Feb 18, 2013
Hey there everyone! :)
My goodness, it's been one super busy week. A really good one, full of cool stories, epic tales of life saving and really stressful moments. Indeed, life is going well here in Balakova.
First off, I didn't hear anything about this meteor. That's pretty odd that it hasn't come up in random conversation, but I'll ask people about it today when I get the shot. We didn't feel anything here in Balakova...though if there was any sound or anything chances are I wouldn't of heard it because I was on the phone! Ah ha!...But in all seriousness :)
Speaking of my job, I had a unique experience this week in doing exchanges with the sisters! Yeah! At least once a cycle the district leader goes out on exchanges with the people in his district, which is all hunky dorey, but for probably obvious reasons we can't do exchanges with the sisters like it's generally done for the elders. As it turns out all 4 of us go out and do the work together, which can be pretty intimidating, but also really fun. We all bus contacted (even Sister Crane, the new sister! Way to go!), had some good street contacting (found a great lady, -how in the world do you spell that in English?-) and had a REALLY awesome lesson with a guy who is gonna get baptized. He's 19 and plays the drums and wants to make his own music school. What was really cool about the lesson is that all 4 of us missionaries were able to work together well and in harmony. It may sound easy, but it gets a little difficult when you have 4 teachers together and 1 student! Overall, I'm really happy with how it all worked out.
Lately, in our area, we've been working with a guy. He's made a ton of progress in the past few months especially it seems. At first he didn't think drinking or smoking was a sin and that being re-baptized was unnecessary. Doesn't sound like the most golden guy, does he? Well, overtime the Spirit has softened his heart and he's been praying daily to know what we've said is true and he's come to know that it really is! So cool! He knows that drinking and smoking is a sin now and tomorrow we're gonna give him a blessing to help him fully quit it and be ready for baptism (he's already made a ton of progress in quitting. He's so cool).
We've got a bit of bad news though, with some real good news. Good news first. I was asked to give a talk at Church this past Sunday and even though I had about a half hour to prepare the talk, it was probably my second best talk (if not the best) that I've ever given on my mission. It was about the consequences of choice and I was able to use one of my favorite parables for it too: the story of the prodigal son. So cool. I'm really grateful that I've been blessed to really be able to express my thoughts (especially about the Gospel) in Russian. I'm still as surprised as I was when I first came that I can speak in Russian and have it be understandable to the Russians. Maybe that sounds goofy, but it still is a huge surprise. I thought I'd never be able to do it, really, and I can. :) The bad news is this though, that the Wings have to leave a few months early to take care of Sister Wings mother. They told us all that right after sacrament meeting. We're gonna prepare something cool for them before they go!
One last story and then I've got to call it good. So last night me and Elder Warkentin were walking around the city at night because our meetings had fallen through. No one really was talking ot us and I was in a sad mood. We were talking together and I wondered if there was something I'd neglected to do because our meeting got shot and no one talked to us. Elder Warkentin said that we were exactly where we needed to be at the moment and that God knew why. I was a skeptic, but as he was talking (we were about 2 minutes from home too) I saw a drunk guy walking down the street. Not a new sight, but that particular guy caught my attention. Sure enough, as I guessed, he slipped on the ice and fell and was in danger or getting run over. We dashed over, helped him up and walked him back home. He has a really sad life. Divorced during the communist era, no family around, not the best job, drunk and biffing it on the ice. Poor guy. I talked to him about what we do here in Russia and why I had a funny accent and he said "there's just no way getting about it Pyetxa (a nickname the Russians sometimes call me, I'll explain that another day!), you guys are God-sent! Thank you so much!" After we dropped him off, he asked us if we could take down his number, which he did and we gave him ours too.
That was really cool to be there for the poor man and make sure that he got home ok and didn't get hurt. You always have to be careful with working with drunk people, and I don't know if anything will come from our little contact with him, but it really is cool to be in the right place at the right time. Cool, right?
Alright, we that's about it for this week. I had a quick request for you guys though, Mom and Dad. My whole mission my socks have done so well, until the past month or so when the boys have decided that they've walked the streets of Russia enough and have been getting holes in the heel! Oh no! I've still got enough to keep me going for a bit, but the Russian sock quality is terrible and I've still got a good bit of time on my mission, so I was wondering if, whenever you send a package out, if you could add socks. That'd be awesome :) Also, there's a member here in Balakova who loves Los Alamos. I was wondering if you could get a cool LA shirt (maybe with a nuclear explosion or something) that I could give to him.
Thanks so much for you letters and prayers! Weird that February is nearly over. Have a great President's day and a wonderful week. I love you :)
Until next week!