Monday, February 28, 2011

Last Day of Winter in Russia!

Yes, today is the official last day of winter here in Russia.
I’m a little excited, but not getting my hopes up to high. First off, The official first day of spring here in Russia isn’t until next Monday. I’m not sure exactly how that works… But today is the day that Russians all eat pancakes for breakfast. I did not.
But yes, last day of winter. All I have to do now is wait one week til the start of spring. And then after that all I have to do is wait until it gets warm. Russia has some strange seasons.
Also this last week was “day of the defenders of the Motherland” or to better describe it, “man day” on Feb 23rd all women in Russia honor the men, whether they served in the military or not (most have). So last Sunday one of the members gave us a pair of socks and a hankerchef each. It was a good gift. Next Monday is “Woman day”. Maybe we’ll do something nice for the sisters in our district. They made us no-bake cookies.
It’s been a rather good week. My companion and I were able to sort out some of our beef with one another on Tuesday, and then we found a new investigator the same day! Must be something to the ‘working in unity’ that helps us to ‘serve with the spirit’. I’ve also been reading a lot from the Liahona in spare time. That has helped me a lot to be a better companion and missionary. The conference talks especially.
Our new investigator is pretty much golden. We’ve met with him 3 times now, and he came to church yesterday. He has a baptismal date set for the 12th of March. I feel like it’ll play through. He’s very humble and accepting. Which, speaking of humility… I need to work on this myself. I’m trying.

Ok, I’ve heard I have packages coming my way from a couple people. Sorry if I haven’t been much help in helping to think of what things to fill a package with. I don’t really know. Your guess is as good if not better than mine. But, I have put some thought into it this week and here are a few suggestions since I have been asked.
Oreos – cake stuff (birthday!) – blueberry muffin mix – small muffin pan – imitation maple flavoring – mission appropriate songs (not sure how you might do this? NOT Mormon tabernacle choir… I’m sick of them.) – cinnamon rolls- just pretty much food of any kind.
Suggestion. Put things in zip-lock bags. So they don’t leak.

Well, I am out of time. Sorry for the vage letter. Sorry I cant spell.
Love you all!
Love, Elder Ellis

Monday, February 21, 2011

Battles, Monsters and Triumphs

Well XHelloo!

That’s about the closest I can getting to typing how I say ‘hello’ now. I mostly use it when addressing cats, dogs, pigeons, and the zone leaders.

This week has finally been the Russian winter that you all think I’ve been experiencing. I’m told spring comes on March 8th… but spring just means that it’ll maybe be above 0 degrees Fahrenheit. So… I’m excited for ‘spring’

From this week… I basically have just one story to tell. It’s about our adventure in the frozen tundra. We received a referral of a family who lives in a part of our area that is a small city between novo-k and samara. We got a bus to take us out to the area, but then had to make it on foot to the other side of the area to the address. The temperature was -30 degrees C. (-22 degrees F). It was dark, the roads are icy and uneven (of course.. it’s Russia) It took us maybe an hour to walk to the other side of the area. In that hour we had many adventures. Well… I say we… but I think it was mostly me that was adventuring. My companion was a couple steps ahead so I think he missed the battles, monsters, and triumphs.

Battles: navigating the icy uneven roads in the dark without depth perception. I’ve decided that having depth perception is KEY in knowing where to trust the placement of your foot so that you do not fall. My fall count before this week was 13 for the winter…. But in one hour it jumped to 20. My back was sore for a day or two afterwards… but sleeping on my “mattress’ on the floor seems to have healed it. Ha.

Monsters: or shall I say “beast”. Yes, for everyone who has ever seen “The Sandlot” I met “The Beast”

I have to say he is scarier in real life than when I was a little kid watching him on TV. I’m not normally afraid of dogs… or animals for that manner (remember when I tried to pet the buffalo?) but this was no dog. It was a monster. I was SOO happy that he was behind a fence. I don’t really think the fence could have contained him very long… he really wanted to eat me…. But I didn’t stick around to find out.

Triumphs: well… I really just wanted for there to be 3 things on the list. 3 always sounds better. There weren’t really any triumphs. We finally got the address and ALMOST got to introduce ourselves before the door was slammed.

