Monday, September 14, 2015

September 14, 2015

Oh how I loved your letter mom!  Thanks for filling me in on a couple of those things, those are important to know.  Yeah, if you wouldn't mind sending me an update on my account every week that would be perfect, and far less expensive.  Also, I would absolutely love some music.  Basically the rules are that it invites the Spirit, so we can have an array of music.  Think Glorious by David Archuleta or something like that (it's the song that plays at the very end of Meet the Mormons).  Along with church songs and things like that.  Speaking of music by the way, so we shop at Lenta here, which is only a 10 minute walk from our apartment, and usually when we go in, they're playing American music.  Today they played Blank Space by Taylor Swift, and Roar by Katy Perry, and last week they played Maps by Maroon 5 and Only One by Sam Smith, and I was just shamelessly singing along to it all, just having a blast.  I think I look forward to our weekly trip to Lenta almost as much as I do to being able to write home haha.  Oh also, just a random little sidenote, Elder Gottfredson and I saw each other all the time at the MTC which was awesome, and Elder Callister was in my same zone at the MTC!  Pretty cool, and I have a lot of friends on their way to Rostov, I'll have to find out if any of them see him!  I'm glad you're loving nursery, you're very well suited for it with all experiences haha.  That's so awesome that you got another car, and you're absolutely right, the Hoekstras are awesome.  That's so cool that you're all trying to resurrect that association, and you're absolutely right, Dad is so good at following through, doesn't surprise me at all that you all seem to already be making headway.  Also hold up for a second, why would Rebecca be homeschooled?  I totally missed that one.  Those are also some wonderful thoughts from the fireside.  Yeah, all my friends from BYU emailed me about the game, and I was so sad, I would have loved to have been there, but oh well, hopefully in 2 years I'll still want to go watch football games. 
Anyway, I'll get started on all that's happened here thus far.  So I'll start with a couple of funny stories.  So of course, our area of the city is a little more ghetto, and we have our fair share of rats, strays and drunks here.  There was one guy here who was wearing a thong the other day, and he was definitely a little tipsy, so that was pretty interesting to see.  Reminded me of that guy who would go running in a thong in NYC and I'd always see him on my way to the 86th street subway to head on up to Bronx Science.  There are some interesting people in this world haha.  We were also waiting for our tramvi the other day and some guy came up to us wanting our picture because we looked very successful and his blog is all about success.  We told him that we couldn't and he was really disappointed, but he then went on a tangent about how he is successful because he's his own God at only the age of 28, it was so weird, but so funny.  We had to try really hard to keep it in.  Also, we did Hermitage service last Tuesday which was awesome!  We just got to direct people to the coatroom if they were looking for it and to empty their water bottles out before going through security.  It was so awesome though because we got to be there for it opening so there were just droves of people that came through and from all over the world.  They were all so surprised when we asked the obvious English speakers questions in Englsih, and they were all just curious as to what we were doing here, and it was just so much fun.  Plus we got to go inside the Hermitage after for 30 minutes and just look around a little bit.  Plus there was this one couple, the man was Swedish and the woman was Argentinian, and the woman was just telling me that I was a very handsome young man, which is always nice to hear haha :). 
Just a couple of other things that I can think of, so my companion had a visa trip this week, and that meant that I got to sleep over at some other Elder's apartment which was fun, I crashed way before anyone else, and they were all messing with me in my sleep, nothing out of the ordinary.  Elder Sonderegger's companion also had a visa trip so we got to talk a little bit and just catch up which was cool.  Oh, we also have this one really interesting guy who comes to our English group, and so we decided to just look up really big and complex words to teach him, so now there's a Russian walking around with a very limited English vocabulary, but just so happens to know the meanings of the words ubiquitous and munificent, among others.  It was a lot of fun to do that.  Also, seeing Brother Jeppson was just so much fun, and so normal.  He's awesome, and thanks again for all the goodies!
Before I send some pictures really quick, I just want to share an awesome story that we had the other day.  So we were street contacting and we had just had a really hard time.  It was our 6th hour of just walking around, rejection after rejection, and I was just starting to feel kindof down, when out of nowhere someone stops us and just yelled, "Mormons?"  Anyway, this guy is named Albert, he's investigated the church before, but stopped for some reason.  He's awesome and we had the most amazing conversation with him, and it was just such a tender mercy.  We're meeting with him tongiht and I know that it'll go well.  He just had such a great desire to know more.  Oh, and also, the bishop has just been going to another ward, because the people here expected him to do everything, that he just kindpf burnt out.  Just wanted to let you know before I forgot. 
Anyway, I love you so much family!  Thanks for writing, and I love hearing from all of you!  Until next week!
Elder Christopher Belnap

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