Answer - Okay, mom…NO big deal, I am managing. It’s so hot and humid here that when we hang our laundry out on our balcony it dries in no time!!
OKAY... I will start out with QUESTIONS and ANSWERS for all the inquiring minds…mostly my mom’s.
Question #1 - What do we do on our P -Day’s?
Answer - First, we get done everything on our “To-Do-List” like the laundry, grocery shopping, etc..., and then we either play sports with our district or just hang out. However, our last P- Day we were able get permission to watch the movie “Chronicles of Narnia”
Question #2 – How long has my companion been out in the field?
Answer - Elder Taylor has been out 18 months and is on his “downhill slope”.
Question #3 – How many Elders are in your zone?
Answer - There are quite a few elders, I believe around 12. They are all a great group…WAY COOL. HOWEVER, after this transfer an area in Ufa will be closing because there will not be enough missionaries to support it, so it will be added to the charnikofka.
Question #4 – Is it true there is no “PEANUT BUTTER” in Russia and do you need some sent to you?
Answer - Yes, from what I hear it is difficult to get peanut butter, BUT…I have my connections! (haha) Sister Paige, (senior missionary) hooked me up, so I am cool with the peanut butter (truth be told, I’m not a real fan of the stuff.)
Question #5 – How is the laundry coming with NO dryer?
Question #6 – How is my language coming.
Answer - It is coming, but always can improve. It’s still a struggle, but I have a member lady who gives me a lot of language practice. She constantly calls and I am the one she talks with. She talks a mile a minute. She is helping me with improving my translation abilities. I can translate in my head a lot faster because of her frequent phone calls, which is great! I am so grateful for any slightest improvement I can make in conquering this tough language!!
Question #7 – What
are the two favorite foods you really enjoy?
Answer – The ice cream is the best! Nothing like you have in the States! (don’t worry, I can still eat it and lose weight) The juice is Freaking Amazing! They don’t add all the preservatives so it really taste pure like the real thing. The best is the Apple and Peach, but the ultimate is the R (backwards R) brand.
**There are more questions and answers but I will have to continue next week because I am running short on time and I want to get to the happenings of this past week before I need to go.
So, here goes…The other day we were invited to a “Birthday Party” (of a less active woman) …what? Did someone say…”PARTY” ?…You know me, I’m ALWAYS up to “PARTY”. OKAY, let’s just say it was AWESOME and so RUSSIAN!!! To start the “PARTY” rollin…we have this older guy running around the building with no shirt speaking…ENGLISH!!! I thought to myself, this is cool, this guy can speak English. He had the BEST British accent ever! He ends up being a neighbor who is coming to the birthday party. We later find out that he and his wife learned how to speak English from the BBC - British television station. (haha) We didn’t speak in English very long because it was annoying the less active woman. Another lady with her daughter from Ufa was there. The daughter was back from Moscow where she attends college. She was back for summer vacation. So I sat down and the lady hands me a bottle of WINE! WHAT THE CRAP!! So, I was “FREAKING OUT” and kept saying to her “HET”, “HET”, which means NO. (haha) and I was trying to tell her I couldn't’t drink it. She just started to laugh and said it was only for her and for the other people who wanted to drink. When it was time to sit down to eat, I was asked to sit by the girl who is attending school in Moscow, and by the way, is WAY GOOD LOOKING!!! I felt extremely awkward and didn’t want to sit by her because my companion kept giving me funny looks!! WHAT AN AWKWARD MOMENT!! Then they poured the wine and poured it into everyone’s shot glasses. ( I think that’s what they are called) The “British guy said that it is the polite thing to do regardless if you drink it or not. The girl from Moscow and her mom didn’t drink, so that was comforting. The dinner consisted of Sausage and Potatoes and some type of salad, I’m not exactly sure what it was. I have to say it was the MOST CONFUSED I had been in my ENTIRE LIFE! I just sat there “SMILING” and trying to act as “COOL” as possible, all the while thinking to myself, this is the craziest moment of my entire life…BUT… IT WAS A BLAST!!! I LOVED IT!!! It was just disappointing that this less active woman was drinking…UGH…BLAH!!
