Monday, March 28, 2011


So this week went by really fast. This month DANG IT went by in 2 or 3 days it feels like. I remember in Togliatti the last week of the cycle went by ridiculously slow, but for some reason it didn't happen that way this time. Maybe because the Zone Leaders were here in Kazan. This city is new-ish to proselyting, so we don't have hardly any contact with the mission office and the other missionaries in our mission (besides the other companionship on the other side of the city).

I guess the biggest news is I got a transfer, so I only got to be here in Kazan for one cycle. It's sad to say goodbye but I kind of expected it that way. I'm going to Bezimansky area in Samara WOO HOO. I'm going to live in the apartment that we all stayed in during mission conference last December. We did a couple hours of contacting after the conference, so I've got a little feel for what the area's like already. Seems big and ghetto, just like Togliatti. JUST THE WAY I LIKE IT. And I'm not being sarcastic at all, to be honest. I loooooooove Togliatti, so I'm sure I'll loooooooove Samara. Anyways. Useless rants. By the way, I got a phonecall from the Zone Leaders this week, and once I answered they passed the phone over to LELIT!! I don't know if you remember, but back in Togliatti we had an investigator named Karin. His wife, Anna, and his two kids Arkadik and Lelit are all members, but he's not... Man I love that family too much, me and Elder Barton got really close. Anyways it was fun, I got to talk to each one of them. I really miss people like that. I'm going to miss lots of people from Kazan, too. This branch is superduper. There are a lot of younger people in this branch so it's always a ton of fun. That includes Mark, who you already know via Facebook. Anyhow. My new companion there in Samara is Elder Sweinston. I got to know him a little bit because he was serving there in Bezimansky way back in December. He's a really cool guy and we hit it off good. It's his last cycle, though, and Elder Kazakov says Sweinston's a bit trunky. I'll whip im inna shape. heh heh. It's gonna be lots of fun serving with him. Other than that, the only news is I'll be District Leader there (which doesn't mean much because the only other companionship in our district is Zone Leaders HAHA). Still, I'll have to interview baptismal candidates... kind of scary. That would be scary in english. But no worries. I've gotten more or less confident with Russian by now..... I hope..... in answer to your queshun, mom. Just sometimes it's difficult over the phone to tell what people are saying. The President of institute and seminaries in Eastern Europe flew in for a fireside this week, and they brought the Williams with them, a senior couple 2 weeks fresh from Utah. While he was teaching, they asked me to translate for them, and it was kind of fun. But I didn't do so great. Hyuk hyuk. Oh well, it worked out.

But what else... We met with a former investigator yesterday, Milya Uhsa. (P.S. that's not a normal Russian name, incase anyone was wondering. I bet it translates to Mary Ann in Tataren or something. Har harr) She came to church 8 months ago but stopped coming because she's muslim by tradition which means that her family is very against. But last week she said she wanted to make her own decision, so she came anyways. She says she's looking for her own spiritual experiences, so it was really awesome to teach someone so ready. I really felt like the Lord had been preparing her over the past few months, and the Spirit was really strong on the lesson. Elder Kazakov extended the baptismal commitment, and she accepted, so in a month she'll be baptised if everything goes as planned. It was an awesome lesson. We focused on the atonement because she doesn't have a christian background so we wanted to help her understand why it's important that Christ came to the earth. We read Alma 7:11-15 with her, and it felt really powerful to testify of Christ so simply. Good lesson.

Well I've already only got five minutes. How was St George?? I miss that, it was always fun going there in April every year (for 2 years only haha). By the way conference is coming up?!!!?? I'm still studying the old conference addresses. It's crazy that it's gone by so fast. Super crazy to think that I was already in the MTC last time it was conference. Mission's going by way too faaaaassssttttt. Anyways, good luck with everything! I'm excited to hear from all the kids. Meaning read their emails in a few minutes after I print them. (glad that seth sent me somethin'). by the way CALEB IS ME but younger. He listens to all sorts of gr8 music that is not going to make me miss it when I read about it..... awww... Tell him coffee isn't that great but that there's this drink here that tastes like coffee and I'll bring some home for him. It's legal with the Word of Wisdom. Hooray!

Well that's all the time! I love you guys a ton!! I pray about you all the time! keep on doing what yer doing LOOOOOVVVEEEE BYE.


