Well hello family!
Merry Christmas! It was really good to talk to you on Saturday. Dad, I've been trying to take your advice to heart and "walk softly'... though i'm still not sure i know exactly what that means. I do wish I could have talked to my sisters on that call as well, and i really wish i could have talked to my nieces. But, 40 mins isn't a lot of time, and it becomes even shorter when you spend half of it trying to set up a conference call, so i quite understand. We will have to see what we can do in may though.
So, I've got a lot I want to talk about, (being i had my first rRssian missionary Christmas) but i probably cant get to all of it. But i'll tell everyone about my Christmas Eve and Day, because I'm sure that's what everyone wants to know about.
Christmas Eve we had a couple lessons set up, and we actually had 2 of them work out. One with the family with unbaptized 9 year old daughter, and another with a less active woman who doesn't like to attend church because of the "fanatics". They were both really good meetings and we talked about Christ and the importance of His life and Atonement. We read in Matthew 2 where it talks about the wise men and how they brought gifts to Christ when they came and related to how we can all bring a gift to Christ at Christmas time. Whether it be repentance, baptism, service for others, forgiving someone, or whatever else would help bring us closer to our Savior. We also gave them some fudge that we made. We also happened to have planned to go by a potential investigator named Rudolf that we had talked to about a month back. I was so excited to see Rudolf on Christmas eve. BUT... when we went to the address we couldn't find it. There were NOT 106 apartments in that building. But then again a guess Rudolf probably WOULD have a magical invisible house in Russia. He was probably to busy preparing for his long flight to talk to us anyway. After we returned home for the night we had our Christmas eve "feast" of blueberry pie with ice cream topped with russian chocolate syrup, some russian chocolate cereal, some of our homemade russian fudge. It was delicious. The only thing it lacked was oreos. I'm not usually a fan of chocolate with my ice cream, but 1. russian chocolate is soooo good. 2. my tastes have changed. I know kinda like things that i never did before like tomatoes, olives, mushrooms, and coconut. So after our feast and writing in our journals some we set out some milk and fudge for santa, left the tree lights on (we have about a 1 1/2' tree in our window sill) and went to bed and had dreams of contacting in the snow. In the morning we got up and saw that santa had come! or at least the fudge and milk had been eaten in the night. We then reopened our packages (I got a pity package from the office as my packages haven't come in yet) and got ready to go to the christmas concert at one of the church buildings. The Christmas concert was probably the strangest thing I've ever seen in my life. if you thought that "the nightmare before Christmas" but a strange spin on the holiday, try going to a russian Christmas party. that's all i have to say about that. at the party i got a ton of letters given to me by the office senior couple and so then we returned home and read letters, and called home. So there was my Christmas.
Now about the man we named "The Giver" from the book called "The Giver". we call him so because he has light blue eyes and a long white beard. he'd also make a good russian santa claus or father time. But earlier in the week we made a trek out to his house. He lives a little bit out of the city in the private home sector. we had to walk there and it took us a good 2 hours or so of trekking through 2 1/2 feet or so of snow. when we finally got there... he wasnt home. so we left a note saying we came by and inviting him to come to church. well yesterday he showed up! I was really excited when he walked in half way through sacrament meeting. After sacrament meeting we went with him to sunday school and priesthood meeting where i was elected to sit by him. I was a little hesitant because i still dont really know russian, but i did so anyway. well... that made for the most interesting church meeting of my life. The man was either drunk, old and sick, crazy, or just very hot. But he kept on swaying back and forth the whole time and i was sure he was going to face plant it on the ground about 40 times. but he always recovered right before i went to grab him. except for when he didnt. I did catch him in time to save his head from hitting anything though. He kept saying he was fine every time i asked and when i tried to ask him if he wanted to take of his coat he just looked at me. So between him being on my blind side, worrying about him dying right next to me, being asked to read and answer questions in russian, and trying to understand what was even going on in the lesson.... that was the most stressful 2 hours of my mission. it wore me out. after church when we got home i fell asleep trying to study russian as elder swainston cooked.
Well in closing, I would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and then dispel a few myths i've been seeing through letters. its not cold here.... 3 degrees celcius today. my coat keeps me HOT most the time. And i don't know russian.well. love you
love elder ellis