Monday, January 9, 2017

January 9, 2017*

Dear Family and Friends, 

First off, happy birthday to Grandma!  I miss her very much and pass on my love to her.  I love the conversation that you were able to have with her mom.  Skiing also sounds really fun with Spencer and Nathan, I loved the pictures, it looked so picturesque.  Also, unlike the missing the plane, I didn't sleep through the alarm, I just set it for the wrong time.  I've actually never been better in my life at getting up and moving in the mornings.  Yeah,  I'm still obviously not Russian, accent has always been the hardest for me, but I'm not obviously American either, people a lot of the times will think I'm from the Baltics. I'll take it.  And for the most part people are really surprised once they start having an actual conversation with me, because I'll have an accent but for the most part there aren't many mistakes so that catches them off guard.  Yes, comp inventory is a weekly thing, just with some companions they're not as good at opening up and there's not really a lot you can get them to do, but finally getting Elder Tribe to open up was really good and helpful.    

Well, what a week.  The sad thing, is that I don't have a lot to tell you until next week after President and Sister Childs come!  Last P-Day since everyone was on breaks, we went to an arcade/bowling alley with a lot of the youth which was so much fun, They're all so good and I'll pass on the pictures to you.  We also had a Young Men's activity playing basketball on Thursday and it was really good for all of them to come together, and my companion who's involved in the Young Men's program in our congregation, was able to really get to talk to them more, so that was fun.  Although, all the Elders learned how bad we have become at basketball.  On Tuesday we started our companion exchange with the other Elders and I got to be with Elder Ward for a day and some change.  That was really cool.  We were both able to see how much we've grown in the 6 months since we were companions and that was really cool for us to see.  We just felt so good that night, had a lesson, helped someone get stuck out of ice (Oh, we've finally had bad weather, but it's nothing compared to what's in the states, but the ice is crazy and the roads are really bad here to begin with).  Then the next day, we all met up again to give for a lesson and it turned into us having a lesson, while our respective companions (the exchange was still going) tried for about an hour to change filters that would not budge, and the member wanted me to help out, because I was strong and the others were weak (it was really funny especially when one of the Elder's started taking exception to that), but I had cut my pinky pretty bad that morning, and everytime I tried to open it, the wound would split open pretty bad and start bleeding, but she still wanted me to do it.  It was interesting.  We then went out to find several people that lived in that area of town, and we saw a lot of miracles, just talking to people and meeting these members that many have forgotten about, and everyone that we got in contact with was more than happy to see us.  It makes me think, of 3 Nephi 18:32 which reads:
32 Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.

I love that verse!  And Elder Tribe had a cool experience when one of the people they stopped by said that "I know that you're just here to get my number because that's what you're supposed to do" and he was able to testify that it's more than that, that it's about helping people see the joy that comes into one's life when they use all the blessings that God has giving us, and repent in order to help them feel the same joy.  I'm not a perfect person, and I know I have a lot of improving to do, but I'm no longer stressed about by my imperfections, because a lot of them will be with me my whole life!  But, I know that as we all do our best, God can make up the difference and help us become whom we are incapable of becoming by our own strength.  I'll have a LOT to report next week, one of my favorite things about having the opportunity to serve is being 2nd counselor and counseling with President Childs about how we can strengthen people here and in what direction to move forward.  

Anyway, I love you all!

Have a great week!


Elder Belnap

A funny story not to share with everyone, but really funny:

Went to do дача service a couple weeks ago at a members, and we helped chop wood, and after she gave us food, and grape juice that she made from the grapes in her vineyard.  Anyway, she pours it all out, and Elder Babskov takes one sip and starts saying "Старейшины нельзя!" (Elders, not allowed)!  Anyway, turns out it was wine, and she thought that it was ok because of D&C 89 where it says " 6 And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make."  Anyway, we had a good laugh after we left with Elder Babskov, but it was just a crazy situation.  

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