Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July 22, 2015

First off, here's my address:

Elder Christopher Alan Belnap
2007 N 900 E Unit #36
Provo, UT 84602

  Second, just do the verses 15, and 22 and if you cant do both of them then just verse 15 please.  Lastly, nope, nothing that I would need that I don't have currently!  We've gotten a lot of books but hopefully, with all the stuff I'll be done with by the time I leave the MTC there will be plenty of space/weight that will have opened up.  I'm glad we packed as many toiletries as we did, it's just made it one last thing I'll have to worry about for the duration of my time in the MTC.  

I love Nate's and Jack's little bromance.  It makes me laugh because I think of how hard it would have been for Aaron and I to stay really close if I moved away that young and somehow those two manage, it cracks me up.  I'm sorry to hear about the dark room, and I'm glad you were able to take care of it relatively quickly (well not entirely ;) ).  Little Nathan cracks me up when it comes to his fashion, I take some of the blame for it because we're the ones that originally made him want a suit 3 Christmas' ago (wow that long ago!!  That's crazy).  He just knows he is a good looking kid and wants to work it, I can't blame him.  Also good luck with the Bridal Shower, I'm sure it will all go wonderfully :).  It was such a pleasant surprise seeing Zack when he came out for the pictures, I'm really happy for the two of them.  Please keep the tales of Grandma and Grandpa coming, I love and miss them both tons.  Grandma just cracks me up and I miss all of Grandpa's stories.  I love that you get to spend time with your parents as much as you do.  Also I love that Jazzy J got to come to Utah for a week.  She and Caroline sent me these yummy little cake bites that were SOOOOO delicious, and I also got a dearelder from Ryan as well which was really nice.  Caroline and Ryan when you read this I hope you got my letter!  I love you both and thank you!  As well as Jazzy J of course.  I'm glad Rebecca got to spend some time with them as well, I'm sure she had a blast.  Also, I can't believe she's already in Texas, I'm glad she's having a lot of fun with Kirsten, and I'm just glad it all worked our for her.  I'm also glad you got to spend time with Janae!  She's the absolute best, and yes you're right, you do have some of the best friends.  It still makes me laugh how you became close with literally all of our best friends parents in a way that was more than just because we were friends with them.  You and dad are certainly both the reason why I'm good at meeting people and making new friends/good impressions so quickly, because I've been watching the two of you at work my whole life!  Also the story about Grandma playing rummy cube and also just lugging all her stuff around made me laugh.  She's too cute and I miss helping them out at the house, that was always a little joy for me being up in Ogden.  I would have been sad as well if I had to sit there at the gate right next to a flight going to Shremetyevo, I hope I get to fly through there on my way to St. Petersburg.  I won't get my flight plans until I only have 2 weeks left in the MTC.  Also, when do dad, Spencer, and David come back?  Only a couple of days left now.  It's weird thinking that there are only a couple of days before the Belnap's are no longer in Russia.  But it's also good to know that in just a few weeks there will be a Belnap returning to Russia :).

Anyway, to get started on my end of things because I know that's what you're all waiting to hear. This week has had a lot of funny moments, a couple of sad ones, and as usual a plethora of spiritual ones (there's a new vocab for Nate to learn).  To start with the sad and just get it out of the way, this Monday was the Monday that everyone in our district left us for the Madrid, Spain MTC.  I'm sure they're having a fun time, but it's been kinda weird just having the 3 of us in a classroom.  We were really sad to see them all go, they're all wonderful examples and I know that I'll feel this way every time someone leaves/I leave while on my mission.  On the plus side of all of that though, we know get to combine our District meetings with the district that is entirely made up of missionaries going to Moscow, and they are all so awesome and so much fun to hang out with.  I play basketball with a lot of them, and they're all good but I'm also just a very large human being so it makes for good competition.  Also, just having a class with the 3 of us means we get a lot of 1 on 1 time with our teachers which is so helpful.  Especially because I'm ahead of my companions in some of the grammar aspects it's like we're able to take 5 minutes from the lesson and they're able to help me while my companions keep reviewing and we can move on.  My companions are also taking advantage of that as well when it comes to questions they have.  I still can't believe we're already working on cases 3 WEEKS into it.  It's been crazy and it's truly a miracle and a gift when it comes to how fast we learn the language.  We also got a few new districts in our branch and now our branch that was 20 or so missionaries when we came here 3 weeks ago is now 60 something.  It's been kind of crazy logistically but it's been so much fun to have all of them, they're all a lot of fun.  

