Well, how's Elder Bush doing? He's doing just fine. It's getting a little colder and colder each day. But I'm doing alright. Gloves are on my list of things to buy today since my hands are tired of being cold. :) Tomorrow is Zone Conference for the North Zone (includes Sakhalin and Khabarovsk) so tomorrow morning we (Elder Naumov, Pavlov, and Zamora, and I) fly out to Хабаровск (Khabarovsk), have zone conference there, and then tomorrow night, we fly back to Сахалин (Sakhalin). It should be exciting and super cold! Хабаровск is super cold, as in superrrrr cold. I'm really excited to have zone conference. It's always a great time of instruction and realizing the things you can do better. Of course, you feel an awesome spiritual boost and desire to serve even more diligently.
Well, this last week has been a busy one. The branch here on Sakhalin does such an awesome job with missionary work that it really keeps us busy. We've been teaching several people, which has really helped me see my inadequacies in teaching as well as my strengths and that I can do it well, even in Russian. I have been struggling a lot lately with Russian and having the faith that the Lord can help me improve. I know that sounds silly but I've been making so many frustrating mistakes lately, and I realize I've just been too hard on myself. I just haven't been opening my mouth enough and sharing what I know to be true. And that which is not shared (or a skill such as Russian that is not used) is lost or taken from you. Anyway, Mom, your letter really helped me realize some things. For one, I should stop worrying about speaking perfectly and stop comparing myself to a native speaker. I just realized that I have been, and that certainly isn't realistic. I have certainly been blessed thus far. Basically, thank you, Mom. You really helped me.
Scriptures... I have really been struggling lately with remembering scriptures and being able to teach from them effectively. But I think that's going to change. I just love reading from them and applying them to myself. I've realized that I need to be using my study journal more. If I don't write my thoughts down, I forget them and can't recall them when I need them in a teaching moment. I've got so much going through my brain all the time that I feel that will help me get more organized and remember stuff. Anyway, that's probably not very interesting to you all. :)
We did a little service at the church this last week cleaning the grounds around the church and the walls and just making it look overall better. It was muddy and kind of hard to rake up the leaves since it had snowed/rained a little earlier in the week, but in the end, it looked pretty nice.
Yesterday, we had a lesson at a family’s house. The grandparents live here in South Sakhalin and the grandkids and parents live in another city. They always come into town on Sundays for church and have dinner together. They didn't have electricity in their part of town for some reason so we decided to bring them some food. We had prepared борщ (borscht) on Saturday and decided to share with them since we didn't know if they would have food. Turns out they have a gas stove and had made борщ already as well. :) Anyways, it was a fun little lesson with them, and it was great being around crazy little kids. It certainly reminded me of home. One of the kids asked us really hard questions that pulled from the Bible. I could hardly answer any of them because I either didn't understand the question or didn't know how to say the answer in Russian. But it was fun anyway. They were all so hospitable.
The branch here (just like Brother Boyer in the MTC said) is super strong and the members are just so awesome. The youth are great! They had a youth conference this last week in Vlad and it sounds like they had a great time. The members, like I said, are awesome at doing missionary work and are super helpful on lessons. Especially Игорь Ким (Igor Kim). Yes Игорь, that was a shout out to you. :) I hope you find my blog! Ты молодец (You’re doing fine!) They're also so much fun to associate with and become friends with. They're so loving, and it's great to have support from friends here in Russia as well as friends from back home. I didn't realize how awesome the friends would be that I would make on my mission.
Well, I can't think of anything else really exciting right now. I've been learning a lot about companions lately. Patience and love are the keys to success, as well as forgetting about yourself and your desires and trying to put him first. Sometimes it's really hard. Really hard. But super worth it. I never really understood why people said missions are great training for marriage. Now I get it. A mission is teaching me how to interact and be an even better future husband someday.
I love you all! I hope all of you have a great week!
С любовью (With love),
Старейшина Буш (Elder Bush)
P.S. This last week, I had a dream Trev got his mission call. I'm not going to tell you where he was called but we'll just see if my dream turns out to be right in the not so distant future. ;)