Monday, March 28, 2016

March 28, 2016

Dear Family and Friends, 

Well, transfers finally came, and Elder Crookshank and I are going our separate ways.  Elder Crookshank, will be serving with the only native Russian missionary for his last 6 weeks as a missionary, can't lie and say I wasn't a little jealous when I heard that.  I want to serve with a Russian missionary so bad, but it looks like my only hopes are for training one that comes in, because we know we're not receiving any Russian Elders into the mission before September.  I'm glad you had such a wonderful week doing all those things leading up to Easter/Birthday!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!  I hope you had a wonderful day (it sounds like you did) and I'm glad you got to do a lot of wonderful things with the family.  You're the best momma, and I'm so grateful for all that you do, I'm glad things went well.  In response to your question about what the Russians say for Easter, first off, we didn't celebrate yesterday, we will be celebrating at the Russian Orthodox time, and they say " Иисус воскрес" to which the response is "Воистину он воскрес."  We didn't really do anything special to celebrate yesterday, figured we will celebrate with the Russians!  In other news, my new companion here is going to be Elder Coleman!  He's a newer missionary, about to start his 4th transfer, which means that I'll have the opportunity to be District Leader, and Financial Secretary (or Clerk? I don't even know what it's supposed to be) in our little ol' ward building!  I'm now familiar with MLS and the Russian way of sending money, so it should be a relatively easy transistion.  He's 24, has his degree in Criminal Justice from Florida University, and was a body guard for T.I. (a famous musician) before his mission!  He's been a member of the church for a long time, but was no longer believing, when he felt like he needed to start thinking about serving a mission just a little while ago.  Anyway, now he's here, and I'm super excited to get to work with him and get to know the most mysterious missionary in our mission.  Our district will have one new sister, but Сестра Павленко will still be in my district!  She's the coolest sister missionary in the mission, and is super helpful with our Russian.  I'm excited to have another transfer working with her in Великий Новгород, it's the best area in the mission :)!  The weather has started getting really warm here, and it's awesome.  The sun is getting up at around 6:30, and so I've started waking up almost easily now!  Miracle!  

This week was full of a lot of cool experiences.  Just one that I would like to share was a walk we had with a member who's been planning to go on a mission.  We haven't seen him in about a month, and Elder Crookshank wanted to see him before he left, so we went by his home after dinner yesterday.  We rang his domaphone, and he picked up.  At first he tried to play it off like it wasn't him, but we told him to stop messing around and come downstairs so we could say goodbye.  We ended up walking with him for about an hour, just checking up on him and making sure that everyone was ok.  He's been a little depressed because he doesn't have the means to go on a mission, and the branch has been paying a lot of his expenses just in the process leading up to the mission, and there have been a lot of road bumps on the way.  It's been hard for him, and he just kindof fell off the map for a few weeks.  Anyway, we ended up sitting on a bench with him, and opening up to the bible and reading a verse from Phillipians.  It's a very well known verse, it's Phillipians 4:13 (mom I know that that is one of your favorites).  It reads the following:  13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

We testified to him that the Lord wants him to serve a mission.  To learn about his Gospel more, and to find joy from serving people that he's never met.  We testified that the Lord wants him to do it, and that if he's willing to put in his part, that God is a God of miracles, and has never ceased to be one, and that he can help him if he's doing everything he can.  We testified to him that there are people who he can touch in a special way that will help them realize that what he's saying is from the heart, and that what he is sharing is true.  It was a wonderful experience, and the Spirit was there strongly.  We all just felt very warm and happy, and felt the truth of the words which we had just shared with him.  The Savior lives, and as the Russians so beautifully say to one another on Easter "Jesus is risen.  Indeed, he is risen."  Anyway, I love you all!  I hope you all had an amazing week!  Mom, dad, Caroline, Ryan, David, Spencer, Rebecca, Nathan, I love you all so much!  Extended family and friends, I love you all so much!  I hope you all had a wonderful Easter Sunday!  Mom, Happy Birthday, one more time, just for good measure!

Have a great week!


Elder Belnap

Pictures:  Our district, doing service for the coolest family in the world, and pictures with people who came to our game night.

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