Thanks to so many of Brian's friends for writing (emailing) to him!! He was very touched and happy to hear from you! =-)
April 22, 2013
"What's with these pills?!" "Oh man, I don't even know how to explain...those are altoids! Candy! Makes your breath smell good!"
Hey there everyone! :)
Man! I just can't have a normal week! That's alright though, it's been a real blast and we've had some great experiences these past weeks. I am feeling a lot better, by the way, than I did last week and everything is hunky dorey.
I have my new companion now! His name is Elder Lundberg and he's from Boise Idaho! He wants to go into Aerospace engineering and he was at BYU-I for a semester before heading out. I'm really surprised at how much he can speak and in how much he understands Russian. I think he gets it quite a bit better than I did when I first came out to Russia! Our very first night together in contacting we found 4 potentials, and we prayed with 2 of them! Pretty cool! The first guy we prayed with was actually prayed for by Elder Lundberg and, in leaving, he shouted back and said "Hey Lundberg! Thanks for the prayer!" It was so cool! I'm proud of Elder Lundberg! He's gonna do real good :D (I know, bad grammar, sorry!).
Here's the fun part of our week though. This is a story a little too long to explain by e-mail, so if you remember you'll have to ask me when I come back home! In short, the Sisters had a little run-in with the police (man, it sounds funny that way! They're innocent by the way, no worries), but we came over to where they were to help out and...they hauled us away too! Ha! We all rode in the back of a police car together, which was actually a pretty interesting but fun experience. We were at the police station for awhile, wherein they checked our documents and bags, everything was fine (it was fun translating for Elder Lundberg the whole time). It was about 9 o'clock when we got out of the police station and if a bus didn't come we'd have to order a taxi to get home...but a bus came! As we hopped on we started a great conversation with a guy, a 21 year old, who lost his faith because of alcohol. He took interest in us and requested a Book of Mormon and we met with him and his friend yesterday and talked about the Restoration and Joseph Smith. We have a meeting again with them on Wednesday after Zone Conference.
That's just the coolest, you know? You take a weird situation like going to the police that messes with your plans for the night, and then the next thing you know you meet a way cool guy and he's interested in the Church. Really, nothing is too hard for God, and no matter what, so long as we're faithful, he puts us exactly in the spot where we need to be, whether it be on a lesson with someone or on a bus late at night to talk to a new great guy.
This upcoming part of the letter is going to be for family I think, but your choice :) While in Samara and in talking with the Sisters it's come up a lot just how soon our group of missionaries is going home. Some people are getting a little trunky and lazy from it, others staying strong and disregarding it all. I had an interesting little conversation with an Elder while in Samara, that one of the missionaries I'd known, when he came home, cried for nearly a week. I was pretty surprised, because that Elder wasn't at all that inclined to cry. As it turns out he cried because he was away from Russia and his mission. Of course he loved seeing his family and friends again, but when he was alone or in the more quiet moments he cried. I was taken aback, because I'd never thought about it before, just how hard it will be. When I thought of it then, and now when I think about it (though I avoid the thoughts), I get teary eyed or just straight up cry a bit. I can't imagine how hard it's be to leave these people I love. Gosh, it's the biggest blessing ever to be on a mission and serve. So often I focus on becoming better at the language, contacting well, teaching great and juggling all these other things that I forget perhaps the main purpose of this all. I left onto my mission because I loved God, and what I do know isn't just because of my love for God, but because I love these people so much. It's maybe a dumb question, but as your missions were coming to a close, what kind of feelings and thoughts did you have? Did you miss the people? What did you do to cope with that and to continue doing awesome good things till the very end? Thanks a lot :)
This week will be zone conference and exchanges with the Sisters, so lots of great things are going to happen. We're still working hard with S and N to help them make it to baptism along with lots of others. Gosh, I love Balakova and I love being here. I'm probably among the luckiest in my mission to be in such a great district and branch with great members and friends.
Anyways, that's what I've got for this week. Best of luck, alright! Be good :)
I love you lots
P.S. Thanks for the e-mail addresses Mom! I got a flood today, and I know that was in great part thanks to you :)