We went on splits with the zone leaders and I went with Elder Carlin. He is WAY COOL. It was an awesome experience and I had a lot fun. He was speaking with older ladies left and right and he really taught me how to be a people person. Well, I actually am most definitely a people person, it's just that when your not a 100% with the language it can be some what intimating. I just need to continue with my language skills so I will be better at communicating. Once I get the language down...Watch Out!!
It’s sad to say, but I am getting used to cigarette smoke. I NEVER thought I would say that. It’s not that I am really used to it, it’s that we just have to live with it because the people downstairs smoke and it comes right up into our apartment. We have to keep our window wide open because of the smoke smell and it’s so so so so so dang hot and humid! It was funny, because the other day in church I said something like, "here I am in Russia and it’s WAY HOT!!!...What the heck!" Elder Tharp looked at me and said, “You are in the Middle Eastwhere it ends with a “STAN”! It ‘s funny because the Oblast, or Bashkiria, or Republic or State or whatever you want to call it is just like the middle east with a ton of Muslims and the heat! The people really are nice here.
Our bathroom has a really bright light that puts out a ton of heat and it makes you really hot when you’re going to the bathroom and you come out drenched in sweat!! Haha…yummy!
I have realized and gained a testimony of the importance of writing in a journal. I right in my journal every day at least a page. I never want to forget my experience here in Russia. I want to go back and read my journal entries and remember all the small details. I would like to challenge everyone to start a journal. It’s awesome to go back and look at your past experiences and all you’ve accomplished in your life. I would like to challenge all of you to start today by keeping a personal account of your everyday life regardless how mundane you think it might be.
Just to remind everyone once more...anyone and everyone can email me!
Well, that was just some of my week, I wish I had more time to elaborate further but I best be movin on...UGH!! Thanks for everything. I love you all. In closing this weeks entry I would like to share with you something that President Spencer W. Kimball shared in the December 1980 New Era about keeping a personal journal.
On a number of occasions I have encouraged the Saints to keep personal journals and family records. I renew that admonition. We may think there is little of interest or importance in what we personally say or do—but it is remarkable how many of our families, as we pass on down the line, are interested in all that we do and all that we say. Each of us is important to those who are near and dear to us—and as our posterity read of our life’s experiences, they, too, will come to know and love us. And in that glorious day when our families are together in the eternities, we will already be acquainted.
From time immemorial the Lord has counseled us to be a record-keeping people. In Exodus we read, “And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord” (Ex. 24:4).
And further: “And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I reveal unto you concerning this heaven, and this earth; write the words which I speak” (Moses 2:1).
Nephi said to his brothers as they journeyed from the wilderness back to Jerusalem to obtain the plates of brass: “Behold, it is wisdom in God that we should obtain these records, that we may preserve unto our children the language of our fathers” (1 Ne. 3:19).
When the Savior visited this continent following his resurrection, he commanded the Nephites to bring their records up to date, saying:
“Therefore give heed to my words; write the things which I have told you. …
“And Jesus said unto them: How be it that ye have not written this thing … ?
“And it came to pass that Jesus commanded that it should be written; therefore it was written according as he commanded” (3 Ne. 23:4, 11, 13).
And in our day the Lord said to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “And again, let all the records be had in order, that they may be put in the archives of my holy temple” (D&C 127:9).
Let us then continue on in this important work of recording the things we do, the things we say, the things we think, to be in accordance with the instructions of the Lord. For those of you who may not have already started your books of remembrance and your records, we would suggest that this very day you begin to write your records quite fully and completely. We hope that you will do this, our brothers and sisters, for this is what the Lord has commanded.
I want you all to know, how grateful I am to have made it here and to be in the last group to have this privilege of serving the Russian people. I love Russia with every once of my heart. It's hard to explain how much I love it here and the Russian people and the work, there are no words to describe the feelings of gratitude i have. Being here and serving the Lord has changed my life and the person I am. Thank you for all your love and all your support.