Rain, Rain, Go Away!
I heard it’s supposed to get below freezing this week. that means the week of rain we've had will be turned into a week of snow!
I’m glad to hear they finally checked the mail box near to where our apartment is. I think i'll just take letters to the post office from now on.
This last week has just been full of a lot of sitting. Conference, bus rides, planning, etc. my butt is a little sore. Good news is that I’ve been standing up to read the scriptures due to my inability to read more than 6 verses without falling asleep. I do feel well rested today though.
Things I’m looking forward to in Kazan this week:
1Baptism!! One of our investigators is getting baptized! My last baptism was the last week (day) of July, so I’m a little overdue one our 1 baptism a month goal. The best part is we haven't had to rush the preparation much at all.
2 Finally going to the Kremlin! i think... we've had it planned as a p-day activity for the last 6 weeks. But we're just going to change it into a cultural night so it actually gets done. And also because our options of p-day activities are being changed into : stamping pass a-long cards, more cleaning, and fun stuff like that. We've actually been doing all those pretty well on p-day... so I’m not too happy we can't do the adventure stuff. P stands for preparation... not party, picture taking, or parks. Lame.
3. I'm going to buy my Muslim hat today. You can’t have served in Kazan and not have one. Transfers are coming up this week, so I’m going to not risk not getting one.
I've almost gotten all the doors back to where they belong. My pan is starting to become a dirty pan... gas stoves will do that.
Oh! a new grocery store opened right next to our apartment! That eliminates about an hour and a half of grocery shopping time and a very enduring walk home with heavy bags of groceries. My hands are going to lose their callises. I don't know how to spell that. If it were a Russian word I’d look it up... but i already speak English better than everyone here... so no need to get any better!
well... that's all i have to say today.
i love you
love, Elder Ellis
Heading back to Samara…
But only for training!
Actually, I’m sitting in Samara right now. Yesterday we took the 8 hour bumpy bus ride down from Kazan, so we didn't end up with much opportunity to e-mail... so we're doing it today!
We just got done with our zone training with the Toliatti and Samara zones. It was a bit weird... I’ve become the minority of the older missionaries. That happened over night. Just a month ago i was the minority of the younger missionaries.
I really learned a lot in conference about how i can be a better testimony of Jesus Christ.
I talked about that in my e-mail last week as I thing i wanted to work on as a result of General Conference. And well, the Lord provided me with much opportunity this week to strengthen my testimony of Christ as my Savior and Redeemer. I've always had a testimony of this, but I haven't exactly known what that really meant to me personally.
The first thing i learned this week was from my reading in the Book of Mormon. I read in 1 Nephi 19: 9 about how Christ suffered being scourged, smitten, and spat axon because of His love for us. I've always thought that would be a hard thing to do, but I’ve never really recognized the deeper meaning this verse had to me. Not only did Christ suffer those things to be done in those moments, but He also suffered for the sins of those people that smote him. He suffered the sins of smiting, and scourging the Son of God... that's a big sin, and a big price to pay i would imagine.
I also had a learning opportunity as we went to a more/less active family this week for a lesson. the son is a member of the branch presidency here and also a return missionary, so I wasn't expecting this to be a very hard lesson. We went in, said a prayer, and i began to share one of my favorite verses (2 Nephi 28:24) .... and well she didn't take kindly to it. She started to complain about how 'nobody loves anyone' and how hard life is in Russia and how in America nobody has any trials. She rambled on and on and then started getting a little nasty and mean to me personally. I was trying to be patient with her. At one point i was about ready to throw her through a wall for all the stupid things she was saying about me. I decided i better tune out and not say anything to avoid saying anything i would regret saying as a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ. I turned to the 2nd cycle missionary i was on exchanges with, and told him he was going to have to finish the lesson because i was done talking. he replied "but i don't understand anything she's been saying"... Exactly. That's why HE needed to finish. But... we sat in silence for a good 3 minutes. Well... almost silence. The member was trying to egg me on and telling me to hurry up and speak. I said a silent prayer and the words from conference popped in my mind that we need to be testimonies of the love of Christ for others. So... I took a breath and started reading from Alma 7: 11-12 and testifying of the Lord's love for us. That he would CHOOSE to suffer ALL that we suffer, even when it wouldn't be required of Him. The whole time i was shaking and pretty close to tears. I was a testimony of Christ's love for her. I felt it. And I gained a testimony of what Christ's sacrifice really meant to me personally.
Well, time is running short. There were quite a few other things i wanted to comment upon today, but I think that I covered what was most important.
I love you all and hope life is wonderful!