November 7, 2011
"That's much to plain, American. Try this one!"
Hello family and friends!
Well, it's been another great week here in Zavodskoi! Me and my new companion, Elder Johsnon, have been working hard in the area and have been doing very well. Elder Johnson is on his 5th cycle and is from Provo, Utah. He's a mircobio major and started BYU when he was 16! Needless to say, he's a rather smart fellow and is quite clean too. It's been cool to work with him. Of course, his Russian is better than mine, but I hold my own in understanding and speaking during a lesson and we split it up really well. He's such a great guy and it's truly and honor to be working with him.
we found something funny while we were doing some scripture study together as a companionship. Acts 8:14 in particular was funny to us (put -son at the end of the names i.e. John(son) and replace Samaria with Samara (mission)) Hopefully you get a kick out of it like we did! [well worth looking up!]
Mom and Dad has a qeustion about mail that I'll just go ahead and answer universally. All mail, whether it's pouch, regular or packages, ends up in Samara Russia. From there, it essentially just waits until someone going to that city/area picks it up from Samara and takes it to that area. Sometimes, as it was just a coupel of days ago, it's because our Zone Leaders had a conference in Samara and brought back home mail which was distributed at a district conference on Sunday. It's a relatively rare circumstance, especially in towns like Izhevsk (how the heck do I spell that in English?) or Orenberg. So, I can tell you, in general, when I get mail (I recently got two dearelders from Alyssa and Bethany and a pouch letter from Miranda, thank you!) but I have no idea time wise when they actually got to Samara. I will do my best though to tell you though when I get mail from you so that you do have a relative time reference. A funny thing, but when I did finally get mail this past time, the first thing that came into my mind was the "Wells Fargo Wagon" song from The Music Man. Good stuff :)
Mom, thanks for telling me about the listening talent. Just like you, it's a talent I've been working hard to develop while here in Russia. It's a little hard too for me, sometimes. Even just listening to people in English can be tiring, and I've found that listening to people in Russian is just that much more difficult. But I've been able to tell worlds of difference when I try my hardest to listen. A temptation for me is to sometimes just half listend while my mind fomulates ideas as how to best solve their problem or give them that perfect idea or scripture for the lesson. Everytime I stop listening though and focus on my own thoughts it has always turned up being a poor idea. No thing I said or did made up the difference for not listening and gaining the valuable information, trust and Spirit that I get from listening to people. I really do have a testimony that as we try our best to listen and to serve people, even if we can't do it very well (like with me in understanding people in Russian), the Lord blesses us with the ability to know what to say and do in the situation. From what I've personally seen, when I listen, and then think, no matter what I say next is strengthens the Spirit in the conversation. I don't say perfectly what I want to, but I know the Spirit is touching the hearts of those I'm working with, and my own too, when I listen. Thanks for telling me that Mom.
Thank you so much for you prayers, love and support. I read and reread all the letters I get, in e-mail and through the mail, and it always touches my ehart to know I'm remembered and cared for. I love you all, and God is watching over you. I know it because I feel it to be so everytime I ask God to watch and help you. May the love and prayers I give to you be as felt by you as they so abundantly are felt by me from all of you. Thank you, and I love you :) Until next week!
С любовью, всегда