Well what a crazy week this last one was.
I'll start of by saying Happy birthday to Dad and Grandma tomorrow. I've been anxiously awaiting your birthday... because well it’s when the days start getting longer. Dawn ends around 10, Dusk starts around 2:30 and by 3:00 it’s completely dark. so, that's about 4 1/2 hours of clouds! haha. The sun never sets on the Roman Empire... well in winter, the sun never rises in Russia. The temperature today is -11 degrees Celsius. I forgot what that is in F because i had my alarm clock with thermometer on our window sill.... and it must have fallen. I was a little upset about that. Aunt Donna is probably thinking she failed at teaching me any chemistry.... but that's not true! Ice starts to melt at 0 degrees celcius (32 degrees F)! It’s snowing today, and the ground is still solid ice. I made a goal last week to not fall a single time.... and i did it! but since that week has ended i have fallen 2 more times, bringing the sack total up to 9 for the season. I need a better, stronger tackle on my blindside. I hate to laugh at my own jokes.... but that's funny in so many ways.
Tuesday and Wednesday we had Mission Conference. all 68? missionaries together. I learned a lot from the conference about how i can become a better missionary. Speaking of which, I would like to apologize for some of my negative remarks in the letters i've been sending. It's hard getting used to so many people so quickly while trying to figure out what the heck i'm supposed to be doing as a missionary, and then translating that into Russian. It was good to see all the Elders in a less stressful setting and realize that they are actually really good missionaries and people. I quite like Elder Crookston when I have a little bit of time away from him. And I certainly don't feel like punching Elder Brewer in the face when my head isn't about to explode from all the russian being packed in it. Mission conference was good. I realized a lot of things i need to improve on and i got the motivation to do it as well. We had planned on 6 elders staying in our apartment for 2 nights and working with us in our area. So we bought a lot of spaghetti stuff, cereal and put a lot of work in planning stuff for them to do. Well, they were there for only one night and we were able to work with them for just about an hour. So, we're going to be eating lots of spaghetti and cereal this next week, and we won't ever have to think about what to do when a meeting falls through. Within that hour 2 of the elders were able to find a former investigators on the route i gave them, and that investigator now is preparing to be baptised on the 8th of January. Our first part of the 200 baptisms we hope to achieve in this next year. or should i say, the 200 people we hope to bring closer to Christ through baptism. this year i think the mission had around 130. so 200 is a stretch... but we are a stretchy people.
Friday I went to Lithuania. That was interesting. got up at 4 am, headed to the airport, flew to Moscow, flew to Vilnius Lithuania, went through passport control, walked through the airport and came back to passport control, boarded the same plane and came back to Moscow, had a pretty long layover, and then flew back into samara. got to bed at 2am. Oh visa trips. looooong days. I enjoyed it though. Luckily president wanted us to get a full 8 hours of sleep afterwards... so we slept in til 10. That was weird. it's been 5 months since i've slept in past 6:30..... oh man... its even STRANGER saying that! but, i've now been to THREE countries in my life. Lithuania, Russia, and good ol' usa. The best part of the trip was getting above the clouds and seeing the SUN! it exists!!!!!!!!
well, i better wrap this up with a few answers to questions. the plan is i'll be calling home around 6-7 pm on christmas day. so 9 to 10 missouri time, 8-9 idaho/ UTAH????? time. My family isn't a utah family. weird. That wasnt negative by the way..... :/
i've not gotten any packages yet, but it sounds like from when they were sent ill get them sometime mid to late january. no worries.. i'm not sad i wont have them by christmas. I got a pity package from the office with a few goodies in them. So really i scored. and i'll be opening presents for my companion's birthday as well, so i wont feel left out. haha.
well i love you all! thank you for all the e-mails and letters! I got a ton of dear elders this week! (i think e-mails probably better... i actually get them before a month has gone by)
oh, MERRY CHRISTMAS!