Wednesday, February 17, 2016

February 15, 2016

Thanks for the letter!  Nathan and Rebecca have been better at filling me in, so no worries, I have a nice wide range of everything that's been happening.  That's a lot of fun being in San Diego, I have a good friend serving there right now!  Can't say I'm a little jealous, we were warming up, and then last night we got about 4 inches of snow, and I'm feeling not my greatest, but oh well, the work goes on!

This week has been PACKED.  We ran all over the place, and we got to go to a little town in the middle of nowhere to visit a family that skypes into sacrament meeting each week.  In the town there used to be a branch, but there is one no longer.  Anyway, they're super active and have such strong testimonies of the gospel, and the missionaries go down once a transfer to visit them for a day.  It was super fun, we basically just played a lot of games with the kids, helped them out, and did a Missionary Family Home Evening with them.  It was really funny, one of the games we played was a variant of "Do You Love Your Neighbor?" but the person in the middle just said "I love those with/who etc. etc."  It was really fun and all the little kids were just having a blast.  We're working in the branch on trying to get them to move up to Novgorod, but they have no money, and they would need to find a job first up here.  It's a sad situation, but we're working on it.  Also we got transfer calls this week and Elder Crookshank and I have one more transfer!  We're really excited, we've just been hitting our stride, and we thought it would be the end, so when we found out that we're staying together we set some pretty lofty goals for this transfer.  We're excited to reach them :).  We are also getting a Russian sister missionary in our district!  I'm so excited to ask her every question I've ever had, especially because she speaks incredible English.  Anyway, my companion and I also made плов this week which is an Uzbekistan dish that's super yummy and has a ton of oil.  It's really good, but if you're trying to not die, it's a once in a lifetime thing.  The Sister's also had a baptism this week!  She's the most sincere person and has such a sincere testimony of this church.  She's had a lot of trials leading up to this, but when she received the gift of the Holy Ghost this last Sunday, you could just see her light up.  It was just awesome, and the baptismal service was beautiful as well.  We're working a lot with Less-Actives here in this branch, and we're trying to do it more through the ward members. Understandably, it gets tiring just hearing from the missionaries all the time who don't really speak the language all that well.  So, we've started asking certain members to call certain people whenever there's an event in the ward, and we've already seen the fruits of that labor!  We had a less active lady come to the baptism, and a different one to church, and a different one to English Group!  Now just to get all 3 to come on Sundays!  We also have a super cool investigator named Саша who is one of the most sincere men I've ever met, and has such a sincere desire to be a better person.  

I just want to close with the importance of keeping the commandments.  I was reading in Mosiah 2:22-24, and it basically says that the Lord has promised to bless us by keeping his commandments, and that they might seem like big sacrifices, when in reality, we're about to get more in return for doing them.  Anyway, little things like reading in your scriptures daily, on your own and as a family, might seem hard with everything else going around, but as we take the time to make some time for what's most important, we'll find peace and assurance that in the mess of everything else that is going on around us, that it will all be ok.  Anyway, I love you all so much, thanks for your prayers and thoughts on my behalf.  Have a wonderful week!


Elder Belnap

here are pictures from the sister's baptism this last week!  Please don't post or publish, or send these pictures to anyone else!  (You can send this to the people on my list mom, that message was more for everyone else when they receive it). 

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