Happy Man Day!
Today Russia celebrates Man Day– a day devoted to men- the defenders of the country. On this day girls give stuff to guys and say “thanks for being a guy” and everywhere women (like in the grocery store today, after we bought stuff) say to men “happy holiday!” and guys hit the bars hard in the evening. It’s a good idea for a holiday.
My most exciting news from this last week happened yesterday.
It’s been hard coming from the English clubs in Novo, which I tediously reconstructed, to the English clubs here that are kind of just barely holding on. Somehow, for some reason, we’ve been getting a crowd of newcommers lately– and they keep inviting their friends, and they keep inviting their friends. It’s magical. And so, with the beginning of the transfer I decided to take English into my own hands again and we (the 4 of us Elders in charge of the English club on the Right Bank of the city) met together to plan out how we can change English club to make it an exciting, uplifting, happy, and spiritual experience for everyone who comes. Yesterday was the first implementation of the plan. The lessons all went better than we had expected (we planned really hard for them and were very happy for such a good result) and I stood up and announced the purpose and how we organize english club, including an explanation of why we share spiritual thoughts and the option to not listen to them. Then I shared a spiritual thought about (since there were lots of new comers) “what’s up with the Mormon church?” (that’s a translation of how the question would be phrased in Russian) I talked briefly about the membership of the church, the growth of the church, the core beliefs of the church (including, i threw in, how most of the world knows us for our standards– for example: we don’t smoke or drink alcohol, coffee or tea), and then I talked for the rest of the time about what the church means for me personally: that through this church I know how to turn to my Heavenly Father for answers to my prayers, and how the teachings of the church have helped increase my love towards my family. After the spiritual thought we invited people to stay and talk, and more than ever before people came up to missionaries, mostly asking the question “why don’t you drink tea?!” and “what do you drink, just water??” and “well, do you eat dairy?” 🙂 I talked to 3 curious (and super awesome) university age kids and my companion talked a lot and answered other peoples questions– it was really really cool. I realized as we walked out of the building that night that this was one of my most favorite feelings on the mission: leaving English club knowing that you nailed it– you made people laugh, helped them speak and learn english, showed them something new about life, raised questions in their heads, and made them leave feeling uplifted and happy.
I spent a little too much time on that stuff, maybe, but I felt really great about that experience.
Other than that– we’re continuing to look for an apartment, work with investigators, talk to people about the church, and– like Ryan Edmunds recommended to me– having fun.
Thanks for emails and mail (I should get mail in a week or so, fyi). I got letters last week from Caitlin, Zoe, Grandpa, Bishop, and Hadley. Thanks guys!
A note from Babooshka (the awesome, crazy old lady in the branch who adopts every missionary who serves in Krasno) that she says ‘hi’ to my fam– and isn’t going to let me leave Russia, because now I’ve got a Russian grandmother, so I can stay here. (I read the Book of Mormon with her every morning over the phone to work on my reading skills)
Alright, that’s all,
Photo Comments from Tyler (double-click to enlarge):
Here’s my friend: pig. I could have bought him for 250 rubles, and probably less than that with bargaining.
And this is my castle. I decided to try to compete with Chris’s photos from Estonia.
And last but not least– a pretty good dichotomy of foxes.