Monday, October 19, 2015

October 19, 2015

So drumroll please....Still in Nevsky for another 8 weeks!  This is a weird transfer, just because of the schedule of missionaries coming in, we need to have an extra long one this time.  I'm really excited because Elder Simonsen and I really seem to be hitting our stride.  We're still not nearly as good at contacting as we would like to be, but we've been improving a lot which has been nice.  It's really awkward sometimes because, as missionaries, our purpose is to invite others-as Elder Bednar so simply put it-to "Come and See."  Come and see if our message adds to what you already have in your life, come and see if it enriches what you already hold dear, just very simply, come and see if this is the truth for yourself.  That's why we don't walk around waving pamphlets in people's faces on their way out of the metro, but that we invite them politely, but firmly to see if this is something that they think would bless their lives.  BUT when we walk up to someone and introduce ourselves as missionaries, it immediately turns them off.  Then on the other hand, when we start a normal conversation (which are always so cool and interesting, even not as a missionary I want to do that because there are just so many cool and interesting people), it can be so awkward to try and introduce our message into the conversation.  I just need to remember what Elder Holland said that if we're trying to talk with them that at some point in the conversation, there will be a gospel truth that we can bear testimony of.  Anyway, that's sortof how the contacting goes for us, we're trying to be a lot better, and just not feeling so awkward.  Because if they don't listen, or they're not interested, then ok that's awesome, we're not trying to coerce anything out of you.  But if they are interested and do want to know more, then I don't want to think that I missed out on talking to that person just because I was too afraid to open my mouth.  And me being afraid to open my mouth?  It's never happened before, why should it happen now!
Anyway, I wasn't hurt too bad by the tree, it hurt to walk for a couple of days, Elder Williams got his suit all dry cleaned and he's all good, and other than the bruise on my leg I escaped with just a few bumps on my head.  To answer all your questions, we get up at 6:30, exercise, and then an hour for breakfast and showers, 8:00-11:00 we do personal study and 2 hours of companionship, then 11:00-12:00lunch, then 12:00-1:00 language, and then whatever comes up after until 5.  Then 5:00-6:00 we have dinner, 6:00-9:00 contact and then do our daily planning and get ready for bed.  Yeah I've kept losing weight, going to poke another whole in the belt soon, but Elder Simonsen and I have been eating REALLY well.  He's a good cook and we pooled our money together so it's all worked out really nicely, and I just help with all the little things while he also teaches me.  On P-Day we just do whatever needs to get done/miscellaneous things we've had on our to-do lists.  We've recently been contacting while going to less actives homes, so that we can ring their apartment and offer them a Liahona.  It hasn't worked out yet, but we've only been doing it for a couple days, we just feel strongly that we need to reach out to a lot of the Less-Active members of the ward here.  Anyway, this week Sister Wixom came along with Elder Porter and their respective spouses.  It was cool to find out that the Porter's knew you!  It was so much fun, and we just had a wonderful meeting where they all talked and a couple from the audience were asked to give their testimonies.  Also, I had a really good conversation with our Eternal Investigator, Alexander the other day.  I've felt that we still need to do the little things for that man, call him and invite him to things, ask him why he wasn't able to make it to church if he didn't, things like that.  Anyway, last night I called him just to see, and at the end of our conversation he said (in English) thank you for remembering me.  Thank you for caring about me.  It really touched me, and it just made me feel so happy.  People just need a little bit of love sometimes, just a little extra bit on your part can change people's hearts and make them feel so very grateful!  I just want to encourage all of you to be a little more aware of the little things in life you can do to help people around you!
I'm glad you've been able to do so many fun things while you've been in Utah this time around, you'll have to send me pictures from Halloween when that comes up.  Anyway, I love you so much Mom and Dad (and everyone else who gets this email).  Thanks for all your prayers/well wishes/good vibes in my direction!  Hope you all have a great week!
Elder Belnap

Got to see both Elder Mehr and Sonderegger!  Elder Mehr was shocked when he saw me and at how different I looked!  Also, I'm going to Novgorod this week again for a baptismal interview that Elder Simonsen needs to do!  I'll be aware of the trees!

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