This last week was zone conference on Thursday. I was so excited to see Elder Zamora! It was so great to reunite after a transfer to talk about some of our crazy funny experiences and to see our improvement in the language. It'll be even more fun when we head off to Korea in a few weeks. Zone conference was a great learning opportunity for me. I realized there's so much I need to repent of and change and improve on so that I can serve as the Lord wants me to serve. Elder Pavlov, one of the Elders in Usserisk who's actually serving as the branch president right now, shared a funny story at the end of Zone conference. He said, "There were a bunch of turkeys that decided to meet together and started that meeting with a prayer. Then during that meeting they learned how to fly. At the end of it, they closed with a prayer and walked home. Elders and Sisters, don't be like turkeys." How true. When we learn such great things, especially those things the spirit teaches us, why wouldn't we want to incorporate them into our lives? Why do things the old way if you know the new way is better.
Before I forget, I got a haircut again like I said. Probably the worst one I've gotten by an American in my life. ;) Elder Waltman really tried though. In the end, I just had to use the clippers and even it all out. It's super short, in my opinion, too short, but President Pratt wasn't mad at me and what are you going to do? It's already cut. It'll grow. I'll send you a picture. I've gotten lots of compliments. Ha-ha!
There appear to be a large number of trees here that make cotton. (I don't know if that's understandable) but the last few days, there has been this cotton stuff all over the ground and floating through the air. Weird. Also, Russian concrete is horrible. I think they put too much water in it. Random I know but I've noticed how things here just seem to be falling apart, even when they're not that old. Staircases turn into crumbled concrete slides, which makes it very hard to climb a big hill to get up to some apartment building to try to see someone.
Yesterday, we met with Baba Galya and it was so cool to see how much my Russian has improved. I could actually carry on a conversation with her and laugh and have a good lesson and everything. The Lord is doing such amazing things through me. She was being really funny yesterday. I just love her so much. I'm realizing more and more how important love is in this work. If I didn't love my Savior, if I didn't realize that these Russian people are my brothers and sisters and have a love for them to share this message with them, I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't spend all this time struggling to understand people and talking to random Russian strangers if I didn't have love for what I'm doing. I just pray that love will increase every day.
Matthew asked about the transportation. We use our feet and the bus. That's usually what we use. If I ever go to Khabarvsk, I'll either use the train or take a flight. And obviously Shakhalin requires a flight to get there. Everything else is buses or taxis.