Monday, January 24, 2011

I'm still alive!

About last week’s pictures:

The really big guy is elder Vargan. He was in the MTC with me and saved me in the Moscow airport when i lost my bags and my travel group. He is from Russia and serving in russia as well. but different mission.

I don't remember which building i sent a picture of. maybe that was my old apartment?

the little guy is elder crookston... my trainer.

the guy in the airport is elder rigby, my mtc companion. he is serving in rostov, which the the mission to the south down by georgia.

Sorry about last week, I tried to send some photos, but apparently I don’t know how to use a camera and a computer together. It doesn’t help that I was trying to learn how to do so in Russian. But it sounds like maybe you got a few. I’ll have try to figure out some better way another time. Any suggestions?
Alright so not a whole lot happened last week. We spent most the week back in samara (which is about 2 hours away by bus and a little bit of walking) My companion is a sickly man and had a few doctors appointments, and we had cultural night at Stalin’s bunker. Short history of Stalin’s bunker: It was built in WWII when Samara was chosen as the 2nd capital of Russia if Moscow were to fall to the Germans. It goes down 8 stories below the ground, where a conference room and a resting room are. The resting room is a replicate of the office Stalin had in Moscow, just with fake windows. I was able to sit at Stalin’s desk, and even cooler, I sat on Stalin’s toilet. That’s pretty much all I have to say about the week before last.

This last week has been a tough one for me. Elder troxumenko and I still have some communication issues that keep up from working in perfect unity. Some of it is the language barrier, and then some of it is a result of pride. I’ve been working hard to humble myself so that we can be a more unified companionship. There were some frustrations this week as we both felt we were doing all that we could, but it seemed like nothing was getting done. Our ALL was not enough. But, we were able to see how Grace really works. Up til Saturday we hadn’t really accomplished much. Saturday night we were able to have a meeting and nail down that baptismal date, but it still didn’t seem like we were having a very successful week. Sunday, we had no investigators at church. After eating lunch we decided to visit some addresses that the sisters gave us. We went to one only to find a wall in the place of where the door should have been. So we decided to knock. Door after door was closed on us. We finally came to one door where the man did not open but talked through the door. After we told him who we were there was just silence. Being quite accustomed to such a reaction we started to turn to walk down the stairs, but then the door handle turned and a man in his pajamas answered. We talked to him for a couple minutes, and then he invited us in because of the cold stairwell. We went in for ‘only five minutes’ but ended up explaining everything about who we were, and that we are here to help people come closer to Christ by reading His teachings in the Book of Mormon. We explained that we wanted to return to teach him about how the Book of Mormon came about, what it contains concerning God’s plan for us, and what we must do in order to return and live with God. We explained that one important step is baptism by the proper authority that resides in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and that he could come to know of this truth for himself as he read the Book of Mormon and asked God in prayer if it was true. We taught him how to pray, and then I had a strong impression that we need to go ahead and set up a baptism date. But, before I could ask him about a date, Elder Troxhemenko pulled out his phone to look at his calendar and asked him if he would prepare for baptism on the 12th of February. He agreed. I told him about how every day before we leave the apartment we pray and ask God to guide us, and that He must love him very much that we were able to run into him again (he told us we had already talked to us on the street but he hadn’t listened.) he then told us that he has been thinking a lot lately about life and God and what he needed to do, and that maybe we were the answer he was looking for.

We also are working with a woman that reminds me a lot of grandma. ( I find one of those in every area…) This one used to be a kindergarten music teacher and can play the accordion like none other. I now have a dream to be an accordion player. Her favorite color is red (she was VERY excited to see my red watch, tie, and socks) and she’s the happiest person I’ve ever met. She wants to be baptized, and wants to do so by the end of the cycle (3 weeks) so that we “can get the money for it, and not other elders”… we tried to explain that nobody gets money for it. She’s also a crazy cat lady… so she LOVED my planner. I may just be giving away some of my cat posters…. It’ll be a little tough to part with them though…. Lol.
Well, I’m still alive and I’ll probably even survive til the end of the week. We’ve pretty much ran out of money, and we’re REALLY hoping we get our next month’s msf before next Monday… otherwise we’re eating…. Sugar, spices, pepper… yup… that’s about it. (but I can always use some personal money then pay myself back when we get money on our cards, so don’t worry. I won’t starve… I’ll just be hungry. But I’ve gotten used to that these past 3 weeks.)
I hope everything is going well and everyone is blessed and happy!
Love, Elder Ellis

By the way, I (mom) received a nice email from a senior missionary in Russia that had this to say about Dustin…
Your son Elder Ellis is a fine young man, he is learning Russian very fast. I asked him to bless the Sacrament when he first arrive in our Branch about 4 Sundays ago and to my surprise he was willing and able to do it. I was aware he had not been in the mission long so I thought he might be unable to do it, but he made a very good job at it, he has a very humble and patient companion Elder Trohemenko and they are doing well as a companionship and as missionary's.

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