Monday, October 13, 2008

The land of OZ...

Приветствие от Surgutters ... холодным местом в мире,
(Greetings from SURGUTTERS… the COLDEST place in the WORLD,)

Wow! What a couple of weeks! It has been a whirlwind I tell ya! I feel like I am literally living in the land of OZ…traveling by BUS, PLANE and TRAIN to parts of the world I never dreamt of EVER going! I have learned how to sleep sitting, standing, and in crowded, noisy, ghetto, and stinky places! Haha! I have learned how to deal with crazy drunk old men and screaming old women! In just the past few weeks, I traveled to Yekaterinburg, Spain, then back to Kurgan. I had only been back in Kurgan a few days, when I then had to hop a bus to Tyumen (5-6 hour bus ride from Kurgan) to work with the ZL’s, Elder R and Elder B for a few days, then hopped a train to Surgut ( 16 hour ride) to be companions with Elder S while both of our companions, Elder R and Elder D are in Sweden for their visa trip.
We had Zone Conference here in Kurgan before I left for Tyumen. We met in our new Church building. It was great! The members are so excited to have a meeting place of their own. (Notice how small the meeting room is.) Elder R and I picked up President and Sister Allen from the hotel. When we arrived to the hotel, they told us that they didn’t have hot water. A few minutes later the woman from the hotel informed me the hot water would be back on in thirty minutes (a little too late!) and I said, “Okay thanks, that’s good”. I let President know what was said and he started giving me a hard time for THANKING the hotel woman. I think he was joking…( he kind of has that sense of humor…not always sure if he is joking or being serious...I'm hoping for joking:))
I was in Tyumen Sunday and Monday. Tyumen is a nice city compared to Kurgan. The buildings seem to be newer and streets cleaner. Apparently, it has many oil companies. Sunday was great. We had church, a few meetings and then we were fortunate enough to be able to watch General conference LIVE, 10:00 PM our time. I LOVED IT…LIKE NEVER BEFORE! I especially enjoyed President Monson’s talk about enjoying EVERY MOMENT. We went to the Palmer’s, (they are the senior couple serving in Tyumen.) I love them, they are the nicest couple. We stayed the night at the Palmer's that evening.
We spent Monday looking for an Internet cafe and finally had to give up because we were running out of time. We helped a guy move a piano down three flight s of stairs…It was soooo heavy, but glad we could help. After working up an appetite, we went and ate at Rustiks, which is the KFC of Russia but American style. We went back to the Palmer's for a while before I caught the train for SURGUTTERS, also known Surgut, which is the furthest north city in Russia from what I hear. The sixteen- hour train ride was fun. For safety purposes, missionaries are suppose to purchase a whole cabinet so not to have strangers sleeping in the same area. So, I was traveling alone and had four spaces under my name and some woman was trying so hard to convince me to sell the extra spaces to her. I told her "NO-CAN-DO" haha...I paid for all the spaces and I was not interested in selling them to her. She wasn’t too happy with me. I was so tired, so I locked my door and tried to sleep, but soon awakened by a LOUD BANG at my door! I got up, opened my door... only to find a CRAZY DRUNK MAN…dancing and singing! I ignored him, shut my door and tried to fall back to sleep. I loved the train ride and having some time to myself. I spent time thinking about life, and how great it is! The Russian countryside is beautiful this time of year. It's fun experiencing it by train.
When I finally arrived to SURGUTTERS, Elder S and Elder R were there to greet me. SURGUTTERS is amazing! It’s all forest with beautiful buildings and very clean streets. It really is a beautiful city. There is only one set of missionaries in the area. Once I arrived, we went straight to work. We had a few meetings and English club that evening. We met with a member girl who helped us with our Russian. It was so cool, she actually complemented me on my Russian…YEAH! It helped me so much! Honestly, this past week has been truly AMAZING...I have progressed so incredibly fast! It is all REALLY CLICKING! I know I have so much more to learn, but it's coming so much easier! I know the Lord is blessing me greatly with this new ability for the language! I’ll share with you the experience that suddenly HIT ME IN THE FACE! Elder S and I went out vlitzing, which is where Elder S plays his violin in the park and I Teach and Testify. We did this a few times before Elder R left for his visa trip. I was a little nervous to do this by myself, but was amazingly surprised when I found myself carrying on great long conversations ( speaking clearly and understanding others.) Since this experience in the park, my language is no longer a real barrier. I know all this is the Lord working miracles right before my eyes! I’m feeling His blessings working through me. What A GREAT EXPERIENCE!
On Friday, we had a fun activity with the youth. We played some card games and ate Watermelon. The Watermelon was so good… I picked it out. I didn’t know how to pick a good ripe one, but I got lucky because it was soooo good!
On Saturday, we had a meeting with some investigators and they fed us some real strange soup. They got mad at me because I wasn’t wearing a big coat or hat, but back to the soup... They fed us FISH SOUP, with...REAL FISH EYES in it…UGH…NASTY. I ate it anyway, because it is custom you eat everything on your plate.
Sunday, was a great day. We went to church and then had an amazing meeting with Aleiona, the member girl who helped us with our Russian... We talked about how the Gospel blesses our families. Although this topic was hard for Aleiona, it was such a powerful meeting the Spirit was so strong. I just bore an honest and sincere testimony and I feel that is what helped her the most.

Well, that’s it for now. Until next week...
I love you all…remember to ENJOY EVERY MOMENT!

Elder Dewey

1 comment:

The Wells Family said...

Aww.. So glad you got a good letter! He sounds like he is doing well. They are growing before our eyes!