I am glad to hear that you have such good things going on in your life! It seems like time is simply flying by and I just can't grab on to slow it down no matter how badly I want to.
Quick side note, you might notice I took a big amount of money out of my account, that was because the Ruble was up at 70 rubles in a dollar. Elder Protopopov and I found out that 70 rubles to a dollar is the highest it has been at for a long time so I decided to pull money out in an attempt to capitalize on the opportunity. You don't have to worry, I didn't break anything and had to pay for it. I just wanted to take advantage of a good opportunity. :)
Today we are going to go to a Russian Orthodox Temple and I think it will be a really good opportunity. The more I learn about the church and its influence here in Russia, the more I am glad that it exists. Some Mormons might say, "It isn't the true church of God, we would be better off without it" But I am convinced more and more that all churches are a force for good in the world. Maybe they dont have all the truth revealed to them that would help them bring people closer to christ, but they definitely teach people that Jesus is their Savior and Redeemer. I think we all need a bit more love towards one another.
Yeah Elder Barr seems like a really cool guy. He was in a few Mormon videos on LDS.org and is in a band. They opened up for groups like Imagine Dragons and others. Pretty cool! Turns out they travel around and play music everywhere :) He’s a real life rock and roll star.
We were stuck in the airport with Elder Barr and also Elder Berrios. Elder Berrios is from Pima I think. Either Pima or Safford. I talked to him a little bit but we couldn't find any connections between who we know. Maybe if you talked to his parents you could find something else out. That Gila Valley part of Arizona seems so small that we are bound to know at least one of the same people. :)
That’s pretty cool that we are getting hits on the Blog from people in the states and also in the Mother Land:) Pretty soon I will be on the Larry King show and I will be baptizing Putin as well haha.
No, I haven’ been “Rhino’d.” Most of the time when people find out that I am American they either frown or get interested and ask how I am liking it here. Most aren't hostile. I haven't been the victim of violence, just insults. When I tell someone I am from America most of the time they say something along these lines "oh you’re American? That’s interesting, you’re pretty gutsy to be here. Did you know that we are enemies?" People think that we are enemies but they don’t really treat us like enemies - most of the time. I think the Russian people don’t like Americans just because that is what they have been taught. They are taught by their parents and the media and all through their life that we are enemies but I don’t think they actually believe it. I have noticed even when Elder Protopopov speaks to people, they are rude and mean to him. It has helped me understand that there are people in the world who are upset and it doesn't matter who you are, they will still say mean things. Don’t get offended, just let the person go on their way and maybe at a later time you can talk to them.
We have been switching up the food lately. Elder Brown taught me how to make some tasty white sauce before he went home. I have been making chicken alfredo :) Another favorite, which I didn't expect, is now Grilled Chicken on veggies. Just cut up your chicken into little cubes, season it with salt, pepper, and taco seasoning. Then cut up Veggies like cucumber and tomato and maybe some frozen veggies and put them in a bowl. Top it with your chicken:) I was hesitant to try it at first but before I knew what was going on Elder Protopopov made me a plate so I kind of had to try it. It was better than I expected so I am happy. I also learned from the Hare Krishna people how to make some good cake! Super easy recipe: 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of Манная Крупа (I googled it because I dont know how to say it in English. Wikipedia calls it Semolina. I think you maybe use it to make Cream of Wheat), 1 cup of milk or Kefir. 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, 1-2 cups of flour. You just mix it all up and you want the end product to be thick like brownie batter but not thick enough to pick up with your hands like bread dough. That’s the recipe they gave me but I always add vanilla and cinnamon and baking soda so that it rises and is a good tasty cake. I also add fruit into it, just cut em up and throw em in. Maybe even top the cake when it is done with some jam so it doesn't dry out too quick:) It is pretty tasty! Give it a shot!
At the stores you can buy bread rolls stuffed with either chicken and cheese, or mashed potatoes, or ham and cheese, or cabbage and mushrooms. Those are pretty Russian dished. Or maybe a Russian kind of fried rice called "Plov" although I know it isn't Russian. It is from a different country but I can't remember right now. Super good! We eat well enough here :) You just have to be smart enough to figure it out. In the beginning of my mission it was boring but now it’s getting better!
We haven't had hamburgers yet... that is something we need to try!
I really enjoy serving with Elder Protopopov. He is a great missionary and a great help to the work. I am glad to be his companion. People say I look kind of Russian so I am working on that right now. I just need to lose a little bit of weight and do my hair differently and get a better accent then I am good to go :)
I hope you have a good food filled week! I got really hungry typing about all the food I have been eating haha. I love you and miss you a lot :) I hope we are always trying to strengthen our own testimonies because that is the key to spiritual survival.
I love you and hope you have a good week!