Monday, June 29, 2009

coming up...transfer to Ufa to train first "greenie"...first fish...

the beautiful countryside of Yekaterinburg Russia...

Chad's first catch...

Dear Family,
Well, the biggest news for the week is that fresh blood is starting to arrive, which means I will have the opportunity to train. I am so stoked! I can’t even begin to tell you how excited this makes me!! I am transferring back to my first “greenie" city, Ufa (actually a small city outside of Ufa called Dioma)to train! The new "greenie’s" name is Elder Matthews. I don’t have any other details, but will let you know as it all unfolds.
I would like to thank all of those that emailed me this past week... It helps keep the ole spirits up when you all remember to email.
The highlight from this past week is when we were invited to go to a garden home with a very awesome and cool member family. We had a great time fishing. I caught my very first fish! I emailed you a picture. I’m sure I made you proud at the monstrous fish I hooked! Ha! (yeah, I know...pretty pathetic!)
Later in the week, we met with a very musical family with the McEvoys. We had a great time getting to know them, and especially enjoyed listening to their musical talent.

I need to cut this short because I have a lot of emails I need to catch up on. I sure love and appreciate you all. Have a great week!

Elder Chad M. Dewey

taxie driver from #@!#%...lost luggage returned...

new pet bird...flew in from outside...
english club

Weekly post from 6-21 -

Dear Family,

This week can be described by our latest taxi ride. We got in this guy’s taxi and before we even had time to shut the passenger door, he took off like a bat out of @!#!! He started weaving in and out of cars barely missing them! This guy even had gloves on, as if he was up to no good. Hard to explain, just chalk it up to another one of those experiences you had to be present to appreciate. Just a crazy time I tell ya!!
For part of the week, we were in a threesome, which included Elders Sorenson, Thomas, and me. Tuesday was an interesting day…we had our first lesson in wallpapering 101. Remind me to always stick to paint and never to venture off into wallpapering ANYTHING!!...UGH!!
Oh! I finally received my bag from the airport…yeah, I forgot to mention that the airport lost my luggage on my visa trip, so, yeah; I went around with dirty, sweaty, and disgusting clothes the whole time. Oh well, everything was safely returned.
Thursday, we had a lesson with two amazing investigators, which made for a great day! We played Soccer in the rain on Saturday, and I was able to muster up and score a goal! I actually suck at soccer. Later that afternoon, we had English club. On Sunday, I translated for Sacrament meeting and Sunday school and then the third hour I taught the lesson in young women’s. My lesson was on the Priesthood, and I believe it went pretty well. After church, we had a meeting with a less active member. I think he was a little drunk…UGH!

Here is a quote I would like to include in this weeks post.

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust, and sweat, and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, who knows great enthusiasms,great devotions, and spends himself in a worth while cause. Who at best knows achievement and at worst if he fails at least he fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat"
Author unknown.

Thanks for everything you all do for me and all the love, support and prayers.

Elder Chad M. Dewey

Monday, June 15, 2009

Visa trip to Madrid Spain...

Visa trip to Madrid Spain - June 2009

Sister Allen cutting Elder Dewey's tie before having to say goodbye in July...

President and Sister Allen will be greatly missed!!

Late night view from outside apartment

Elder Sorenson and Elder Dewey doing a little contacting on the street corners of Ekat while Elder Sorenson plays his violin.

Dear Family and Friends,
It was another whirlwind last week with some unexpected issues that occurred and left me a bit confused.( It's funny, you mentioned that I looked a little dazed in the last zone conference pictures you received. The pictures were taken while I was trying to figure out what was happening with my visa.) Let me explain...
My trip from Ekat to Spain began Wednesday morning at 7ish. I first thought I was leaving on Tuesday afternoon, but they received last minute news that my passport was still in Prague, so they really were not sure where to send me. They already bought my tickets for Spain, which were pricey tickets, and Elder Brown, the Canadian needed a companion. After debating what to do they decided for Spain to be my visa destination. I ended up leaving on my visa trip by myself about 20 minutes after my group left for Helsinki Finland. The flight from Ekat to Prague was pretty good, I was able to sleep most of the time. Once I arrived to Prague, I had a few hours to hang out at the Airport. So, I sat in some sandwich shop feeling exhausted, maybe it was the whole visa issue that had me feeling worn out. The flight to Madrid was good, I had a lot of time to get some good reading done, and I slept a little more. I felt better once I was able to get a little shuteye. When I arrived in Madrid, I took the metro to the Spain MTC, which is quite the adventure and pretty cool. The MTC is right next to the Temple. I finally met up with Elder Brown. We attended an early morning temple session on Thursday, which was amazing. We then had some study time and lunch. After lunch, we went out to see downtown Madrid, it was nice to do some sight seeing. After returning from our brief downtown adventure, we had dinner and more study/nap time. Honestly, after experiencing missionary life out in the field you realize that three hours of study time a day is adequate. And... being locked back up in the MTC can drive one a little nuts. After picking up Elder Brown’s passport on Friday, we stopped at a bookstore where I found some great materials I have been wanting for my mission, but unable to find in Russia. The best find was a few moleskin books. By the way, mom if you can slip a few in the next package I would greatly appreciate it. After the bookstore, we went back to the temple and attended another session, and before taking off Saturday morning, we were able to fit in one more. Honestly, the best and most rewarding experience about this visa trip was the opportunity to attend the temple. The overall feeling of just being inside the temple is the best.. it get’s better every time!
I just want to thank all of you for your love and support.
Make it a great week!

