Monday, January 4, 2016

January 4, 2016

I remember reading the С Новым Годом signs all over the place in Moscow and thinking "Wow, I actually know what that means!"  Our New Year was nothing special, we had to stay inside for basically the whole day, we managed to make it outside for about an hour.  We CLEANED our apartment at night though, honestly I don't think I've ever wanted to clean as bad as I did that night, for some reason the idea of having a completely clean apartment for the New Year was super appealing.  So my companion and I spent 4 hours doing everything we could.  And the place looks amazing right now!  It was super satisfying, not my most fun New Years, but definitely my most satisfying when I woke up the next morning.  We also bought a lot of goodies and just enjoyed munching for a lot of the night.  We made a goal to finish off all our goodies that night, so that we could start the new year with no goodies in the house.  Felt kinda sick by the end of it (we had a lot of goodies from Christmas) but we managed.  This week has been pretty COLD.  Oh my goodness, I never thought I'd be able to breathe in through my nose and have my nose stop running because everything just freezes, but I did it!  It's been below 0 without the windshield, with the windshield I don't want to know what it's been.  But, I can't complain because I have a lot of layers on!  We've been tracting a lot just because it is so cold on the street, which is a lot of fun!  We have a new investigator named Pavel who we met the other day, taught him a lesson, and gave him a Book of Mormon who we met the other day.  We're going by for our 2nd meeting tonight!  Super excited!  Also, we met with a lady named Ekaterina (makes me think of our science teacher at Lower Lab School whenever I hear that name), who we met with.  She just really wanted to talk and serve us food (couldn't really complain) and she let us share our message, and she's really taken a liking to us.  Calls us her grandkids, and is really impressed with our desire to be here in Russia.  She felt the Spirit pretty strongly when we talked about why we're here and why we aren't upset that we only talk to our families once a week by email and twice a year by skype (she was incredulous when she found that out).  

Anyway, we're just spending a lot of time trying to find and help people wherever we go!  Also our mission president was here on Sunday and it was tons of fun!  President Childs is a wonderful man, and I wish I could pick his brain for days at a time (he served in Hamburg by the way).  Anyway, I just want to share with you all my thoughts about goals for the new year!  So this is the first time I've taken a lot of time to consider goals in my life.  I decided to take a different approach then I have in the past.  I'm actually still working on setting my goals.  But I started with a list of paper that said "What I was This Last Year" and wrote down EVERYTHING-both good and bad traits/characteristics/attributes.  Then I sat down and wrote down "What I Want To Become This Year" and sat down and listed everything that came to mind.  Now I'm in the process of making concrete plans to reach those things.  Anyway, just even to this point in the process, I realize just how much goals can help us stretch, and evaluate what we really want to become.  I've realized some things that I want to do, that I never realized I wanted to do, while doing this process, and I'm so grateful for that.  I'm a little more aware of who I want to become, and a little more sure of what steps I need to do to get there.  As Elder Russell M. Ballard says, "I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life."   
I'm starting to learn the truthfulness of that statement.  I hope you all take the time to set and make goals that will help you become a different, and better person by the time 2017 rolls around.  I love you all, hope you have a great week!


Elder Belnap

Christopher as Дед Мороз at Veliky Novgorod branch Christmas party.

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