February 6, 2012
Uno with the Fam again!
Hey there family friends!
Well, I'm back here and settled just fine in Zavodskoi! It's been way fun getting to talk to the members again and getting acquainted with the area. I thought that maybe I had forgotten the entire area when I first came, but as it turns out my brain retained a good bit of information on the area (even the bus stops!) which has been super useful! My favorite thing by far this week has been seeing and visiting my favorite family here in Zavodskoi! [...] are all still doing way good, and I still dominate at Uno as in times before! As a good language tip, if you ever need to learn a few basic colors, Uno is the best game to play.
I don't have a whole lot to write this week, and since I'm at the Williams I meant to bring my camera and upload some pictures, but alas, I forgot my camera back at the apartment, so that'll have to wait until next week.
I'll be going on another visa trip to the Ukraine this week (Thursday, to be precise) and so that'll be pretty spiffy. I think the temple is closed right now for cleaning though, so we'll probably just sit at the airport and be bored and opposed to having good times at the temple this trip. Maybe next time :)
I've been complimented on my Russian a lot this past week by members, which has been way cool! It's interesting to look back a bit and see how my last cycle made me stretch in a lot of ways. White washing an area with Elder Rounds was crazy hard because we had the same skill in Russian and yet we still needed to find people to teach and teach them, so the situation made it so that we had to grow fast and work hard. The fruits of that cycle have shown up though and it's been nice to see how much easier it is to communicate with people and get my point across. Also helps me to show more of a happy personality since I can spend more of my energy in not only listening but in responding and expressing myself too!
That's something that really has been a blessing. As I've gained the language skills to really be able to express myself and get my point across I've been able to find out more of who I am and how I work with people. I'm not just this timid awkward American trying to understand a conversation, but I'm a real human being who can crack a joke or two in Russian and is here as a missionary and representative of Christ. I've learned (and am still learning) the importance of becoming friends with people and gaining their trust before (and as) we find and teach them the Gospel. It's why working through the members always has yielded good investigators because they're already friends with them! Once people realize that you are just a good, happy person who happens to also be a missionary and representative of Jesus Christ they are much more willing to talk, trust and believe in what you have to say. So often it's easy for me to say "Hey, I'm Elder Peterson and I've got a message about Christ!" rather than to approach someone and say "Hey there! Gosh it's cold today! Sure doesn't get this cold where I'm from. How're you doing today? Hey, I'm Elder Peterson, what's your name?" and then letting the conversation work it's way towards your purpose and who you fully are.
Friendship is a powerful thing, and it's interesting to see how people open up once they see that you're a real person. I've seen people turn from harshness and calling us cultists to laughing and smiling with us as they come to see that we are really just people who have something a little different about them. We're so often stereotyped as bad cultists who have 70 wives that people are wary, if not harsh when we approach them. Some people keep that stereotype and are unwilling to learn more or change it, but I've found that the really truly good and interested people will take the extra step once they see that we really are just 19-21 year old good people. Interesting to see.
Well, my time is up, and I don't think I really explained myself all too well, but it'll have to do. Thank you so much for you help, love and support! :)
With much love