Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Caroling in Kurgan...

Hey Everyone,

Time for the weekly email. Well, let’s get started…
Monday- We got back from Ekat and from my visa trip. We took time out to email our families, and then decided to unpack and set up the week. I was really out of it to be honest.
Tuesday- was a great day. We had a few meetings, and then I had to register. We kind of cruised around Kurgon on buses all day and I just soaked it in again! It is good to be home again!
Wednesday- We had a great district meeting and at the end of the meeting, we had a very tasty cake that I made. We shared our favorite Christmas memories. Mine was last Christmas. Even though it was a bit miserable, not being able to eat because I just had my tonsils removed. However, I realized it was my last Christmas at home and it really helped me realize that my family is more important than any material gift that you receive.
Thursday- Was CHRISTMAS AND AMAZING! In the morning, Elder Otis called home and I was very antsy and wanted to call home as well, but I needed to wait until that evening. We had Zoya’s baptism in Kurgon, she is way cool. The sisters told me that if the branch president, President Adrea, didn’t show up in 5 minutes that I would baptize her. So I was feeling somewhat nervous. Just a few moments after the sisters told me that he walked in. so it was all good. The service was great! Afterwards we ran home so I could call home! The baptisim was a greeat experience! I loved talking to my family, but it didn’t make me sad or home sick, so no worries!

Friday- We had some planning time for the next week and then our Christmas party. It was way cool, because Zhenya who used to live in Kurgon was visiting and he came to the party. I had a chance to talk to him. It was funny because when I first came here I couldn’t really speak Russian… haha! AND…now I can talk to him fine.

Saturday- Was AMAZING! Elder Otis, Sister K, Sister Z, and I went caroling to all the members and Investigators! It was amazing and very very very very productive! Probably the busiest day I've had so far. We left at 11 and got home at 9. We were out all day long with only a 30-minute break when we ate at some pancake place. Haha. Russian pancakes are different they are thin and they put a lot of weird stuff in them. Honestly, I am sure time stopped for us because we went all over kurgon and still got home on time!

Sunday- Okay so it just keeps getting better and better…Sunday was crazy, because we received a call that the new member Zoya wouldn’t be at church because she was sick and so I was supposed to do the confirmation, but since she wasn’t going to be there it wouldn’t happen this week. I decided to study the blessing anyway and guess who shows up? Zoya. haha. It all was amazing! Afterwards, we went to her home to give her a blessing for her health.

Well, that was my awesome week!! I am grateful to be back in Kurgon.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Elder Dewey's stylish dress attire for Kazakhstan...

While in route to Yekaterinburg for another visa trip, plans changed in mid-stream and instead of going to Prague as originally planned, the missionaries were now headed to Kazakhstan. Elder Dewey didn't receive this news until he arrived to the mission home. Since they were not authorized missionaries in Kazakhstan, they were given a list of rules to adhere by. They were not allowed to do any missionary work or wear missionary attire. Since Elder Dewey received this bit of information a little too late, he didn't pack any casual clothes except for his ugly sweatpants and gym shorts. Even in the most awkward situations Elder Dewey is always able to pull it off to work in his favor...just look at this picture! While in Kazakhstan Elder Dewey sported around this fashionable getup of gym shorts over sweatpants. The dress shoes and hat add a little extra style to this new great new look! lol.
Way to go Elder Dewey...finding a little humor in an awkward situation, and making due with what you have.

(another picture from the McEvoy's blog! Thanks McEvoy's!!!)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays from Russia!

Merry Christmas!

December Siberia Zone Conference

Dear Families,
We have just returned from Tyumen where we held the Siberian Zone Conference for Christmas. The missionaries enjoyed viewing the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional, a testimony meeting, a mission slide show, a musical number by the Sister Konstantinova and Sister Zakharova, a white-elephant gift exchange, lunch out at Casa Mia's, and the movie "The Ultimate Gift". Elder Dewey was not with us, as he was in Kazakhstan on a visa trip. Also, Elder and Sister Palmer were in Spain waiting for their visas. We are happy to report that they will be back in their zones for Christmas. We did sing "Happy Birthday" to Elder Rogers. Indeed, it was a cold day, but it was really warm inside. Thank you for the support that you give your missionary. We love and appreciate each one.
Our best,
President and Sister Allen

Friday, December 19, 2008

Elf Shoes and give thanks for Small Miracles...

