Monday, January 11, 2016

January 11, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Thanks for the wonderful thoughts mom!  I'm going to take a picture and try to implement that matrix as well!  Even on a mission when you really do have one focus, more so than at any other point in life, sometimes you get distracted by other things that jump in your face and they just feel like the most important thing for you to do right then and there. Also, thanks for all the pictures!  Nathan was too cute in those, Spencer looks like a MAN (seriously, anyone who gets this email with a 16 year old sister, there's a tan, 6'4", little David Belnap out there right now).  Hope Spencer reads this and blushes a little bit haha.  Anyway, couldn't help but feeling a little jealous seeing the shorts and t-shirts out in the warm weather.  It's been about -10 these last couple days, about -20 with the wind shield.  In other words, REALLY REALLY COLD.  I've found myself thinking these last couple of days, "why did I have to lose all my weight BEFORE the winter.  That would have been some really nice insulation right about now."  I've been wearing my sweats underneath my slacks too, and it's been funny to notice that only when I wear sweats under my slacks does my suit now fit me.  

Anyway, just a couple of stories to report!  First off, with all the ice, I've managed to fall a lot this last couple of weeks!  It's been pretty hard on my knee, so I've busted out my knee brace to try and keep it all safe which has helped a lot.  There was one really funny time however, when we were stuck in an elevator, and we tried opening it with our hands (the elevators here are super sketchy) and we managed to do so.  Anyway, on my way out the elevator sunk a little bit, so I tripped on my way out and completely ate it.  From what my companion told me I looked like Squidward from the "He's too beautiful!" episode of Spongebob.  Basically just flailing with my arms out in the air with a pretty stupid expression on my face.  It hurt my pride a little bit.  Also, we've been inside homes a lot as of late, just ringing doorbells to try and stay off the streets.  And it'll never cease to surprise me how comfortable Russians are with opening their doors, bellies hanging out, just in their boxers, and on the rare occassion, full on naked.  I haven't encountered that yet, but a lot of missionaries have.  Anyway, it's been fun trying to testify with a straight face to basically naked Russians in their doorways.  

Ok, on to some more spiritual thoughts!  This week I had a bit of a breakdown.  I was just thinking about how I always have to have a goal as a missionary, and when is the next time I'm going to be able to just go for a walk, just to talk a walk, be alone with my thoughts and relax.  When's the next time that me taking a little bit of time off to just relax and be alone with my thoughts be something I can do without feeling guilty that I'm not doing the work that I've willingly and voluntarily signed up for.  Anyway, I was to the point of tears, and my companion said, "You know what?  Let's gor for a walk!  20 minutes, no talking, just bring yourself together and we'll move on!" I really appreciated that time, and the sensitivity of Elder Crookshank to do that in that situation.  It was really helpful and right after, we listened to one of my favorite talks, "Come What May, And Love it" by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin.  I invite you all to listen to that talk (members of our faith andthose who aren't) because it's such wise counsel from a wonderful man, on how we should accept whatever circumstances in which we might find ourselves, and love them.  

I love you all so much.  I love the Russian people, and I'm so incredibly grateful to be here, share my beliefs with people and try to help them feel the same peace that I do.


Elder Belnap

I got all the pictures this week fine, last week I only got one or two, so don't worry about sending them individually!

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