Hey! Let me start of this week’s email by posting a link to an awesome video! One of the members of my 3rd group, Anton, wanted to try the “free hugs” experiment at a mall in Novosibirsk. My companion and I were intrigued when we heard about this, but were convinced that this couldn’t possibly go over well in Russia– people here are just too closed to strangers, especially in public! But alas, Anton proved us wrong. Here’s a short (I think it’s about 2 minutes long) clip that Anton created. It’s pretty great. 🙂
This week has been an interesting one: we had a Zone Leaders’ Leadership Training and Zone Leaders’ Council, so I got to see lots of good friends who are servin in distant cities, and it was especially exciting to talk amoungst ourselves about new ideas, problems, challenges, solutions, and exciting news from cities that we’ve previously served in. I got to go with Elder Rupper (I shared a room with him in the MTC) and Elder Brightwell (I served with him in Tomsk) to a recent convert’s house and we had a really amazing meeting. There is definitely a special feeling of friendship that is formed between missionaries who have served together in similar circumstances.
Something that I’ve been thinking a little more about, which is kind of related to the above Anton’s film, are the teachings of Christ. I talked to a man on the metro yesterday who wanted to know what in the world “Старейшина” meant (“Elder”). After I explained what I was doing here and asked if he believed in God he said yes; he was even baptized. Unfortunately in Russia that means nothing, and I started asking him questions about Jesus Christ and what Christ expects from us. There are an overwhelming ammount of people in Russia who do not know the simple teachings of Christ. In our English Club we’re sharing spiritual thoughts about the parables of Christ and explaining specifically how we’ve applied them into our lives in a very real sense. I’m so glad that, when it comes down to it, the doctrine of Christ is so simple. He asks us to have faith in him and to repent. He asks us to come, follow Him, and to love others the same way that He did. My brother wrote a little bit about minimizing distractions in life. I think that was a very timely message, considering the upcoming hustle of Christmas. President Monson shared a message similar to what the Flaming Lips share at rock concerts: Life is too short; we never know when it will be too late; tell the people that you love “I love you.” If we slow down a little bit and remember how happy we are to be alive, remember Christ and follow his example by serving others, not being offended, forgiving, and loving, I think we can all be a lot more happy, and life becomes more managable and enjoyable.
Family– I love you!
Friends–I love you!
People who may send me packages in the near future– I have recently uncovered a craving for lemon drops!
Christmas is so close!
Russia December 9, 2010