Hey mom,

Thanks for the last two emails they really helped me out. It definitely has been hard here in Kazakhstan. I really miss being a missionary. Everyday I look at my missionary tag and I realize I can’t put it on. Maybe BJ will experience that same feeling when he get’s home. Honestly, it makes me feel sick not to be able to wear it.
So, I am here once again at the Internet café to send you a quick update on what I call an “ amazing miracle ” regarding our visa trip. We just received news we will be going home tonight or Saturday!! Home…I mean Russia, haha sorry, that’s my home right now. Yeah!!! This means I WILL be CALLING HOME for Christmas!!! AND…I will be able to be in Kurgan for Zoya’s baptism!!! She is the sister’s investigator they have been working with. She is AWESOME!! Her daughter is way cool and a return missionary. The sister’s have been doing an amazing job working with her. The sister’s in Kurgan are great and are hard workers, they really are awesome, and perfect for Kurgan, just what this area needs!
Yesterday, we went to probably the worst place in the world, a huge renok, which is like a super sized outdoor super market. The one here in Kazakhstan is suppose to be the largest one in the world. The senior couple wanted to get going and didn’t want to wait around for all the other missionaries, so I went along with them to be their bodyguard/translator. It was the craziest experience. I can now say that I’ve become an expert on Kazakistanian slippers! They wanted all the details about these slippers. They are pretty cool they look like elf shoes.
Today, we are going to go to a smaller renok and then to some mountain with steep steps like those you see in Kong- fu movies, it should be a pretty cool experience.
Another funny experience from yesterday, the senior couple wanted to go home and I didn’t know the city or where anything was, so I just had to freestyle it and tell the taxi driver where to go. I sure had a prayer going so fast in my heart and didn't stop until we arrived back to the apartment… haha. Everything turned out good and we got to where we needed to be. The taxi driver and I had a good conversation about families. It was really fun. So yeah, what a crazy time! haha.
I am fine on the clothes thing, I can wear church pants but not a white shirt or jacket, so I just wear my church pants, a t-shirt, and that blue sweater you sent me. I look somewhat goofy, but my big coat covers it. By the way, if you could send me a couple more sweaters I would sure appreciate it.
I am so excited I will be able to call home on Christmas. Yall had better give some thanks for that miracle, now that everyone will get a chance to talk to me…haha, better yet, I will get the chance to talk to all of you…haha.
Well I gotta run.
Love yall. I hope everyone has an amazing day. Tell BJ congrats on his service AND…remember it has not e
nded. Keep the work moving forward!
Elder Chad M. Dewey

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Walking around Almaty in my UGLY SWEATPANTS...ugh!

