Monday, December 5, 2016

December 5, 2016

Mexi Fest подробнее 
Light the World
Nathan's quote
Childs and interpretations
Powerful spiritual meetings

Wow, what a week!  So we got transfer calls, President wants me to stay in Kaliningrad and continue to support, but unfortunately Elder Larson is on his way out.  He's one of my favorite Elders in the mission and I'm grateful for the opportunity to have had him in my district for a long time.  So, Elder Ward (my other trainee) will be coming here, Sister Brown will be training here, the Бабсковы will be coming back, and Elder Tribe and I will stay together.  I'm also the District Leader now.  I hate feeling like I'm very old on the mission, I still feel like I just got off the plan and still have so much to learn!  I was interpreting for the Childs on a lesson the other day (I'll fill you in on that later) and the word for gooseberries came up.  How I am I supposed to know the word for gooseberries when I don't even know what they are in English?  But now I know what they are in English, and I haven't quite committed to memory what they are called in Russian.  Essentially they are green with little lines and kind of look like little watermelons.  I was talking with President Childs about it this weekend when they were in Kaliningrad, and it made him laugh when I said that I love it when I need to interpret for people, because you are always humbled by it and your desire to learn just increases always. You just have no idea what to expect and the most random things crop up that you're never prepared for at the time.  But then you learn that and if that word will every come up in the next 50 years, hopefully I'll still remember it and it'll come in handy! President was laughing for a while about that because he translated General Conference talks to German for several years, and he said it was always gut-wrenching when people went off what they had written earlier and started quoting some poem.  We also had two return missionaries here, one that I missed by 2 weeks, and another who I knew for 2 or 3 months before she left home, which was weird realizing that as things stand right now, I'm in the 3rd oldest group of missionaries in the mission currently.  I have a not-so-good trait that inherently I don't like responsibility, and that's one thing that the Lord is trying to teach me here, lots of new missionaries, plus 2 native russian-speaking missionaries (breeding ground for misunderstandings), as well as other assignments.  I'm sure the lessons on humility will continue to flow this coming transfer :).

While the Childs were here we had the powerful spiritual opportunity to meet with a Less Active branch president who still believes very strongly but for various reasons stopped coming.  Mostly it was painful for him to see as people didn't do things the right way after he was released.  Anyway, it was a sweet meeting and we had a wonderful time.  The power of listening to people is real.  I have a strong testimony that as we listen to people, and show them that they can trust us, we can be ready to help them.  When we listen and the whole time are just thinking about how we can take what they are saying to prove our point, we don't show them love and it shows in our response.  Every time I'm on a meeting with President Childs that opportunity presents itself and it's truly an honor to see as he listens with his ears, mind, and heart, and that people open up to him.  Then, when he needs to say something, it's truly given to him the words that he needs in order to help the person in front of him.  The promise of D&C 100:6 which reads "For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say." is true.  

In other news, you asked for a little more detail on Mexi Fest.  Well, Elder Larson's mom loves making Cafe Rio, and so we did that.  We bought pork from a super nice butcher shop, and went around the city in order to get everything we needed (fortunately, there are tortillas in Russia, you just have to search).  We made the hats and pinata out of paper mache.  It took quite a bit of time, but it paid off in the turn out.  Usually we don't do that much of the events in our ward, but when it comes to Mexican food, for some reason they trust the Americans more than themselves (probably a good idea).  

To wrap up, I'll pass on a little part from an email that Nathan sent that I got this week that got me a little teary eyed as I read it.  He said, "Our family has made our house shine with Christmas, and our tree is beautiful. I'm glad that we could have a holiday about Jesus and the importance that he is, does, and says. And I am also glad for my family to celebrate with me this year."  First off, I love you Nate, you said it far better than I ever could, and second, I want to reiterate what he just shared.  That this holiday is to celebrate the birth of Christ for which I am so grateful.  For those of you that don't know what he did/want to know more, as well as for those born and raised Christian/Mormon, that we can learn from the Savior of the World.  I receive peace and joy as I read the scriptures, and I love reading the words that Christ himself spoke.  We're studying Luke right now in the early morning seminary class and I'm loving the opportunity to read the New Testament in Russian.  Christ was born, and He is risen, and thanks to him I'm truly at peace in this life.  There's a really cool video on that I watched a couple weeks ago that shows how we can try to follow his example better in our day to day lives better.  Go ahead and watch it :).

Love you all so very much!

Elder Belnap

Dima who went off to sea recently, he's the funniest man I know
There's a member who loves plates from the different countries/cities she's traveled too and her birthday was last week...I'll let you put the rest together :)

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