In the words of miley cyrus… “it’s the climb”

The important things are that 1. It was an adventure. 2. We made it home eventually 3. Despite my doubts, I WAS able to ever be warm again.

Today is -30 with the sun up… I’m kinda dreading the 6-9.

But… I’m doing the Lord’s work…. I wont freeze.

Love, Elder Ellis

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day fam!

howdy family
Well, i'm still in Novoquibeshevsk, still with elder Troyhemenko no transfers recieved here.
but, I'm ok with that. I believe mom preached to me about changing my attitude. i havent read that yet. but my attitude is changed. I think it just takes me about 5 weeks to adapt to changes. and well, i've finally adapted and we had a good week. except for the work... the work was dead this week. But my companion and I havent contended with eachother for 7 1/2 days now. There is hope.
So i finally got some mail! actually i got a ton of mail thanks to grandma and lisa writing weekly dear elders. The oldest one was from Jan 3. except a letter from lauren pledger that she sent to the MTC in early november. I have to say that MY GRANDmother writes the best letters. sorry everybody else... you all lose. you all write VERY good letters and i love to read them (and yes, i always have time to read your letters... just not time to write back as much as i would like to) But GRANDmother's letters are the best. keep them coming grandma!
I don't really have a lot to say about this last week. it snowed, it was cold, we walked a lot, and a lot of people didn't talk to us. But that's not news, that's every week. About the only exciting thing this last week was that my companion and i got along well, and my 'best friend' sister wilson has been in my district this past week. She was in the MTC with me (she is a cycle behind) and the only words i really said to her in the mtc was "Samara?! BEST FRIENDS!" she actually thought i was a native russian the 6 weeks we were in the mtc together. but anyway, i was very glad to not be the only one not knowing a thing that was being said in church on sunday. she goes back to her zone tomorrow, so i will again be the only person that is lost in the language.
other than that.... that was my week. I was really glad to hear about how things are going back home from 2 good sources. And i have a lot of comments, but i'm going to include those in some letters that I hope to get out soon.
well, sorry for the lame e-mail
love, Elder Ellis

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hello err'body!

Hello err'body!
let me find what few notes i wrote down about the week. oh first off, mother, you mentioned you have a bunch of stupid questions to ask me, and well i will answer them! Just send them to me in a survey like fashion (question and then a little space to answer) and i can fill it out and send it back to you in the mail. I just don't know what you want to know and to me it's all just.... life. kortney you asked me about things i would want in a package.... i'll continue to give that some thought and get back to you on that. I figure i have a little bit of time because I don't expect any packages till my birthday in april. which means i have maybe two more weeks to give this some thought. random thought, you know those random black hairs that dad gets on his ear occasionally... I get them too. I have 3 on my right arm where the rest of it is bald. i've decided i like them.... and i'm growing them out. one is now a good inch and a half long. I will probably get rid of them in summer when i will wear a short sleeved shirt and people will actually see my arm ever. Also this week we watched a church video about physical well being in regards to the word of wisdom. and in the video was philmont, and the slide outside the lodge where we go for family reunions! I was kinda surprised to see something familiar to me in Russia... doesn't happen too often. the only other familiar thing i've seen is ONE chevy blazer. But i'm not complaining. Things like that make me miss home. even if just for a second. speaking of... packers won the superbowl?! All i can say is i'm glad favre isn't on their team anymore. otherwise packers, superbowl, in dallas would not be something i would like to miss. sigh... i'll get over it. I don't want to hear much more about it though.
Alright. so this week. we had a baptism on saturday! 13 year old son of a newly converted family. it was some work, but he finally got baptised! and our branch actually has some youth now! in stead of singular youth (his brother) So missionary life is good. But now we have a lot of work to do because we are now without any progressing investigators. we have 2 that are... well... kinda crazy... and pretty crazy. and the kinda crazy one has bad health. But just to clarify, crazy doesn't neccessarily have negativity atttached with it.
well... I'm acutally out of time this week. so i'll catch ya next week.
No superbowl stories.
love you!
love, Elder Ellis