Monday, January 27, 2014

Finland, Another Transfer

Beginning of another transfer!

I'm alive and well. Finland wasn't much of a vacation... it just made me really really tired!! Here's how it went. 

TUESDAY. Leave to the airport at 8 am. from an apartment in Novosibirsk. It was pretty warm... -5 maybe. I just brought my dublanka (leather jacket guy because i didn't want a huge jacket in the airports. We got back from Finland on Wednesday at about 10 am and I went to meet up with my new companion, met up with the other Tomsk missionaries at the Mission Office and at about 3 or 4 we got on a BUS to Tomsk. Got in about 8.30 or 9. Didn't get to sleep until just before 10.30. I was pretty beat. I napped during work out time the next day. Now I'm back to normal. Not fully rested, but normal. I've never been fully rested since before going to the MTC! 

Finland was good. It was a big difference from Russia to Europe. Everything is cleaner and nicer. :) We weren't allowed to go outside the airport so we all went to the door, it slid open and we stuck our heads out to smell the nice clean finish air. :D I got some chocolate milk at a little grocery store there, and it was really good. Russia doesn't have the best milk, and I've only seen chocolate milk a couple times here. 

Here's a cool story for ya! When we were in Finland, Elders Colton, Hodgson and myself were walking around the airport looking for something do keep us occupied and as we were walking, a guy maybe in is 40s passed us and said "Hello Brethren!!" (When is the last time that's happened to me on the mission... never!) So we did a big double take. He was from Salt Lake on business in Helsinki. We kept going, then when we boarded our plane from Helsinki to Moscow, he was getting on the same flight. We took a bus from the gate to the plane that was sitting on the tarmac, and I went and sat by him on the bus to talk to him. Turns out he works for The Church as a Temples special projects representative or something like that. Every month he goes all over the world for a week or so so take care of Temple-related business. He had already been to the Philippians, and was just in Helsinki and finished up in Moscow before heading home. We kept talking about it. He said a temple in Moscow has been moving up and down on the churches priority list for about 12 years now. So then I asked him which of the three languages he knew (from the three countries he was visiting), and he said he served in the Helsinki Finland mission back in the early 90's. He had studied Russian in High School, and he was one of the missionaries who opened up Russia for Missionary work! At first, they would contact at the train stations and get Russians coming off the trains into Helsinki, and after a while, he was sent with a couple other missionaries to stay at a hotel In St. Petersburg. They couldn't proselyte or anything, but they would teach the referrals that came back from Helsinki as they were told where the missionaries were staying in St. Petersburg. So they met with people in the hotel as they came back to Russia. It was really fun talking to him about it! That was just 23ish years ago, and now there are a bunch of missions and a few Stakes in Russia! 

So now I'm back in TOMSK! for another transfer. This is my 5th transfer. I like it here. We have the best apartment in the mission, and one of the nicest branch buildings, and a good branch with a great branch president. Just not a lot of good investigators at the moment. So everything is OK.

I'm the last one left in Tomsk from my original district. The last sister, Sister King got transferred to Barnaul. So now I'm the longest in Tomsk. I'm starting to realize that I'm not young in the mission anymore. From my group that came in, there are only a couple of sisters that still haven't trained. I was in the first group of trainers. Elder Lewis, my MTC companion is a Zone Leader, Elder Colton is a District leader in Omsk, and everyone else is doing great as well. From my group that came into the mission, only elder Allen and myself are in our original areas. Everyone else is on their second or third area... or country. 

The Kazakh visas came through and they shipped down there this last week! So that's exciting. When the visas were about to arrive, they were scared that they did it wrong and got business visas on accident, in which case, they would have had to start over with a different group of missionaries and it would have been another six months before anyone got down there. So they came and sister Olga in the office (a Russian member who works in the office) opened the passports and was like "It's an M2 (or some numbers)!" Everyone was looking at her, and then she said... That means they're religious visas! So President Gibbons had a big sigh of relief on that one! 

My new companion is Elder Elijah Aubrey, from American Fork, UT. He's a transfer younger than I am. We're getting along great and it's an adventure. I'm interested to see what will happen next transfers. My guess is that he will be taking over the area and I will be transferred out of Tomsk, but who knows! 

We got two new investigators this week. We were doing some less-active work, going to visit apartments and see if they are there. The third place we went, they let us in. The woman was a member, but the son and father were not so we ended up teaching them the Plan of Salvation and setting a return appointment for the next week. We're not too sure about them yet, but hopefully it solidifies a little more within the next few weeks. It's a long process! 

I started a thing this transfer where I write a miracle of the day at the top of my planner. Here are a couple of them for the last week.

January 21st: Finish Chocolate Milk!
January 22nd: I got a 10 minute nap in Novo when I got back from Finland. 
January 23rd: A lady on the bust talked to US! She was really nice and interested in English. 

Well! That's about it for this week. I'll attach some pictures and send them on your way. Miss and love you all! 

Elder Benjamin 

Not too cold the night before leaving Novo. 


The Finnish Air flight was the best. They gave us whatever we wanted! Elder Lewis, Colton and I got a couple cartons of juice and we each had two sandwiches. Much better food that Aeroflot the Russian airline. 

 Coming back to Russia after being gone for 5 hours. 
Elder Aubrey and I back in Tomsk! 

That's it for this week!

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