December 17, 2012
"Kind of a sketchy train, isn't it?" *Knock Knock* "Excuse me...forgot my vodka" "...Yeah, pretty sketch"
Hey there family and friends!
Well, like I mentioned last week, I was got into Samara last Monday for Elder Treter's first visa trip! it was a pretty hackneyed operation and as such we took my first ever day train from Orenburg to Samara. When thing are ordered last minute (because of weird changes in schedule, issues etc...) we either end up getting, essentially, first class or the dirt cheap compartments. Well, going to Samara was pretty dang great since we had first class! It was just pretty boring: 8 hours or so just chilling on a train. It was pretyt obnoxious though because when we got to the compartment there was a plate with all sorts of tea, coffee and a single packet of hot cocoa on it. Well, seeing as how there was no sign and it was first class, we said to ourselves "selves! Let's share that hot cocoa packet!" and, with great joy, we did. Come to find out at the end of the ride something rather distressing. The conductor knocked on the door and asked "Um...hey, did you take anything from the tray?" "Well, yeah. A hot cocoa packet" "Oh, ok...That'll cost 300 Rubles! (about 10 dollars)" Of all the trickery! I didn't approve of that at all.
But I'd much rather pay the 300 rubles for the hot cocoa then ride on the last train we were on. The visa trip got messed up hard core because all the flights to Kiev got cancled on the day of the visa trip, so we were all grounded in Samara for an extra day. It was a pretty dang good day of work though, got lots of work done and helped out some other elders, so that was nice. Everything worked out in the end for the visa trippers, which was good, but they bought our tickets to Orenburg last minute too and this time we got the dirt cheap compartment. Suffice it to say, I got the best and the worst of trains in the same week. Still was way fun though since we were all together!
Speaking of being together, a first in the mission of Elder Peterson: a 3rd cycle with the same companion! Me and Elder Treter are gonna keep up the work here in Orenburg North for another 7 weeks! We've been working out recently a better way to do the work and I'm glad that we get to stay together for another long while to figure out how it'll work out.
I've got more info on calling home. We got permission to do it on the 24th, which will be better all the way around I think. That puts us at evening time my time. Elder Treter is gonna skype his family at 6:30 and so I'll be skyping you at about 7:15 or so, if that's alright with you! we'll be arranging all the little details this week, but we'll probably do it at the senior couples house so you'll get to meet them! If there's any kind of problem with that, let me know (and maybe be on at about the time I sent you the first e-mail today so we can do some real-time working out of the problem), because it can work on Christmas day too my time, just a little trickier to work out.
More about Orenburg! It finally snowed yesterday! It wasn't a lot lot, but sliding on ice and snow is a lot better then walking on half frozen dirt! They're predicting that more snow will come before New Years, so we're all hoping for it! One of our investigators is making some great progress in the Gospel, but unfortunately he missed Church this past week. We'll be having a couple of lessons with him this week though and so that's really good. He wants to teach me the language "Bashski" (I'm not sure what that is in English, guess I'll ask!).
Also, we had some pretty cool experiences in the past couple of days. One of the more popular methods of contacting now that it's getting below -20 is to go knocking in big apartment complexes. It's always a tricky thing to get into the complexes at times, since not everyone wants to open the main front door to a couple of Americans. So, one of the common methods is to just go into a door that's being opened by someone else. As we were looking for a place to knock we did so and, to my suprise, we were stopped but a 70 year old grandma door guard telling us that she knew we didn't live here. Well, we explained to her who we were and why we wanted to get in the door and she was just tickled pink to talk to us. We had a great conversation with her, prayed, gave her a Book of Mormon and set up a time to come back on another day and visit her and her friend!
A second fun little experience is that we were knocking down an apartment complex and had gotten down a few floors and just weren't having any luck. We prayed to know whether or not we should keep on going in that complex or move to a different one. We had a feeling to stay and keep knocking there. We kept going, with no success for another 20 minutes or so (and we only had 30 in all before we had to go to a meeting) when finally we knocked and found a man, who has a family, took a Liahona and asked us to come back next week. We left the building, went to our meeting and then prayed to know what to do. Elder Treter felt like we needed to go back to the building we were knocking at earlier. When we go to the main door, no one was leaving the complext and thus no one opened it like the first time we went there to knock. I prepared to go through the tedious process of trying to get in when, his neighbor, the man I called, let us in an wanted a Liahona too! We gave him and his wife a Liahona and a Book of Mormon and we have a return appointment on Wednesday.
Those are just little stories I guess, but in both instances I had, at least for a little bit, a doubt that we realyl did need to be there or that people would open up to us. But they did! Way cool! It's great to see that as me and Elder Treter have become more exact in what we ask and more prayerful in our word that the Lord's been opening the way for me and more to happen.
Anyways, it's time to go. Thanks for the letters and support! I haven't got the package yet, but I imagine it'll come soon. If there's anything you'd like me to do for ya'll or any questions, I'm open for it! Thanks so much :)
I love you!