Ok, so I gave the sad story from this week, but we also have had a lot of fun.  One of the Elder's in the Moscow district and I may or may not have gotten into a prank war of sorts.  His name is Elder Sampson and he's hysterical, but I think we're going to call it quits.  It started just with him stealing my name tag when I wasn't looking, then gummy bears in my shoes, then I put beef jerky in his bed, then he stole my shoes and put them in the ceiling, and now I think I should call it quits before it stops being fun and get's crazy haha.  Although I still haven't ruled out beef jerky in the pillow.  ESPECIALLY because the ventilation in the rooms are absolutely horrendous.  The other day we brought back a fan from our classroom just for the night because it was impossible to get the stink of retribution jerky out of my sheets.  Also, another Elder in the Moscow district is INSANELY good at just stealing pens/nametags/you name it from right under your nose.  It's pretty crazy how good he is.  He stole my pen while I was waving my arms all over the place talking and people told me after how he was anticipating my every movement and managed to stay right in my blind spot and then grab it at the precise moment a window opens.  It's pretty funny I have to admit.  Last night he tapped me on the shoulder and got me to turn into a wall, he was pretty ecstatic.  He's one of the people I'm closest to, he's just a really funny guy, but also serious and hardworking when it's time to be serious and hardworking.  Another one of the funny stories from this week is that since we've arrived one elder in the Moscow district has been getting letters from a crazy guy in his ward back home.  They're all really random and talking about family history stories about his father serving in the ward or something and they're hysterical.  So we have this one Elder, Elder Maxfield, who is incredible at doing voice impressions, read them in whatever way the audience wants him to that night.  It's every night at 9:45, and he can do German, lisp, British, C3PO, you name it.  It's awesome, and too funny. The guy also ends all his letters with "Rock and Roll Rules.  Wink."  Because his last name is Winkle and yeah, they're just too funny.  We call it the Daily Winkle, although some people have petitioned for "A Winkle in Time."  Those are most of the funny stories from this week, although everyday something funny happens.  I've also gotten close to a lot of the sisters in my zone, they're all too funny.  OH, last funny story, last week I just got a transfer journal, and sarcastically I decided on one that was pink, and has a quote from David O. McKay that says, "Happiness is found along the way of the journey," or something to that effect.  One of the sisters dared me to get it, so of course I did, and it's made everyone in the zone laugh when they find out that it's mine.  I also found a photo in my wallet of my from picture day in like 4th or 5th grade when I was still rocking the sweater vest, and I wrote a bio about myself in the 3rd person and then taped the picture in underneath.  It's gone about as viral as it can go for a place that has very restricted technological rules.  Oh last funny story, so one of my buddies who is at the MTC right now has a really funny companion, and one time we were walking back from the devotional together because it just so happened that we were sitting next to each other and my friend told him that I basically know everyone at the MTC.  He didn't believe me so he told me to call ahead to someone and see if they turn around.  I just so happened to see one of my friends so I called his name and he turned around.  So anyway this guy just started pointing at people, and he did it 3 times before we had to go, and each person was someone that I just so happened to know by name.  It was pretty funny, I guess sometimes it can be hard being this popular ;).

Anyway, for a spiritual experience this week.  Today we got to go to the Provo Temple and participate in an endowment session.  I just had such a wonderful time being there with several people from my zone and just realizing that we are all here for the same purpose, even if we didn't all arrive here with that purpose in mind.  Sometimes people talk about Jesus Christ as just a man that lived 2000 years ago, but I know that he is so much more than that.  He died for us, he knows us by name, and he loves us, the same way that we have a Father in Heaven that knows us by name, and loves us beyond what we can currently comprehend.  My testimony of that has just gotten so much stronger of that truth in the last 3 weeks since I've been here, and I just felt that so strongly being able to go to the temple today.  I've always known that, but now I just feel way more confident in just sharing with everyone what it is that I exactly believe.  I know I've shied away from sharing that in the past, but I'm definitely far more assured and confident in what I believe now which is an awesome feeling :).  Also, last thing before I go, I have to thank Aunt Carlin for the package!  She sent me chips and salsa and after our service activity last night some of the sisters and my companions had a little relax time before we had to head back to the dome.  So we all just ate the chips and salsa and talked for a little bit which was a lot of fun.  There are some really cool and fun people I've gotten to meet while I've been here.

Anyway, I should get going on the pictures.  Not a lot this week but a few.  OH, sorry I keep remembering things I want to share.  Last story I promise.  So one of the Elders that left for Spain, Elder Sandberg, is REALLY good at piano.  One of his favorite things to play is a jazzy rendition of How Firm a Foundation which sounds really good.  So the last day before they all took off we just decided to record us singing along to it.  It was SOOO good, although we had a couple of hiccups for the most part it was awesome.  We did all 7 verses and it was probably the highlight of my MTC experience thus far.  Ok, now I'm done.  I love you all, thanks for the dearelders you send my way, and I'll hear from you in a week!  Love you especially mom, thanks for all that you do!


Elder Christopher Belnap

After singing How Firm A Foundation

All the Elders in district leaving for Spain MTC

Vladivostok Sisters.  Check out Sister in the back ground

Zone on Temple Grounds Sunday walk

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