I'm emailing earlier this week than before because we are off to Novosibirsk in a couple of hours! Tomorrow is my Visa Trip. Already 6 months here in Russia! For Visa trip, I'm going to Finland. We fly from Novosibirsk to Moscow to Helsinki. Have a 5 hour lay over there, and then fly back to Moscow and back to Novosibirsk. When I get back to Novosibirsk, I'll go pick up my new companion Elder Aubrey and hop on a bus back to Tomsk. It's going to be a long tired couple of days with a lot of traveling!
This has been a pretty crazy transfer! Started out still training Elder Bergman, had Zone Conference, Christmas and New Years. A couple cold nights which we had to stay inside for. Then Elder Bergmann went home to Germany and my number of companions in the field doubled from 2 to 4 overnight! With Elder Reynolds and Nelson, we have spent the last 3 weeks of the transfer covering the whole city. Now transfers are here, and I'll be STAYING IN TOMSK! I'm pretty excited to serve with Elder Aubrey this transfer. He's one transfer younger than me which means our MTC time overlaped by 3 weeks. I only talked to him once in the MTC when our district went to go visit theirs some time in the last week that we were there. He graduated in 2013, and wanted so badly to go state side. He's excited to be here in Russia though. He said he put on his application, 0 desire to serve foreign and 0 desire to learn a foreign language.... and that's what got him to the middle of Siberia I guess.
I don't know if I said this.. but I got a package from CAROLIN and her family! It was awesome! I loved it, and so did my companions. So thank you for that Carolin!
I don't remember exactly when this was, but it was sometime in the last week or two. You remember that broken down bus that we stopped by to help as we were walking down the main street? Well we were up in the farthest corner of our area visiting a Less Active guy and were making our way back to center when we got a call from Atobyek, the driver of this Marshrootka(bus). He was broken down again, in almost the exact same spot as the last time we saw him and helped him out about two months ago. We weren't too far away, so we went to see what we could do for him. We talked a little while, and then got headed home. A funny side story. about 3 or 4 weeks ago, we got a call from him. He said there was someone on his bus who didn't know any Russian, and he needed help translating. He passed the phone over to a young guy from India. It was super random and we ended up scheduling a time to meet with the Indian guy, but it fell through. Atobyek is a Muslim guy from Uzbekistan. There are a lot of people from Uzbek here in Tomsk that come for work and school. It's pretty crazy the people that I've met in Tomsk. People from Iran, Iraq, A lot of those STAN countries, Azher Bi-Zhon (??), China, Mongolia, Ukraine, Tiawan, Vietnam... and a few more places I can't remember off the top of my head. There are lots of really interesting people here in Siberia. I don't understand why more of them don't have an interest in the Gospel, or even religion in general. We meet a lot of really nice people, and a good chunck of them are muslim, and very devout muslims. A lot of them though, are only cultural muslims.
The missionaries going to Kazakhstan are getting there visas, but there are a few hoops they have to jump through. Last I've heard, they all have to go to Washington D.C. to do some paperwork and get documents taken care of. It is crazy the resources needed by the church to make this happen. Once they are in Kazakhstan though, they will never be able to return to Russia for the rest of their missions. That would be pretty crazy to be in that group. Six months into the mission, have to go back to America to D.C. so that you can go into a different country where you'll have to learn a whole new mission language. They are making some big steps in Kazakh language learning for missionaries though, and the Book of Mormon is currently being translated into Kazakh! Even though I'll never go to Kazakhstan, it's still exciting to have this happening in my mission.
Our investigator Vacili is slowly quitting smoking. He's making a lot of progress and has a real desire to be baptized. Last time we met, we pushed his baptisimal date back to the 25th, but because none of us will be in Tomsk until Wednesday night to teach him, it will most likely be changed again. He'll get there though! Our main goal as a mission right now is to increase the number of Priesthood holders in order to build the Stake here. We need 6 in Tomsk alone by June in order to create the Stake before president Gibbons leaves. He'll leave in July some time. My new mission president will be President Williams. I found out from Aunt Shirley! He was her old Stake President, and they have some other connections as well. I don't think the new mission presidents have been anounced publically yet. It will be a weird transition when President Gibbons leaves.
Elder Nelson has had some toe problems since like July. A really ingrown toe nail. So his big toe has been inflamed and pretty nasty looking for months. This last week, he finally got it removed. They just numbed his toe, took some medical pliers and ripped it off. Maybe that's how it's done... or maybe that's just the Russian doctors. Who knows... probably Tyler. Now Elder Nelson can stop limping everywhere he goes!
I really don't have much else to talk about. So here's some pictures.
Have a good week!
Trying to find a house that didn't exist.
Me being a doctor...
aking Borsht... Yeah.. I can make some pretty good Borsht!
The real doctor on a follow up visit.
Our district at church.
That dome of snow is dug out on the inside and has this. There is a priest that stands in there, and a snow pillar in the middle for them to put candles into. The animated type of people that the nativity is made of is how all the Orthodox paintings are.
Have a good week!There were a lot of people at the Russian Orthodox church so we went to check it out. They were in lines, with buckets and jugs to get their holy water. They just drink holy water here I think.