Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Well it's starting to feel like I'm in Siberia! This last week was full of stuff. We had Zone Conference on Wednesday in Novosibirsk and Have been gearing up for Christmas time here. I'll start with Zone Conference and go from there.

Zone Conference! Tuesday at noon, our bus left Tomsk for Novosibirsk. Trips to Novosibirsk are always exciting as they change up our often repetitive schedule. We got into Novosibirsk at about 5 and headed straight for Carl's Jr. where we ate some good old American fast food. Together Elder Bergmann and I spent more there for one meal than we did for our weekly grocery shopping. It's Christmas right? From there we went to the mission office. It's always fun going to the office and seeing the other missionaries. You never know who you'll find there, except for Elder and Sister Palmer (the Office couple), and the office elders, they're always there. The office staff, and some of the sisters (including Tomsk's old Sister Pimentel) who are waiting for their Kazakh visas to come in are helping out in the office. They were busy wrapping presents in preparation for Zone Conference the next day. Elder Stucki (from my MTC group) was also at the office. Elder Bergmann and I stayed at his apartment on right bank for conference.

Zone Conference on Wednesday was great, the messages, presentations, and testimonies were all great and gave us all a little boost. We are so close as a mission to reaching our goal of baptizing 100 people this year! We have 92 as of today, with enough in our zone alone planned for baptism on Saturday to get us to 98. The other zone will also have a couple baptisms as well so we will get there! We are still the highest baptizing mission in Russia with the 2nd highest being less than half of what we have. There is great anticipation building up here for the formation of a Stake! Once there is a Stake here, This part of Russia will have the structure needed for the membership to explode. We have 2 sessions of Zone Conference with a lunch of Papa Johns in between.

I got to see Elder Batson again for the first time since I finished training over 7 weeks ago. He's doing a great job as a zone leader of the other zone. We got a "three generation" picture of Elder Batson, myself, and Elder Bergmann. After Lunch, our presents from President and Sister Gibbons were passed out. Mission Christmas ties for the elders, and Mission Christmas scarfs for the sisters.

After Conference, we chatted for a while and then the Tomsk crew went back over to the Office to sort out the mail and Christmas packages. I think there were a good 10 packages that needed to make it back to Tomsk. Three of which were from my family! Thanks guys, I'll tell you how much I love it when we Skype on Wednesday. The packages are now sitting under the tree. It's actually more like the tree is sitting on top of the packages. They're going to be there until we wake up on the 25th! Though since Elder Bergmann is German, he's going to open his on Christmas Eve. Maybe I'll join him with one of mine. :)

CHRISTMAS IN TOMSK!

Tomsk, and maybe just Siberia in general, has been pretty festive so far. There are ice sculptures and castles all around the city with big Christmas trees everywhere as well. They have some interesting machines for snow removal. Maybe they're Siberian, or maybe Ironwood just doesn't have a budget for them. I am sending a little two second video clip so you can see how awesome they are. A little chomper guy eats up the plow burn, shoots it up a conveyor belt and down into a dump truck. They have plows for the sidewalks, that have a big spinning brush behind it to get all the excess snow off. I haven't decided yet if this is a good idea or not. It just seems to polish the ice and make it more slippery. It's also starting to get cold. It was -28 Celsius last night when we didn't have any meetings and were on the street in the dark from 6-9. It's not extremely cold, but cold enough that you wouldn't want to be outside for 3 hours at night. My feet and fingers were numb with an hour and a half to go. Good thing is though, that I found an old package in my apartment packed full of those hand warmers. I'll steal them all when I leave Tomsk. :)

Exchanges with Elder Reynolds

We went on Exchanges starting Friday with the other elders, and Elder Reynolds came to my area. We couldn't get any meetings set up so we were out on the street a lot! I'm attaching some pictures we took with the ice sculptures. The Usanova family living in the other area called the elders for a blessing for their daughter, but they had a meeting so we went over there and I got to give her a blessing. We then played a couple rounds of Jenga and looked at an album of all the missionaries that had served in Tomsk. (Sister Usanova is the Branch historian). Their family is so great and it was a blessing to be able to serve them. 

Балалайка: balalaika. It's a Russian 3 string instrument, that has a triangular base, with a neck. Elder Bergmann and I passed a music shop last night and are going to go check out what they have right after I send this email! 

So this last week was a good one! I also got to teach one of President Savin's (Branch President) friends for the second time as he came to church, and we set a baptismal date for him! He's the other elders' investigator but the last time he was taught was by Elder Colton and myself. Now Elder Colton is gone, and I taught him with Elder Reynolds. Member referrals are the best, and bring in the strongest members! 

That's about it for now, I hope everyone has a happy holiday season! It sounds like you're all doing something on your own or with the other side of your families. Is there even a Christmas tree in our house this year?! 

Merry Christmas, and congratulations to James and Miranda MOORE... in a few days that is. 

Love you all!

Elder Moore

Lots of pictures this week!

 Siberia, on the way from Tomsk to Novosibirsk
Elder Nelson got on the crowded subway without his companion who was left alone with two sisters until they caught up to the next stop. 
Elder Batson and I at Zone Conference with our mission presents
 3 Generations
The sisters sitting at the Novosibirsk bus station with all our packages
Presents under the tree!
 I'm in Siberia
Our little Christmas tree with packages from home
 Jenga With Sonja
 Ice Throne right behind our apartment
 I play the piano! Or try to. 
 More ice sculptures in the center.
Russia is so proud of having the olympics. SOCHI 2014













 

video
Video of the snow chomper. 

And that's all for now! 
Merry Christmas. 

Elder Moore

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