The day after Christmas, we were able to Skype with Brian over in Russia and it was great to actually see and hear him! The next Monday, was a holiday being the day after New Year's Day, which is a much bigger holiday than Christmas in Russia so the internet cafes were closed and we didn't get a letter.
"Ever heard of Bobby Fisher? I could beat him at chess!"
Hey there family and friends!
Been a little while hasn't it? Last week pretty much everything was shut down because of the holidays (New Years is the big main holiday in Russia), so there was no place for us to write home! But I think President sent ya'll a message about that, so...there ya go!
Well, I've got a confession to make...I just have to get it out. I'm thinking it's because of my dashing good looks or my heavy American accents, but some women have been asking to hold my hand and hold onto my arm. What's a missionary to do? Sadly, I've broken down and held not only one woman's hand, but I'd say about 10 or so, especially lately. That's right Mom and Dad...I've been helping old grandma's walk down the street! The streets have been super icy lately, and lots of old grandmas have asked me to help them out, so they hold my hand or grab my arm and we walk down together. Good times!
This week has been a pretty good week! Been finding lots of investigators, having good times and working things out with our apartment. Nothing really has changed with that situation, but we've been making a push for a microwave and spatula with our landlady, so we'll see how that one works out.
I saw the Nutcracker! That was way cool. It's actually a bit different than the American one I saw last year (not music wise of course, just how that set up the set, etc). A new member and her daughter came along with us and we all had good times! I nabbed a program, so I'm saving it to show people when I get back home.
Speaking of which, happy belated 6 month anniversary on the mission! Over 6 months out now, which, in all reality, is a small slice of time, but it's been way cool to look back and see the progress that I've made. Very interesting to look back and see what's changed and how I've improved overtime (though in some ways I'm degraded a bit. When I called home 2 weeks ago I was told that my English has kinda gone down the tubes, which I can very much so believe. Ah well!)
I had a pretty cool experience this past week. We've been working with an investigator who's name is [...] (boy, that looks odd in English). She's a very closed person; doesn't like to talk about her life or work or anything, which is alright I guess. I always rattle to her how my day has been, what I ate, if she saw my new spiffy tie that my Mama in New Mexico sent me and whatnot. Most of her lessons have been a bit tough because she went to a Relief society meeting where apparently they were having a discussion/argument about Tithing, so almost every lesson she's asked the member-help on the lesson what they think/argue about Tithing.
Well, we had a lesson with her on Friday night, and it was a bit hectic before that lesson. We had had a lesson with an investigator who wasn't really progressing and was rather bitter about life and such. The member who we had invited to help us on that particular lesson was going to be helping us on the lesson with [...] (the member's name is [...], and he's an old funny Ukranian). Out of the blue, [...] invited our investigator ([...]) onto the lesson with [...] without asking me or my companion beforehand. The investigator said "Yeah, sure. Nothing better to do" which got me worrying a bit. This investigator was, like I said, a bit bitter and I didn't know his view on tithing. Another member, [...], was running late to meeting us to go to the lesson with [...], and [...] was asking why we hadn't already left to go to the lesson and I was just agitated. I didn't want this investigator in on the lesson, [...] was bugging me, [...] was running late. Argh! I just wanted to tell [...] to beat it and call [...] to say she didn't need to come since we were late anyways. But I didn't do any of that, I just stood quietly and was worrying a lot in my head.
Well, in the end, we finally all got to [...] and started our lesson with her. My companion began talking about the Restoration when [...] interrupted and asked the people there about tithing. As it turned out, however, it ended up being the perfect group for her. [...] answered her questions about Tithing and Church with finality, [...] was a great support for helping her understand the teaching of the Book of Mormon and giving her support ([...] is a new member, so she had stories to help [...]) and [...] testified about the Book of Mormon. The Spirit was so strong on that lesson and I witnessed a change in [...]. She started out the lesson being very hard and not open, but as the lesson went on she opened up her heart. There were times, like seeing that she had marked some verses in the Book of Mormon we gave her and seeing her willingness to follow the commandments, I felt the Spirit incredibly strongly. Though it didn't seem so to me, it was the perfect group of people to help [...] and now she has good friends in the Church who are able to answer her questions and be friends with her. Been a good week :)
That's all for now methinks! Thank you everyone! Have a good one :)
Much love, as always