Monday, March 26, 2012

Where's Waldo, I mean Dustin?

(Hint- Yellow tie)
Not a whole new lot going on here in Engels. We've had a pretty good amount of lessons this last week and we're looking to have some good ones this week as well. We set up a baptism for June 20... so if I'm still here in Engels that'll probably be the last baptism of my mission. We have 2 that are planning to get baptised in April (we'll
see?) And we're hoping to set a goal for may with one lady. So, the work is rolling on.
Spring has been been creeping in and out. A warm day of sun followed by a cold snowy day. I got a little sick this week from walking around with wet feet for a day out in the chasni sector... (Russia housing consists of big giant apartment buildings for most of the population, and small houses on the outskirts of town.) Engels has a lot of houses being a smaller city. 250,000?
So after that day I've been pretty much sticking to my waterproof boots.
We went out to a members house and met with a few of their friends.
The husband (member) is in the mission presidency. They have a pretty big, but rather full house. Bigger than our house, but not as nice.
But still a nice house. The people they introduced us to know them because they have some sort of group that doesn't eat anything that is cooked. it was an interesting meal. Our stomachs are rather used to fried food so they haven't yet recovered from the change up.
This week we should be heading out to Marx (the other city in our
district) to do exchanges. Marx is the smallest city in the mission...
about 30,000. it's about 2 hours away from engels.
There's a less active member here who knows what Branson is! half my companions don't even realize what Branson is until i tell them that King of the Hill and The Simpsons both have Branson episodes.
well.... i love you!
Elder Ellis

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Big Fur Shapka...

Tomorrow is the beginning of spring! It's been WARM here (i think today is somewhere around 35-40!) And the streets are turning into muddy lakes... gotta love spring. We'll have about 3 weeks of this weather, 2 weeks of lovely weather, 3 weeks of hot (but not miserable), and then Summer should kick in full force after that. The whole time the streets will be muddy and the dead animals will start dethawing creating that lovely smell of Spring!
This last week was a pretty good one. I bought myself a nice birthday present.... a little early... but its the right time for shapka shopping! I got a nice big (understatement) fox fur shapka. Several weeks ago i saw it in Kazan for about 170 dollars. They were selling it here for 100 and i was able to talk them down to 65. Thanks for the gift! I love it. I'd send pictures, but i think its just much better to wait and see it in person.
Last week we also had zone conference. It was pretty good. Kinda weird being in the Saratov zone... (I've been able to avoid it for 20 months. But once you go south to the Saratov zone you don't have very good chances of getting out. So i think I'm here in Engels for good.
This week we've got exchanges with the zone leaders (I dread these) but i'll be spending most my time with Elder Anderson, so I'm not too bitter about it. Elder Anderson is from North Dakota and spent some time in the marines. I've enjoyed his company on visa trips before so i think i'll get by these next couple days.
We've been having meetings. A large percentage of the population here seems to be old communist men who claim atheism. most cities are more full of bobyshki that claim to be orthodox. There's definitely a lot less muslims here than in Kazan.
Well... i guess that's about the time i have i love you all and hope your enjoying spring I pinched my companion on saturday. I was wearing my green watch already.
Love, Elder Ellis

Monday, March 12, 2012


Well... I've been out of Kazan for a week now... still haven't adapted yet.
The last time I've had to go somewhere I hadn't already been was last April (going to Kazan for the first time) So I'm not entirely used to not know anything about where I'm living and so on. I'm also not used to being a junior companion. It's actually pretty nice in a lot of instances, but my companion ( as 'new' as he is) is used to having to talk to everyone the whole time with little input from his companion.
So I've been silenced lately.
But, Elder Hill is a nice guy. It's been a pretty fun week serving with him and we'll just have to see how it goes.
I've not really met any of the members here (this last week was a holiday on Thursday, Friday was vacation as well, which makes Sunday a work day... so everyone was at work) 19 out of 40 or so active members came. So I'm looking forward to getting to know the members here in Engels.
This week we have Zone Conference. Should be interesting.
One of the nice things about being in Engels is I'm in the same district as Elder Berrett. He was in our district in Kazan for a while and i like him more than i do most the elders. Each generation of missionaries seem to have their different breeds. I haven't gotten accustomed to much of the younger missionaries. But I'm glad i can be 'near' (he's serving in marks.. 2 hours away) someone i get along with better. Ok, i get along with most, just not all of them do i like to get along with. (those Utah elders.... just kidding) Elder Hill and i are going to go hit up the market today and see what we can find. We gotta get a nice spatula to go with the nice pan i brought with me from Kazan. I might bring it home...It was free... so it's not really bought with MSF. It's a nice pan.
Well.... I'll update you next week on life in "The City of Engels"
(I'm apparently the only one that makes the connection between Engels and Angels) Hopefully it'll be warmer! It was warm in Kazan when i left, so I didn't pack my scarf. well... it's cold here!! but i should only have a week or so until it starts warming up for good... March 21st... the REAL start of spring... not the 1st as though among Russia.
love you all!
love, Elder Ellis

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day late, dollar short...

Sorry i wasn't able to write yesterday... and i am just gonna try to sneak in a quick e-mail cuz i haven't got much time this week. But, i finally have something to talk about. I got transferred. I'm sitting in saratov right now and in a few minutes I'll be going to get my stuff and heading over the former worlds' longest bridge to the "city of engels.' i assume it to be just like LA "the city of Angels" (pronounced almost the same) only this particular 'angel' happens to be a former communist leader of the soviet union. so... you can imagine the differences. I didn't really want to leave kazan... even if it meant i got to ride an overnight train (I'm one of the FEW missionaries to have not ridden one, and I've been here a year longer than MOST) ((it's just like i imagined it to be from Goldeneye!! just... less AK-47s and i don't have a laser watch to get out))
I'll be serving with Elder Hill from Albuquerque...... New Mexico. From what i know he's just the happiest person there is. I think it will be good. but we'll see!
I'll try to make sure to write a good amount next week :)
well, i do love you!
love Elder Ellis