Hey there fam!
First off, I really needed to hear some of what you all wrote to me. I needed your counsel and your love, so thank you. I got a letter from Fal, Mrs. Frapp, and Grandma Gee this last week! (in case they’re wondering when I got them) They were all super great and lifted my spirits. :) Grandma wrote me something interesting about my cousin, Joe, speaking at his homecoming. He said that he loved every day of his mission. That is certainly a gift and a blessing from the father because I have not loved every day of my mission. But I have a feeling that may change. Since reading that, I've decided I'm going to work even harder and pray even more earnestly that the Lord will bless me so I can love each day I serve here in the beautiful land. Sometimes I'm completely overwhelmed at my task and calling. Other times I'm in awe that I'm really here, right now, serving the Lord in Russia. I read a scripture yesterday that made me think of Joe. It was in Alma 30:9. Alma recounts about how it is a privilege to serve God. A privilege. I can't let myself forget that.
Well, this last week, (yesterday, actually) we saw off Elder Лантух on his way to Vlad and then on to the MTC, and then he'll be off to Moscow! Exciting. I had my first companionship inventory with Elder Kозодоев yesterday. It was interesting. (If you don't know what that is, look in Chapter 8 of Preach My Gospel at the end of the weekly planning session section – excerpt below.) I'm not here to write anything negative about my companion, because I love him. But I think I kind of offended him and I certainly didn't mean to. Anyway, I just hope that when I get to be six weeks from the end of my mission, I can take advice or counsel from a junior companion and realize I can learn from him too. I think the problem is kind of in the fact that I can't express every single thought I want to in Russian. But we'll see if that doesn't get better by the end of this transfer. I’ll just have to rely on the Lord.
We had a really awesome FHE (family home evening) at the Henderson's (our senior couple) last Monday. I'll quickly share a really neat experience ... We had an awesome sister over from the branch and her friend, who is investigating the church. Her friend asked for a blessing and so Elder Henderson gave the blessing and I translated. I was really nervous at first but as I walked over to stand next to them, I felt peace flood the room and a feeling of confidence filled me. As the blessing started, I just started speaking and the words came. I didn't speak perfectly and I stumbled over a few words but the words came and the grammar came and it was understandable. As I heard the words pronounced by Elder Henderson and then as I translated, I felt how much the Lord loved this woman, one of his daughters; how much he loves us. :) Aw, it was such a good experience to be, as Alma says, an instrument in the hands of the Lord.
The Henderson's time to head home arrived this last week, so we had to help them pack up some stuff, move out and close out the apartment since other missionaries won't be living there. It was really hard for them to leave. Fortunately, we had a little party with some of the members one evening, and I think it helped them handle saying goodbye. Moving and packing sort of drained a lot of our time, but it had to be done and it was good to provide some worthwhile service. We have some great investigators in the North area, so we'll see how things progress. If you can remember, please pray for them. :)
Saturday was the birthday of Уссурийск (Ussuriysk), so there was lots going on, and there were a lot of drunk people. They left a big mess all over the city come the next day, but we got to see some of the festivities. I heard there was a parade on the city square, but I didn't get to see it, which was okay from what I heard.
Basically, all is well with me. I'm working hard to grow and learn and improve each day so that I can be the servant the Lord wants me to be. Sometimes, it's really hard. Matt, thanks for the little hello! :) In answer to Matt’s question about how big my shopka is, it’s probably pretty big, because my head is ginormous. I was lucky that I even found one that fit me in the style I found. I heard that the picture of me in my shopka is my face book profile picture. Nice move dad. :) I miss all of you and I hope you're doing awesome. You're always in my prayers.
Let me know if there's anything you're wondering about or things you want to know. We had a couple colder windier days this last week. It got me excited for the cold. :)
Well, Love you all!
NOTE: Conduct companionship inventory. At the end of your weekly planning session, share with your companion appropriate goals, and ask for his or her help to accomplish them. Discuss the strength of your relationship with your companion. Discuss any challenges that may be keeping your companionship from working in unity or from being obedient. Resolve conflicts. Share with your companion what you think his or her strengths are. Ask for suggestions on how you can improve. If needed, set goals that will improve your relationship. Conclude with prayer. (Preach My Gospel, p. 148)