Hey there everybody!
Happy New Year!!!! Thanks for this week’s update! It sure sounds like you all have had a wonderful Christmas/New Year season. It has been another interesting week. As always, please pass on a huge thank you to Cynthia and Grandpa Killpack for their Christmas gift!
Well, I guess the biggest thing this last week was probably New Years. So New Years Eve (being on a Friday) pushed our weekly planning into the evening. That day, we went to see a member named Victor in the hospital because he's been having problems with his leg. Something with nerves I think. Anyway, I just figured he was in a regular hospital. We got there and realized it was a military hospital since he served in the military years and years ago. Thankfully, Elder Naumov and his Russian blood and passport got us through the gate and up to Victor so we could see him and wish him a Happy New Year. Looking back on it, I'm actually not really allowed to go onto military property. But thankfully, they didn't ask any questions and I didn't say much so they wouldn't hear my accent. Compared to the other hospitals I've been in, it was certainly cleaner, thanks to military discipline, yet it was very old. As we walked through the halls, it reminded me of a building made in the early 1900's, which is probably when it was built. That's the thing here in Russia. They have technology and nice things. It's just that a lot of old things have remained and sometimes you feel as though places such as a hospital just haven't progressed with the times. Compare that military hospital with the hospital Matt was in before I left (granted I know that was a very nice, new hospital) but if you compare them, there is a huge difference. Anyway, it was great to see Victor and spread some holiday cheer. :) We actually went to go see him yesterday again along with Igor, one of the members here on Sakhalin that I've told you about. After making a stop to the hospital, we traveled across the city to a retirement home where the branch met to do some service. That consisted of singing Christmas carols to many of the elderly, the invalids, and the homeless that live there. It was such an awesome experience!!! Many of the people there were so incredibly grateful for the simple little concert we put on for them. I was grateful we got to participate as missionaries and share in the singing and spreading the Spirit of Christ with all those wonderful people. Their gratitude could be seen in their faces, in their eyes. I just love serving others. It truly was the purpose of Christ coming into the world, to serve his fellow brothers and sisters. It was the example he set for us all. And it is that which I want to strive to do throughout the rest of my life.
So before last night's awesome activity, we spent New Year’s Eve just at home. We finished our weekly planning which as you all may already know finishes with companionship inventory. It was the longest and most productive companionship inventory of my mission. We spent two hours just talking with one another and I expressed a lot of my concerns with him in regards to our companionship. It felt so good! I just let out the things that were bothering me so much and it turned out to be things for the most part that he already knew. I helped him see how he could improve and work on those things so his future companions won't get to the point I was in. Our companionship was really beginning to wear on me and after that long talk, I felt wonderful. It's still not perfect every second of the day, but it's much better. I've been praying so much for the Lord's help to overlook the little things and to focus on all of the positive that surrounds me. And the Lord has been blessing me immensely! We stayed up to see fireworks that kind of just happened all around us at different parts of the city. I'm horrible at taking pictures of fireworks so I gave up trying. The next day, we got to sleep in until 7:30!!!! That was sure something. And then we just stayed home all day and read. I studied a lot from Jesus the Christ and memorized a lot of words in Russian. I studied a little grammar here and there. All in all, it was a good day. Nothing really special or out of the ordinary.
In the last couple days, as I've finished the conference talks from October, I've been super impressed with the words of the Prophet and the Twelve. Their messages really struck me. One in particular... as I read about courageous parenting yesterday, I realized how darn scared I am to be a parent in the future (haha) because I don't know how on earth I'm going to be a good parent at all! It really made me appreciate how you both raised me, Mom and Dad, and I was overcome with a sense of sadness for all the silly stupid things I did growing up that may have made it harder to raise kids. I am deeply sorry for any heartache, any unneeded stress, and any frustration I may have cause either of you, as I wasn't always the easiest person to deal with. I am grateful from the bottom of my heart for all that you have both taught me and for the examples you have set for me. You have no idea how much your examples have helped. Even out here serving a mission and understanding how to deal with people. I love you both so much. :)
Well, we should be finding out transfers tomorrow or Wednesday. So next week, I could be emailing you from some other city or I could still be here on Sakhalin. I go to Korea on the 12th and return the 14th. I'm trying not to think too much about it but I am super excited to see the temple. I don't know if I took any good pictures this last week but I'll check, and if so, I'll send you some.
I hope you all have another wonderful week out of school! Enjoy the time you have with the family!
I love you all! :)