Dec. 5, 2011
"I love to see the temple, I'm going there...THIS WEEK!"
Hey there family and friends!
So, let me explain a bit more about how my visa trip is going down. Tonight me and one of my MTC buddies Elder Stoddard are taking an overnight train to Samara. We'll work all day in Samara on Tuesday and then Wednesday/Thursday I'll be spending mostly in the air, but, I found out something cool! I fly out from Samara to Moscow and then from Moscow to Kiev (in Ukraine). During our time in Kiev we'll be going to the temple there! WOO! So cool! It may be a bit rushed though since we need to fly out that same day from Kiev to Moscow and then to Samara once more. After all that fun times we get to take another overnight train back to Saratov! Meaning that on Friday, I'm going to be dead tired. But hey, temple!
Anyways, it's been a good week, though I've got a feeling this upcoming one is gonna be good! Yesterday was the election in Russia. I haven't heard anything, but most likely Putin is still President. I just want to see different ads than all the political ones!
Yesterday was kind of an interesting day. A member who was baptized this year has now gone apostate and has been trying to teach members of the Church false doctrine (about tithing, law of chastity, other such things). It was sad to talk to him and it frustrated me a bit. His main points consist that you can break any of the laws of God because forgiveness is part of God's plan for us and we're part of God's church. That's terrible! We talked to him a lot about repentance, upholding church leaders and the law of chastity and it just didn't go well. He'll be having a disciplinary counsel soon and will most likely be excommunicated for the things he's done.
It's a hard. To be honest, there's a lot of folks here with some very odd ideas. Most of the Russians that I've met on the street have told me that their Russian Orthodox, but I've head anything from God is a supercomputer to God doesn't exist (and lots more imbetween) , despite the fervor and surety that they say that they're Russian Orthodox. It's also been a bit difficult helping a pretty good progressing investigator named [...]. He's a little bit older (maybe 60 or so) and he's such a great guy. His prayers are sincere and he understands and lives doctrines (or is trying to, he's trying to quit smoking). He gained a powerful testimony about prayer and loves The Book of Mormon. [...]
How do you find sincere people? How do you help people who have kind of...odd or skewed ideas on the Gospel and help them back onto a good path? How do you help investigators who really do believe in God and Christ but really just interpret the Gospel their own way and won't hear any other? Argh! Kinda frustrating at times, but it'll be ok I think. But maybe someone has worked with people like that and can give some tips.
Ooh, couple of things real quick. A sweet couple who just returned off their mission knitted me and my companion wool socks! Woo! They're so dang cool and look like they're way warm. They'll be nice to wear when I put on my boots. Also, a member of the branch here who speak perfect English was talking to me about a book called "17 Points of True Doctrine". It sounded interesting and so I was just curious to see if anyone had heard of it. Also, I saw an ad for Tangled in Russian, which was excited. In Russian it's called "Rapunzel, a Tangled Story"! Gotta check that one out after the mission.
Not too much more to say I think this week, I love you all very much! Things are going well. The language is coming along just fine, I'm eating well (and healthily too it seems! I gained weight at the MTC and a member of the Church today mentioned yesterday that I had lost weight since I'd been here. Woo!) and alls well. I'm copying the letter that we got concerning Christmas calls in a seperate e-mail to ya'll so we can talk about it this next week. Also, this next week I'll be finding out about transfers, so we'll see if any changes happen.
Love ya lots! :)