Y'all ain't heard from me in quite some time! Sorry about that. We didn't really know where to go in Korea to find internet and we all thought that we would be able to write a little more at least in the airport but they closed the cafe right when we got there. To sum up, the week before I left was a little hectic in trying to prepare for Elder Phillip's and my absence since our greenie companions would be serving together and we wanted to make sure they would be prepared for all that. Saturday morning (a week ago) the branch did service at the new building cleaning up the territory around the building and it really looks nice there. The building is beautiful and we can't wait to move. The only reason we haven't been able to and they keep putting it off is they're having trouble getting the contract in place for water to the building. Something's not working in the communication between the church and the city and maybe some other people in between. So, anyways, someday we'll move there.
Elder Phillips and I left Ulan-Ude last a week ago Saturday at 4 in the afternoon and took a train which arrived in Irkutsk just after 11 pm. We hopped in a taxi and stopped by the senior couple's apartment to pick up Elder Zamora and then we were off to the airport to wait for our flight which left at 3 am Sunday. Waiting is never my favorite activity in the world, but we eventually got on the plane. (We flew Korean Air which was awesome!) We got into Korea at about 6:30, got our stuff and headed to the temple where we were met by some members who took us to the English branch. That was really weird! It felt like being home, which at first I really didn't like that feeling. I've really come to love a smaller branch where everyone speaks and sings and prays in Russian, but I learned some great things from the speakers and it was a great experience. We found a Russian woman who lives there and tried to meet with her later in the week, but it didn't work out. We did a little shopping, met up with Elder Phillip's friend who's a member serving in the army near the South Korean, North Korean border and went with him and several of the Seoul Korean missionaries to a war museum. That was interesting and felt very touristy. His friend then took us on the base nearby to buy American food at the grocery store there, and that was intensely weird! In fact, I didn't like it very much because it was far too much like home. Literally, you walk on base and all of a sudden, you feel as though you've returned to America. The roads, the yards, the buildings, the people all speaking English, it was just plain weird. I did get peanut butter though which was a plus. I've been loving that the past few days. :) Elder Phillip’s friend thought we were crazy when we asked for 4 jars of peanut butter.
We got to go to a family home evening at an American member's home which was way fun! They have an adorable little girl who has started talking and it was crazy that I couldn't understand her! I felt as though I was hearing a Russian again for the first time and couldn't for the life of me understand her! She really is super cute. We had waffles for dinner and whole American milk. You all know how much I love my milk. ;) We had a wonderful spiritual thought afterward. I love the feeling of going from friendly conversation to teaching about the gospel. I always love conversing with people because it's always interesting to learn more about someone. Yet, the feeling of the spirit as He accompanies our words as we teach of the gospel of Jesus Christ is incomparable.
So basically, we flew home, got into Irkutsk late Wednesday night, got on a train Thursday morning and returned to Ulan-Ude. Oh before I forget, we also went to Costco thanks to the senior couple allowing us use their card, and I bought a new suitcase since my big one was is completely trashed. It's probably the same one that I looked at before my mission. It's a little small but great quality and hopefully, it'll hold up and do the trick. Saturday, we had a baptism here in Ulan-Ude which was, as always, a very spiritual and wonderful experience. The father of a family who had already all been baptized earlier was baptized and they're all looking forward to having the opportunity to be sealed in the temple. One of their daughters, on a mission in St. Petersburg, is probably SO excited to hear that her father finally made the decision to be baptized. The gospel is all about the family.
We have some awesome investigators we're working with now that just popped outta nowhere! One is a 10 year old boy named Misha and his mom and grandma. They all love coming to church because of the comfort they feel there, and they've expressed interest in being baptized. A little over an hour ago, we met with Misha before school and he prayed at the end of our lesson! It was one of the greatest experiences of my mission! To hear a 10 year old say such a simple and yet heartfelt prayer!
Saturday evening, we had a branch talent show and we (the missionaries) did a cooking show skit thing where we had the senior companions speaking with our junior companions behind us but they stuck their arms out and pretended to be our arms. It was absolutely hilarious! And we were glad everyone liked it and that we pulled it off since we came up with it last minute. We "made" American pancakes and made quite a mess considering our comps couldn't see what they were doing. Hopefully, I can get a copy of the video and show you once I'm home.
Well, I guess in a nutshell, that was my last two weeks. Sorry if it doesn't make much sense. Basically, I'm doing well and loving where I'm at. Hard to think I don't have much time left. 6 months is so short. Thus, I must thrust in my sickle with all my might and have all the faith I can muster to allow the Lord to work miracles through me. That's all I'm essentially called to do. Have faith and do His work. If you do it His way, miracles will come.
I love you all. I pray for each of you. I'm so glad to hear how the Lord is blessing all of you. :)