Thank you for all your emails…WOW!! I received a ton of emails this past week…thank you for all your support. I have one favor to ask…if you could limit your questions to just ONE, the ONE you’re the most interested in, (this of course, doesn’t apply to mom…ask away mom!) and I will do my best to answer it…Fair enough??? I had so many questions and I wanted to answer them all, however my time is limited. By the time I read my email, email my Mission President and write the post for the blog my time is spent. So, I apologize to those questions I didn’t get to, but I will continue with the answers next week. Also, I would like to email responses to all of you, but again, time is the problem. So, please don’t feel bad if I don’t get an email sent to you, if you could just refer to my blog and I will email you as soon as time permits. I appreciate everyone’s understanding. AND…please don’t let this discourage you from sending me emails…because I really look forward to hearing from all of you, and it’s great to know you are all thinking of me...”I feel the LOVE”!
So, the hot topic everyone seems to be interested in is…What is happening with the church in sending US missionaries to Russia??? Well, unfortunately… the rumor is true. My group from the MTC was THE LAST!!! All I can say is... "I MADE IT BY... THAT MUCH “... (instead of “I missed it by“)…(a little “Get Smart” haha!) I assume, you all have seen "Get Smart", I heard it had a lot of Russia in it!! So, I guess I just barely made it!! I am so grateful that I am here and have this great opportunity. Seriously, it’s disappointing that the younger elders in the MTC with me were reassigned. Russia is truly in need of the Gospel. I am praying that this is only a minor setback and just a temporary situation, but who knows what the future holds, all we can do is work hard at the present and do all we can to share and teach the Gospel to the Russian people and strengthen the members. I just know that we have our work here cut out for us. There is so much to do and not a lot of time.
So, here are the happenings of this week here in UFA, RUSSIA… I will start with a short story …The other day, we were all at the church building when we hear this woman screaming from behind the church. So, we all run out to see what is happening and fins four little kids, probably 12-15 years old with a water hose,
spraying this poor babushka (grandma) woman. The guy that does the lawn service gave them the hose! I like to think, he didn’t know what they were going to do with it. We yelled to them to leave, but they kept it up until we went up to them and FIRMLY told them to leave now!… So, they left, but later came back with their shirts pulled up around their heads, with rocks in their hands. It was funny, my companion was scared, but all I could think about, was how bad I wanted to go out there and hurt them a little so they wouldn’t come back, but of course, because I’m a missionary… I didn’t…(I sure wanted to though!) We had to stay in until they left.
The Russian food is great. The other day we went to a Russian Café and I had Chicken Shasiki, which is chicken marinated and then grilled. And... everything I heard about the ice cream in Russia is… true! It’s the best I’ve ever had. It comes in bags and is soft and is way good, but don’t worry, I’m careful! I have to be, because my comp and I figured out how to make new holes in my belt!! We actually eat very healthy.
The BEST experience for this week was finding a new investigator.! His name is Reviel. He actually approached us when we were out advertising for our English club. He asked us questions about the church. It was great. We met with him and his wife in the park and taught and testified to them on the park bench. They seem to be very solid investigators. It was my best day here so far!! We gave them a book of Mormon, and called them Saturday. Reviel said, he enjoys reading the Book of Mormon, but he needed specific scriptures. We pointed out scriptures that would help them. I am excited and feel hopeful we can continue to work with them. It was a great experience.
We attended a fireside the other night about Eternal Marriage. As I was sitting there, I noticed that Russians wear their wedding rings on the opposite hand as Americans. (the right hand instead of the left.) I realized, that I had my CTR ring on that finger and felt a little awkward, and so I quickly changed it to the left, but then that felt awkward, wearing it on my “American ring finger”. I then decided, that wearing it on my middle finger is a safe spot. haha!
After the fireside we had ...peach juice, which was really tasty. I had a sister missionary tell me how to pronounce "peach" in Russian. I kept repeating "peach" out loud to help me remember it and then a devchucky (girl) walked by just as I was repeating this new favorite word of mine... "peach" and the sister missionary got mad at me, because the word "peach" is also like calling someone... “Babe” (like you are trying to pick them up)…UGH!!! … That was ...WAY AWKWARD and EMBARRASSING!!! There are a lot of Russian words that have more than one meaning. Learning the Russian grammar is crucial. I hope to start learning a little faster, so as to advoid this type of situation! haha!! i certainly don't want to give out the wrong impression and be known for... " ONE OF THOSE" type of missionaries! hahaha!
My couch is uncomfortable still, but I’ll live. The food, like I mentioned, is good. We eat pretty normal with some Russian mixed in. We eat something called Palmeni, which is a pasta with some sort of meat in it, it’s not too bad, and like I mentioned before, the Pillow cereal, is the best!!
Saturday's we have sports at the church building. This past Saturday, we were playing Ping Pong and some big drunk man came stumbling in yelling at us, that ping-pong doesn’t belong in church . A member had to finaly get him to leave, which wasn't an easy task. It was pretty interesting. The members here in Ufa are great and they continue to be a huge help to me with the language. I have learned a lot from the members here and appreciate their patience with me as I am still learning. They are the greatest members and seem to be very strong.
Well, my time is about up and I still need to email my Mission President. I love you all. Stay strong and work hard. Remember, we all need to be missionaries. Missionary work isn’t just for full- time missionaries, it’s for all of you back home as well. It’s easy, all you need to do is be yourself and start up conversations. You can also start inviting your friends and neighbors to activities. You all know how much the Gospel blesses our lives! The Gosped is who we are and what we live for!! Where would we be with out it??? We should want to share this great gift with other's, so they can have the truth and the light! It’s important we share it! There is nothing to be afraid of. Every member is a missionary…Make me proud... while I try to make you proud!!! If I can be spreading the Gospel here in Russia, speaking a foreign language that is tough, you all can be sharing it in your own language, with people you already know…it’s that EASY…so get to work!!
Love you…until next week…PEACE!
P.S. ~~This is Chad's email to his dad ~~ Hey, Russia is great my comp is cool but doesn't like to spend too much on food. I don't have a lot of time so I will do a post for the blog and you will have to read on that. Also, just so you know... I used the same towel for two weeks!! So what now...Big Guy!... And I have only used 1 cup ! haha!! Peace!
**side note** Chad would go through at least two towels a day when he was at home...his dad wondered how he was going to manage ....it's the obvious...he has to do his OWN laundry! haha!!