Monday, April 30, 2012

Mother's Day Soon!

Hey! So really there isn't much to report this week, nothing super eventful other than Elder Belnap lost his wallet on a bus sadly, but other than that nothing too crazy, just the usual work, but everything's fine and we're safe. We have had more success with people on the street lately though so hopefully something comes of it. I don't have a lot of time this week so I'll have to keep things shorter on this letter, but what is exciting is we are going to that dacha to do service tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes, and we have zone conference this week and we'll be in Krasnodar from Wednesday night to Friday morning, so that should be fun. No news on my transfer yet of course but I'll keep you updated when I find out in like three weeks haha. Other than that we are alright here and thankfully the apartment has water now haha. Oh hey so funniest thing ever, I have a straight up bowl cut now, and it's allowed in the mission apparently, the razor we were using pretty much died when we were cutting my hair, I'll send a pic, I'll get rid of it after zone conference but it's way funny haha. Anyways, as far as skype goes, Mother's Day is the second Sunday in May so Brad will be back in Novo by then and he offered to let us use stuff to call you, I'll either use an Ipad or a MacPro, so we can use facetime and/or skype I guess, and I guess I'll call in the evening around 7pm or 8pm here local time so it's more towards the morning for you guys over there. but I'm not sure about this stuff yet, but I'll let you know everything as soon as I can I'll talk to Brad about it and get everything down this week. I love you guys, stay safe!
-Elder Skene

Monday, April 23, 2012

A New Name!

Hey everyone! So the visa trip was cool, everything went fine for the most part, the whole first half of the trip before we got to Donetsk, a few people in the car were saying that we were lucky because nothing is gonna happen on this visa trip and it's going to be boring and normal, that was until we got to Donetsk, when our mission driver parked in a bus drop off/pick up zone and the police came and well all and all he got a ticket and they raged at us, but the Ukraine is cool I guess, it looks a ton like Russia, almost no difference honestly. I'm sending a photo of when we stopped for lunch. I'm also sending a photo of a prank that some Elders in my zone played on me, remember how I told you that they forgot the package when they came on splits down here in Novorosysisk? Well wen I went up to Krasnodar to spend a night there with the zone leaders for my visa trip, it was epic, there was a lot of people there, like 8, that's almost 1/3 of our 30 elder mission haha, anyways, they made a fake package from an older one that was addressed to Elder Hill, and they put my address labels on it and everything, it looked way legit, and then they set up a hidden camera before I opened it, they know I like trolling and I've been trolling them too so it's all good, anyways, so the package was filled with dirt, I literally thought it was the package from you guys, the reaction was hilarious, it was so funny, I love seeing the other elders, but I got my real package of course though, and I love it, thanks! Speaking of that, I think I'll just get some Russian shoes here, the style is so rad, looks like the Grinch kind of haha, what do you think? Also could you send the movie 17 Miracles too? It's also allowed and it's pretty good too, if it's not too much to ask. I have no idea about the next transfers to answer your question but I can pretty much guarantee that I'm leaving to another area and by the way things swing in our mission, it looks like I'll probably go to either southern Rostov, Sochi, or Krasnodar, but we'll see what happens, I hope it will be a great transfer!
Anyways, things here are good, we're still just moving along with everything. Oh and by the way my name got changed to Elder Travis here due to the whole skin head thing so that will be my new name tags, funny right? Today after we write this we might go look at the oil pumping facilities with Brad, he's the American member who lives here that I've been telling you about, he's way awesome and he's like 53 and works for Chevron, we usually eat with him and his wife on Sundays, but he asked us to come up if we wanted to because it's pday so we said why not and so we are gonna go up hopefully, they pump over a million barrels a day, so it will be cool to see I think, I'll need to get some pictures. Other than that not too much news, almost my whole week was spent traveling, about 27 hours in total, no joke. Well I love you guys so much, I don't have much time to write this week though, the computer here crashed 3 times, so I had to fool around with stuff for like 20 minutes just trying to get things working, so I'll have to keep in shorter in my emails to you guys personally. Well I'll let you know if I find out about my transfer, but it will be in about 5 weeks when I do so I'll just have to wait until then, for mothers day in the second Sunday in May right? If so, Brad will be back in town and he offered to let us use his Ipad and his Imac for skype so we can see each other while we talk, way cool, I guess you guys could just use Dad's Ipad for that, but we'll see what happens! I love you all and may the force be with you!

-Elder Skene (Or perhaps I should say Elder Travis)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Visa Trip Baby!

