Dear Family...and friends.
The flowers on the hill as the Tomsk crest on the road coming into Tomsk.
I still sometimes think that the "real world" is still going on in summer time. I left for my mission onand I feel like it's still June for everyone! If it weren't for weekly emails from family and friends, I might feel like time has just paused so that I can do what I gotta do. But It's already October! Crazy.
This last week may have been the fastest week of my mission. I'm enjoying every day here and pushing forward in Russian. I've lost any hope of retaining my German skills. Maybe I'll just have to go live at Carolin's house for a while before heading back to America in two years.
Tomsk is doing well. Since the mission has been re-organized to have districts AND zones and not just districts, there seems to be a little more structure. As missionaries...we love our GOALS! We've got our Personal Goals, our Companionship goals, our District goals, our Zone goals and our Mission goals. Plus our goals with each individual investigator. So I feel like this transfer, of which we are just starting the 3rd week, has been a lot more focused on goals than my first one. We make plans and we make goals for those plans and then we plan some more to make goals to meet our goals. Companionship goals get reported to the District Leader, which get reported to the Zone Leaders which get reported to the Assistant to the President which then get reported to President Gibbons.
In January of this year, our mission leaders (president, zone leaders and sister training leaders) met and set a WIG (wildly important goal) for this year. That goal is that of 100 baptisms in the Novosibirsk Mission in the year of 2013. As of right now we have blown past last year's number and have 76. So we are on schedule to meet that goal. There is a lot of faith here. So when people ask you how my mission is going...tell them that I'm in the highest baptizing mission in Russia. :)
So this last week we got a new investigator! He's a college student from Taiwan and is 23-ish. He's soooo Asian. We ran into him outside our apartment which is also outside a hostel used for foreign housing for the colleges here in Tomsk. So he heard us speaking English and then we ended up setting up a meeting with him. Met last night and went for a walk...it was really cold. We taught the entire Restoration to him on the sidewalk next to one of the busiest roads. He committed to pray and read the Book of Mormon and meet with us next week. Elder Batson and I are pretty excited to work with him.
Our other investigators are doing well also. We set goals with one of them to finish reading the Book of Mormon. He wants to finish reading it before baptism. He's in Jacob and in Russian has 500 pages left. Challenged him to read 100 pages every week and he said he would! So hopefully we can help him stick to that.
Other fun things that happened this week?... We have a mission recipe book in our apartment which I flip through sometimes. Half the things need an oven, which we don't have. But then we figured...you don't need an oven to make cookies cause we can just eat the cookie dough. I made the sugar cookie recipe but we didn't have any vanilla. They don't have liquid vanilla in Russia but there were some bottles of Mapeline that someone had mailed from the US. Figured it's in the same kind of bottle so it could work. It sure didn't taste like sugar cookie dough.
Elder Batson is the district leader so the zone leaders will be coming here from Novosibirsk to do splits with us. (Meaning for Tuesday to Wednesday we'll switch companions.)
Also! Tomsk is receiving two new missionaries. We're getting a senior couple of missionaries and since Elder Batson is the district leader here, we have to find them an apartment to stay in. They come in about a week in a half so we're going to be spending a lot of time apartment hunting this week. I think it will be fun to have them here. It'll bring the average age of the "youngest (time out on the mission) district" in mission history up just a little bit. Hopefully we'll be able to hold district meetings at their apartment and maybe they'll even make us food!
My understanding is coming along well and I'm hoping to make some big jumps in the language this transfer!
That's about it for this week!
Miss and love you all.
Elders Batson, Colton, me and Nielson at English club.