My dearest of dear families,
I love you all if you didn't already know that. You're all so great. First off, I'm writing a little earlier than usual because the missionaries here in Irkutsk have decided to go to Lake Baikal today. That should be quite an exciting adventure. I'll be sure to take plenty of pictures. :)
I do have one question for you all. What souvenirs do you want? I already have some ideas but if there's something in particular that someone wants, you have to let me know because I can't read minds, especially from so far away. Here are some options... Matryoshki dolls (the wooden nesting dolls that come apart and there's like a bagillion of them all of a sudden), gzhel (looks a lot like the plates or pots or china stuff that you can get in Holland- white and blue with sweet designs. I haven't seen a lot of it here but I know of a good place in Vlad so if someone wants that, let me know; it could be in the shape of anything: salt and paper shakers, little people, animals, plates, cups, bowls, Russian temples, etc.), or charite (a purple rock that you can only find in Baikal. I bought one of these along with Elder Zamora and Sister Brigham to give as a gift to Brother Southerland in Korea and it was in the shape of a bear. It was really cool! The one we got was about $30 and it was a decent size. Although you can get some that are bigger for a lot more. Or you can get jewelry with this purple rock in it or have it in the shape of something else.) Those are the things I can quickly think of off the top of my head. If you don't tell me, then I'll be making decisions by myself. But I just don't want to make a bad decision and buy something for someone that they don't really want because I don't have tons of time to think about souvenirs and I don't want to spend tons of money. If you find anything else on the internet that you learn is from Russia and you want something like it, send me a picture and I'll keep my eyes open. Sorry this paragraph is taking so much of my letter. I just want to get thinking about this sooner than later since I have 2 visa trips left and I'd rather be able to send things home that way than be taking stuff home in my suitcases.
Well, this past week has been, well, good as usual. We have an awesome progressing investigator who has introduced her sister to the gospel and she is interested as well. They both came to church yesterday and loved it. It's really great to see people that find joy in the gospel. Hopefully we can help them continue to uncover more of that joy. It's also great to see not just one person but two that are family find it together because they immediately have support in the gospel.
We have talked to so many people this past week! And I know we can talk to so many more. I really have loved getting the opportunity to meet so many neat people on the streets. I also got the chance this last week to be on a lesson with an Armenian man that wants to be baptized. He is so incredibly nice! He also taught us the Armenian alphabet. It is insane! We did a painting activity on the street near the river Angara and it was pretty hot! But, it was fun and slightly successful. People are always attracted to us when they see a bunch of people in white shirts and ties painting on the back of wallpaper and they have funny accents. Oh, about accents, it's crazy here because some people immediately know we're Americans. Others say we speak great. And one lady a few weeks ago didn't believe we were Americans. She thought we were lying. And when we started speaking English, she said we had poor English accents and that we weren't really from America.
Well, I'm about out of time. Love you all!!