Monday, March 21, 2011

This week was pretty busy, and went by pretty fast. First of all, we had Zone Conference in Togliatti (my HOMETOWN here in Russia), so we were traveling all day Thursday and Saturday. It's about an eight-hour trip. On top of that, Oleg got baptized on Saturday, which you already knew thanks to Mark and Facebook. (Man that's so crazy to me how fast stuff gets around.) I also got word of Japan at the beginning of the week. That was crazy. We met Marat on the street on Tuesday, and he's an awesome new investigator. And Tyson came home. Okay hold on.

First. I've got a bone to pick with the Russian mail system. When I went to Zone Conference I got all the letters that had been sent to me, and one of them was a letter that I sent to Chris about a month ago. It said "underpaid", even though I put the right stamp on it, which means it must have been too fat. That made me sad...... Then, I finally got all the updates from the family to fill in the gaps from all the emails. I remember people mentioning baby Bennett, but I didn't know what was going on; I just figured out about Ronda (NO); I finally got pictures from Seth, Chilly-Billy, over which I laughed harder than I have this whole transfer, even though we were on a crazy asian bus to Zone Conference; And what else. I don't know. But I've been sending letters off. I was REALLY really happy Caleb got the letter, I was worried after they sent Chris's back. Seth is next. I'm going to resend the one to Chris, and write something at the end of this email for him. I sent a couple off to Chelsee, too, and I really hope she gets them. I haven't heard from her in a while, but I've been praying. Getting ready for a mission can be really hard, and she's got a lot on her shoulders, seems like. She probably got the first letter but the second one was fat so it might not have been enough roubles on the stamp. We'll see. BY THE WAY I got the apostate music. HAHA I'm just glad that that's the only disobedient song because I can just skip it and listen to Chopin. Elder Bahr was in our apartment when we turned it on, and we both knew the song from the first couple chords before we changed it (his first name is Jessie so of course he knows that song). Man it was funny, mostly because I thought about Mitch-cousin. By the way, if you sent me his email address, I could write him over email because he's family. I'd love to drop him a line.

Man. Enough about mail. So a lot happened this week, it seems like. First of all, I'm so glad to hear that Mitch is okay. I've really been thinking about the whole Japan incident a lot, surprisingly, since I heard of it. It fits with everything in the scriptures, and it's kind of unnerving and motivating at the same time. At any rate, I'm glad he's okay. I'm sure Margo was really worried. I can't imagine what it would be like to get news like that while your son's in the field. Anyhow, the more I hear about Allison and Levi, the more happy I am for them. It's CRAZY NEWS because we're all just a bunch of little kids (I am, at least, heh heh) but it's a reminder that we're all growin' up. Wow it's nuts. I got an email from Allison I'm gonna read when I get home. Prod Levi, I haven't heard from him in over six months. Anyways, it's really good news, I'm excited for them. And I want to be there for the sealing SURE THING. I really miss the temple in general. It's such an amazing place. We had a meeting with an inactive who used to work in the Finland temple with his wife. Sasha. He was such a nice man. It seems like things just got really busy for him and his wife a few years ago, and they just slowly strayed away from the church. They're really great people, just too busy with work and less-important things. That's one thing that I've gained on my mission so far, a bit more of an eternal perspective. It's a huge opportunity to be devoting every waking moment to the Lord because you really see the importance of eternal things like covenants and family. Especially family. Even though you've got two kids way across the world, I still pray for you all, and always hope the best. I know the Lord's looking out for you. (I sent a big letter to you all, by the way, I hope it wasn't to fat for the Russian Post. Yeeargh.)

Well, I've got a couple more minutes, only. I spent a lot of time putting the emails together to print them. I'm going to close up and get something off the Chris and Chelsee. I LOVE YOU ALL THANK YOU ALL FOR THE SUPPORT KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK SEE YOU IN A WEEK. OVER EMAIL. LLOOOOOVVVEEE BYE


P.S. Jameson's in London now? huh?

