Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year!!, Happy 7 Month mark, 2 new companions in the last week...

It seems like a long time since I've written to you all! But it's only been a week. Boy, has a lot happened this week! Where do I begin?! How about New Year's Eve. 

New Years Eve, the four of us elders here in Tomsk, Elder Bergmann, Reynolds, Nelson and myself all went out to the oldest restaurant in Tomsk for lunch. It was a pretty classy place right in the center of the city overlooking the River. We ordered Bear, Lamb, and Pork Knuckle, which we shared. I also got some traditional Borscht which was the best I've yet tasted here. Borsht is so good! Now we don't have any money for the month of January, but that's okay! 

This last week, I've doubled the number of companions that I've had while in Russia. Elder Bergmann is now back home in Germany, and I'm serving in a tri-panionship with Elders Nelson and Reynolds until the end of the transfer. On Saturday Elder Bergmann was transferred down to Novosibirsk and is now home in Germany with his family. He was just very stressed, and depressed and it all built up over the course of his mission until Friday evening seemed to come out at once. President Gibbons talked to the area authorities in Moscow, and the "brethren in Salt Lake City" and they decided that it would be better for Elder Bergmann's health to go home to recover and get better. He was issued an Honorary Medical release.

That's a very long story, made very short. It's a quick unexpected change, but it is all around for the better. I'm now with Elders Nelson and Reynolds in a tri-panionship. There are two areas in Tomsk and now we are over both of them. Two apartments, two area books and one city. There's a lot of work to do! We'll be together until the end of the transfer which ends on the 22nd of this month at which time who knows what will happen! So far, we've been having a lot of fun together, and getting a lot of work done while we're at it. Yesterday it was SOOOO COLD! -35 Celsius (-31 Fahrenheit). I went on splits with a member who was visiting from Ukraine and served here about 10 years ago. We went together and visited some less-active members with whom he was still in contact from his mission, or reconnected with. We were outside walking for quite a while during which time I got pretty cold! Whenever we walk outside these days, the fur on our pukaviks gets covered with ice, as well as our scarfs. Some day I'll find the time to actually go and buy warm shoes/boots. 

One of the less actives we went and visited own a shoe repair shop... When I went with Kostia (the Ukranian member) to go visit him, he fixed the boots that the Zhelnorovich family had given to me. They had holes right by the toes that he sewed up. The Russian people are crafty. They never waste anything. If something is broken, they find a way to fix it. A broken pair of shoes, if brought to a repair shop, can last a lot longer for only a few dollars!

One of the less actives that Kostia and I went to visit had been to the temple and everything but hasn't been to church in years. When Kostia was on his mission 10 years ago, he was a nice warm active member who loved the missionaries. He still loves the missionaries. As we were talking with him he leans over to look at my nametag, and said, "Right there should be written 'angel.'" Kostia went on to say that he always referred to the missionaries as angels when he was in the mission.

We got back towards my apartment and the other elders came and met us at the bus stop to pick me up. When we said goodbye to him, we ran the two blocks back to the apartment because it was so cold! Barely getting the keys to work and then warming up was nice. Winter is here! It's been a warm winter thus far, but it's only supposed to get colder!  

So how is everyone back home?! James and Miranda are married!! Congratulations! I saw some pictures and you guys look great. I wish I could have been there...I was too busy freezing. I love hearing from you all and hearing all your stories. I'm excited to get home in a few months...and see how you've all changed and or stayed the same. Especially all the kiddos. Start planning a family vacation for late June/early July of 2015! :D 

I love my mission, and can't believe I've already been out over 7 months(yesterday)! 

So now for the pictures... which is all anyone really cares about anyways. :P

Lots of Love, wishing you all everything good (that's kinda a Russian thing to say) in 2014. 

Elder Benjamin Moore

This building is the restaurant

Overlooking the frozen Tomb River

Papa Johns

Eating the peppers with Elder Nelson

Last pictures with Elder Bergmann before he was driven to Novosibirsk. 

The man in the picture in front of the car is President Gushin of the Seventy. He is the Mission driver. I think it's his full time job.

It's cold...

One of the members has a bunny... runs around the house just like a dog would. You should think about it dad! 

Me and Kostia from Ukraine after our night on splits.

That's all I got! 

have a great week!

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