February 22, 2016*
No worries mom, it's probably going to be a short letter on my end too! I'm glad that the celebrating at least happened! Since I know Grandpa will be reading this I'll just give him a shout out here. I love you tons Grandpa, thanks for being the man and the example you are! I'm glad the 90th birthday celebration went well, and although I'm sad I wasn't there I hope you enjoyed it nevertheless!
Dear family, (and friends)
Anyway, I just have a couple of things from this week that I want to share. This week was my second visa trip! Oh my goodness 8 months of my mission have already passed by. I feel like the kid in the video when he comes back from the dentist and he says "is this real life?" I have no idea what the video clip is called all I know is that it's popular and really funny and it's about a kid coming back from the dentist all drugged up. Anyway, that was the first thought that popped into my mind when we were on our way to the border. It was so much fun seeing everyone again, I love them all so much. We had some good conversations just catching up on our areas, a couple of people are training right now, and we asked about that, one of my favorite people, Elder Prestwich, is serving with a native right now and so we asked about that. We also had some good conversation about setting goals and in what way goals should work to push us, but not lead us to beat ourselves up. All in all it was just so much fun! I love them all so much, and it was just so much fun to see them all in one place again. That's one of the benefits of serving in Russia is that every 3 months you see your MTC group again.
We also got a native speaker in our district! She's from Moscow, and she's the coolest! I've asked her only a fraction of all the questions I have about Russian, but I still have some time. I also asked her to correct me on every mistake I make, and she's held to that. It's only been like that for a couple days, and already so helpful. It was also really fun, I got to give a talk on Sunday, and I talked about Gifts of the Spirit. After the meeting, she asked me how long I had been out on my mission, and when I told her two transfers less than her, she was shocked. She told me that my based on my Russian she thought I had been out for over a year. I also got the same compliment from one of our ward members! Yay, I'm finally starting to get a hold of this language! Not really, it'll take more than a lifetime to master, but it's super nice finally feeling comfortable with both understanding people, and explaining myself in the way I want to. Anyway, I talked about Gifts of the Spirit, and I've been thinking about 1 Corinthians 13, and Moroni 7:45-48. Those little sections of scripture are all about charity. It says in Moroni 10 to pray for spiritual gifts, and then in 1 Corinthians 13 it talks about how the greatest of these is Charity. So, we should all be praying to receive gifts of the Spirit, but first and foremost we should be praying for charity. I've been trying to pray for charity a lot over the last couple of transfers, and it's improved my relationship with my companion, the ward members, our investigators, and even people I meet on the street. Charity is something we should strive to obtain every day, in order to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ.
I know that the Gospel changes lives and that as we try to be obedient to commandments and develop charity in our lives, that we feel greater love, peace, and freedom in this life. I don't know exactly how that works, but all I know is that it works because I've experienced both being obedient to commandments, and not being obedient, and there's a tangible and very real difference between the two.
I love you all so much, I pray for you and I appreciate your prayers on my behalf!
P.S. I have some funny pictures for this week, but unfortunately my camera broke! I have the pictures on my SD card (taken on my comps camera), but we're running out of time so I'll send them next week. Let's just say that when we get in on the midnight train, I don't have the most effective morning workouts...HAVE A GREAT WEEK!