With Victor grabbing a snack after our lesson
The leaves are all falling, and it's getting colder over here... I guess it's the same as for all of you back in the Midwest. So all you know (dad), I'm well ready for winter! I've got the boots, the hats, the everything! If things keep going the way they're going, I won't be on the streets nearly as much as I was last winter!
This week was transfers week, MLC, week and the start of the Zone Trainings.
Monday: We met with a guy named Nikita, who we had contacted the night before. He's a young 22 year old guy who is really into the military. He said he liked to talk about religions, so we had some high hopes. The result was that he doesn't believe in anything that he can't see, and that even if there were a God, it didn't matter to him. It's kinda sad when people go down that road.
Tuesday: We met with Daniel. We had pretty much dropped him, but he called us to meet, so we gave it one more shot. He's a great kid, travel-a-holic, and has some interesting views on life. He likes the message that we have, but doesn't want to apply it at all. Hopefully we left him with something to remember when he gets to that point in his life. He is a Big Pine Cone, as they say here. The new iPhones came our the 6 and the 6+... I guess. There are no apple stores in Russia, but Daniel likes to fly to Europe, buy them and sell them here. He was the first one in line at the Dusseldorf apple store. He camped there for three days. Maybe you can find something on the Internet about him. He said he was interviewed by a few different newspapers. Tuesday night, we had a better meeting with Victor! He's great and thinks about the messages we share with him. He digests it all slowly though, and doesn't have the desire to progress quickly. He'll get there.
Wednesday: First day of the new transfer! The 5 new missionaries flew in in the morning and slept all day at President's house. We had a "train the trainers" meeting as usual. Elder Lewis, my MTC comp is training again, as well as Elder Batson! My trainer ("father"). So now I've got a "brother!" The office was a mad house with all the transfering missionaries in there. Elder Aubrey who was my last companion in Tomsk is just leaving Tomsk. He lasted 6 tranfers there!! Not a bad place to spend 6 transfers. So now the Tomsk district I left is totally gone. I look back at my transfer with Elder Aubrey and have nothing but positive, fun memories. I was flipping through my planner from that transfer and realized just how successful it actually was. The best companionships are the ones where you are having the most fun, while getting all the work done. We just did it all, and had a blast doing it! When you're having fun, and you're being obedient, the miracles just fall into place.
Thursday: MLC day! Which means Papa John's pizza day. Well we actually got Papa John's on Wednesday as well after the train the trainers meeting. Pretty much any meeting with President will have Papa John's. And now the AP's know how to order it with stuffed crust. MLC went over four hours today. From 2-6:20ish. There was a lot to talk about. We have a new program from the Area to replace our English program. We will no longer be teaching English and using the English classes as a way to find people to teach the gospel. Instead, we are starting a Group Gospel Discussion class, in English! So there is still a draw for people who want to learn English, but they will now do it as they learn about the gospel. The word is that the whole Europe East Area will be doing this program.
There are some more travel restrictions for us as missionaries. This is coming down from the Area that we are not allowed to go on any more overnight trains, or buses. President Williams also doesn't want us on Day Trains as they could prove to be more problematic than night ones. So for Omsk, Kraznoyarsk, and Novokuznyetsk, it looks like we'll be flying. I'm just going to say that it's lucky I got out of Omsk when I did. I have WAY WAY too much stuff right now to get it within the air travel weight and bag restrictions. Since Elder Jacobsen and I already had our train travel booked for tonight, we'll still be going on a train for this last Omsk trip. Probably some of the last missionaries to go on night trains for the time being. We're certainly going to make the most out of it because I love the Omsk train. We have another trip to Omsk on the week of the 20th for exchanges and we'll have to fly for that one. Direct flights from Novosibirsk to Omsk aren't very regular. Most flight plans when we were looking to book flights flew us through Moscow. I don't understand. a 1.5 hour flight from Novo to Omsk, or a 5 hour flight to Moscow, a long lay over and then a 4 hour flight to Omsk. No thanks. :)
We left MLC and hopped onto an Electrishka to ride down to Berdsk. An Electrishka in Germany or Switzerland would be like their version of the S-Bahn, or the city train. The Omsk train would be considered the Inter-regional train.
Friday & Saturday: The Zone Training on Friday was focused a lot on phasing in the new Group Gospel Discussion program. The Doctrinal discussion dealt a lot with D&C 50, and recognizing wether thoughts or impressions are from God or not. It was powerful when we shared it in Berdsk, and the missionaries there got a lot from it. I got to go on exchanges with Elder Klein who just got transfered to Berdsk from Omsk. It was only his 2nd day there so I knew the city a little better than he did. Berdsk is small and there's really only one street to know. Saturday I was with Elder Passey. This is his last transfer in the mission! He was an office elder when I came into the mission. I got to spend a day on splits with him when our companions went on Visa trip about 7 or 8 months ago, so it was great to be with him again! We were stopping by an investigator when it started hailing. In Berdsk we did a lot of tracting. Probably tracted over 100 apartments. Half with elder Klein and half with elder Passey. Out of those 100, We were let into one and had a nice 10 minute conversation with a lady standing in her doorway. There were 3 or 4 more that took a card, and will hopefully go to the website. Saturday night we came back up to Novosibirsk.
Sunday: Fast Sunday. The members are starting to step up!! The president of the Elders Quorum met with all the elders from our district before church and we talked about getting the Elder's Quorum more involved. After church, we went and did the sacrament for a sick lady with him as well. It's such a foreign concept that the members are asking us to do stuff, but it is so so nice. I can't even imagine what it would feel like if we ever got a member referral!
It was a good week with another good week on the way. We will go to Omsk tonight and come back on Thursday. We'll go on exchanges with some of the brand new missionaries, and do Zone Training.
My district is pretty ridiculous. There are so many missionaries on Novosibirsk Right bank.
We've got 16 missionaries, a senior couple and the mission president and his wife. So 18 missinaries at District meeting, and 20 at church if we were ever all there at the same time. Our district has the Assistants (Elders Madsen and Hendryx), The North East Zone Leaders (Prince and Alexander), Elder Jacobsen and I, Elder Miller (DL) and Elder Zhitkov, Elder Stucki and Sealock just opened up an area in the northern part of the bank, Elder Walker and Maccalum are living in the Palace with the Assistants and splitting their area, and We have Sisters Macias and Robinson, and Hansend and Koshaleva(STL's for the North East Zone). And then we have the Turmans who are saints. They are the office couple, and they also host us for district meeting every week at their apartment.
Hope all is well, for all of you!
With Elder Passey outside an apartment in Berdsk.