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.

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