Happy P-Day everyone!
I've been in Russia for two whole transfers already! This is the last full week of this transfer and the last full week of my training. Training is 12 weeks long. In Tomsk, over half of the missionaries are just finishing up training. I know about everyone's next transfer except for mine. Elder Batson is my companion and he knows everything. This last week we had Zone Conference in Novisibirsk which is a 5-hour bus ride from Novosibirsk. There are two zones in my mission; I'm in the northeast zone. The southwest zone includes the other half of Novosibirsk city and Kazakhstan. It was great to go to Zone Conference and see all the missionaries that I was in the MTC with again. There was a meeting in which all of our trainers were there so we, everyone in my group, got to go around Novosibirsk. I went to Bible World and bought a Russian Bible, and did some contacting with Elder Lewis, my MTC companion. This Russian guy talked to us for like half an hour. He kept rambling on about Obama...then we got some ice cream.
A couple of missionaries in my group are going to Kazakhstan! Their visas are all applied for and they're just waiting for the green light. When you're a missionary in Kazakhstan, you can not wear name tags. You can't even talk about the church to anyone until you get your license to preach which takes 4+ months to get. The members are CRUCIAL in the missionary work. Astana and Almaty are the cities they go to down there. The missionaries sent there have two hours of language study every morning: one for Russian and one for Kazakh. You have to learn Kazakh THROUGH Russian too. So it's a big task! But still, they are baptizing down there! The church is growing.
In my district in Tomsk, Elder Batson, my companion is leaving and going to Novosibirsk to be a Zone Leader over the other Zone. One of the sisters is going to Barnaul to wait for her Visa to Kazakhstan, a different Elder is becoming District Leader, and I will be getting a new companion. I'll know by next week who that is!
There are only 4 new missionaries arriving in the mission this next transfer: 2 sisters from The States, and 2 Elders. One from Ukraine, and one from Germany. One of the new sisters will be in Tomsk for her training.
One of our most solid investigators just finished the Book of Mormon last week. and then left the next day for Paris for 2 weeks. So when he gets back! Maybe one of the most frustrating things is trying to work around our investigators schedules. Most of them are in college and have class and homework ALL the time. So it's hard to have a concrete time with every one of them when we can meet.
It's starting to get colder here, about the same as in Ironwood I guess.
So in all, I'm doing great! No need to worry (AnnaMarie). I love Tomsk and I'm excited to be staying here for at least the next transfer. My Russian is getting better every day, and I'm picking up new words left and right. Right now I'm working on memorizing the TALL book's vocabulary. which is about 1700 words. I know a lot of them already but I just want to pump the rest of them out to increase my vocabulary. I'm getting faster at reading in Russian, and I'm using a lot of different ways to study the language. The important thing is that I feel comfortable teaching people, and that I can get across the message that I've been sent here to give.
I love my mission, I love my mission president and I am blessed to be in this mission working under his inspired guidance. I know that there is a plan for each and every one of us and that trials are a huge part of those plans. As long as we endure through them, we will come out stronger and see the blessings in our lives.
Love and miss you all. Sorry you didn't all get personal responses this week!