Monday, April 18, 2016

It's almost been a month!!!!


I know I say this a lot, but it does not feel like it's been a week. I'll hit my month mark in Russia this week, which is absolutely insane to think about. There's no way that it's been that long, it feels like I just got here. It really puts things in perspective when you realize how short your time is here. We just entered week 5 of this transfer, and if I weren't in training there would be the possibility of me moving to a different area. It just really makes you want to not waste a single minute, and do everything you can to help as many people as you can. This week has been pretty awesome! We got 6 phone numbers on the streets one day after only being out there for just a couple of hours and they all seemed pretty interested! We get 3 or 4 usually, and that's when we're walking around pretty much all day, so that was pretty exciting! We had a lot of appointments scheduled, but pretty much everyone bailed on us, haha, it's just something I've got to get used to! We had seven all set up for yesterday, but only 3 of them actually happened! They were good though! 

One of the members of our English group seemed pretty interested in our message after coming a couple of times, and we taught him the first lesson (in English, which made it a little bit easier!) yesterday, and it was super awesome! We met with Дима(Dima) again yesterday, and he's making a lot of progress. He actually gave his copy of the Book of Mormon to his aunt, and she's going to come to church with us next week! He's such a cool guy, and just seems like he was ready to meet us and accept the gospel. 

I learned this week that they celebrate April Fool's Day in Russia too! We walked up to this couple on the street on April 1st and started talking to them, and they told us that we were really bad at imitating American accents and thought that we were just trying to pull a prank on them when we told them we were from America! We might be meeting with them later today, so it'll be fun to talk to them some more and laugh about how bad our accents are! It's still sort of difficult sometimes to understand people here, but I can pretty much hold my own in most of my conversations now, which is pretty nice! A lot of times though when we talk with older people they end up being drunk, and that makes it about 100 times more difficult to put together what they're talking about. Haha, earlier this week this man we started talking to out of nowhere went straight into the history of one of these buildings on the street next to us. He told us that it used to be a Mosque, and that at the same time every day they would all kneel down and start yelling. He then proceeded to give us a demonstration, and right there on the side walk knelt down and started making Rooster noises. It was really hard not to laugh, so we just ended the conversation as quickly as possible, gave him a pass along card and then walked away! It's so funny how often things like that happen here, almost every day when I go home I find myself laughing about how weird it is here, and how awesome it is that I get to experience it!

I'll just leave you all with a verse that I read a couple of days ago. I was studying in Alma, and was reading through the story of Aaron and the father of King Lamoni. After Alma finishes speaking, the king responds by saying, "What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy" If you look at that verse, it's really interesting to notice the number of times he says the word "I". He wasn't looking for God or Aaron to do all of the work for him, he was looking for what he needed to do to receive the blessings that Aaron had testified of. This gospel is a gospel of action. In order to receive the blessings that God has in store for us we need to do something first. We need to be asking, as the Father of King Lamoni, "What do I need to do Lord", or in the words of the young king from the New Testament, "What lack I yet?" As we humbly ask these questions, and listen patiently for a response from the spirit, it will be given us. I'd just like to testify of the reality of our Savior, and the fact that He lives. He is at the head of our church, guiding us through his chosen prophet and apostles. As we heed to their council and ponder on their words, we will recieve the answers, guidance, and blessings that we are looking for. I love you all and pray for you daily!

Until next time,
-Старейшина кэмптон

(Staryeshina Kempton)  

Pictures below:

The first three pics are from his 1st apartment in Stavropol.  It was super tiny and as you can see from the 3rd pic, now a bunch of rubble! 

 2nd Apartment in Stavropol.  He said it is sooooo much nicer, as you can see in the pics and he was happy they have Snickers there that are bigger than in America and cheaper...haha

Statue of a Solder in Russia.  He said it is awesome and that he hopes to get his picture taken in front of it.  I will post it if he does

 Entrance to their church building (aka the hobbit hole) 

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