Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Eggselent 'pasxha' !

It's been a pretty good week here in kazan.
Easter came... we spent a little bit of time and each decorated an egg. I did my t-rex head. He made Elder Egg. At church my companion heard that if you squeeze a hard boiled egg in one hand that you cant break it. He tried it just as sacrament meeting was starting... he broke it. so we had to go wash him up. He did the washing... i just had to be in sight and sound.
Later on in the day we had a few really good lessons. We have a baptism on Saturday, one set for mid-may, and we set one yesterday for early june. We have a couple other investigators in the mix too, but have yet to set a date. The work is good in this area, The city is beautiful, and my companion and i get along well. But... transfers are coming up quickly and we heard a little rumor that only one or two companionships aren't being moved around. *sigh* it was good while it lasted. I just hope my companion gets the boot and i get to stay here in Kazan.
Later yesterday my companion heard that you can smash a boiled egg... but not a fresh one. So he tried. Unfortunately i was within sight, sound, and the splatter zone. Luckily today is P-day and i can do some laundry.
There's a dragon exhibit at the museum here. I'm trying to convince our zone leader that dragons are considered part of the culture so we can go for a cultural night. The city symbol IS a dragon afterall. But he seems to want to go to a ballet instead... Italian, about jews?.. what kind of RUSSIAN culture is that. DRAGONS.
We also got to do some good service in a park. there was about 20 members there and a few investigators. all wearing "helping hands" jerseys as we picked up all sorts of trash. It was hard to decided if there was more poop or empty bottles of alcohol there. I would say alcohol. but that's probably just because we weren't picking up the poop. But there was A TON of alcohol bottles. Russia.
We did quite a bit of work this week, despite being home 2 days from my companions foot. He had some warts frozen off. So we were able to bake my birthday cake and have a little birtday party for me. thanks for the cake and the blue frosting. My companion pooped BRIGHT GREEN after that. Mine was more of an olive green. You can edit that part for the blog if you want to. It's more of imformation for family... but hey... keep it if you so desire.
Well... hate to end on a crappy note... but time is up.
I'm happy and doing quite well. I'm sure you could tell from my finding humor in poop jokes.
i love you all!
love, Elder Ellis!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Suprise Zone Conference...

before i forget. I got the package from mom. Thanks!
Also thanks to kortney for the ice cleats. I got the package and opened it on the FIRST DAY that the ice melted off all the side walks. They should come in good hand for next year though. Thank you!
So this week we had a surprise zone conference. We took a 7 hour bus to Togliatti on wednesday, working in the area with the elders there that night. then the next day had zone conference. President just showed us on a pie chart how much time we waste by not talking to people on buses and not calling during lunch. Its a lot. we came back on friday. On Saturday we just went back to our old ways of not talking to so many people on buses and such. But this time, at the end of the day we felt HORRIBLE and were quite grumpy. So we've changed our ways now. I talked to SO MANY people on the bus yesterday! No 'real success' but at the end of the day i felt like i spent the Lord's time well.
Our trip to togliatti was fun. I pet a camel. And did a lot of contacting in a tiny area. (our area is half of a HUGE city... theirs is 1/10 of a BIG city) so yes... there area is tiny. which means they've pretty much talked to everyone already. which means most people were not very nice. I heard more english swear words directed at us than i ever did in High School. I won't say i'm glad i'm not serving in that area... but then i would get transfered there. So i'll just say i'm quite happy to be in the beautiful city of Kazan where we have lots of work and a huge pool of investigators. We should have atleast 2 baptisms by the end of the month. and I assume a couple more in the following weeks.
I've got not a lot of time (our old internet place shut down so we had to find a new one... and we haven't learned the system yet so it takes a while.)
so i'll wrap this up.
I hope all is going well. Happy anniversary Mom and Dad! love you!
Elder Ellis

Monday, April 11, 2011

General Conference...

Well it was a pretty busy week filled with a few good stories. But I’m not sure how much time i really have to write about them.
I do want to talk about General Conference though.
Many of you probably assume I speak and understand Russian quite well now. Well... you know the phrase about assuming... and you're wrong. I don't understand Russian... Still!
This caused me a little concern with conference coming up. We watch it a week late here so that the branches can all receive the DVD with conference and the voice-over translations. Which means I was going to have to watch 10 hours of conference all in Russian. I was a little worried about that. Just 3 hours of Russian church makes my head explode and want to take a weeklong vacation. So I prayed quite a bit in preparation to hear prophets and apostles speak in behalf of Christ... in Russian. Later in the week our district leader asked if I would want to watch it in English. YES! that would be fantastic. So I was put a little at ease the day before we would listen. Well Saturday morning came and we waited for the members to show up. A few came. But not the member with the keys to the family history center where we had planned to watch conference! So... conference began... I tried intently to listen and understand while jotting down notes. And to my surprise, after the first talk I had a page of notes! I must have understood?! the first session went on and I continued to listen, understand (not perfectly) and learn. What helped me the most was the things that I learned for myself from the thoughts and the impressions that the Spirit gave me as I listened. Sure I didn't really understand the sentences spoken.. But I understood the concepts, and the Spirit was able to fill in the gaps. I listened and took notes for the first 3 sessions, and learned a good amount. Finally for the Sunday afternoon session the member with the keys showed up and we were able to watch some talks in English. This was much better. I am grateful that I was able to learn from listening in Russian, But i am also very grateful for the opportunity I had to hear what the Lord wanted me to learn in my own language. And well... That’s why I must learn this stinkin' tough language. I need to give those hear the opportunity to learn the Lord's teaching in THEIR own language so that the Spirit can more easily testify to them of its truth.
Anyway, I'm still getting used to the new area and companion. It’s a little hard to change, but I’m really glad for the change.
well I have to end now.
love you all.
love, Elder Ellis

Monday, April 4, 2011

Birthday in Kazan...

Hello! Happy Birthday! I celebrated my birthday today… lets face it… birthday on fast Sunday as a missionary. Not a good birthday. Birthday on p-day. A little better. I celebrated by taking my new companion out to one of the nice restraunts in my new city… McDonalds! No really… ‘MakDak’ is where all the business meet for lunch here. Kazan is beautiful! And today is WARM. Plus 8 celcius. Not sure what that translates to… except a lot of muddy puddles. But thanks to red wing I don’t have to tread lightly. Yeah gor-tex! My new companion is a 25 year old from St. Petersburg. He’s as obedient as a Russian missionary gets, and he’s a hard worker. We have a ton of work in the area. My whole last cycle we had 7 member present meetings. We’ve already had 7 in this area in the 4 days I’ve been here. I’m excited about actually doing missionary work. The Russian is coming along. Slowly. I met up with an elder who is 6 weeks behind me… and well he already speaks better than me. Dang. But I’m only speaking Russian now… so that should help. I’ve been kinda quiet lately. That’s weird for me. I did get the socks from jasmine. I haven’t gotten mom’s package yet because I live 9 hours away from the office… so mail doesn’t make it up here too often. I want to know some of the history you found out about this place! All I know is that there are a lot of muslims. We have a mosque right next to our apartment and we get to here their prayers 5 times a day? Although, we’re never actually home. We don’t even eat dinner here… too busy. It’s nice. I’m very happy to be in kazan. It was a good transfer. God loves me on my birthday. Well.. we spent too much time at MakDak today… so I gotta end this one. I'll try to make next week a good e-mail. If not we'll just chat when i get home. I love you all! Thanks for the birthday wishes! Love, Elder Ellis