To the Fam and to all those that follow the blog,
I'm sorry! Last week was insane and it just didn't work out to write home. I was bummed because I knew I wouldn't get to hear from you all, but have no fear, I am doing alright. We had Elder Kozedoev with us because his companion, who is a mini-missionary, was in Vlad for visa stuff because he leaves for his mission to Moscow soon. Anyway, since Elder Kozedoev is the branch president, our preparation day got a little screwed up, but I'm fine so no worries. The last two weeks have sure been interesting and a lot of work. I've never been so tired or done so much contacting. The work here is just going really slow, but it's starting to pick up. As we've labored and strived to talk to so many people, we've begun to have some meetings with those that have been prepared by the Lord and are interested in meeting. I don't think I've ever gotten to teach about the restoration twice in one week, but it happened this last week! That was exciting. We'll see how things go in the future.
I've loved being the junior companion to Elder Waltman and Elder Williams because they’re both awesome and they're both district leaders. Thus, I get to go on lots more exchanges and experience working with different people in different areas. While I haven't loved every minute of that, it's sure taught me a lot. I've loved being able to counsel with my senior companions about our companionship and the district since I'm kind of like the assistant to the district leader. It's certainly helped me grow as a missionary and see how I can improve and help those around me.
Here's an interesting note about Russia... it continues to fascinate me how some people can absolutely love us because we're Americans and won't stop asking us questions about it and others who just absolutely hate us and can' t stand it that were in their country. Some people take pictures of us or with us and others yell at us. I know the Lord is very mindful of His missionaries. If there's one thing the last six months of my mission has taught me, it's that the Lord knows each of us.
There was a wedding here in Usserisk! Two investigators Pavel and Natalia got married this last week and plan to get baptized soon. It was great to support them. Russian weddings are interesting. We just had a reception/party at the church for them. They really enjoyed it. Usually, weddings happen on the weekends and people decorate their cars and drive around yelling and screaming and honking like crazy. I always forget it's the weekend until I hear the honking and it reminds me, oh yeah, it's Saturday.
I was reminded of something this last week... Elder Melvin J. Ballard (I think?) said he had had a dream and in it he saw the Savior. The Savior embraced him and smiled. And Elder Ballard said something to the effect of, if I live to be a thousand years old, I could never forget that smile. I need to have that smile. As a representative of Christ, I must try to show that love to EVERYONE. And it's so hard sometimes. I came across some people this last week that I didn't want to love. But I must strive to overcome that and pray for charity, the pure love of Christ, a gift from our Heavenly Father.
My Russian is getting better. Although I feel like I'm in a rut and seem only use the same words all the time. It's hard to get new words into your 'active' vocabulary. But I'm understanding more and more with the Lord's help. He's so awesome. I don 't understand everything but I tend to understand the thought behind the words. I love this language even though it is so tough. Thank you all for your prayers and support. It's a miracle. :)
Tell Grandma and Grandpa Bush and Grandma and Grandpa Gee that I love them so much! And I'll try to email them soon. :)