Monday, May 19, 2014

20th Anniversary Celebration of the Mission

Hello all you people in America! 

Believe it or not, Siberia is a hot place. It got up to 30 degrees Celsius this week... somewhere in the 80's! Too hot. The sun is out well before we wake up and well after we return home in the evening. I'm starting to get some color too! Ah, who am I kidding, I was raised in the UP and now I'm in Siberia; I'm destined to be white forever. 

It's the last week of this transfer again. People will find out their transfers this week sometime. I'll still be with Elder Hancock as he is in training. Next transfer I'll hit my year mark on the mission which is pretty crazy! One more month, and 2014 will be halfway over. 

So last Monday night, we slept on our train ride over to Novosibirsk. Got in Tuesday morning and made our way to Elder Lewis and Duncan's place for our exchanges. I spent the day with Elder Duncan. We sign boarded for English group, sorted through the area book, and had a lesson with an Alexander at his apartment. He was a nice guy but couldn't really focus on what we were trying to teach him. I wish people could understand how important of a message we have for them. That if they apply it, it can truly make a difference. We finished our exchanges and Elder Hancock and I caught the 11 p.m. train to Omsk. 

The rest of the week was up and down. A lot of meetings fell through, and people on the streets weren't really talking. We did have a really solid contact last night who even wanted to take a picture with us. Ильян (Ilyan) is from Kazakhstan, and used to be atheist because of the USSR era and things they were taught in school back in the day. He's seen miracles in his life and has since become believing. He goes to many different churches and has even organized a small church in a village about 100 km from Omsk. We talked for about 20 minutes on the street down by the river. We ran into him right before we were going to turn around to start our way home. So he's a great guy and will hopefully lead to something! Another contact we had about a half an hour earlier was an Islamic guy from one of the Stan countries over towards Ukraine. We just asked him if we could talk and he said "Yeah, we can give it a try!" So we walked with him a block and stopped by the river. He was pretty interesting.  Showed us his passport and his gun license. Then said that because we wouldn't show him our documents that he couldn't trust us and thought we were agents of some kind. He also showed us his handgun that he keeps in his bag. In the end, he took a Book of Mormon saying he would like to give it to his aunt who is Russian. So there ya go! His Russian aunt is going to find the church now. :) 

Elder Hancock turned 19 on Thursday. We went and ate shaurma during our dinner hour with some of the other missionaries. Kind of a Turkish flat bread with chicken and veggies on the inside. 

Saturday, we celebrated the 20th Birthday of the Russia Novosibirsk Mission. Both of the branches here in Omsk combined in our branch building for a little festival. They had lot of little foods prepared by all the babs. There was a concert that they put together, and a history of the mission. Well let me tell ya, a church heritage festival here is different than it may be in America. They had a guy come in who was kind of a dubstep dancer/break dancer. A member in the other branch is a DJ so he kinda conducted it all and spoke with like techno music in the background. Then there were fun acts like mother and son on the piano, solos, Missionary numbers. All the missionaries sang, "I've Been Working on the Railroad" (for some reason?) and the old ladies in the branch just loved it. haha

The next day at church, attendance was way down. Maybe they all figured that since they went to the party on Saturday they didn't need to go to church? But our district did have two investigators there this week! 

Russian is a hard language. Lately I've really been working on bulking up my vocabulary. I've got a top 10,000 words list that has them in frequency order. So the most useful words I'm trying to get all the rest of the top 1,000 down that I don't know yet, and have about 180 words that I need to study. If I memorized 24 words a day for the rest of my mission, I'd be able to get all 10,000 down. We'll see about that. This doesn't mean that I only know about 1,000 words, but that I know about 82% of the first thousand. I hope to have the first 2,000 words down by the end of the next transfer. We'll see!

So that was about my week for you all! Have a great week!

Lots of Love,

Elder Benjamin Moore

Train Compartment: We got a LUX! 1st class. Lucky us. :) 

 Subway on our way into Novo. The Subway in Novo is NEVER empty!

Cake for Elder Hancock's birthday that the youth made him. Vanya is pulling his ears. In Russia, they pull your ears for all of the years you have. So he got his ears pulled 19 times while all of the youth counted. :)

Three Ladies in our Branch doing a Traditional Russian number.

Table Spread for the 20th anniversary party. 
Ilyan, our new friend from down by the river. 

Elder Hancock and I out on the town

Have a great week!

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