a goofy American with a bad accent, big smile, loud voice and a book in his hand somehow gets the attention of most Russians. I've gotten pretty good at catching their attention while they're about 15-20 feet away with a cheery "hey there! how're you?" (in Russian, of course) and I almost always get the same reaction. It's vital to catch them while they're far away because the entire thought process of the individual takes a good 5-7 seconds. The first 1-2 are spent assessing my attire, goofy smile and snazzy tie while the other few seconds are spent figuring out whether or not to ignore the funny American and pretend nothing happened or to go ahead and say "hello" back. Either way, they get an invitation to church with some information on the church and a brochure if they accept the original invitation! And heck, if they hang around for a whole 30 seconds or so they'll probably get a Book of Mormon and we'll exchange information! All the time they just give me the funniest looks wondering what the heck is up with this crazy American!
Funny story real quick. An inside joke of our District at the MTC was to say "word" to each other (except in Russian) because of a random experience on a temple walk. The Russian's like to say things like "hello American!" in English and other such things, though perhaps the most unique was last night when a Russian walked up to me and say "Word up, American" in Russian. It caught me and my companion totally off guard, it was hilarious. And well, if it doesn't sound too hilarious while you read it, well...you had to be there. Ah well!
Couple of quick things real quick and then I've got to write my letter to President Sartori. Happy Birthday Mer and Eric! Well, happy belated anyways! I thought about ya while I was at the baptism ob Saturday. Good times.
I know that this Church is true. I'm here in Russia because God wants all of His children to hear the Gospel, accept Jesus Christ as their savior, and be the happiest that they can be. For whatever reason or wisdom in Him, he asked a dorky guy from New Mexico with a loud voice to go to Russia and invite people to hear the Gospel, and everyday I'm thankful to Him for that opportunity to be here. I know God loves each and every one of us. I know that the Book of Mormon is an evidence of that love, and that everyone has the promise given to them that if they read it, and ask God in the name of Christ with faith if the Book is true, they will receive an answer of it's truthfulness by the power of the Holy Ghost, just as I have. That witness has not come to my life merely once, but has been a continual confirmation throughout my life, and especially while I've been here out on the mission. I know of God's love and seek for everyone to feel and know of it too, whether they been in the states, in Zavodskoi or wherever I may be.
May God bless you, my family and friends. I pray for you and you're continually within my heart and in my mind. Thank you so much for your love and help.
God be with you always, is my prayer. Talk to ya next week!