January 30, 2012
Back to the Factory
Hey there family and friends!
So guess what! I found out last Tuesday that I'm not actually going to be in Dachney South or North! Where would I be going then, you may ask? Well...I'm going back to Zavodskoi! Crazy stuff!
That's made this a pretty interesting week. Me and Elder Rekow (not Riko, as I spelled it in my last e-mail, my bad!) have been running all of Dachney, which has been quite the experience. We've gotten lost a few times and had some fun transport rides in getting our way around, but all worked out well in the end. The battle against the fruit flies is still being waged and the Sisters moving into the apartment shall need to valiant and dilligent in purging the plague of insects!
Anyways, let me write a little bit about my new companion! His name is Elder Rekow (you've probably gathered that by now) and he has lived in Utah and Idaho. He's the same cycle as me, and knows the language dang good! I've learned quite a bit from him already. I've been grateful for companions who have really disliked grammar and know a ton of words, because I'm the exact opposite. Good stuff! He likes Starcraft, Warcraft 3 and the works, along with sundry things on the internet, so we've had a good fast friendship! He served in a place called Orenburg his entire mission, so Saratov is a who new town and experience for him. He draws anime too, and he's way good. He gets along with people super fast, and our branch in Dachney loves him already, which makes it sad since we've both leaving today. Sad times, but I know that we'll both get along really well with the branch in Zavodskoi.
So, it sounds like it's time to describe a bit more about Russia! It's been super cold lately, with the normal being about -15 celcius (not counting the blasted wind!) Most days we have at least 2-3 hours of contacting, whether that be on the streets on in apartment buildings. People are less willing to stop and have a good 5-10 minute discussion about God when the wind and snow is blowing around in freezing weather, so we've been spending more times going into apartment buildings. It's always quite the experience trying to get into the apartment buildings. There is an outside telephone to call apartment numbers, so generally we start at the top and work down until someone lets us in. I wish I could say there's a science about it, but it's pretty much just like that. I try out my best Russian accent ask them to open the door (please!) since I don't have keys. Theres about 3 different things that can happen. The first is the best where before you can even get a word out they just open the outside apartment door, which is beautiful. The second is that they hear you out, think you're a legit Russian and/or that you live in the complex and forgot your keys or something (I'm always careful to not lie. We legitimately don't have keys!) and they open the door, which is good. The third is the worst, and it's when people start questioning who you are. Once they find out your missionaries and that you aren't going to anyone inparticular in the complex, they always hang up and don't let you in.
P-day is spent in buying food at stores, writing letters, buying pretty ties on the outside bazaar (called a Renok, in Russian) and sleeping. Not much to mention about P-day really, they're generally just a day to relax and listen to music and write home. Yep!
I wanted to thank you all for writing and responding to my questions last week. It had been on my mind for awhile and was especially on my mind this week. I was a bit of a long and stressful week in preparing two apartments and areas for the new people coming in and worrying about what would happen in Zavodskoi, Your letters and encouragement reminded me of something. Some of the most powerful experiences in my life have happened as a result of praying for others and thinking about them. It's easy to see my weaknesses and my fallicies, especially on the mission, and oftentimes it's easy to get caught up in those. A letter from President, Eric and Sean reminded me that the most progress I'll make on my mission is when I am focused on the outside, not the inside. God knows I have weaknesses, and He knows them even better than I, but nevertheless He has specific purposes and goals for me in being out here in Russia (of all places!) to serve His children. It's been cool today to find that refocus and prepare not to worry about my upcoming area, but to work and serve the people there.
Do ya'll remember [...]? The [...] I almost baptized? Her Mom recently came to a Branch activity and has been softening up. I'm so dang excited to go back and teach her and her Mom the gospel. With all good luck, I'll be able to see [...] and her family accept the Gospel. It's gonna be wonderful working again in Zavodskoi! :)
Well, time is nearly up. Thank you so much for you prayers, love, letters, packages and words of comfort. It's helped me a ton, and I can feel your love even here in Saratov. Ya'll be good now, ya hear? Good :)
With much love, as always