Monday, June 20, 2016

June 20, 2016

Dear Family and Friends, 

Wow what a week!  Seriously, I don't really know where to begin.  First off, SUPER COOl, that you saw Сестра Рикс, she was one of the hardest working sisters in our mission before she left, and her testimony at the transfer meeting when she left is still clearly in my mind.  Glad she made the connection between me and Spence (it's the nose).  Glad my email last week could do some good, and that everyone is taking off to do things.  It makes me laugh that you wrote "CJB is taking off for girls camp"...I think you're stuck about 5 or more years in the past with that slip up mom.  I know Caroline is glad to be done with anything that has the word camp in it.  Speaking of Caroline, I know I gave her a shout out last week, but since her birthday was 2 days ago I can't help but giving her another shout out!  Love you sista, hope Hawaii was nice, but I'm kinda jealous.  Wearing suits all the time can get very sweaty, that's probably why Elders always drop weight in our mission.  

So big news this week.  I'm training!.....but not in Kolpino.  I was supposed to stay here, but the day before transfer calls I ran into the same drunk man that had given us a hard time a while ago, and this time he threatened me.  So, after I reported everything to President Childs, he called during transfers and relayed that he felt good about leaving me there after receiving my call, but then prayed and said he received the prompting that I need to go somewhere else.  I'm super sad because I only got the 1 transfer here, and it's a wonderful place and a really good ward.  I've managed to get close to a lot of the Young Men, and one of the less active young men came to church on Sunday who hadn't been for more than a year just to say goodbye!  Anyway, I'll be finishing the training of Elder Ward (which was started by my old companion Elder Crookshank) and Elder Crookshank will be taking my spot here in Kolpino!  So that's all been a big surprise, it's a shame that I just got all settled into routines and everything and that I'm taking off again, but oh well, I'll take off to wherever I need to!  I'm also really excited to have the opportunity to train and be district leader in сестрорецк, a little city North of St. Petersburg, still in stake boundaries, which is a branch with a lot of primary-aged kids and cute young families.  

Along with that, I couldn't leave Kolpino without going to Pushkin, where the great Catherine's Palace is.  And it. Is. BEAUTIFUL.  I'll send a couple pictures, but it doesn't even do it justice.  We went there today, and it was the best P-Day activity ever.  It was also fun meeting tourists and being reminded how much our Russian has come along.  Anyway, we listened to this Russian quartet in this little palace next to the main one, and the acoustics were amazing, they accepted dollars, so Elder hallstrom and I pooled our cash to buy their 3 discs, because if you pay in dollars or euros, the third disc is free.  

Little spiritual thought for the week is just about looking into how we can use our time better even when we think we're doing well enough!  These last couple weeks Elder Hallstrom and I have been trying to figure out how to study the scriptures better and remember where things are in order to better use the scriptures on lessons.  We ended up making flashcards and we have been quizzing eachother when on our way to meetings when we used to try and do some russian study together or just try to not waste our time talking about non-important things (but of course we're not perfect and we'd get off on tangents every once and a while.  Elder Hallstrom and different types of wood...(it's a funny sight to see him naming different types of wood just by looking at it, it's like David telling what type of bird by it's flight pattern).  Anyway, we've memorized where scriptures are better and it's already helped us a lot on lessons!  When I was teaching the youth this Sunday some of those scriptures came to mind a couple of times and helped a lot!  So the lesson was two-fold, even if we're doing something like walking from one place to another quickly, we can find a way to use our time more effectively.  The second part was that the Spirit can help us call all things to our remembrance as promised, but we need to have something to call to remembrance first!  If our brains are empty, there's not really anything the Spirit can do to help us.  But, if we fill our minds with good ideas, goals, and try our hardest to study, it can, and will, help us in those times of need.  I love you all very much and I hope you have a great week!


Elder Belnap
Palace of Catherine the Great at Pushkin

Christopher at Palace of Catherie the Great at Pushkin

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