December 31, 2012
"Honey, the Americans are at the door!" "What?" "Americans! What do we say?" "Tell them we're busy!" "Um...sorry, we've got uh...guests coming!"
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
Almost, at least. The biggest Russian holiday is rolling around the corner and, just like last year, we've been instructed to bunker in till the 2nd. Thankfully, we've got till 4PM today to buy foodstuffs, have a delicious lunch at the Chepurovs and slide in the new fallen snow before we're quartered inside for awhile. The post office is open today till 2, so I get to write home this year as opposed to last year (lucky us!).
This past week has been a fun one, especially Tuesday night when our branch held the yearly Christmas activity/ talent show. It was so dang fun! That's probably been the best activity I've been at here in Russia and it had a great attendance too (48 people, 13 of which were little kids! Score!). I've got pictures and video to upload whenever I get the chance of the activity, so be looking forward to that sometime! For the first time too I got to see the long-time treasured Russian tradition of kids and Ded Moroz and Snegorochka (man, that looks so ugly in English! In Russian it's cool. Ded Moroz is Santa Clause and Snegorochka is his trusty helper elf). If you get the chance, look up the song on youtube or something, it's pretty fun.
The highlight of this week was most definitely Zone Conference. I actually haven't been intereviewed by President yet, which is ok because he's coming down to Orenburg this Saturday and Sunday and then we'll be able to have a good interview, so that's cool! It was a pretty emotion packed Zone Conference since we got to see the Christmas Devotional and a really cool talk givven by Elder Holland about Missionary Work (it's a lot like the talk which he gave at conference which, by the way, is still one of my favorite talks of all time). To add to that I found out that it'd be the last Zone Conference of a lot of my best friends in the mission, the majority of whom were that at the Zone Conference itself. It was really awesome hearing their testimonies and feeling the Spirit that shone so brightly and warmly in that room. Pretty awesome Zone Conference.
To answer your question, I haven't actually gotten the Christmas box yet, though I have a guess that it might be floating around somewhere in the mission. I'll work with the office to see if we can track it down :) Until then we've gotten lots of delicious candy and fun little gifts from members and the Sartori's to keep us occupied!
I have bought myself a new hat! It's all black and pretty cool looking and has super soft fur. I'll be shooting off pictures of those too when I get the shot. It's been funny. Like I had on Monday, I've still got a bit of a gnarly cough, so whenever I show off my new hat to the Russians and tell them how warm it is the majority of them give me a funny look and ask then why I'm sick. Little do they know that I bought the hat after my cold and thus the hat is held guiltless for any cold reaching my head before it's start of duty. Russians always have the most interesting ideas for how to get better. The majority of them avoid straight up medication, and prefer to go with the more herbal and natural medicines, such as placing a kind of mustard paper to your chest to relieve your coughing. Surprisingly enough, a lot of the "natural medication" works pretty well, though I'm still pretty greatful to a potential investigator who gave some really good medical advice and pills to rid this cold. Good stuff!
As for the work, one investigator has reset his baptismal date for the 19th of January, so we'll be working with him on making that. He's got a ton of knowledge on the Gospel and other religions and is loving reading the Book of Mormon. I hope he'll be able to make it to Church this next Sunday - he'd be able to translate for President Sartori really well.
This'll have to do for this week. You're the best, and thanks for everything you do! Have a great new year and be sure to set reasonable new years goals (lots of Orenburg Russians have been saying that to us and each other lately). Have a great one! :)