Monday, November 7, 2011

November 7, 2011

Oh man. It is SO cold here. Last night it was -7 (Celcius. It's what
we use here, plus it sounds colder. You can do the math). And it's
only the beginning of November. So sorry for any typos. My hands are
frozen. We played soccer this morning, and I took of my gloves because
it was getting warm, but then my hands slowly froze and haven't warmed
up since. What is ironic is that up until yesterday it was not that
cold. It was kind of chilly, but I was thinking it was just because
i'm always in a skirt. It's amazing how much warmer pants and real
shoes make you. I've probably already mentioned that. It was actually
rainy all Halloween. Yeah, really. I think it's the first Halloween
percipitation in my life that hasn't been snow. So that was kind of
ironic. And then yesterday--boom. So cold. Whatever I said about
bringing on the Russian winter...I take it back. haha, not really, I
just am not wanting to pull out all my really warm stuff yet, because
if I'm wearing that now, what will I wear when it's -20?

So, it's the start of a new transfer, and things are awesome here in
Z. Sister Marty and I are still t he same, but two of the 4 Elders (1
in each companionship) got switched out. They're both pretty new, and
I served with one of them my last transfer in Kahovski. So our
district is pretty young. 3 of them are starting their 3rd transfer,
and then our other Elder came the transfer after I did. And thenn it's
me and Sister Marty. It's really weird. I'm not used to being one of
the older missionaries. I don't know Russian well enough to be going
home in less than a year. One of my worst fears is that I'll be at
BYU and people who know Russian as well will be like, "How did you
live for a year and a half in Russia and still can't speak Russian?"
haha, I know that won't be the case (at least I hope not...),
especially since I can mostly communicate, but still.

This week we had a few adventures. There was one morning we had a
meeting at our ward mission leader's apartment. We hopped on the wrong
bus 2 times and then when we got to the area he lives in, we wandered
for like 20 minutes trying to find his dom, because sometimes you have
number 1 next to number 46 and you have no idea what is all in
between. Then, on the way home, we also hopped on the wrong bus which
took us out to the middle of nowhere where we had to wait for 15
minutes for another bus, and then we had to switch busses AGAIN. It
was really funny. Oh, the adventures of a missionary.

We also met with an inactive lady. She loves the gospel, but she works
on Sundays. It is such a problem here. A lot of people have
testimonies but don't think they need to do anything. Or they have to
work to live and that hinders them from coming to church. But don't
get me wrong, there are also great members and it's just like it is
anywhere else in the world, it's just a really big problem here since
the church is still so young. It's such a big problem that Elder Oaks
even spoke about it in Regional/Stake conference yesterday, but more
on that later. Anyway, we met with this lady, and her daughter who is
not a member. Her daughter has a lot of questions and is pretty
interested in finding out more. So we're very excited to start working
with them more. Only problem is that they both work a lot and the
daughter doesn't even really know her schedule in advance. I hate
work. Why do you need money to live? It hinders so many people from
finding out more. Of course, often they don't know what great
blessings the gospel will bring them, and so when they think of
picking between paying for an apartment or just some religion that
takes time, they're going to say no. Sigh. But anyway. We will
hopefully be able to meet more with this family, get the mom active at
least. That's another thing--reactivation.

We helped a lot with a small ward activity for "Halloween." It was so
cute to see all these little kids playing these games with smiles on
their faces. And then Saturday we had a zone service project picking
up trash out in this little town pretty far--we had to go into Moscow,
meet the other missionaries, and then ride another train out to this
town. But we cleaned up a lot of trash, had fun seeing our zone. There
was so much trash though. It's always fun to go pick up trash in areas
like that because you know that someone was living in this pile of
trash for a while. We found so many things of clothes, a bag of coins,
keys, I could go on. Also, on the train ride there I had a drunk man
ask me if I was really from America and then for my phone number. We
started talking about how usually if someone asked me for my number,
I'd more than happily give it to them and then ask for theirs so that
we could meet up. When you put it that way, missionary work is kind of
(read: REALLY) sketchy. But don't worry, I told this guy he couldn't
have my number because I didn't have a phone and then walked into a
middle of a bunch of Elders. haha.

And then yesterday we had a broadcast from Salt Lake. THe night before
was stake conference (the first one in Russia!) And then yesterday we
had the broadcast. Elder Clayton, Elder Oaks, Sister Thompsen, and
President Uchtdorf all spoke. It was so much what this area needs. A
lot about reactivation and church attendance, strengthening the youth
and getting them (especially the young men) on missions, getting men
to the Melchezideck priesthood and everyone to the temple, and on
marriage/family relationships (there are so many unmarried or
married-to-nonmember members). It was so cool to hear these leaders
and apostles talk to these people specifically about what they need.

Thanks for the pictures! Everyone is so grown up! I can't believe that
Rebecca is starting to drive and that Jacob is one. How is that
possible? I remember when Elizabeth was born, and now Rebecca is
driving I'm getting old. Thanks for all the ward updates,
I've already figured I wouldn't know anyone when I got back. I can't
believe the people who are getting married and everything. Not that I
can't believe they're getting married like there's something wrong
with them, just that it's weird because it's still weird to me that
people are old enough to be getting married.

Anyway, that's about it for this week! I love you all! The Church is true!

Sister Rach

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