(double-click to enlarge photos)
Are you guys ready for this?
All sense and logic would point to me staying in Krasnoyarsk for the last 20 days of my mission with Elder Petersen, but….
nope! I got off a 24 hour train ride this morning at 6:00 am and arrived to Irkutsk to be a zone leader with Elder Smith!
No one saw that one coming.
It was a bummer that I had to leave Krasno, right after forming some strong relationships with all the people there. It was especially unfair that I had to leave Tuesday morning– before I was able to say goodbye to any of the people from English club 😦
And I was asked not to bring all my luggage to Irkutsk because I’ll have to fly from Irkutsk to Novosibirsk to go home and the planes here are smaller and charge more for overweight luggage. Mom– you’d be so proud of me. I got rid of so much unnecessary stuff and managed to pack all of my things for the rest of my mission into one suitcase, then I packed my smallest suitcase, put it inside my bigger suit case and filled in the gaps (those two suitcases will be shipped by train to wait for my in Novosibirsk for when I come home to America).
So I got on the train on Tuesday morning, said goodbye to an amazing zone of missionaries that I have grown to love with all my heart (Elders Petersen, Byers, Lilinquist, Sodja, Whiting, Sisters Filatova, Clark, Fesenko, and Lyudmila) and had a great train ride with a lot of cool missionaries: Elder Larkin, Zanger, Taylor, Ahuna, and Birtcher.
Being zone leader means that next Wednesday I may or may not have time to email because I’ll be going to Zone Leader’s Council by plane with my companion to Novosibirsk for a day.
I had some super emotional and spiritual days before leaving Krasnoyarsk. I really love the people there and I just keep getting the overwhelming feeling of things working out how they needed to. I’m beginning to understand the concept of having no regrets on the mission. I thought for a long time that it was impossible– you could have always talked to one more person about the Gospel. But now I’m beginning to see how “having no regrets” is possible, but only if God plays a role in the process. I’ve seen God’s hand more and more clearly as I serve longer and loger on a mission and I see him filling in the holes– compensating for my weaknesses and mistakes, and I have really felt successful as I’ve looked back on my service over the past little while. It’s a very beautiful merciful gift that comes from the Savior’s Atonement.
I really don’t know what awaits me here in Irkutsk. It’s right by lake Baikal, so maybe I’ll make it there. I can’t figure out what I’m supposed to do here for a grand total of about 20 days, but hopefully I’ll be able to figure it out and make very good use of my time here.
I made it to the “East”.