It’s kind of surreal that it is already 2016. I graduated in 2014 and by the worlds standards I haven't accomplished much. Nevertheless, I am glad to be here on a mission, it really is quite a journey and not a very straightforward one at that. This past week was full of activities and work like always. We had a meeting with President Perkinson and had a great English Practice where we talked about Goals and Bucket lists. What kind of goals did you set this past year? Which ones did you actually accomplish? I learned how to balance a soccer ball on my foot (the technical term is "stalling" a soccer ball) I also re-learned how to juggle. I also learned how to make sugar cookies and cobbler and bread and I learned how to spin a basketball on my fingers. I didn't set any of those goals at the beginning of the year but I learned them anyways ha ha :)
|We made sugar cookies without cookie cutters.|
The 10 days after New Years are pretty slow. Not a ton of people are out and about but we are still trying to do what we can to find people and teach them about Jesus Christ. The New Year’s festivities were fun although limited. We worked like usual but there weren't a whole lot of people out on the streets to talk to. They were all in the park where they set up big ice sculptures and a gigantic tree with lights and booths for photos with Father Frost and it was all cool to look at although we didn't dare approach the crowds. We haven't completely lost our minds yet J Only one more week until everything is back to normal.
|Hanging with Father Frost|
We spent a lot of time this past week with President Soolemanov. We helped him at an orphanage and we hung up a new plaque for their building. We also made a fun video with the kids there and Father Frost came and wished them a happy New Year! A few days later we went and played soccer with the president and his professional team. I actually didn't play I just filmed it but Elder Tracy played and it looked like a lot of fun - even though it was negative 25 degrees. After that we went to visit the lady that we always help. We help her clean her house. We went to wish her a happy new year and she brought out a big bottle of champagne for us to drink. She said it was just juice, but she wasn't fooling anyone! We showed her the alcohol content and then told her that we wouldn't drink it. We brought some juice with us though so we all drank juice together and she gave us some chocolate :) Then we all sang hymns and bought her some bread. I will miss her.
|Helping at the orphanage|
Oh yeah, I am getting transferred out of Irkutsk. I have been here since June and now I am going to be serving in Artyom. Right now I am over 1,500 miles away from Vladivostok. In a few days I will be serving in a city that is only 25 miles from there. Oh and I won't be Zone Leader anymore. I will be the Branch President for the branch in Artyom. I think the Lord is just trying to make me stretch and grow. I will miss them all so much. I love Irkutsk.
|I love the people of Irkutsk|
I did the best I could as Zone Leader. I communicated everything that I needed to as quickly and clearly as possible and tried to be as much help to President Perkinson as I could. Now I will have different responsibilities of course. Artyom is a small branch and I hope I can strengthen them with the Lords guidance. Of course I am not really worried. I understand that I can't do everything on my own. I will be doing as much as I can and I trust the Lord to do his part.
|Playing soccer in 2016|
|This is the soccer field.|
My new companion will be Elder Seabach and I think he is great! I met him when I was in Vlad a few weeks ago and he is such a card. He is a lot of fun :) He will be the district leader and there will be 2 sisters in our district. One sister is Sister Hawley, she is right now with us in Irkutsk and we are both getting transferred to Artyom.
|Elder Burningham is a stud, this cat is so crazy haha it tries to eat everything that moves|
I fixed the coat and got a bright gold zipper on it. Pretty great! The Ruble is now at 74 or so right now :) I heard that it will go over 100 soon.
I miss you all so much! I hope you have a great week and enjoy the photos I sent.