Monday, January 30, 2012

From Russia with Love!

Hello Everyone! Okay there is a lot to tell and say and not a lot of time to say it. So my travels here were good, but very long, I was literally traveling for like 3 or 4 days until I finally got to my area, which I'll tell you about later on. First I flew from SLC to New York, and then from New York to Moscow, where I stayed for almost the whole day, and yeah there was a little culture shock there, it's more capitalist than you would probably think it to be, but there is some really cool stuff and it was very interesting, I didn't get a good chance to take a lot of photos but I will on the return trip of course. We drove all over the place down there, we had to go to the embassy and then to another airport to fly down to Rostov, and then when we got to Rostov we had to get to the Mission President's house, and he is very interesting haha, he is nice but very serious when he needs to be but he warms up to you if you get to know him a bit, haha but I like him, he's good and he speaks English very well, almost without an accent. 
After I spent the night at his house I took a train to Krasnodar with another Elder and then we spent the night there and in the morning my companion and I took a train to my area, which is Novorossiysk, it's a shipping town on the Black Sea, it's pretty epic. We have a branch here of around 10 to 12 members, it's very small but we have a couple investigators that I'll tell you about. My companion/trainer is Elder Reigngard, he's from Ukraine, he speaks fluent Russian of course, he is trying to learn English but he does a pretty good job with speaking it. As a consequence, we speak Russian a lot and English a lot. He plays guitar and was in a band before the mission and he likes a lot of stuff that I like, he is cool and all is well! Novorossiysk is pretty cool, it is way different from anywhere in America that I've ever seen, there is a lot of abandoned/blown up building from World War 2 and from poverty around here, not too many in the city but on the outskirts there's a lot of stuff like that. The city's not too big, but it's not very small either. There are a lot big ships here, there's a battleship too so I'll have to send you some pictures, I'm attaching some pictures that I took from our apartment and other pictures and stuff, put em on facebook would you?

So on the train to my area we met a guy who served in the Russian military in Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, it was pretty cool to talk to him. So here we have a couple of Investigators, one is Igor who served in the army, we set a baptismal date for him in mid-February, so we'll see how that goes, he has a lot of desire to be baptised, another set of Investigators is Andrei and Artyom, a father and son, they are awesome, they really care about us and love the Gospel, Artyom is like 13 or 14 years old and he reminds me a lot of Jake and Andrei, his dad, is a sailor, he helped me a get an awesome Seal Ushanka hat, I'll have to send you a picture next week, it's awesome! We have a girl, I haven't met her yet who wants to be baptised but her husband won't let her so we'll see how that goes and we have some referrals from members too. The branch here is cool, the branch president has painted a lot of pictures for the church, he looks a lot like Sammy Johns or the singer from ABBA, I'll have to send you a photo sometime, the branch thinks I'm funny because of all the Star Wars stuff haha. We eat Russian food a lot, it's pretty good usually believe it or not haha, our apartment is very very humble compared to what we have in the US, it makes you appreciate things a lot more but it accommodates our needs just fine. We walk a ton and take buses sometimes, but we street contact a lot, I have some stories I'll need to tell you about that sometime. My Russian is improving a lot, I'm way immersed in it with my companion and everything else here, it's pretty cool. It's very cold here lately, I hope it warms up, but we'll see. Anyway, I have to go but I'll be emailing you all personally real fast if I can, don't put those on the blog of course. It was awesome to get to see you guys when you surprised me at the airport, I love and miss you all so much! I'm safe! Make sure you all stay safe and tell everyone at home I said hello! Until next week!

-Elder Skene

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