Monday, August 8, 2016

August 8, 2016

Dear Family and Friends, 

What a week!  We've been tossed all over the place, and just as we're getting settled in we find out that I have a visa trip this week that somehow slipped through the cracks, and so I got a last minute ticket that brings me through Moscow, with a long layover, following which I'll go back to St. Petersburg.  All the other flights directly to St. Petersburg were booked, so I'm flying  there on Wednesday afternoon and then late at night getting to St. Petersburg.  The adventures you have when you get exiled to the beautiful place of K-Grad ;).  

It actually is absolutely gorgeous here, it's been raining for a couple of days, but it's cleared up and for a P-Day activity we're going to fort with a couple of members which will be super fun, I'll be sure to send pictures next week (I forgot my adapter this week, sorry).  A couple of random things that I forgot to mention last week, I actually got quite the tan because we mixed cement on a rooftop up in Vyborg with some members the week before I left Sestroretzk (Vyborg is the city where we would go to to do companion exchanges with the other volunteers).  Anyway, the volunteer that I was on an exchange with, Elder Larson (by the way, he and I came to K-Grad together which got me super excited because we get along great) had to go fetch water from an actual well in order to mix the cement.  I didn't get a picture, but it was so much fun, never thought that 'water well' was a word I'd ever learn in Russian :).  

This Sunday I started work as the 2nd Counselor and it's a lot of fun.  This branch has about 40 people who come on a weekly basis, which is the most I've seen yet in Russia which was awesome to see.  It was really weird sitting up on the stand and being turned to to help solve problems.  It's been very humbling, and it's made me all the more grateful for those who take such a calling upon themselves as fathers, and full-time employees.  I'm really excited for this wonderful opportunity to serve and all the wonderful lessons of humility and service that will come from it.  It's awesome to see everyday just how doing something with a desire to help someone else just feels good.  It makes me excited to search out more opportunities for that when I get home just in everyday life, because having it be your one focus just feels so good.  

I'm also the one in an area that is now responsible for translating, as well as having the opportunity to conduct meetings, and even in the last few days I've seen my ability to speak and communicate increase more which has been cool.  The more I feel like things are far more than I can handle, and the more overwhelmed I feel, the more I realize that sincere prayer works.  I've known and felt that for a long time, but it's become a deeper understanding over the last couple of days.  I know God wants to help us and prayer is the medium by which we come to know his will, which is better than any plans that we might have for ourself, because he knows the whole picture, and more often than not all we're really aware of is what's going on in our lives right now.  I know that reaching out to God and reaching out to others in order to serve bring true happiness, something that isn't possible to gain in any other way.  When Elder Klebingot was here teaching us a few months ago he told us, "Whenever you're feeling down and looking down, thinking that you can't do this, look up, and go find someone else you can serve."  If anyone who is getting this email is having a hard time, I know that looking for someone to help who might very well be having a harder time will help you feel better.  Somehow, it works, and it's something I've learned from experience :).

Anyway, I  love you all, and I hope you're having a great week, and that if this week has been off to a rough start, that things will get better.  


Elder Belnap

P.S.  Hey could you send my friend mitchell's e-mail address?  Love you momma!  Glad to hear about the reunion, and that everything went well.  Glad that Tambi is moved in and that things will work well, well better now.  Pass on to Grandma and Grandpa my love for them, and how proud I am of them.  They're both such examples :).  

Love you!

PPS.  Hey momma!  Noticed you just sent something to me.  Hope you're having a good day and actually going to start writing me earlier so you can get some sleep :).  I'm flying to Moscow on Wednesday because my flight to have my visa trip got messed up.  Feel free to warn people that I'm going to be on home turf in the airport this Wedneday ;).  Just kidding!  I'll be sure to take a picture though :).  Love you momma I'll get started on my letter to you!


Elder Belnap

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