Deary my chris. I sent you a letter but it was too fat and so the darn Russians sent it back to me. Which is a big ole bummer. I got mail for the first time in a month and a half because I'm in a city way far away from the mission office. So maybe this might be the better way to communicatessss if we just do it through my mom. Technically it's legal...? according to mission rulleeeezzz???
By the way LOVE YOU and miss you boy. Mostly because the weather's been warming up and so it reminds me of how we had an early spring last winter so we built Tetris and Tombstone. And I rode tetris to your house while it was hailling so we had to take her apart and get everything dried off. Man that was stressful. But fun.
Levi and Allison are getting married. Will you marry me? That might not be a good proposal. Here's a ring O* that's better. Oh WAIT I need to lock my heart a hem excuse me. Hey you probably heard about Mitch, of course. Or japan at least. Did he get reassigned? I need to go now please don't loose hope in me because I'll write you through mom now. LOVESSS BYE

Heyhowarethingsgoing? I'm sorry if you haven't gotten letters yet. My mom said to write through her because it's faster, and I'm thinking it's a better idea.
Whellll I hope things are okey. I haven't heard from you in a while and this is going to be a really short paragraph because already I've only got 2 minutes left on this computer. I just wanted to get a line off. You've always been a faithful writer, and unfortunately I haven't been the best. It doesn't help that Russian mail takes f o r e v e r to get to america (again, I say). Well now I only have one minute. What can I say useful? You're awesome. Things are probably rough right now, but it gets better. I read a really cool quote by elder maxfield about temporary cloud cover verses overall darkness I don't have time to type it ahhhhh next week sorry sorry bye!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hello Family.

I apologize for how short that last letter was. I had no time to do anything, we couldn't figure out how to save your mail. And at this internet shop in Kazan, it times you and if you're not done in the alloted amount of time, it shuts down. Back in Togliatti we just did it at a library, so it was normal. ANYHOW enough excuses. How is everyone? I started a letter last week (handwritten) that I'm going to finish and send today. Did Caleb get my letter yet? It was awesome hearing from Caleb and Patrick in last weeks emails. And Hope the week before that. It would be fun to email them more often. Letters handwritten usually take a while. By the way, Hope wrote that you just barely got my Christmas package a couple weeks ago. HA it's already spring. But I couldn't really understand what the lady at the post office was saying so I just chose the cheapest option. Haha man that was crazy and forever ago.

Well, way to go with lacrosse, Patrick! It's funny we thought for sure you were going to be a football star, and now you're at the top in lacrosse. You should do it in college. And with skiing... rrgh. I miss skiing, to be honest. Of course, I don't think about it a ton, but lots of times I'll walk through snow here that's perfect for skiing. Russia's got awesome snow, but no mountains (at least where I am). Everything's flat. Dad said Caleb's talk went good (YEAH!) and that things are going well. Also, something about a ZOMBIE movie. Oh man, I'd love to watch a zombie movie made by Caleb. I remember that me and my friends always wanted to do movies. It's so fun hearing about Caleb and reliving my younger years practically. Those were the good ole days. Now I gots all these gray hairs and my hip is broken. Joke. But my companion has some gray hairs, and I get to tease him about it. It seems like things were tough for a while, but things are going up. I'd LOVE to hear from SETH sometime. It's been 4ever. Do you still rock the Chinook? I sure hope so. Them Phat Deenz better be nice and broken in by the time I get home. Tell Chris to teach you how to do a coleman so you can be better than me when I get home. In general I got a pretty good report. Also, this week we've got zone conference (back in TOGLIATTI my NATIVE LAND oh yeahs). I'll be getting all the goods from home then, so that'll be awesome. It'll be fun to look through the handwritten mail. I hope work is still going good with Kent, glad to hear he's still hanging in there. And it's awesome to hear that dad got the big client back. I remember mom told me that Diane Memmott said that the years when they had missionaries out were the best years ever finiancially. It seemed unlikely, but things are pulling together...

Anywho, let me know of any other news, send a word to Tyson for me. DING lightbulb just went off that's why I haven't gotten emails yet, because you're all staying overnight in Logan after Ty's homecoming! Now everything makes sense. Well anyways SEY HELLOE FREM DE MATHERLEND TO MEY LEETLE RAHSHEEN FRENT!!! Man it's gonna be awesome to talk to Tyson and swap stories when I get back!! Let me know how his homecoming was. He'd better be at mine in a year and a half. Speaking of which, I just realized how short missions are. I had my 6 month mark this past week, and Sam's already more than halfway done. WHAAAT? That's crazy. I thought for a second about what it would be like serving and knowing that I'd be home in December. That's absolutely nuts. In about 2 months we call home, and then the next time we call home Sam will already be home. And general conference in soon. And in a couple months Mitch Turner and Christian hit their year marks and a little after that mckay and bryson come home.... Man missions are crazy short. By the way, Sam I love your letters. I feel like we went through blah down times at the same time, ha ha. But things are turning up! March was a slooow month. You're AWESOME way to battle the heat. I loved the story about the Old guy too. I HATE it when you have someone so ready and then magically they disappear or become uninterested, it happens too often. (I just heard Dad mumble "hate is a strong word..."). But I really hope you'll be able to find him again.