Hey Everyone ,

Well right now, I am in Kazakhstan. We had a really long/tiring trip. First, it started in Kurgan; on Sunday, we got on the train at 6:45pm and arrived in Yekaterinburg around 12am. We took a taxi to the AP's and Office Elders apartment. Elders Campbell, Stewart, and Holden were still awake so we talked until 3:30 in the morning. It was cool to see them again especially since I have been in Kurgan away from everyone with just my small little district. We slept for about 3 hours, got up, and went to the Mission Office at 10am. I sent mom a quick email letting her know of the changes of travel plans (which by the way totally bummed me out a lot). We had a quick travel plan meeting where they told us the do's and don’ts of Kazakhstan. Since we were not registered missionaries we are not allowed to wear our badges or do any missionary work and are not to speak to anyone about the gospel. We left for the Airport around noon and our flight left at around 3pm I think. I’m not exactly sure on that time, but oh well. The plane ride was funny, it was an old ghetto plane and my seat actually bent uncomfortable, but what do you do? haha. I was lucky, and was able to move to an empty seat that had a little more legroom. Once we got to Moscow, we met a man who works with the church who gave us our second passports. Some of us elders jumped in taxis and took a trip to Red Square! It was amazing. It was nighttime around 5pm when we were there, it was all lit up, and I was able to get some amazing pictures. It was so cool to see a place that is so Russian. We had to run through the whole thing, we only had like twenty minutes. It really was amazing. When we were done with our short and very brief site seeing tour we jumped back in the taxis and headed back to the airport. Our flight left around 10pm Moscow time and we had a pretty nice airplane, by that, I mean a little less nice then American ones. The coolest thing about Europe and Asia is they always give you a warm meal if your flight is over like 4 hours. We had some chicken stuff, I was actually about to say how tasty it was, but then realized its airplane food and the reason it probably tasted good is because I've been in Russia a very long time and eating my own cooking. Oh yeah, and by the way, for some reason they always think its funny to put me in the middle seat...yeah, I hate it.. but oh well. We were about to land in Almaty, but the weather conditions were bad and so we flew about an hour and a half away to a city called Astana and had about an hour and a half wait on the plane. We finally took off again and arrived in Almaty around 8 am local time. It was hectic. We got in taxis and went to our apartments. Once we were situated in our apartments we sat around and played some phase 10 and ate a great spaghetti meal prepared by the senior couples. A few minutes later we got news that they would not be staying in our apartment and would have an apartment of their own, so I was bummed because I loved their cooking! Today, we woke up to some great pancakes prepared by Elder Smith, they were very tasty! We had regular study, and then we got ready to go out. And guess what?...because we are not allowed to do any missionary work and not allowed to wear our church clothes, which I didn't know when I packed and it wasn't until I got to Ekat that I found out about the changes. So I only packed sweatpants, some shorts, and a t-shirt. I look like the biggest bum walking around Almaty in my sweatpants! Today, we just came to write home really fast and then we are going to the store to get food and to a hill called коктебе, which is the place where the Country of Kazakhstan was dedicated for missionary work, so I'm pretty excited for that.
On this trip, I have realized what a blessing it is to be in Russia and working as a missionary. Before leaving, I was having sort of a hard time with a few feelings of frustration with my area. The missionary work seems to be moving slowly and with its share of problems. However, I have come to realize by being away and in a country where we are not allowed to be missionaries, it has given me a different perspective, and has helped me realize being anywhere, even in the hardest city in the mission is better than not being a missionary. I love what I am doing and every part of being a missionary, I love it more than anything! I’ve been thinking of BJ returning home in a couple of days and I’m sure he will have a difficult time leaving his mission that he has grown to love. There is nothing better than being a missionary and I can’t imagine doing anything else right now. I'm grateful for this awesome opportunity. I just want to make the best out of the time I have left, and be the very best missionary I can be and completely serve the Lord with all I have. I owe Him that much and more. Also, I wrote before about trying to find my inner peace on this trip. I really have been just trying to sit back and take a deep breathe. It’s helped me a lot. I'm just anxious to get back to Russia and get to work already! These visa trips are a must and I’m not complaining, but it is hard to leave and not be able to perform the work that we came to do and be gone for days and possibly weeks at a time. It’s all good though and the work will go on, any and all scarifices is worth the opportunity to share the Gospel!!
Well that is the news for this week.
By the way, if you haven’t figured out already, I will most likely be in Kazakhstan for Christmas and I will not be calling home. I’m sorry, I know that’s a bummer, but I would much rather be in Russia when I call, it will be too hectic here with 16 elders calling home.
Well I gotta run! love yall.
Elder Chad M Dewey.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Latest News regarding visa trip.... Christmas phone call home - not looking good...

Note from mom... Still no word from Chad. I've been reading other missionary blogs to find out where he will be traveling for his visa renewal. Latest news pulled from another blogsite is that they are in fact going to Kazakhstan for renewal. They are leaving Monday afternoon. The most optimistic date for their return is the 25th. The more realistic estimate is 3-4 weeks there, putting them back in Russia around the beginning or mid-January. They are not quite sure of what they will be doing with all their time there and they really have no idea of how long they will be there.The missionaries are not allowed to talk about the church or even say they are missionaries. AND...The call home for Christmas is not looking good.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Will it be Prague or Kazakhstan for Christmas? (visa trip destination changed last minute)

Note from mom -

I just finished reading the McEvoy's blog, where they posted about a visa trip destination change. Their group of missionaries will be headed to Kazakhstan instead of Prague (I believe Chad is in their same group...I'm not positive about that though). They are still unclear as to when they will return to Russia, it could be as little as a few days or a few weeks.
I have not heard from Chad, I believe he is making his way to Yekaterinburg to meet up with the rest of the missionaries in his group.

