Sunday, February 12, 2017

February 12, 2017

Well, here I am again, behind the computer, writing family and friends.  The days are still long and distinct, but I never had the understanding before my mission that weeks can go by faster than the days.  It honestly is a little too much for me to wrap my mind around.  

Anyway, week 1 for the millionth time is an appropriate title, because every week is entirely and completely it's own.  I always feel like I'm starting anew because there are so many things that I learn each and every week, and situations that we get ourselves into that aren't bad, but just different from anything I've before experienced.  For example, I'm in the ward young men's presidency, and so we work with the young men.  Young people talk very differently from old people aka they use so much slang.  So I've been working on my understanding them, and I've learned a lot about how youth speak/how I don't want to speak Russian.  It's really fun, and I just love falling into places that I've never been before because you learn so much that way.  My favorite word of the week that I learned was спеться which means "to click/to hit it off" but it literally means "to sing well together".  Anyway, it's been really fun being here as an assistant, because we get thrown into different situations a lot.  For example, being at the cemetery carrying a basket of flowers and listening to a loudspeaker recite the story of what happened here was far different from anything I've ever come across.

In terms of the work things are going great!  We had a kid randomly show up to church last week, and we still don't know how he found the church, he's not a member and is originally from Germany.  He's just studying here for a couple of years.  Anyway, he's 17 and has really hit it off with the other youth, came to church this last Sunday in a suit and tie, and we're excited to start working with him.  The other youth in the ward have really taken him under their wing, and have been inviting him to events.  It's been really cool to see them step up in a big way.  

We've also been working with one member named Erik, who's Russian but his roots are from somewhere else.  Anyway, he came to church on Sunday after we had a really powerful and good meeting with him at the Childs on Tuesday.  (Side note: the Childs take very good care of us, we were in the car the other day, and we had to all run from one meeting to the car to make it to a district meeting in a nearby city, and Sister Childs had thought ahead and realized we'd have no time for lunch, so she packed lunch ahead of time, it's like I'm in elementary school again and mom is packing me lunches, haha). He's really funny and speaks great English, so we just ask him any questions that he has, and he does the same for us.  Working with him though has shown me just how addictive being on your phone can be.  He's literally, ALWAYS on it, on Sunday I told him that it's like I have to be his parole officer and check up every few seconds if he's on his scriptures app or instagram.  He liked learning the word parole officer, and more often than not he was on instagram haha.  Anyway, I confess again mom, that you were right regarding phones being things that suck you in.  That doesn't mean I'm going to go Amish, but I'll be more aware of it ;) (for everyone that doesn't understand that, growing up we always teased mom that she just wanted to go Amish and completely unplug all the devices).  We've been working with several people, but those are the names that come to mind right now.   

I also got the package!  УРА!  Again, long story that I'm not going to get into.  But, we taught a lesson to our now investigator taxi driver on the way which was классно (cool)!  I put the dictaphone to good use and recorded the talk I gave on Sunday.  

I'll just wrap up with a couple of the thoughts I shared yesterday during my talk.  I was asked to chose my own topic and after thinking about it for a while, I decided that I just needed to read something, and I read a talk by Elder Boyd K. Packer entitled, "The Unwritten Order of Things".  At the end of the talk he shares a part of D&C 84:85 where it says "treasure up in your minds continually the words of life".  I read that and felt that that was what I should speak on.  I love that idea of treasuring up in our mind.  It reminds me of what Christ said, when he said: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  When we really do all we can to not just read words on a page, but truly study the scriptures, our heart starts to change and we start to become people that are less focused on the hustle and bustle of this world, but more focused on what God would have us do, and I know that he would have us do only that, which will bring ourselves and other people benefit.  

I love you all so much, and I hope you have a great week!


Elder Belnap

Pics from my favorite place to eat out in Novgorod

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