OKAY I've got about ten minutes. Wow this has been nice being able to write so long. Maybe once a month you guys can just send no letters so I can write the whole time (JOKE I love to hear from you way more than I like to write). Anywho, what happened this week? Not much. We had a ton of contacting this week because lots of meetings fell through. About a 4th of our branch didn't come to church yesterday because they all work for the same company and that company opened up a new office nearby just barely. Also, Elvira, one of our strongest investigators (who is impossible to meet with except at church because of her schedule) works for them so she couldn't come. This week we were 100% ready to see Tatyana Safonov at church. We arranged for her to ride with Sister Mametov because they hit it off really well at the lessons. We called Saturday night and things were all set, and Tatyana was still planning on coming, but then last minute the next morning she said she wasn't ready. BOOM. It was hard. She and her husband have a daughter in California who served a mission for our church, but Tatyana and her husband Alexei Safonov consider themselves atheists their whole lives. They're trying really hard, but they say they still haven't gotten an answer to their prayers that God exists. Alexei especially has had some really hard times in life, growing up in the Soviet Union. Pray for them, okay? They're such amazingly kind people, and they really are trying to believe. They have kept all the commitments except coming to church, and we're really trying to get them there so that they can have their own spiritual experiences. They're such a great couple. It really feels like doing home teaching with the Bakers, to be honest. Tell the boys that, stuff like that gets you ready for a mission.

Well, that's all I've got, I think. Keep up the good work everyone, you're all my heeerroooooeees. I love you all! Hope to hear from you next week!

Good luck


P.S. YEAH BRYANT LAW. say hi to brat wood and toone in the MTC. the socks from mitch were a good idea. I'd say, however, to focus on getting darker colors. Sometimes I wish the warmer ones were black instead of light gray.

P.P.S. I can't remember what other questions you needed answers to...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A little late on the e-mail this week!

There was a change in P day because of a branch activity and the next day was a womens holiday of some sort so we got his e-mail this morning... YEAH

What do I write about. I'm in this internet gaming club right now and the keyboard is really hard to type on. And I only have 13 minutes left before this comp times out, after organizing all the mail and stuff. Dang dang dang where do I start? Okay, this week went by faster than last week. It was a real good week. Elders Kuzmin and Kazakov had do both be at Nikita's baptism interview, so me and Elder Bahr went on splits. It was dang fun because we were both kind of lost (he was my MTC companion). Man that was fun. We were on our way to addresses and Elder Bahr felt prompted to change plans and knock a certain apartment building. We went to the top and talked to an atheist who was excited about talking to Americans. He was super nice to us and I really liked him but he didn't want to learn more. But we still got the chance to share the message. I realized that he wouldn't have had the chance to hear our message at all if it hadn't been me and Elder Bahr, because the only reason he listened is because we're american. Bahr followed that prompting and someone got to hear our testimonies, who otherwise would not have (especially because usually only Russian missionaries serve in Kazan). That's what it's like with Elder Bahr, he always goes through on promptings.

What else? Nikita got baptized. Man it was so dang good. OUR BRANCH HERE IS FROM HEAVEN. They're so dang amazing. Nikita's only nine, but he was all serious, and he also is really clever and made lots of people laugh with his comments. He reminds me a ton of Caleb. He even looks like Caleb except younger and he has a sweet Russian mullet. Work on growing one of those, okay Blubber? By the way, last night I thought about what time it was for you guys and realized you had a half hour before church starts for you, so I put up a prayer. I'm not sure why I felt to pray for Caleb specifically, but I learned today that he gave a talk. A talk sprinkled with a little bit of ALEX-BROTHER-PRAYER-POWER. Oh yeah man. I hope the talk went well, brotha.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

pics from someone in Russia!!!

on Alex's last e-mail he said to go on facebook and add some guy as a friend. I am so glad I did. He has posted pictures of Alex.