Monday, June 25, 2012

2nd to last...

Pretty interesting week,
Tuesday and Wednesday the zone leaders came down. Had a pretty good exchange with them... found some gas masks (you'll see the pictures in2 weeks).
 Thursday and Friday we headed up to marks for exchanges within the district, those were a lot of fun. But Elder Hill ended up on a lesson with a sick child and brought it home with him. I'm not sick, but he was throwing up all day yesterday. Seems to be doing better. But yesterday we didn't make it to church. That was weird. We did get permission to bless the sacrament in our apartment so that was good. I spent the day studying, and packing. Both my bags weight 20 kilo (about 45 lbs) and my carry on weighs about 8kilo. I'm looking good! I guess that makes me officially 'trunky'... I'm living out of my carry-on for the next 2 weeks.
We had a good lesson here with a less active member. He fell less active do to health and a grudge, and he's working on fixing both of those. the lesson he pretty much taught himself. He just talked about how he used to not like one of the leaders here, but over the course of the last 3-4 months he's worked on getting rid of that grudge.
About 2 weeks ago we invited that leader to go out and visit him. The less active told us about how much that meant to him and how nice of a visit they had. It was neat to see the healing power of forgiving others in his life. The gospel certainly changes us and makes us happier.
This week my companion has visa trip. So I'll be kicking it with Elder Bearden in Saratov Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday is 3 hours of planning, Friday we've got lessons set up and baptismal interview scheduled. Saturday is a baptism day. And then we find ourselves at my last Sunday in the branch I'm serving in as a missionary. That doesn't seem right.
well... i love you!
love Elder Ellis

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

3 weeks...

It's just now starting to set in that I'm going to be leaving Russia in 3 weeks. I'm not sure how i feel about it. The only thing that has really sunk in is that I'm going to the lake to escape the heat! THAT i am looking forward to and can't wait. its been about 40 C most the week (38 is 100 F) and pretty humid. Any breeze just makes it seem that you've got a heater blowing in your face. I will be praying for rain to go canoeing when i get home! Or maybe we'll just have to go out to 11 point. I'm going canoeing this summer.
We had 7 investigators at church this week we're expecting about 16.... we found a pretty big family. We've got a baptism coming up the 30th, and that will probably be the only one before i go home.
But I'm way happy about it! She came to church for the second time and liked it... except relief society... but that's normal from what i hear? 
my head is pretty much still in it. I'm not super excited to go out talking to people on the streets, but we've got a lot of investigators right now and we're just helping them move along. Just 1 baptism before i go home. The rest will probably fall some time in summer, when they're ready. We have a family of like 20 or so we're working on. The grand mother and one of her daughters came to church yesterday and liked it.
They will probably all be baptised, but it might takes years. they've got a lot of cultural things that will hold them back. they're gypsies. actually one of the kids just showed up right now at the Internet club.
Not very nervous about the driving test. I'll just have to study the 'what happens if you get a dui' section.
of course the Russian monopoly is coming home! and i expect to play it
:) I haven't had a good argument in a while!
ha ha
well... I'm gonna be going now.
see you in 21 days!
Elder Ellis

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My bags aren't packed ...

We've got a baptism coming up on the 30th! Another one around that time, but we're not sure if that will happen before i go home.
We met her when we were dropping by some former investigators. We knocked on the former's door and his mother wasn't at all interested in talking to us. so we started to leave, but decided we should knock a few more doors in the building. We went up to the ninth floor but there was a door leading to the hallway with all the apartment doors and it was locked. So we headed down a floor... same thing. Went down the next floor knocked on a door, taught a short little lesson, prayed with her and set up a return meeting.(her daughter later called and told us to never come back) We decided we'd head down to the next floor before knocking any more doors, but on the way we ran into a young man. He asked us some questions and he invited us in. We taught him and his mother a lesson and his mother just took it all in. It was miracle timing as his mother explained to us that she doesn't answer the door, especially to men. Her son was the ticket in. She also told us she's seen missionaries on the street before and has always wanted to talk to them but they've never approached her. We've returned and taught her 3-4 times now, and she came to church yesterday and she wants to get baptised! The son has some problems, but is already showing some desire to change.
The work is going along pretty well lately, stayin pretty busy and pretty happy. It's weird to think i have less than a month left now.
Zone conference was pretty good.
I'm getting a little tired of riding hot, muggy buses packed full of people crossing over the Volga where everyone is swimming and having a good time. Looking forward to a good air conditioned car and driving TO the river and not just past.
and, looking forward to seein you all soon! My bags aren't packed or anything, but you know how i like to wait til the last minute
(literally) to finish packing my bags!
love you!
love, Elder Ellis

Monday, June 4, 2012

Another week gone...

Another week gone
This week we have zone conference so I'm expecting it to fly by as well.
Its been rather cool the last week or so... basically ever since we got the a/c working. The A/C unit is in the bedroom, so it gets pretty cold in there in order to keep the rest of the apartment at a nice temperature. Which ended up getting my companion sick. He's mostly better, but he spent a good hour last night coughing. He ended up getting more sleep than me out of it.  Dang white handbook keeps me from giving in to go sleep on the couch. I just laid there thinking I'm never getting married.
We have a few good potentials for baptism this month. We're really hopeful for them. One is a grandmother of a huge family of gypsies.
this will be a little tough, so far none of the members will go with us to their house... Russians generally don't like gypsies. They're a little wild. Their lifestyle isn't the 'norm' but they are so humble and nice. We see so many people who just complain about everything.
'social security' checks are low... food is too high... yada yada yada. This family really doesn't have much... but they've got one big ol' happy family! And they're pretty content with that. And well, Family is one of the things we can take with us when we die. So they seem pretty well off for me.
We got the 2nd councilor in the branch presidency to help us on a lesson for the first time since I've been here. It was a pretty good lesson.  at the end we walked to the bus stop with him. He kept going off about how good of a lesson it was saying 'wow, i was really surprised. that was a dang good lesson! I've just thought you two were weak elders... especially elder ellis.... he never says anything! but man.... i was wrong, you two are good!'
made me laugh. That's what happens when you finally go on a lesson with us. But i see where he's coming from. My companion really likes to keep his mouth running, so i am pretty quiet in most situations.
lessons is usually where i take the lead.
well.... looking forward to seein y'all in 5 weeks!
I'm really starting to get the feeling I'm going to miss Russia though love you!
Elder Ellis