Monday, August 24, 2015

New Companion

I am glad that you liked my letter last week.  It is always a good feeling looking back and seeing that I succeeded in writing a good letter.  :)  The party was a blast and we met a bunch of cool people. Yeah, the apartment situation is pretty good! We finally got everyone moved in and settled this past week and now we can focus on preaching the Gospel. By the way, I am now the District Leader instead of Zone Leader. My new companion Elder Protopopov is Zone Leader by himself.
This is where the party was last week.  Also, it is the soccer field where the Russian Olympic team practiced.
I honestly am not worried about what you put out on the blog. I write my letters so that they don’t break any of the rules. We only have a couple rules about using names and last names of people. We shouldn't say "Oh yeah we had a great lesson with Alexander Pushkin this week" because that is pretty specific, but it is fine to say "We had a lesson with Alexander" because Russians use the same 10 names on pretty much all of their kids. Sergei, Vladimir, Alexander, Konstantine, Peter, Paul -  all the stereotypical Russian names you can think of, those are the ones they use. I am not sure why, but if the Russian Government found out that I was teaching a man named Sasha then they would have no clue because there are 5 million Sasha’s in Russia. I am not worried at all about the letters I write home being too much information. Post away!
I think it is kind of funny that you never heard from the Brinton’s but with the Perkinson’s you have had good communication….you even breakfast together before they left!

Great view of Irkutsk. It's huge.
I was in the MTC with Sister Oler but never talked to her. She was 6 weeks younger than us so we didn't see each other often. We met in Angarsk 4 months ago or so... I don’t remember exactly.
It is the end of summer in a week from now. The leaves already starting to fall from the trees and the mornings are getting kinda nippy - but the days are still hot.  It sounds like everyone is just getting back into the swing of things back at home. Going to school, and all that fun stuff.   I did get that picture of Elder Brown with his sister. That’s so sweet!  I miss him even though it has only been 3 days or so.

This week was a good week although a bit hectic. We had to help the other elders move apartments. When President Brinton was here, he made the decision to move some apartments closer to center and closer to the church. This was a mission wide decision. Now that President Perkinson is here, he made the decision that we should all live in different areas of the city to be able to find new people everywhere. I can't say which is better or worse I just think it is interesting how differently they think and work.
Transfers were good this past week! We are on the second week of the transfer and just barely got started doing missionary work. We were on weird split kinda thing from Monday (When Elder Sitton and Brown flew out to Vlad) until Thursday (when the new missionaries flew in). We were working in Irkutsk and Angarsk and had to balance all the weekly activities between us and the sisters who were doing the same thing.

After all the missionaries got here, we took them to our house and had 8 missionaries sleeping there. Way too many – ha ha.  We didn't have enough beds, a ton of them were on the ground. Me and my companion woke up at 5 am to take two of the missionaries to the airport because they had a flight at 6 am. We took them to the airport and sent them off with tickets in hand and hoped for the best. Then as soon as we got home we got a call from President Perkinson saying that the 2 missionaries missed their flight and that we had to get back to the airport to pick them up. When we got to the airport we realized that they didn't miss their flight, the flight was just delayed. The missionaries were struggling to communicate because the people at the airport don’t speak English and the new missionaries just barely left the MTC.  They had no clue what was going on. We got there and tried to figure out what was going on but nobody knew why the plane didn't take off, or when it would finally get off the ground or what we were supposed to do. We were told to simply wait and they would tell us later. The flight got pushed back to 8 am.  Then to 12 pm. We were a bit upset when the airport folks told us that they lost the missionaries luggage. How could that be? They never left the ground. We had to go talk to a couple important people in offices up on the 3rd or 4th floors of the airport and they helped us out. Then they told us to come back at 2 pm because the flight wasn't leaving any time soon and they would have more information at that time. So we left and got some lunch and came back at 2:00 pm. Still nobody knew what was going on. We finally heard an announcement at 2:30 that the flight would leave at 5:30 so we waited until then and tried sending the missionaries through a second time. We finally got them through and could only hope for the best. We really wanted to  go through security with them to help them find their gate but it wasn't allowed so we could only pray.  A few hours later we got a call from the Elders in Ulan Ude that the greenies arrived safe and sound. Phew!  Only 12 hours at the airport and we got the job done. Haha.  That was my first day together with my new companion, Elder Protopopov.  Awesome.
The next day we helped the other Elders move apartments and that was fun but not as big of an ordeal. Everything was pretty straightforward just a bit warm weather.  All was good :)

My companion is good!  Super fun.  He speaks Russian and English and is done with his mission in 2 more transfers so I might be with him till the end. I am super excited to learn a lot from him. He doesn't have a crazy different palette than us. He likes tacos and burritos and chicken and veggies and fruits. It’s all pretty much the same. We haven't prepared anything crazy or out of the ordinary yet but of course it’s only the 2nd week:)  He has had tacos before and he says he loves them. Good!
About your seminar on Goals, I know there is a ton of stuff written about it in Preach My Gospel. Maybe that could be of use.  I think the most important part of goals is the evaluation and responsibility associated with them. I have set some goals for myself but sometimes I forget completely about them and it was completely pointless to even make the goals. We should check up on ourselves frequently to make sure we are on track and if needed we should change our actions.  With President Brinton as President of the mission, we had goals and he promised if we had 100% obedience then we would achieve those goals. For the most part it worked but we also felt a bit confined in our area of work. There were some rules made that weren't really understandable. For instance we weren't allowed to go to Game Night and spend time with the members. Most of the time, game night wouldn't be very good if people knew that the missionaries weren't going to be there. We thought it would be better to attend, but that was just our thoughts. Nevertheless, we still followed the rules. Now President Perkinson is saying that we should be finding new ways to contact people. We should be using all parts of our mind to be coming up with new ways to meet people and share the gospel. Game nights are a good thing and we should be forming those good relationships with everyone. It is pretty different and both these ways seem to get the job done. So there are different ways to achieve goals. I wouldn't say that there is one sure fire solution to get the job done and we should be keeping all of our channels open in order to reach our goals.

Here is a quote from one of the weekly letters of President Perkinson:
"The Lord is Hastening His Work. Far East Russia needs a Temple. Will we as a mission keep pace with the Lord’s Hastening? Or, will we insist on doing things the way they have always been done, or the ways we are accustomed to or comfortable with? Will we each learn, repent, change and teach more effectively the Lord’s way? Or, will we be so entangled in traditions and patterns of the past that we will be unable to keep up with the pace of the Lord’s Hastening?"

I really like that and I think it is important to be adaptable and flexible and not get stuck in a rut. The only thing constant in this world is change and we should be right there with it not getting stuck in the past.
I hope you all have a good week and remember that no matter how crazy your week gets, no matter how sad you may feel, no matter what kind of situation you find yourself in, there is someone who knows how you feel. Jesus Christ knows that you exist and he loves you. I promise that you can find peace and joy in reading about and studying the life of our Savior.

I love you a lot and miss you too!

Elder Gardner

No comments:

Post a Comment