Monday, September 12, 2016

September 12, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

What a week!  I honestly don't know what to start with, maybe with the subject heading for this email!  So, being volunteers, we try to do lots of service, the more the better, and the other week we really got going on doing service at the local zoo! We've had various jobs, none of which involve us touching/working with animals (the Missionary Department of the Church would probably freak out over that), but thus far my favorite has absolutely been painting the gate for the giraffe cage!

The people at the zoo are so nice, and they've really taken a liking for us, there was one lady there who has started calling me саша because she said that I just look like one, and I speak well enough that I can pass for being named саша, what a compliment!  I've also been trying to help the Branch President a lot and not feel too overwhelmed, but this week I was able to arrange a Presidency Meeting before Ward Council which went super well.  It was the first time we had an agenda for Ward Council which went super well, and we were able to split up responsibilities among us so that we each know over which organization we're in charge of in order to find out if anyone in that organization needs particular help and what we can do to help.  For all my friends who aren't members of our Church, I apologize for the overload of church-related vocabulary, it's basically a bunch of meetings that we have to make sure that things are coordinated and so that individual people are watched out for and given the help that they need.  I was really happy that we were able to do that, because it really showed just how much organization helps.  It's still a talent I'm trying to develop, but it's coming along.  

We had a couple of cultural activites this week, one was a soccer game, which was super fun, and we went with a recently activated man who is very sweet. It was fun, but I enjoyed seeing the Калиниградский Оркестр "The Kaliningrad Orchestra" a lot more.  It's so interesting what good music does to the soul, and watching so many things coming together as one made it really cool.  We went with a member and her friend, and it was wonrderful.  They closed the concert with "My Way" by Frank Sinatra, just the instrumental, and it was awesome.  Reminded me a lot about what our work requires as volunteers, as contributing members of society, it 2 violinists were to go off on different notes, the rest would have sounded just as bad with them, but when it's all working together, it comes together beautifully.  It was actually a really spiritual moment, and I'll be sure to send pictures (the computer still isn't working!  I know, I'm sorry, I know all you want is pictures).

I saved the best news for last, I'm getting a trainee in 2 days!  I'm sad Elder Hawkins and I are ending our time as companions, it was a lot of fun, but I'm also super excited for a trainee.  One thing I've been doing this week is I've started writing out my testimony of each of the points of doctrine in Preach My Gospel.  I've loved it because it really helps me get my feelings out in a coherent way, and then I will be translating to Russian for language study just to make sure all my feelings about what is most dear to me are the things I can explain clearly.  I think it was Albert Einsten that said, "If you can't say it clearly, you don't know it well enough"!

I love you all, have a great week!


Elder Belnap

P.S.  Can you add to the list?  He was my RA freshman year.  Also, one story I forgot to mention, the lady that we helped walk only a few yards a couple of weeks ago and praised our family all the way back to Adam, well we ran into her again today.  She said pass on to мамичка and папичка (dimunitive forms for mom and dad) health and spiritual strength, she's such a sweet lady and I had to honor her request :)

Love you!

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