Monday, April 30, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
Hey there family and friends!
Monday, April 16, 2012
April 16, 2012
Heh, just kidding!
Hey, remember when I said that I'd be writing from Saratov today last week? Just kidding! I'm currently in some post office in Samara writing to you! That's right. I got a transfer! Craziness. I've spent the past 8 months or so in Saratov (6 of which in Zavodskoi) and I'm now going to a whole new town called Ulyanovsk, which, apparently, is where Lenin was born. It's rumored to be a pretty city, which I hope is true! My new companion will be Elder Lewis, who has been out the same amount of time as me, and the whole city is ours! Cool stuff! I'll be leaving tomorrow morning from here in Samara out to Ulyanovsk (that's kinda weird to spell out, seems like all Russian things are weird to spell out in English!).
I forgot to said hi, by the way. So...hey everyone!
"Christ resurected! In truth, he resurected!" (I probably spelled that wrong, it's a lot easier to spell in Russian) That is how a ton of people greeted each other yesterday. There is a Russian Orthodox tradition that you must eat this Easter cupcake and a boiled egg on Easter, thus a whole ton of members gave us lots of cupcakes and eggs to celebrate the occasion! Some Russians color their eggs, but on the whole most put stickers of icons, bunnies or guys driving snowmobiles on them. It's way fun! Most Russians also spend at least part of the day going to the temples and graveyards to celebrate the holiday. Good stuff :)
I was tickled today as a Ukranian serving in my mission complimented my Russian today. It's been really cool finding ways to keep improving and liking Russian. I haven't always liked Russian, to be honest. In the MTC I studied the grammar the most because it was so logical and fun, but I hated studying words with a passion. Elder Swartz, my MTC companion, recently told me on an exchange that I should try to look for a way to like learning Russian. In thinking about it, I remembered that one of my goals after my mission is to be able to read and write Russian poetry (some of the best, I hear). I've had terrible handwritng forever, in both English and Russian, and my companion Elder Rekow has way sweet handwriting in both English and Russian. In helping me gain a spark for learning the language, I decided to start working on my Russian cursive by writing out words super nicely and then memorizing them, and it's worked way well! Now I just need to learn how to have good english handwriting (I've always been jealous of Sean's, to be honest. Gotta copy his stuff sometime)
I do have some pictures to send out, but those'll need to wait until next week. Then you'll be able to see all the kind of shenanigan-ery that was had in Zavodskoi and maybe a bit of Ulyanovsk.
That reminds me, the young lady we’ve been teaching is being baptized on Saturday, woo hoo! I'm way bummed that I don't get to see it, but I'm still going to count her as my first baptism on the mission. Good times :)
Well, that's just about it for now I think. This letter may be riddled with typos and spelling errors, this keyboard is kind of a pain to work with for whatever reason. Anyways, hope ya'll have a wonderful week, and I'll write you next week from a whole new place! :)
с любовью, навсегда
Monday, April 9, 2012
April 9, 2012
Of Eggs and Mud
Hey there family and friends!
My sister-in-law Jennie is just about one of the most hilarious, awesome most thoughtful people I know, methinks. She's so dang awesome! We had an unexpected mail delivery this past weekend (where I got the mailing address of Rebekah Hoggan, so no worries Mom!) and along with it was a package from Sean and Jennie! In it Easter grass, Easter candy, Easter Mexican food (well, ok, just mexican food :P ) and a ton of Easter Eggs. I thought the eggs were just empty, but come to find that not only were they filled with candy but hilarious puns and riddles was just about the most awesome thing in the world. Elder Rekow and I had a ton of fun opening them up while feasting upon resses pieces. Thank you so much Jennie, you're the best :)
Not a whole lot of craziness happened this week. President Sartori and his wife came down and gave really sweet talks for those investigating the church and recent converts. Our investigator […] was especially interested when Sister Sartori discussed about the blessings of the gospel in her life in being a parent. […] has a wife and two little kids and always wonders how he can help them out, and he loved the talk given by Sister Sartori. At that conference a recent convert, […] from Dachney, was there and we had lots of fun talking to each other. My companion, Elder Rekow, as you may have seen from the pictures, likes to style his hair and […] was telling me that I should do something like that. I told her how I tried when I was in middle and high school to do stuff with my hair, but it just never seemed to work out because of my double crown (aka, my hairline is two different swirls running into each other). Giggling, she told me of an an old Russian saying that says that people with double crowns will have two wives. Aack! Fun times were had though and I found out that Apple and Orange juice mixed together and so dang tasty. Give it a shot! :)
Transfers announcements will come on Saturday, so next Monday ya'll will know where I'm going for the next month and a half. I was talking to Elder Rekow today about how odd it is to me that I've been here in Zavodskoi for about 6 months in total now, with just a 2 month "respite" in Dachney north. That's just weird to me, really. There is a member girl here in Zavodskoi who drew and painted me and Elder Rekow each a picture to remember her and Zavodskoi by! That was way nice! Next time I send pictures I'll be sure to include that one in their. And! Because of transfers coming up and the possibility of us leaving she wants to do another picture for both of us before we go. Yay for us!
We're gonna watch conference these weekend via internet I think. Discs with the Russian translations are making their way to all the branches so that they can watch it while us weak American missionaries get to watch conference in English! Woo hoo! I'm way excited for that.
The suns been shining, by the way! The hottest it got was +15 C the other day, which was such good feeling weather. Hope the trend continues! It's made almost all the snow melt in the past week, which, unfortunately, has made all the streets and roads in Zavodskoi either into mud holes or little oceans in the street. Kinda hard to keep shoes and pants clean everyday, but I think the mud and whatnot should only last for a couple of weeks before it all dries us. Good times!
