Monday, February 29, 2016

February 29, 2016

Thanks mom for the email, a lot of info jammed into it - I love it!  It's funny every year on the 29th of February I think of Emily Maluff, I haven't seen her since who knows how long, but she was the only person I knew for the longest time that had a birthday on Leap Day.  When I realized that today was Leap Day, she was the first person that popped into my mind, it just makes me laugh how the mind works that way.  Rebecca sent me an email about the basketball game, and I'm so proud of her! That's really cool that her coach gave you a call too, in order to let you know how she's improving so much.  She's going to be super good in any overseas school :).  I was also thinking about the beach house the other day too!  Miss that place tons, hope one day in the future I'll be able to go back and visit, we'll see what happens.  Anyway, not too much time, and a lot of funny stories!

So one of the pictures that is going to be attached, I'll just explain now.  So basically, when we need to go to St. Petersburg, we usually come back in on the train, which gets in at about midnight.  I had a super hard time the first 5 months of my mission just getting up and moving at 6:30, after having a full 8 hours of sleep, along with not napping during the day.  Even in the MTC I took about 4-5 naps a day (ask any of my teachers/companions at the MTC).  Anyway, we try to do workouts and everything in the morning, and while my companion can do it, I just can't.  Anyway, the last time this happened, I ended up going out to our living room, picking up the 5 kg plate that we have, grabbing a pillow, laying it on my chest and going back to sleep.  Elder Crookshank just said he came out of the bathroom and started cracking up and just took a whole bunch of pictures of it. Anyway, just a fun little story from this week.  Also, finally, about 3 weeks laterthe плов is all gone!  I couldn't eat the last of it, I had grown sick of it by the end, but hey it saved us a lot of money.  Also, we got permission to go the gym from our Mission President, and so today was the first day in about 8 or 9 months that I've gone to a gym!  I was feeling so squishy after losing weight and muscle, and anyway it felt so good!  I was sad to see that I felt like I had just started working out over again, but by the end I had warmed up a bit.  Anyway, it was probably my favorite P-Day activity yet.  

In other news, since our branch is really small, we have a lot of responsibilities in the branch, even if we don't have callings for it.  Anyway, our latest and most fun of these responsibilities is....3rd hour Primary Teachers!  So, we just went to a 3rd hour this last week, and the 3rd hour for the next several weeks will be a temple prep class, which basically everyone in our branch needs.  So we don't know if Elders will be the primary teachers for another couple months, or for quite a while.  We probably won't be here to find out.  Anyway, our mission president and everything approved it, and we had our first primary lesson yesterday.  It was tons of fun, little kids are the best.  One of them at the end showed me her picture that she had drawn, and I was honored to be included in a drawing of her and her family!  It was pretty funny.  Anyway, we're having a lot of fun with it, can't complain with the new "calling"!

This week had ups and downs just like any other week, but I'm happy to say it ended on a positive note.  Elder Crookshank and I have had a hard time these last couple weeks just talking with people.  Anyway, last night we had a meeting with an investigator that just left a sour feeling in our mouth, we basically had taken up a whole hour with him, and didn't manage to even get started on anything resembling a lesson.  We went out on the streets right after that, and sort of had an unspoken agreement that we were just going to talk to everyone we could, buses, on the streets you name it.  Anyway, it turned into a wonderful night, we might some wonderful people and just had some of the most sincere and awesome conversations of my mission.  I felt my love for the Russian people grow last night in a significant way, and I'm excited to see how much more my love will grow for them over the next 16 months.  Also I've started reading Our Search for Happiness during meals and I would suggest it for anyone getting these emails who isn't a member of our church, and wants to have a better idea about who Mormons are, and what sort of thing would drive us to sacrifice 2 years of our life to serve on missions.  

I love you all so much!


Elder Belnap 

Just some miscellaneous things, that don't need to be included in the big letter.  Have you managed to get those emails added to my list?  Also, would you mind sending me a picture of Grandma Belnap, Uncle Steve, and one of Grandpa Belnap too?  I realized that I don't have any pictures of them in my album and that I would love to if at all possible.  Also, I'm not expecting a package anytime soon (except for the garments of course).  I'm just curious though if I sent you a list of random things I've thought of over the last couple months that would be nice to have, would you lost track of the list, or would you rather I send it now?  Also, the camera, I'm looking into getting it taken care of, and if not, I'll let you know.  For now, my companion has his camera, and we're always together, so he sends me any pictures that are needed for me to send.

Love you, I'll get started on that big old letter!

Elder Belnap

Christopher in St. Petersburg

Post Visa trip early morning work out

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