Hey everyone! Another week has flown by over here in Russia. I had my first zone conference this week, so that was a bit of an experience! We hopped on a bus on Tuesday at around 3:30, and got off in Rostov at around 8:30. It was a bit of long ride, but I've been on longer, haha! It was cool getting to see more of what Russia looks like. It's super flat over here, it's really weird that I can't see mountains all the time, it's just a bunch of trees and grass, but it's all super beautiful. I got stopped by the police for the first time this week! We were getting of the bus in Rostov and they pulled us aside and checked our passports. They were pretty friendly about everything and was actually a lot less stressful than I imagined it being. Zone conference was super awesome, they gave us all kinds of really helpful advice on contacting on the streets and while we're on the Marshrutkas(Sort of like busses but a lot smaller and a let less concern for personal space). We lost about three days this week because of all of traveling and zone conference, but we went to work pretty much the second we got back to Rostov. We only ended up teaching 4 lessons this week, but we met a lot of people that will be meeting with us throughout this coming week, or so they say, haha!
I've had a couple of really just random experiences this week, which is pretty normal over here! We were walking home Saturday night, and we stopped to talk to this guy that was walking what looked like a little dog. It turned out that it was actually a ferret, so he taught us how to say it Russian! We talked a little bit and ended up meeting with him yesterday and talking with him a little bit more. Apparently ferrets are pretty common over here, at least from what I understood, haha! He also said that hedgehogs were all over the place in the forests here, which is super weird. Russia is honestly the last place that I would have expected to find wild hedgehogs and ferrets, but apparently they're everywhere in Eastern Europe. I've also heard rumors that there's a camel here. Apparently somebody just rides it around and lets people take pictures with it. I haven't seen it yet, but 5 different people have told me to keep my eye out for it! If I find him, I'll definitely take a picture and send it home to everyone so you can all see, haha! I also found out that there's a huge park right in the middle of Stavropol that I previously had no idea existed. You have to go through this small gate, and it doesn't look like there's much inside if you're just looking at it from the outside, but it's seriously huge. There's a huge ferris wheel, tons of trees and grass, and even some turtles. I'll try and take some pictures in the coming weeks so you can all take a look at how cool it is! It was so weird though, I was starting to feel like I knew that city pretty well, but it turns out I don't, haha!
That's pretty much it for this week, I'm sure there's tons of stuff that I forgot to write about, but so much happens here that its difficult to remember it all when I sit down to write! I'll just leave you with a scripture that I read this morning during my personal study. In Helaman chapter 4, the Nephites are starting to fall away, and are getting caught up in their pride. In verse 13 it says something that really just rung true to me. "And because of this their great wickedness, and their boastings in their own strength, they were left in their own strength; therefore they did not prosper, but were afflicted and smitten, and driven before the Lamanites, until they had lost possession of almost all their lands." It just makes sense to me, that when we're focused on everything we can do on our own, that we'll be left to do it on our own. We can get a lot done on our own, but with the help of Christ, we can go do all things. I'm so grateful for this gospel, and especially for the opportunity I have to be here in Russia sharing it with as many people as I can. I know that it's only with the help of God and Jesus Christ, that I'm able to do any of the things I'm doing right now. It's all going so fast too, it's already been a month since I've been here in Russia, and in just around 2 weeks I'll have been out for 4 months. I really do have a small amount of time here, to make as big an impact as I can. Realizing this makes me realize how much more I need to rely on the Lord. He has a plan for me here, and it's only when my will is swallowed up in His that I can bring that plan to pass. I hope you all are doing well, and I hope you know that I love you all!
Until next time,