Russian is getting... well it's not really getting any better or worse, although yesterday was an exceptionally hard day for me. I've been really struggling because it's so hard to understand people. I want to so badly. It just means I need to work harder and rely on the Lord more, because only through Him can I even begin to accomplish my goals. Anyway, I don't want to sound like a downer, but yesterday was really tough for me. I feel as though so many people expect me to speak better and understand them when I just simply can't understand half or more of the words coming out of people's mouths. I finally had to remind myself, "Elder Bush, you've been learning Russian for about 3 months. So don't worry. If they had only been learning English for 3 months, it would be difficult for them to understand you too." I guess that made me feel a little better. Anyway, Russian is hard. Period. It's hard not to get discouraged by it. But I know I can't let it get me down. So keep praying for me, specifically that I can work harder and that the Lord will bless me as I work to understand what people are saying and that I can know what is best for me to study to accomplish that. Thanks a ton.
So I'll share a cool experience with you all... Last Sunday, Cectra Tolmachova wasn't feeling well and asked us to give her a blessing. Elder Popok asked me to join in the blessing. Elder Popok gave the blessing and spoke in Russian since he's a native. I felt the spirit so strongly as he spoke even though I could hardly understand all of what he said. It was a tender mercy, an experience that strengthened my faith in the Lord and His priesthood. I know He loves all of us.
I realized a few days ago that I probably made Russia sound pretty bleak in my last email. What with all the people yelling and "hating us". I shouldn't say they hate us but they don't all appreciate our presence in their country. I guess I was just a little shocked by all the people that yelled at me that week. This week wasn't quite so full of yelling. I actually met several really nice people, and even though they weren't interested in our message, they wished us well and were very respectful. I don't know if I mentioned these people but we met this couple that lives in our area. They seemed a little crazy, and I don't know how truly interested they are in our message since the wife seemed and smelled pretty drunk when we talked with her. But they were so nice and invited us in. The husband loved us because we're American and he loved to say whatever English he knows, that and he had been to America when he was a sailor. While Elder Waltman was trying to teach, he brought out his picture and started speaking a hundred miles an hour to me. He didn't really have much of a sense of personal space and was right next to my face. Despite it being an awkward visit, I felt this love for them and I hope they'll meet with us again so we can share more with them. He shook my hand probably 10 times and kissed me on the cheek as we left. First Russian-man kiss. "Awkward."
Well, Russian milk is starting to taste a little better. Guess that means I'm getting used to Russia. Also, I almost forgot to tell you that the silly Russians turned off the hot water this morning. Now begins the usual cold shower weeks of early summer that I had heard about from other missionaries. Hopefully it'll only be a few weeks. We boiled water but that didn't really help. It turned into just a lukewarm bath. Gotta love missions. Haha! Thank you so much for your prayers, your support, and your love. Serving a mission is so hard. But I know it will be so worth it. I love each of you so much. And I pray for you all every night. Keep praying for me. I sure could use it. :)
Love, Elder Spencer Bush