Well, Christmas is next week, so I guess I'd better start by writing to you about what I'm thankful for. Ha ha because you need something from the gratitude book and I still haven't given it to you. So, for the gratitude book, you could write...
I'm thankful for my winter coat, and that I bargained until I got it for 2400 rbl. instead of 4000. I'm grateful for the scarf mom gave me that she got from China because it stops me from getting frostbite on my nose and face. I'm grateful that my gloves have fur in them, and that I have a furry-inside shapka. And I'm grateful for my boots. And I'm grateful for my cousin Mitch who works at the outdoors store which means I have smartwool thermals which are very very comfy and warm, and I'm grateful for my smartwool socks because they're awesome. I'm grateful I don't have a dastardly in-grown big toenail like Elder Garr does. I'm grateful that my trainer is cool and that we laugh a lot and still work super-hard. I'm grateful that I got letters from home when I went to the mission home on monday. And I'm super grateful that my mom sent me an awesome Christmas package that I opened a few days ago, with star-wars jammies and peanut butter and really good beef jerky that I already ate. And I'm grateful for the African tennis balls because you sent me three of them so I can juggle. And I'm grateful that you made Chris make 2 letters for me because I laughed way hard at what he wrote, and I'm even more grateful that one of my little brothers drew some fast food items smoking and making fun of a weiner who wasn't smoking because that picture made me laugh super duper hard. And I'm grateful that сан санович was so nice to us and wants to meet with us and said he'd come to church (even though he didn't). And I'm grateful that mom tells me every single email that she's glad I'm on a mission and I'm grateful that Sam always gives me advice because it's awesome that we're both on missions and stuff. And I could go on forever with my grateful list but I have to write now because I'm almost out of time.
So, business first. THANK YOU FOR THE CHRISTMAS PACKAGE. I got all your dear elders and letters and the letters from chris and the package all at once, while I was at mission conference Tues and Wed this week (it was in Samara, so they brought everything that had been sent to the mission home). It was the bomb, I read over all the letters a bunch because there was lots of good stuff. And I didn't know I missed peanut butter until I ate some and it was the best thing ever. Russian food is good too, though. We went to макдоналдс (McDonald's LOLOLOL) last week and it was super super good. Russian McDonald's is about a billion times better. They have Big Tasties, which you can't get in america. Dang, I'm off topic. I was going to send pictures of the McDonalds, and some graffiti of a cow that I saw, and a picture of how I used the nativity scene stickers you sent (heh heh), but I need to buy batteries for my camera today so I'll send them next week.
Agh, I haven't said anything and I've only got about 15 minutes left to write! Okay, so before I forget, some business to attend to: I'm going to call home on Christmas, and it will be in the morning for you. I'll probably call at 9 or 10ish tonight after all our work is done for the day, so that means you'll be getting a ring at about 11 or 12 Christmas morning. And this time, IT WON'T FALL THROUGH like in stinkin' Moscow. That was the worst. I'm really looking forward to talking to everyone!! Also, I have to tell you, that we're allowed no more that 40 minutes, so I'll buy a calling card for 40 minutes and it'll shut me off when it runs out. I was hoping we'd get to talk a little longer, but 'tis not so.
So that's that. How are things back home, as you're getting ready for Christmas?? How's Chile? I haven't read either of your emails yet, I always read them after I'm done writing, when I can print them out. So far I've just skimmed. Oh before I forget, be sure to thank Grandpa SO MUCH for the donation!! I was so happy to read the part "from him" in the last e-mail. It made me laugh, I sure miss that guy. Tell him I'm thinking about him! Oh wait, if he's going to be there Christmas morning than I'll tell him myself! A do-hoo-hoo.
Sam, I cracked up at the one sentence I saw from your email this week: GYPSIES ARE REAL. In Russia we call those babushkas. Lol. I think being outside America is such a...rich (..for lack of a better word...) experience for both of us. I see crazy stuff all the time, and I love hearing about your stories, too. It's great by now, too, because I really feel like I've gotten settled in to life in Russia (as much as I can be after just a month). Also, that's crazy. One month already?? That's bizarre. Anyway, back on topic... Yeah. Not-America is crazy.
Okay five minutes left. This could be the part of the letter you use for bulletins and ward updates and stuff. I'll tell you a little bit about my week. We were in Samara for two days, about a 2 hour drive away from Old City Tolgiatti. It was an amazing conference, we learned a ton, and I set some new goals that have already been helping out a ton with the work. We had some really cool stuff this week, too. When we got back to Togliatti, we tried going back to an old guy named Nikolai. Originally we taught him a lesson once, and he invited us back. But then when we came back, he said he didn't want to meet anymore. So we were disappointed about that. His health is really bad, he's got a problem where he shakes a ton, and he said right after we left after that first meeting, he started shaking really bad, so he saw that as a sign that he needed to stop meeting with us. But, he also pointed out during that first lesson that there was one point where we were talking about ole Jo Smith that he stopped shaking completely, which apparently never happens for him. Anyways, we stopped by a few days ago just to check up on him, and then he actually allowed us to come back a few days later to meet again. We taught him, and helped him pray. Right before he prayed, he started shaking really really bad, and he got too scared to pray. Shoot shoot shoot times up and ask me about this story and I'll tell you over the phone AHHHHHHH LOVE YOU BYE. LVOE ALEX
Monday, December 6, 2010
In Soviet Russia COAT WEARS YOU! Ha Ha I couldn't resist! Say it with the Tyson Dictter Russian accent!) Sorry the photo is turned sideways! Here is the e-mail that came with all the cool photos!