Think that's what I've got today! Thanks for all the letters and support, especially those from my family. Ya'll really are the best, and I love you lots :)
Stay good now, and eat your jelly beans left over from Easter!
Elder Peterson :)
April 1, 2012
"How much of the play did you understand?" "Hm...I think I got about 15 words out of it all!" "Nice!"
So, to start off, there's a picture from zone conference a few weeks ago that go sent out to us. That's all the cool American people I get to work with (and one Canadian! Made me think of my friend Kathryn Gillespie)! Just so you know, that's not my hand on Elder Rekow's shoulder, though it deceptively looks so in the picture. Good times!
We'll start out with the questions that Mom and Dad asked me!
1. Did you get the new camera and other electronics (adaptors, etc). Do they work OK?
Sure did and sure do! The new camera is a replica of my old camera, but not broken, so that's good! I have not tried the adaptors yet, but I already had transformers, so I don't think they'll be necessary, but they may be handy, so I'm hanging onto them.
2. Have you seen any painted Russian Easter eggs on display?
Yep, lots! There's a member in a branch in the city that makes beautiful hand-made eggs and Russian dolls and stuff. Way pretty (and way expensive, ack!) :) I'll get some pictures of some and send them out!
3. How do you get your regular clothes clean? Your suits?
I find that I like to wear my machine washable pants because at least with them I can freely wash them and take a wet rag to them. Just as with the summer, dirt and mud gets all over the back of the pants everyday, which is a hassle and kinda frustrating, but I haven't been able to think of much of anything to do about it. MY suits haven't needed any cleaning yet, but if they did I've had a secret missionary art of cleaning suits handed down to me from my first companion Elder Fearn (that is, take a shower with the suit on and use laundry soap as opposed to regular soap. It may sound crazy, and it is, but it works surprisingly well. Good times!)
4. What are your typical meals like? Do you fix them yourselves? Give us some menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
It's changed from companion to companion, but meals are nothing fancy, You have an hour to make and eat the food which making calls, doing paperwork and whatnot. For breakfast I generally have corn flakes and Elder Rekow has something that's close to the golden puff cereal that Dad likes. If we're really dicey we make pancakes, which are so dang delicious! Lunch and dinner generally consist of stirfrys, oven-baked sandwiches, home-made and frozen pizzas, omlets, Pelmeni (Russian ravioli) and soups (such as the oh-so-delicious chicken noodle soup I made when Elder Rekow was sick this past week). Nothing crazy, and it kinda gets old after awhile. Need to figure out some new, quick recipes. Hence why I need to watch the food channel again (Rachel Ray's 30 minute meals, woo hoo!) :)
5. Have you given talks in church? What on?
Surprisingly, I haven't really given any talks in church yet. Plenty of testimonies, and I teach Gospel Prinicples every now and then with Elder Rekow, but nothing too fancy. Maybe I should ask to give a talk. Hmm...
Anyways, onto my week! We set another baptismal date this week with a middle aged woman by the name of […]! She's the sister of a member in a different branch and it's been so dang cool working with her. Just like with […], she herself asked when she could be baptized. Score! Her date is set for the […], just like […], so me and Elder Rekow are hoping that we don't get transferred (this cycle ends next Saturday). It's been cool working with […] lately because it's really taught me how the Spirit works and teaches others in different ways.
For example, […] was a former investigator who had been taught all the lessons but just wasn't progressing in the Gospel. He loves to read the Book of Mormon in English and is learning English so he likes to read on his own and also with us. One day, in trying to figure out what to teach […], we decided to teach him Lehi's dream and to draw it out as we went along in the lesson. Never before had anyone drawn out a scripture story or lesson with him I don't think, and as we did that with him he finally began to understand the scriptures and the things we were saying. At the end of that lesson on Lehi's dream he said "I want that apple!" And then, the next lessons, when we talked about and drew baptism being the fruit and the straight and gate to the straight and narrow path, he asked us "so when can I get baptized?" Quality!
On the other hand, there are people like […] who, when she started taking the discussions, wrote everything down that we said and tape-recorded the gospel principle classes that were taught on Sunday. She understands by writing things down and reviewing over them and thinking about the things she's heard. It's been amazing to see how she thinks about the things we've taught and believes that they're true, in great part because of the Spirit she's felt in writing down her notes. Cool stuff.
In other news, we saw an opera this past week! It's an opera by Pushkin and is called Evgennie Ognegen (Eugene Ognegin). That's really hard to spell in English. Anyways, hopefully you can find it on Wiki or something. It was a way good opera, though not a whole lot was understandable to me word wise. I got the generally plot though, and some members clarified the plot for me after it was done. I forgot my camera, but you all have pictures of the theatre and of me and Elder Rekow, so I don't think you missed much picture wise.
In an effort to respark my love of the Russian language, I decided in the middle of last week to start doing Russian cursive, which I've found I love quite a lot. It's made me want to make all of my handwriting good, which will probably take awhile to happen, but it's a cool dream!
Quick question, can you use facebook to do a few things for me? There's a few people in the branch here in Russia who found and wanted to add me as a friend on facebook. If their names don't look American, it's find to add them :D (if you're really nervous about it, go ahead and double check the names with me. One should me a […] and another […]). In addition, I have letters I need to send to Rebekah Hoggan and Tabitha Watkins, but I need their updated addresses methinks. If you could message them and ask for their addresses, that'd be wonderful :)
Ah, also I haven't seen conference yet. I'll be seeing it on the 14th and 15h of April I think. Can't wait to see it!
I think that's all I've got for this week (at least, it better be. I'm out of time!) Hope all is well with ya'll back at home! Be good now. :)