Dec. 12, 2011
Goin Home From the Factory
Hey there everyone!
Gosh, I had a great visa trip! The temple was way cool (yes, I did get to go!) and it was great seeing all of my MTC buddies again! So, with no further delay, let me give ya'll a background on what happened!
Monday night me and Elder Stoddard left on an overnight train to Samara and on Tuesday morning we arrived in Samara. That morning at the train station I bartered in Russian for a taxi and arrived at the Zone Leaders apartment there. I worked in that area of Samara all day with my MTC companion Elder Swartz! It was a super fun and cool experience, to say the least, to work with him again.
Early Wednesday morning we woke up and took a bus over to the airport. At the airport we all met together (us cronies from the MTC) and set off to Moscow. It was a little boring (the plane ride) because we all as missionaries were sitting together and we all pretty much just slept, but the flight from Moscow to Kiev was a lot less boring! On the flight from Moscow to Kiev I was put between a native Ukrainain who had been in Kazakstan (and now was going home) and a girl from Kazakstan who was going to visit some friends in Kiev. Good times! Ukrainian Russian is so hard to understand though, not going to lie. Almost all the "g's" in Russian are pronounced by Ukrainian's as "h's", that, plus the guy was a little drunk, made it a bit hard to understand him. The girl was studying English in school, though she had just barely started, and didn't know much yet. It was way fun talking to them about why I was in Russia and what America was like, etc. The firl even gave me some Kazakstanian money, which looks pretty dang cool.
The highlight, of course, was the temple. We thought we were going to be doing an endownment session, but as it turned out they didn;t have any sessions for when we were there. So, instead, we did Baptisms and Confirmations for the dead! We all got to confirm and be confirmed and to baptize and be baptized, all in Russian and for Russian people! Way cool! Me and 2 other Elder's also got the chance to confirm over 100 people because 3 girls there wanted to do confirmations. After I did both the confirmations and the baptisms I was complimented on how well I spoke, which gave me the warm fuzzies on the inside! I remember shortly before I went on my mission I got to do baptisms and confirmations for the dead in the Albuquerque temple. I remember also being so scared in thinking that one day I would be doing this all in Russian. Never thought it would have happened so quickly after entering the country, nor did I think that I would do so well in doing it!
After the temple we took some pictures and relaxed a bit on temple grounds and then hopped onto a bus that took us to the airport to fly us back to Samara. After that flight we spent a little bit more time in Samara where we picked up packages and mail and then went on a train back home to Saratov. Mom, I did get teh Christmas package, thank you so much! In addition thank you so much to Rebekah, Jeanette, Eric and Brother Forsyth for their letters too! Mom, if you could use my facebook to send a message to Rebekah Hoggan and Jeanette Zaleski to say I just got their letter I'd be very appreciative :) That reminds me, have you heard anything from my friend Elder Williams in Uruguay?
So that was the visa trip, in short! But that's not all the exciting news. I found out a couple of days ago that...I'm being transferred! I'm going to be in a completely new area that they've made here in Saratov called Dachni North. I'll be with someone who came out at the same time as me too (2 3rd cyclers together. Crazy!). New apartment (that I hear is way nice) and we'll be whitewashed there (neither one of us is familiar with the area). Pretty exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time, but I already know and love my new companion, which is a comfort. His name is Elder Rounds and he was in the same room and district as me in the MTC. Cool times!
I did have a question for you (my family) to chew over and answer, if/when you get the time. I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to have a "broken heart and a contrite spirit". It seems to me to be something that's more than just humility (if you can say "just humility"). Anyone have any thoughts on it?
Sean and Jennie, I'm not sure if I ahve enough time to write a seperate e-mail to ya'll, so I'll include it in this one. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! So easy to remember since I always knew Sean's and ya'll ahve the same birthday! I hope you all have a wonderful day. Hug each other and Brett for me when you get the chance :)
Well, I've got to head out now (gotta write my weekly letter to the President). Thank you all so much for you encouraging letters and love and prayers. I love you all so much!
With much love