Elder Dewey

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Last zone conference with President and Sister Allen...

Last Yekaterinburg Zone Conference with President and Sister Allen before they leave in July.
All the Elders had their ties cut by Sister Allen.

Dear Families,

This week we had Zone Conference with the Yekaterinburg Missionaries. Together we enjoyed trainings, discussions about the recent Mission Conference with two Apostles, testimonies, sandwiches, and the cutting of ties. Thank you for the support that you give your missionary. We have loved serving with them and love each one of them.

Our best,

President and Sister Allen
Russia Yekaterinburg Mission

Monday, June 8, 2009

busy week...

Hello Everyone,

It is starting to warm up here in Ekat, which makes for some great contacting weather. It is much too warm for a jacket of any kind and we are now sporting our short sleeve shirts. We had a pretty great Tuesday with a few successful meetings with some less active members and our contacting went pretty great as well. I was able to get quite a few people to stop and talk with me. Contacting is actually one of my favorite things to do. I am grateful that I have finally reached a point where I am comfortable in speaking freely and carrying on regular conversations without feeling intimated by the Russian language...but the learning never stops.
We had a zone meeting to go over some highlights of last week's meeting and to also discuss our new Mission President’s arrival coming up. We also had an awesome meeting with a family that has a ton of kids, which is very rare here in Russia. It was an awesome meeting. We discussed the meeting last Sunday and asked them about their thoughts. Later, we had a birthday bash for Zhenya, the missionary coordinator. I gave her a few American cd’s that I love, and since I can’t listen to them on my mish, I thought she might enjoy them. She said she really liked it. After lunch, my companion, Daniel(a member), and I went out on the street and sang happy birthday to Zhenya... my companion played his violin while Daniel and I sang. It was awesome...we created quite the funny scene, it was a great time.
Thursday, was a busy day with four meetings of less active members. We also went to visit Kuzma in a nursing home for the elderly. While we were there this elderly lady gave me a poem. She was an interesting and funny elderly lady. I guess for some odd reason she took a liking to me.

Friday, was another busy day, we had a long, hot and sweaty transport ride to visit an older member. We also spent a lot of time contacting.

Saturday, was a sports activity with the members; however the members didn’t turn out, so it was mostly all missionaries. We played soccer and our team won! It was tight! We also went out contacting.

Sunday was kind of a crazy day. First off it was Fast Sunday. We had a 9:00 am meeting with a less active member that we tried our best to get him to come to church with us. He is such a great guy who is struggling with a few things and going through a difficult time. He said he was too tired to go to church. I expressed to him that I am not going to give up on him and that I will be coming for him next week and the weeks after until he is going on his own. I also expressed to him that he needs to go to church and stay active so he is able to receive the blessings the gospel has to offer him. We have a great repore with him and I feel we can make a difference, he just needs a little support and be pushed a long a bit.

Later I had to translate for President and Sister Allen during
Sacrament Meeting and Sunday school. So, I put on my headset (looking all professional…ha-ha!) and translated away. After the meetings I had to translate for President Allen a while longer, so it was about four hours of translating altogether and by the time I was finished my mouth felt like it was full of cotton balls and my brain felt like mush…ha-ha. It was a great time though. Afterwards we rushed home and made some bbq pizza and rushed out again for another meeting with Zhenya (our missionary coordinator) and Sveta, (investigator). It was an interesting meeting. Sveta has some pretty crazy and abstract ideas about God. The meeting stretched me pretty thin with the vocabulary, but it was all good. After the
meeting we went home and I…CRASHED! Ha-ha. All in all it was a pretty good week.

I am leaving for Spain on Tuesday with another Elder to renew our visas. We will return at the end of the week. I will take a few pics and send with next weeks email.

Make it a great week.

