Monday, January 30, 2012

February made me shiver!

Well, it's the end of January... and thus the end of our "nice weather"we've been around -10 to -15 (15 to 5?) for most of the last few weeks, but today we're at -20, (-5?) and it's just supposed to get colder. February is the real Russian winter. Here we go!The Sartoris came up this weekend to do apartment checks and visit the branch. We of course passed our apartment check. we only got marked off on not having any water (we have to buy water in the big 5 gallon jugs because the tap water will give you worms!) and we ran out the day before and planned to get some at dinner, but ended up not having dinner. Then it was sunday so we couldn't buy any. So this morning we were glad to finally have a cold glass of water. And it was COLD by the time we carried it home.
I don't have a lot of interesting things to say this week, or a lot of time, but i will share with you a neat experience about getting answers that we search for.
So, i have a few questions I’ve been trying to find answers for in my personal study. I've tried to find the answers in the scriptures, but if it’s in there it doesn't make sense to me. We also had a member who had some questions about finding answers, so I’ve been trying to prove God on the principle. Well, i haven't found the answer in my studying. (This may also be due the fact i can't read more than 10 minutes without falling asleep) but when the Sartoris came, they brought us mail. Of course, my GRAND mother has been writing me, and upon reading her letters i found she had answered my question!
Often our answers come in unexpected ways.
Elder Ellis

Monday, January 23, 2012

More of Kazan!

I'm staying in Kazan another cycle! My companion didn't get transferred either so I’ll still be with elder Johnson. i now only have 3 more transfers to avoid going somewhere else.We had a really good day of church yesterday. Our recent convert got the Mel. Priesthood and another man got the Aaronic. Everybody was really nice and nobody argued on any lessons. My companion looked over at me during priesthood and said "It's like we're in America!" because nobody was arguing about doctrine and then looking to us to tell them who is right. But soon after there was a little disagreement and my companion said "oh... never mind". i just asked him if he remembered elders' quorum in a family ward. We then agreed it was normal and a very good day in church.
I was a bit sick this week after having to run home about a mile to be on time. Running in -13 is not fun or healthy. But i think I’m better now... I’ve successfully passed it on to my companion!It’s been kinda cold. But not rather cold. Last year at this time was already below -20 consistently. The worst we've gotten is -15 (+5 F). It is a mild winter over here too.... but still kinda cold! we spent 6 hours the other day outside with -15. We were contacting someone who lives just on the outskirts of our area and there is only one bus that goes out there. We missed it by 3 minutes... so we ended up standing at the bus stop for way too long. The home doesn't exist.We've not really had any good lessons lately... Or many lessons at all. Well i guess i should say we haven't TAUGHT any lessons lately. We've sure been learning some though.
We went to the kremlin last Monday. it ended up being even better than last time. Except.... my companion discerned "do not shoot or handle fireworks, firearms, explosives or similar activities" to include crossbows. Dang!
Today we just cleaned.
Well, love you!
Elder Ellis

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cross bows, Pork Chops, and Karma...

Mama, keep feeding those missionaries! Your "feeding missionaries Karma" theory is working! Last week we had a family invite us over for dinner, and they made pork chops! And a secret family recipe for cake. We had a really good lesson with them after dinner and we have really high hopes for them in the coming weeks. They even want to take us skiing!!!! Unfortunately that's not allowed. I attribute our success with them to your diligence in spoiling the missionaries back home. It’s just the exchange rate is 30 to 1 from US to Russian.Let’s see if we can't get a referral karma going? i would like that :)
That's the good news
Bad news...Transfers at the end of the week. I'm afraid I’m going to get transferred. I've not been anywhere longer than 3 cycles and we haven't had the best indicators. My companion so far has been transferred every cycle. i don't know if that works for or against my staying in Kazan. I'm not against moving to a different area... just after we get this family baptized.
This week was pretty uneventful aside from our dinner. My district all had visa trips, so i ended up spending a day in Novo-k. I was able to drop by a man we baptized in May and he gave me a white rabbit fur shopka! I’ve not seen any like it. Unfortunately it sheds like mad. But I’m not complaining!
Today we're actually going to the Kremlin again. I'm looking forward to it. I don't think I’m going to convince my companion its ok to go to the cross bow gallery they have there though. Maybe next companion?
Well, time is pretty much up
i love you all!
Love, Elder Ellis

Monday, January 9, 2012

2nd Christmas...

Happy Birthday Kendra!Merry Christmas! The second Christmas came and went pretty silently (as it often does in Russia) but i was able to open Christmas gifts on it! (I got the packages from mom and GRAND mother) I’m savoring the white fudge Oreos!.... The banana bread.... well.... it was more of a bacteria colony by the time i got it. But that’s ok, i do know how to make it :)
I got so many toys for Christmas! it made me quite happy. It's hard to find time to play with them all, but it's me... I’ll find the time! (my companion and I spent maybe an hour last Monday unhatching all the dino pills Kendra gave me before i left... they're now filling our sink! we told the zone leaders they couldn't use the sink when they came because of them.)
The highlight of the week was probably the New Year’s part we had on the 6th. MANY came and also a lot of investigators and less actives (we had 8 non-members) one of our investigators came with her mom and they invited us over for dinner with their whole family tonight! We're way excited about it... we just hope they aren't serving fish.
At the activity we once again participated in the play. This time not as wise men, but as minions! We got to play with the really cool toy guns that all Russian kids seem to have. (In the summer i often duck behind cars to avoid being shot by the imaginary bullets that kids always shoot us with... that really bugged one of my companions)
Elder Johnson and i get along pretty well. And, we teach really well together.... if only we had more people to teach! (We’re not very good at finding people.... at least not the "1 a day" expectation.
We've seen a few snow boarders walking home from the slopes lately. And there are always cross country skiers around town. Makes me disappointed I’ll be getting home in summer and won't be able to go skiing right away. I'm jealous of your present mom. I'll take canoe trip though. In just 6 months. Not sure how i feel about hitting my 6 month left mark today.
I've really enjoyed reading the conference edition Liahona lately. I remember watching a few of them in Russian and feeling the spirit during the talks and thinking I’d really want to get the full meaning in English. (i understood a lot, just there’s always a little missing when it’s in another language). I've been reading some of those talks lately and I’m understanding why i felt such a strong spirit when i listened to conference. It's the exact things that our investigators and i need at this time. Conference really is such a blessing.
My comp has a visa trip this week, so i'll be heading down with him. Another week on the bus. I'll be working in good ol' Novo-k while I’m down there. Hopefully I’ll see a couple members that i like from that branch when I’m there.
well, that's the time for today
love you all!
love, Elder Ellis

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Pictures as promised!

Happy 2012!My companion is started to get a little nervous for next December... not so much that he thinks the world is going to end... just a lot of Russians do. Fortunately I’ll be back in America when "the end of the world" rolls around.

Not a whole lot went on this week... Especially as far as meetings or finding new people to teach. We did have one meeting with an investigator! The curse is lifting? I think it's called "after the new year" curse. At least that's what I’m hoping it was.It's weird to think about that i spent all of 2011 out of America. I would say in Russia, but I’ve also been in Lithuania and Ukraine on visa trips.

I sent some pictures, hope you got them! They actually took up most of my time for today :/sorry so short, but pictures are worth 1000 words right?

love,Elder Ellis