Monday, June 6, 2016

June 6, 2016.

Well, I'll get your letter soon, but I'll go ahead and get started on my end.  First off, loved all the pictures you sent.  Tristan is SOOOO TALL.  My goodness, I was also laughing a bit at Trevor's goatee.  I'm glad you got to see them and have a good time.  Also, I started laughing at the picture of Grandma resting on the kleenex box, oh how I miss seeing that after dinner :).

This last week has been one of the more interesting ones.  We were probably home late every night this week except for one, all of which for reasons outside of our control.  One of which is that we had to help transport a 300 pound man with no legs home twice, another was that our washing machine wasn't working and we had done laundry at the apartment of the other missionaries, and on our way home Elder Hallstrom asked if we could be home late because he desperately needed a fresh change of clothes.  I won't say how long he had to wear the same pair of garments.  Ok I will, it would have been his 4th day in a row!  Yuck!  We had hoped that our landlady would fix things, and so we hadn't yet thrown a load of laundry in at the other Elder's, but then things weren't fixed, anyway, there was literally nothing that we could do.  This week by the way we had no hot water and no washing machine and a broken oven which made things interesting.  

Anyway, all temporal things aside it was an awesome week!  I'll focus on yesterday and today though, because it has been two awesome days.  For those of you that are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints you won't understand who these people are, they're just members of the leadership of our church, but Bishop Davies (of the Presiding Bishopric) and Elder Klebingot (Memmber of the Quorom of the Seventy) were here in St. Petersburg!  We had a Stake Conference yesterday, and as if that wasn't surprise enough, I saw the Fitzgerald's at the Conference!  That was a big shock, but a lot of fun.  Anyway, the conference was powerful and spirit-filled.  I got to see a lot of members from Nevsky which was awesome, and I got to sit with a young family from the Kolpino ward and help keep their 2 crazy kids entertained while their parents got to listen.  It felt good to help them get a little respite.  If that's one thing I've learned being in a family of 6 kids is that you're a lot more interested in doing what the family friend has for you at times, then what your parents are trying to do ;).  Sorry mom and dad that it's like that a lot of the time/all the time.

Anyway, this morning, we got to have a mission conference with Bishop Davies and Elder Klebingot!  It was awesome and I took a lot from it.  Elder Klebingot talked a lot about a myriad of differnet subjects, but he gave us 3 pointers that he said will serve us well in life if we really apply them.  *Disclaimer* He also said he wasn't afraid to offend us because he's German and that it's our choice to be offended by someone else :).
1) Don't whine.  When you get something that you don't deserve because you've been doing a good job, think of the Savior who deserved none of the pain, torture, and humiliation which he received, but who still took it all.
2) Being a little scared is good, don't let it stop you from acting!  Those butterflies in our stomach are good!  They keep us humble and dependent on the Lord.  I forgot his name, but he was the Dean of Religious Education at BYU and he told Elder Klebingot on his first day of teaching that "I've been teaching for 50 years and every time before I'm about to have a class I get those butterflies in my stomach.  The day I stop having those feelings is the day I stop teaching."  He was just illustrating how it's ok to be afraid but that we have to act.  Like Moses and the Red Sea, the Sea didn't depart until someone took a step of faith forward.
3) Be Gospel Scholars.  Study the Gospel, love the Gospel.  Make goals now that you will stick to on your missions and the rest of your lives.  Our missions don't have to be our spiritual peaks, but that as we keep growing and deepening our understanding of the scriptures and that everything God has given us, our gratefulness for him will grow, and our ability to serve will grow.

Anyway, hope you can glean something out of that.  Mom and Dad, The Fitzgerald's, Elder Klebingot, and Bishop Davies pass on their regards!  Bishop Davies asked if my dad just so happened to be Stake President in NYC a number of years ago, and Elder Klebingot said he remembered hearing about my call.  Those both came as a little bit of a shock :).  I love you all very much and I hope you have a great week!  


Elder Belnap

A beautiful view on the way to an appointment

We were stuck in an elevator and Elder Hallstrom got so excited.  It was super funny, the rest of the night he was saying, "I've always wanted to get stuck in an elevator!  But I've always imagined the whole scene from "You Got Mail" in it when they say, 'when I get out, I'm gonna do...' ".  It was super funny

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