Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 2 in Angarsk

Hey there:) Angarsk is great! Not too cold actually, I would dare say it is warmer than Nakhodka. At least it has been warmer for the majority of the time I have been here. There is still wind, but I would say less than Nakhodka. My companion is Elder Cluff. He is from Nevada. A small town a few hours from Las Vegas. He is a real small town boy. He reminds me of Austin, Jared and Jason. He always tells me about how he went hunting and fishing and hiking and off-roading in his truck. haha  He is fun:) He just hit his year mark, so about 4 months older than I am on the mission.

This week was a bit harder. We were on the street about 90% of the time this week. We met about 15 new people who gave us their phone numbers and agreed to meet with us throughout the week, but they didn't answer or said they were busy. It kind of feels like I am starting over here in Angarsk, but it at the same time feels exactly the same. The people are all the same, in my opinion. I haven't noticed any big difference between Nakhodka residents and Angarsk residents. 

I am so jealous that you got a lemon tree! I wish we made more sweets here. We will have to make some lemon bars over here. Do you have a recipe that you could send to me? That would be such a blessing:)  Oh fun fact, they have a thing here in Russia called Blini It is their version of crepes! They have a blini shop not far from our house and they make them just like they did in St. Martin! Pretty sweet:) Very tasty.

I am also jealous that you get to go see Kenny Chesney in concert! All we can do here is sing Kenny Chesney, or hum it when we forget the words. Right now I have "Sit right here, and have another (root) beer in Mexico" stuck in my head. Turns out, the American music scene is very popular here in Russia. I was talking to some people and they mentioned how much they love Bon Jovi. I told them I had the privilege to see him in concert and they were very jealous!

Church is completely different here in Angarsk. We have a sacrament meeting attendance of around 20. That is counting the missionaries. We have enough priesthood here to have good leadership though, which is a big blessing. In Nakhodka we struggled having the men come. There are some people here who tell me about the times when they remember having 10 people at church and they were ecstatic. It is cool to see the progress:)  I don’t know if you have looked on the website recently, but there should be a new video that the church made. It is called "Because He lives" ( Pretty great! I have only watched it in Russian though, maybe in a year or so I can watch it in English.

Mom asked if I thought I was good at speaking Russian.  I don’t like talking about my Russian abilities because I really don’t find Russian very hard and I am judging myself. I hear a bunch of people saying it is a hard language but I don’t find myself struggling often. If I don’t understand a word, I ask the person to go back and I pull out my notebook to write it down. Maybe sometimes I am annoying because I stop people in the middle of their stories, but if I don’t ask right away I forget. I understand a lot, although I am hesitant to say I understand everything. There is always something to improve. I rarely get lost when people talk, it is easy to follow a train of thought when I listen to people speak, but this is all from my perspective.

Church stuff is really cool! It is really cool when you stop to think about scriptures. There were prophets of God who lived on the Earth. They received instruction and guidance from the Creator of Heaven and Earth and wrote it down on golden or brass plates that they melted and created by hand. One of these prophets received instruction to take his family and leave his home. He did it. He packed up and headed into the woods where he really had no clue where he was going. They built a boat and travelled out onto the ocean hoping to find land. They found it and started a civilization which is still existent today. This whole time they built cities and roads and travelled and had wars and raised families and kept records about everything they did. Their family history was buried in the ground and over a thousand years later was found. It was translated by the power of God working through a young boy. Now we have the chance to share that with literally the entire world. That is all true, and pretty darn cool:)

I love you all a lot.  I will see you all soon! The Church is true, the Book is blue, and Moroni is always on the ball.

Elder Gardner

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