Even in Russia, they spell my name "Brain"
Hello there family and friends!
First off, congratulations to the future Sister Simons serving in California! You're going to knock them dead, my friend :)
Also, I've got some news for ya Mom. After all these years, I've finally grown a taste for....honey! I don't know why I never really liked it in the past, but Russia has made honey grow on me a bit, and it's super delicious in tea and on bread! Funny story though. We were at a members house recently and he was feeding us all sorts of delicious food. At one point he asked "Hey, would you guys like some bread and butter?" Well sure! Never had better bread than in Russia and the butter is alright. My companion and I both got giant pieces of deliciously soft bread and a giant slab of butter on a dish was place before us. Ever so daintily by companion took the knife and carefully spread a reasonable amount of butter on the bread. The member was surprised and kind of offended too, however, when he saw it. "What the heck are you doing?! That's not how you eat bread and butter! Here, let me show you!" *SHONK* *SHONK* *SHONK*! 3 giant slabs of butter, about 3/4 the thickness of the bread were hewn down by our member and thrown haphazardly onto the bread. "There you go! That's bread and butter!" He swiftly did the same thing to my bread, tossing chunk after chunk of butter on the bread and egging us on to eat more and more! Apparently it's a Russian tradition to eat bread and butter in the winter because the butter is so full of fats that will keep you warm and toasty in the winter. Regardless of how many bricks of butter I was helped to eat that day, still has been a bit cold outside, reaching a chilly -30 yesterday! Yikes! Apparently Winter is taking her last stand before letting Spring take stage.
The visa trip was a quick one this week, as the temple is closed for cleaning right now. We flew straight from Saratov to Moskow, to Kiev and then back to Moskow and back to Saratov, all in one day! Gosh, that was a lot of time in the air and airports, but I had fun times on the plane! I remember last visa trip I was so nervous to talk to people on the plane and often just kinda chickened out, but the couple of planes where I was next to Russians I had some fun times and one of them liked me so much that she gave me some candy! Yay! Complements especially go to Brielle and her beaming smile. That smile has gotten probably the most complements out of any photos in my album.
The Russians have been asking for my cookie recipe lately. Me and Elder Rekow made an especially delicious batch lately, and everyone we've given them has asked for the recipes, and I never quite know what to tell them. I pretty much just take the usual toll house recipe and then add whatever else I feel like to the batch that day, like jam, cinnamon, milk, maple extract, root beer extract, etc. (Mom, you know how I cook, just how I feel that day), but it's tickled me that people have been complementing my cooking. Now I'm just gonna have to make some Russians some tasty New Mexican food and see what they think of it!
Not a whole lot of news to tell work wise. The cold has made finding people quite difficult this past week, so I'm hoping it warms up soon so that people are more willing to talk. The branch is as awesome and friendly as ever, and we've even had some less actives coming to church despite the cold! They're quite the troopers and it's fun to see the blessings that have come into their lives thanks to their dilligance and love.
Well, that's all I've got for now! I haven't gotten the package yet, and I don't know if it's in the office yet or not, but if it is then I'll get the package this week because a senior couple is coming into Saratov later this week! So, we'll see :)
Gosh, I just love you all so much! Thank you so much for all that you do, especially my family (and especially, especially my Mom! :) )Ya'll be good now, and we'll talk next week!
With much love, as always