Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Matt!

Hey there everyone!

First of all, I'd like to start off my letter with a message to Matt... Hey Bud! Happy, Happy Birthday!!!!! I miss you so much! It sure sounds like you've had an awesome weekend! I hope you have a great birthday and you enjoy being 9. :)

This week has been a fun one. (What week on the mission isn't a fun one?) My companion was in Korea for his second trip (he proved I was right, the second trip always is better than the first) and so I was with Elder Waltman and Phillips like I already told you I would be. It was fun. Always interesting to be in a new city where you have not a clue where you are, where you're going, which bus to take, and which bus stop you need. All thanks to maps, nice people on the bus, and cell phones, such problems can thankfully be solved. I set up a lesson with a woman that the elders had met with previously and we were excited to get a chance to have a lesson with someone since lessons are a little harder to come by here in Khab. However, by evening time, we were still in the north/center of the city and the woman lives deeper in the south. (Khab is a very long city... you can look it up on a map if you'd like. It just takes a long time to get to things due to how the city is set up) So, we had to find a bus stop that would have the right bus that would take us into the south and get to her bus stop. I thought I knew where it was and in the end, got us a little lost. Thankfully we found it eventually and got on a bus that once again, thankfully took us to her bus stop. There was a super nice lady that explained to me which bus stop to get off at and then our investigator guided me from the bus stop to her apartment (cell phones are great). Basically, we were an hour late but made it in the end and had a good lesson.

Earlier in the week, I ended up on English club. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this a couple times now but we stopped doing English club a while ago, back when I was in Usserisk. But, Khabarovsk has started doing it because we've been struggling to find people interested in our message and such a form of service can be a great tool to do so. First of all, I had forgotten how much I didn't like English club because people just don't talk and if you don't have a great topic and people don’t get involved, it becomes a very awkward hour. However, I also came into English club this time with a very different perspective. I didn't see it just as a cool service opportunity where I could get a break from Russian. I saw an opportunity to touch the lives of people with our message and to invite them to know more about their Savior. I truly saw it as an activity for which it was intended. I ended up translating too since there were some people there that couldn't understand a lot of what we shared and I realized how much the Lord has blessed me with the language. He truly has taken me and turned me into an instrument calculated to work with the Russian people of the Far East. He has blessed me immensely with the gift of tongues because I feel I truly can express myself in another language. He also has immensely blessed me with the gift of the interpretation of tongues because I am often able to understand a lot of what people say. And just as Ammon boasts in his God, I too feel I must boast in my God and testify that the Lord does make more of us that we ever dreamed possible. I honestly feel that my language abilities have soared thanks to the Lord's abundant blessings. I think he's blessed me too much. I sincerely apologize if I'm not making any sense due to my poor English. Russian has ruined several of my abilities to communicate in English, the first being vocabulary and the second being my sentence structure.

After English club, I stayed in the north with Elder Williams and Spjut and had cake batter ice cream (thanks to cake batter from Korea). It was soooo good. The next day, we met with a super awesome member here in Khab. Her name is Galia and she just makes me so happy to meet with her. She's rock solid and a definite pioneer here in Khab. We then taught institute that night (sounds like that's going to now be the south elder's assignment (me and Elder Steed)) and it was so cool! Two members from Moscow came and visited and sat in on Institute! A mother and son; she came to visit her son who is serving in the army located just outside of Khab. The lesson was so cool and super awesome and I just love learning from other people! We actually ran into them again in the airport on Sat when I picked up Elder Steed. She was heading back to Moscow.

So yesterday, I spoke in church on love and charity and it went well. Church attendance at the start of sacrament I think was 12 including 6 missionaries. As I sat there, I thought about what makes a sacrament meeting a sacrament meeting. I looked around at such awesome members of the church here, such a small yet solid gathering of saints, and at such awesome missionaries. And I thought to myself, we're so blessed to have a branch in this city. It may be really small right now. But, the members here have the chance to meet together, to learn from one another, and to partake of the sacrament which is so vital to our week. I loved the Spirit I felt there in our little branch.

This next week should be an exciting one. :) My companion wants to SYL (Speak Your Language- Just speak Russian) for the rest of the transfer and I'm excited to help him. :) Hey dad, if you have any advice as a former missionary regarding being a senior companion, I would love some. I'm not too stressed out but I'm feeling the pressure and I would love to here if you have any experience or advice on how to be a better leader. I've learned a lot the past year and yet I still feel extremely inadequate. But like I said, the Lord qualifies all those He calls.

I love you all. I hope each of you have a fantastic week! Dominate on the field Trev. Just dominate at life for that matter. ;) Thank you so much for your prayers and support. :)

Elder Bush