С днём рождения, сестра каулдервуд! Thanks for the emails, we all miss you lots here 🙂
I’m finding it hard to pick exactly what to say. I’ve been really focusing on the trait of gratitude lately, the past two weeks or so. We’ve been preparing for Thanksgiving all month in English club (we tape up a big sheet of paper each English club that says “what are you thankful for” and everyone is supposed to write something on it each time they come to English club. It’s getting quite beautiful and full of blessings!) and I’ve been trying to be a more thankful person. I found that it merged pretty well with attributes of Christ that I was trying to adopt more into my life last transfer– namely love and charity. And I’m so convinced that being grateful is a super essential part of being happy. Through some of the roughest times the past few weeks (I had some pretty unpleasant situations to get through) and through some of the best, happiest times I’ve tried to remember to be thankful for it all. It’s like this girl that Spencer and I met at the rock wall who had hiked the A.T. told us: “you have to love every moment of it. If it’s raining you have to love the rain, if it’s hot, you have to love the heat.” I think that advice is very related to gratitude and how to appreciate not just the A.T. but a mission and life.
I jokingly told my companion, Elder Peterson, today that I’m super excited for emails– I’m going to get 73 of them. I didn’t get 73, but man! I just don’t know what to do with all of the amazing emails that I got this week! I don’t even know where to start thanking people. For those of you who sent me an email this week, just know that you just had a huge impact on my day, week, month– i dont know how far it’ll go. Thank you.
I wanted to tell you about three things that have happened in the last week:
1) transfers: I’m staying with Elder Peterson for this next transfer, which means thanksgiving, christmas, new years, and Russian christmas.
Also, Elder McConnaughey, my previous companion has come back from Omsk to serve as the Assistant to the President in Novosibirsk. My companion and I are super excited about this. It’s great to see him again.
2) Vitaliy’s baptism last Saturday was amazing. The elders who taught him set up the baptism so that missionaries did nothing. Members conducted, presided, gave talks, prayers, played the piano, and performed the baptism. This 17 year old Vitaliy is such a cool kid. The light in his eyes is incredible, especially after his baptism. Also, there was a baptism in Tomsk last Thursday. My good friend Olyesya got baptized by my previous companion Elder Whitchurch. I’ll attach a picture just because I’m so so so so psyched about the baptism. It’s a huge highlight for me. I was very very privileged to be the first companionship to teach her and I’ve been, from the start, so impressed with her that her baptism is one of those moments for me of “I feel like my mission was a success, even throwing everything else aside, because of ___________.”
3) Yesterday I showed to a group of about 17 Russians from my 3rd group President Monson’s talk about gratitude in English, and had a discussion about it. It’s a project I’d been working on for a while. I had to make it very clear that it wasn’t a part of English club, but I invited my 3rd group to watch this religious speech about gratitude in light of it being Thanksgiving soon. I was happy that so many people came and supported me as a missionary and were open to learn more about the religious side of why I’m here. The talk was hard for them to understand, but we had a very positive discussion about gratitude, church organization, the prophet, etc. For some I could tell it was very boring, but for others, you could see how their eyes lit up and how they were very interested in the speech and in the discussion afterwards. We’ve been having a really exciting problem lately with English club: sometimes we have more people than we know what to do with. So a possibility is splitting my 3rd group into 3rd group and Gospel discussion group. I was very nervous about the whole thing, so I’m proud to say that I pulled it off, it was well received, and I’ll keep you updated if any of those people decide they want to learn more about the church.
Novosibirsk is finally getting cold. It’s snowing often now, the temperatures are about -15 C, out are coming the big coats and fur hats 🙂
We’ll be having Thanksgiving at the President (Trejo)’s house tomorrow with our missionaries until 4:00, and then we get back to our ministry.
I was impressed with Elder Leake’s testimony in Portuguese, so I figured I’d pass along a Russian one:
Я знаю что Иисус Христос — наш Спаситель, и что Его Евангелие исцеляет людей. Я очень благодарен за мою семью, за все тяжости и трудности в жизни, за суперскых друзей дома и здесь в России, и за те моменти в жизни, которые очень хорошие. Я знаю что всё это — часть плана Бога.
Я тоже благодарен за тех, которые понимают по Русски и тех, которые будут переводить это чтобы знать то, что Я писал. И Я тоже благодарен очень за динозавров.
I love you all! Thanks again for your emails!