Elder Dewey

Gates to the future

Members in Yekaterinburg welcome first member from First Presidency

By Vaselina Novikova with Sister Donna McEvoy
Published: Saturday, June 6, 2009 - LDS Church News

"Photo courtesy of Europe East Area

Dieter F. Uchtdorf greets throng of members who gather to shake his hand following a member meeting in Yekaterinburg, Russia, May 31. President Uchtdorf is the first member of the First Presidency to visit Russia's third largest city.
Six-hundred faithful Saints gathered here from throughout the Ural region of Russia on Sunday, May 31, 2009, to hear President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency and Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. This historic event marked the first time a member of the First Presidency has visited Yekaterinburg. Members traveled from as far away as Surgut, 1,000 miles by train, in order to attend.
Pavel and Tatyana Kulakovy drove with their children eight hours from Ufa. Brother Kulakovy, baptized in 2002, was unable to go to Moscow when President
Gordon B. Hinckley visited that year. "I knew this would be a great opportunity and I was determined I wouldn't miss out again."
Yekaterinburg, situated at the Ural Mountains on the border of Europe and Asia, has served as the industrial, administrative and cultural center of the Ural region. The third largest city in Russia, the population exceeds 1.5 million.
The first missionaries opened the city for the preaching of the gospel in 1993 when four elders from the
Russia Novosibirsk Mission were sent from Moscow. The Russia Yekaterinburg Mission was created in 1995 and, since that time, more than 2,500 Russians have joined the Church.
Members were eager for President Uchtdorf's and Elder Andersen's visit and prepared well. Sisters Sofya Arefyeva and Vera Terentyeva of Miassky Branch said their branch president, Elder Georgi Mizin, encouraged them to prepare spiritually. "We have fasted and prayed much that everything would work out." They were grateful they were able to bring their wheelchair-bound friend.
The congregation rose as President Uchtdorf and his wife, Harriet, and Elder Andersen and his wife, Kathy, entered the room. "As we walked in the door, I felt the Spirit of the Lord in great force," Elder Andersen remarked.
Elder Wolfgang Paul of the Europe East Area Presidency said, "One of the expressions of [the apostles'] love is that they came here." Ilya Druzhkov of the Botannichesky Branch Presidency said, "It's very precious to have the attention from the First Presidency for us."
President Uchtdorf noted that the Ural Mountains are sometimes called The Gates of Siberia. "You are the gates to the future of the Church," he said. "You are true pioneers in the best sense of the word, and others will follow. Generations to come will praise your name because you are not ashamed of the gospel, and you did not have fear."
Members came with high expectations, hoping to be strengthened and encouraged. They left amply satisfied. "It's hard to be a member [in Russia] as it is, but it's even more trying at a time of financial difficulties," said Vasylina Novikova, a branch Relief Society president. She was struck by President Uchtdorf's comment, "Let's go slowly, step-by-step, spoon-by-spoon, because the Lord doesn't want us to be disappointed."
"This is important," Sister Novikova said, "because so many people get worn out when they try to do too much and feel overwhelmed. I felt happy
to be a member of the Church. I thought, 'Here is a man of God.'

Monday, June 1, 2009

President Uchtdorf's and Elder Anderson's Visit...Amazing!

Pictures taken by the McEvoy's...thank you!!

( Elder Dewey is the one with his head down.)

It's been an amazing week. Sunday was by far the best day of my mission thus far! Yes, mom... I did shake President Uchtdorf’s hand along with Elder Anderson’s, but No…I did not get a picture to send home to you. Ha-ha. I didn’t want to be one of “those” that pulls out the camera and start snapping a bunch of random pictures, the memory of the entire experience will suffice and will stay with me. It was amazing to say the least! It was so great to see all the members from the different areas I have served in as well. I was surprised when they all remembered me…even my name. It was fun to talk to those from my "greenie" areas and actually be able to carry on a regular conversation. Ha-ha! They even laughed at my jokes...the same ones that I tried to tell before, however they could never understand me due to my poor language skills. haha!. But this time they got the punch line!! Ha-ha!
So back to the meetings - President Uchtdorf talked about how the members here in Russia are the pioneers and the gateway to the future…YES THEY ARE! The future members will always remember them and thank them for all their faith and endurance. We also attended a meeting for just the missionaries where Elder Anderson talked about how we as missionaries just need to take what the Lord gives us and make the best out of it, and remember that the trials we experience on our missions will mold us for the rest of our lives. President Uchtdorf also talked about not getting down on ourselves, and to look at life like a sunrise and sunset. There are always new days with new starts. My favorite was when he said, “Endure to the End Everyday”. I thought that statement was pretty cool, often times we try to take life on all at once which is an impossible task.

Well, I am with my new companion, Elder Sorenson and we need to get going.

Make it a great week!

Love Elder Dewey

P.S. I would love to hear from you…

Ali, the owner of my favorite tie store...he is way tight!

Elder Dewey and Arkad (member) Wow! a picture with someone taller than Chad.