Hello everyone! First off, thanks for your letters and pictures, really they are awesome. I kinda thought best buy could be tanking, even when I was there, I followed the stock throughout my time working and it was getting pretty low, then again though that was at a time when a ton of stocks were getting low and then rocketing back up, except for BBY haha. Anyways, as I've told you all I would tell you about my visa trip as soon as I found out the news, and now I have! I leave tomorrow for Donetsk, Ukraine. I will travel first to Krasnodar tomorrow, spend a night there, then Rostov, spend a night there, then go to Donetsk and back, which is about a 13 or 14 hour round trip. Then I'll spend another night in Rostov, then back to Krasnodar to spend another night, then back to Novo, which will be on Saturday, wild right? At least my visa went through all right apparently though. My visa group consists of Elder Sandoval, Elder Mantell, The Potters who are a senior couple here, Sister Witaker, and Elder Smidt. I know all these people pretty well actually except for Elder Smidt, I've only met him once and we just went to Subway in Rostov when I first got to Russia is all, but they're all way rad.
This week was pretty interesting, we watched conference in Russian and I've seen in in English, but we understand what they're saying when we watch it in Russian so it's good. Watching it reminded me of when I went to Priesthood Session with Dad and then to the Red Iguana, that was so cool, one of the best Saturday nights I've ever had.  Anyways, so Elder Reingard and Elder Sprouse who are the zone leaders, (well actually just Elder Reingard is, Elder Sprouse is too young in the mission), they forgot my package when they came on splits, so I'll have to get it tomorrow when I go up to Krasnodar. This week was cool, I'm just sending up a picture of the Church meeting we had yesterday, we painted eggs and ate cake and watched conference, just some of the people are in that photo who come to church, we usually have about 15 people a week or so come to sacrament meeting. The testimonies of these people are amazing. We have 2 Americans like I said in the ward, Brad and Linda, he works for Chevron, we have been to his house for dinner twice, he's so sick, he helps us with church stuff and missionary work but he doesn't actually speak any Russian, he has a translator at his job haha. They are in the picture I sent. We also go sign boarding, it's kinda fun actually, I sent a picture of that too, it's where we talk to people like on the beach or in the park as they walk by our sign, it's cool. Also, I found out that I'll stay in Novo for one more transfer with Elder Belnap, which is cool but kinda made me a little annoyed due to the water and terrible apartment situation here, our area is known throughout the mission as the worst apartment, but we are getting more water now haha, things are improving and I can't complain, life is what you make of it, and as they say in the church, callings are seldom convenient. I just gotta make the best of it, we've already had success and I love the members here! Well not too much else, Igor couldn't be confirmed again because he has a way sick daughter at home, like she has a disease or something I guess. But he promised he could make it next week, he's pretty cool so it's good. Also, we went to Anapa this week, it was sick, google earth it, it's actually part of our proselyting area. Well until next week! I love you all, and May the Force be with You!

-Elder Skene

Monday, April 9, 2012

Another week!

Hey so not too much new stuff happened this week, we have just been trying to work with our current investigators, and Igor couldn't be confirmed because the branch president here couldn't show up because he had an emergency! So we have to wait until next week because we wanted him to do it because we want him to give the blessing. But other than that there isn't much, like nothing really eventful happened that was way out of the ordinary, we went and met with the American Mormons here, Brad and Linda, they are awesome. I think I already told you about him? Anyways, we're just doing well here, I'm not anticipating a transfer but we'll see. We go on splits with the zone leaders today. But everything is good and I don't need anything right now, I'm just trying to maybe see at what shoes I can get here because the Clarks I have now are starting to wear out. But all is well and the Church is true! I love you all, stay safe!
-Elder Skene

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Baptism!

Hey! So as the title says, we had a baptism, Igor the Army Man got baptised! It was awesome! I got to baptise him, I had never heard how to do it before in Russian so it was interesting, but it worked out and it was way spiritual and cool! I was talking to him before the baptism about his life a little bit more, he was in the Russian Army for 14 years, fought in the Chechnian War, and left as a Major in Recon. Way cool right? The first person I baptised in Russia was almost as high as a general in the Russian Military, epic! Well other than that there isn't too much to report, we did it in a sauna thing because everyone agreed that it was a little too cold to do it in the Black Sea unless it was our only option. I'm attaching pictures of course too. 
The baptism made the whole week so much better, it's been tough lately. We haven't had any water for almost the entire week, and the weather has been way bad so missionary work has been difficult. But it's all good! To answer some of your questions, I don't know when the next zone conference will be, we already had one for this transfer, which ends in like a week or two. I don't anticipate being moved, but I can't say for sure. I don't know anything about the Ukraine visa trip yet, but I'll let know as soon as a I do. The President knows that we aren't wearing our nametags usually, especially since we literally don't have them yet. The replacements haven't come, they probably will next transfer. We'll see what happens. 

I don't have any crazy stories from this week that I can particularly remember, just the average crazy people and everything. Things are running smooth and the language is coming along. This week I may be going to a dacha (a Russian country cottage thing) to do service for a member, it's apparantly pretty far away in the woods, we'll be cutting wood I guess, with chainsaws, which will be rad. So that's about all for now. I love and miss you guys! Stay safe! Until next week!

-Elder Skene