This week has been a crazy one. I wonder how many times I've said that in writing to you all at home. I'm almost certain I always seem to write something like, "Hey there Fam! This week sure has been a crazy one!..." :)
To start off, Dad, I wish you a belated happy birthday! :) Hope it was a great one. :) Congrats Trev to pulling off the talk by preparing the morning of! I've actually ended up doing that a couple times on my mission thus far. For whatever reason, the fact that I have a talk just isn't at the forefront of my mind until Sunday morning. Or, my week has just been too busy studying for the work we're doing that I don't have time to put all my thoughts together before Sunday. About my companion... His name is Elder Miller and he's from Meridian, Idaho. (I think) Basically, Boise. He went to a small university in Oregon and participated in their track program I think. Haha I'm doing a lot of thinking. Pretty much, I know he used to do a lot of running before his mission. We actually went running last week one morning and proved to myself that I'm completely out of shape and worthless when it comes to running. He is the only son out of 5 kids. Although I guess that's not true because his family adopted 4 little boys from Guatemala. They sure do have a sweet family picture! Elder Miller reminds me a lot of Elder Graham. He has a similar demeanor and seems to carry himself just as Elder Graham does. He's kind of quiet but when he says something, it's always worth hearing. It should be a great couple transfers with him. By the way, I don't know if I mentioned this but President told us the plan is that the 6 of us that were sent out here from Vlad will most likely stay out here for 4 transfers (6 months) and that come August, once our mission gets 10 new missionaries, we'll each be training out here in Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude. So, I kind of already know my plans for the next 6 months. Kind of cool to have some perspective of what your future holds verses having no idea what may happen in 6 weeks time.
So far, we've seen a few sets of tourists here in Irkutsk, last week from Germany that I already told you about, and yesterday from England. Most tourists are here to see Lake Baikal which hopefully, if things work out, I'll get a chance to maybe see it while I'm here in Irkutsk. We'll see.
The only thing I'm truly sick of here is the pornography that seems to be everywhere in advertisements. I absolutely hate it. And it seems that it's popping up more and more in places where it wasn't before. As President Hinckley said, it is filth. Other than that, I'm loving Irkutsk. It's always a challenge changing areas and trying to find your way around but thankfully, for whatever reason, the Lord has blessed me with a decent sense of direction, at least while I've been on my mission and we haven't really gotten lost yet. We'll see how well this sense of direction holds up this coming week.
We're teaching a young kid named Artyom right now. He's really a nice kid that seems to sincerely be seeking truth and wants to know more about the church and the Book of Mormon. We've had a couple good lessons which have helped me see just how much the Lord has blessed me in being able to teach and yet have also helped me realize that I have so much to improve on.
I know this work is true. I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's church here on the earth. It is true. It was restored and I know that there is so much we can gain from applying the teachings of the restored gospel in our daily lives. Notice the phrase daily? We often say it but do we mean it? Do we understand what daily truly means? Life is all about a daily progression of becoming more and more like the Savior and our Heavenly Father. Some days are better than others. Some days we seem to do a lot worse than we had intended. But, it's all about eternal progression and improvement. It goes without saying that progression and improvement are very hard. But it's worth it. This change has opened my eyes again to just how weak and incapable I truly am by myself. Never rely on yourself. It only gets you nowhere. As has been quoted over and over again, kneel and pray as though everything depends on God and then get up and do as if everything depends on you.
I love each of you so much. :) I thank you from the bottom of my shoes which are actually holding up quite well. I love Ecco's. Take it easy and enjoy being blessed children of Heavenly Father! Pass on a big hello to Fallon and the Frapps! :) Love you all!