Alrighty alrighty alrighty. So I thought that emailing on time would get easier once I got out here. But even though there aren't flashing red numbers in the corner of the screen, I'm still on a time-crunch, always!! I'll never get to say everything I want to in one of these emails. So much stuff happens. Russia's crazy crazy crazy. I love it. We're super jealous of Sam. I printed up your emails last week, and my companion saw how long sam's was, and he said "How does she have that much time to write!?!?!" Anyways, here's the plan. In order to save time with emails, I'm just going to print off your emails without reading them in-depth. If they're short enough like mom's then I'll scan them for big news first. But what'll happen is I'll write to you first, and then read your letters after. So I'll be responding a week late to any news I get from home, but I figure that'll be best.
Okay, now that that big explanation is done.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I know it's not for another six days but I'd rather be a week early than a day late! Bah ha! I just feel bad because there's no way I'll be able so send a package with a big furry shapka hat for you or anything like that (lol). But I'll write you a nice letter today and send a little gift that will fit in an envelope. P.S. that will get to you probably after Christmas and everything.
OI. Christmas! It feels kind of Christmasy here, too. They celebrate it almost exactly like we do, except their big holiday is New Year's. But they have Father Frost (Santa) and presents and lights and trees and everything for New Year's. And then they celebrate Christ's birth on Jan. 7th, but more as a minor holiday with a family meal and stuff. So it's fun. There's Christmas stuff going up everywhere here. And when I say Christmas I mean New Year's (which is christmas for Russians pretty much).
Man, when I think about stuff like that it makes me miss you guys! I love those days when we used to have a fire going and we'd watch tv and make junk food. Ah good times. I also got an angry letter from Patrick, and I hope he just wrote it before my letter got to him. I wrote him a huge letter from the MTC, and it should've showed up with the package of all the stuff I sent home before I left America.
I also read Sam's story about the investigator. That's really really hard stuff, I think. I always heard stories like that, but it was never a big deal until I got out here. It's hard to have people turn you down like that after you've turned over your whole life to God and His work with the sole intent to help those people. We dropped by a guy's house last week. He's from the Area book and we'd never met him. His name was Nikolai and he was super old and had a condition where he shook all the time. He let us in and we had a really really good lesson. There was one part where we were testifying and he stopped shaking completely. He told us that it was weird that he was able to sit still because he's never able to do that. Next time we came to his apartment, we asked how his prayer went and stuff, and he told us he didn't want to meet anymore because after we left, he started shaking even worse than before. He took that as a sign that he needed to stop meeting with us, but we take it as a sign that he needed to keep meeting with us. Well, everyone has their agency.
Also, this week we had 4 investigators at church, which is a huge deal. We walked Karin to church with his family. They're all members, but he's not because he smokes and drinks a lot. But we've been teaching him and he's making progress and he came to church. That's a huge deal for him. He never ever ever comes.
Other than that, I don't have a ton of news. I held a boa constrictor snake and got a picture. I'm gonna send it to you. TELL ME ALL ABOUT YOU GUYS AT HOME. The longer the email, the better. I'll just print it off and read it later if it's too long. I wanna hear about dad's work and Patrick and Caleb and Seth and Hopey with their school and lacrosse and trumpet and guitar and all that good stuff. I love you guys so much! I think about you all the time, and how awesome it'll be to just sit happy with my family at home! But I love being here, don't nobody worry about that. It's crazy nuts in Russia, but I love it. I walked past some graffiti on the way into the Library just barely that said россия умирает, which means "Russia will die," and whenever I see stuff like that, it makes me laugh a ton, which is weird. I see English graffiti everywhere too, and it's spelled wrong sometimes, which makes me laugh too. Like "What's the deel?" or "I hate emos" or "sk8r". Also, there's a ton of sickle-and-hammers here. And all the streets are named after soviet stuff. Like marx street and lenin street and victory street. Man, Russia's great. Also, there are dogs everywhere without owners. They just wander around in packs. I could write forever about first impressions of Russia, but I'm going to upload pictures now. TELL ME ALL ABOUT HOME. I LOVE YOU GUYS AND I HOPE YOU ARE HAVING AN AWESOME DECEMBER SO FAR.
P.S. Mom next time you see chris will you please tell him to e-mail me? I can receive emails from friends, I just can't email back, I have to write. So tell him to email me!! Thanks love you bye