Hey Family and Friends!I'm safe and sound here in Russia! It's so crazy to think that all of you are halfway around the world right now, and it's super late at night, or really early in the morning depending on how you look at it! Traveling here was a little bit crazy, we left on a Tuesday night and ended up arriving on a Thursday night about the same time that we left in Russia. It was a pretty interesting experience for my first time stepping foot in an airport, let alone flying anywhere, haha! I basically just followed the other 2 people in my group and did everything they did. When we got to our terminal in JFK there were seriously like 500 people that looked like they were Amish, I almost took a picture but I figured that probably wasn't the most missionary thing to do. It turns out they were actually Jewish and they were all going to Israel to listen to a Rabbi, or something like that. I ended up sitting next to one of them on our 8 hour flight to Moscow and we had a pretty cool discussion about what each of us believe and I got to testify about prayer and it's role in our lives, and I learned some Hebrew at the same time so it was pretty much a win-win situation!
When we got to Moscow I realized that I probably should have learned 1 or 2 words to help me get around an airport, haha, and the fact that they had a crazy thick accent didn't help me as far as understanding anything they were saying went. We went to the American Embassy in Moscow right after that and applied for our second passports and then went to a different airport to get to Rostov, and some lady explained to us like 5 times that we were there 5 hours early, and I still don't know why she kept saying the same thing. We told every time that we were just going to wait, haha, maybe she was actually saying something different and I just didn't understand! It all worked out though, and the Miners (my mission president and his wife) met us at the airport in Rostov. We went back and ate some dinner at the mission home and they told me my companion would be Elder Dayton and we'd be serving in Stavropol! We had an orientation the next day until about 4 and then we just went street contacting. I can pick out some words here and there, but for the most part it's just really hard to understand the accent right now. It's getting easier every day though! We ended up getting a referal for the missionaries over there and had a couple of nice conversations with people!
The next day we went to Stavropol with the Miners and we had a branch party because they were there. Our branch is super awesome! There's only about 13 members, but all of them are so strong! It's awesome being here with them, I wish you could all meet them because they're seriously just so cool! We've been doing a lot of street teaching here, that's pretty much all we've done because we haven't had a whole lot of lessons scheduled. We got 3 referals yesterday that all seemed really interested in meeting with us again and learning some more! It's so exciting being here serving these people. I have so much love for them already, and am excited to get back out tonight at 6 to get back to work. That's pretty much it for updates on my end!
I'll just share a scripture I was reading earlier this morning that really meant a lot to me. It's actually pretty much the entire chapter of Alma 26. Something we did with one of our teachers the last day at the MTC was read this chapter, but replace the word Zarahemla with America, and the Lamanites with the Russians. It just talks about the commitment they have to the work, and how the whole purpose of all they were doing was just to bring even a small number of them to a knowledge of the truth. I don't have my scriptures with me so I can't give you an exact scripture reference, so you'll just have to read the chapter yourself to get something more out of it! I'm so grateful to be a part of this great work, it really is a privilege. The Lord could do all of this on his own, and he could do it perfectly. But he lets us, the imperfect, carry out his work, and bring others to the knowledge of his perfect plan. I love you all strongly, and pray about you daily! I hope all is well, and continues to go that way!