Christmas in Prague...(I wonder if Elder Dewey will still be able to call home for Christmas)

Hey Mom,

I’m not sure when I will have the chance to email again. I’m going to Prague for three weeks, which means I will be spending Christmas there. I was looking forward to spending it with the branch here I love and all these great people, but I will have a good time in Prague. I hear it is really pretty there and it will give me the chance to do some extra studying, meditating and finding inner peace, so I’m excited. We will be taking a bus to
Freiberg Germany to attend the temple for five of those days and will be staying at the visitor's center, which will make it all worth while.

Interesting Sunday at church...

Hello Everyone,

My letter for this week is a bit shorter. This week has been a rough one, but I am still working my bum off. Since some of our investigators have decided to become disinterested in meeting with us, we have stepped up the hours we spend finding. If you remember in the last few emails when I spoke of our “golden” investigator, Leonid, who actually was working towards a baptismal date and was so anxious to become a member…well, apparently he had a unusual experience with a member and got a little freaked out. We haven’t been able to get a hold of him. What a huge disappointment! We hope to talk with him and find out exactly what happened and try to help him through the doubts and or concerns he might have.
Sunday was quite the experience. It was fast and testimony meeting and we had a guy come to church who believes he is an angel sent from God and begins to give his so called revelations. This is one Sunday I wish I was still a “greenie” and didn’t understand the Russian language…ugh! He was going on about some really weird stuff.
I got a call from Elder A in the office informing that I would be leaving for my visa trip on the 15th to Prague Czech Republic and from there we will take a bus to Finberg Germany to attend the temple. I’m really excited, but he didn’t know when we will be returning, which is a little weird. Holy Cow… I’m excited to attend the temple!!

Well, that's it for this week. I apologize my short email, we just have a lot we need to get done today.

Love you,
Elder Dewey

P.S. Since I will be traveling next week, I most likely won't be emailing home.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Happy Thanksgiving in Kurgan...a few days late.

Hello from Russia,

I hope you all had an enjoyable Thanksgiving. Interesting enough, I woke up around 3:00 am (which for you is 3:00 pm) with the flu, and vomiting my guts out…somewhat ironic since you all at home were all sitting around the dinner table enjoying your Thanksgiving feast around that same time. Although I was sick, for some reason thinking about it made me laugh. We didn’t do anything too exciting because I was sick with the flu. We managed to bake some cookies for the sisters, and they had baked cookies for us as well…haha. So, in a nut shell that was our Thanksgiving here in Kurgan, very uneventful. Oh well.

Tuesday was an interesting day. We had a reporter that interviewed us and asked us questions about our opinion of Russia and what we thought about their Country. The reporter turned out to be very nice and not at all pushy. Later, we told her about our English club and she said she would like to attend and possibly bring some friends along as well. So something great came out of the interview, at least that is our hope. After the interview, we had a few meetings and then English. Very few showed up to English, which was somewhat disappointing. We never know what to expect, at times we have a great turn out, but other times we end up with very few. After English, we had game night where we played some goofy games.

Friday was not a good day because I was sick with the flu, and unfortunately we stayed in most of the day. I went from vomiting, headache, fever and now it has turned into a sore throat with a headache. No big deal, I will survive…haha.

Although I was still sick, we managed to have a great time Saturday at our branch Thanksgiving Feast. It was a potluck, and I was in charge of the mashed potatoes. Since I wasn’t feeling up to peeling a bunch of potatoes I decided to make instant. straight out of the box …I know what you’re thinking…yuck! So yea, I didn’t let on that I made instant, hoping that they would pass off for the real deal, but sadly to say, they turned out tasting like plastic. Still having that nasty taste like when dad used to make instant potatoes for Sunday dinners when he wanted to be lazy and get out of peeling the real thing. Oh well…I was a little too sick so care too much. Sister K and Z made some great tasting Borsht and salad stuff.

Well, that is about it. The week was kind of a sorry one because of the dang flu, but hopefully next week will be better.

Love you all,

Elder Dewey.

Elder Dewey cooking Thanksgiving dinner for his branch

Kurgan Branch enjoying their Thanksgiving Feast

Yuri (an awesome member here in Kurgan)..holding an American Flag