Monday, July 30, 2012

An Odd Transfer So Far

Hello everyone! So this week was kinda interesting. A lot of the week we were just busy doing meetings with other missionaries and running around with errands, English club stuff, etc. We didn't get a ton of missionary work done but we did get a couple numbers and lessons, and one of them is a good story. So on Friday we had District Meeting, and Saturday we had Zone Conference, both of which went well, but after District meeting we went to go get a team tie to wear for zone conference, and we didn't end up getting any ties, but what we did get is a cool story. Elder Roberts, my buddy in Selmosh, (an area in our district) had really been praying hard for an investigator to teach, a new number to get. He and I were looking to get a little soda and we were walking around and we just happened to stop at a particular drink stand after passing so many ones similar to it. The lady inside noticed who we were and asked us if we had a Book of Mormon, and we looked around and Elder Roberts had one to give her with the church invitation for his area in it, we found out that she lived in the boundaries of Selmosh, where Elder Roberts is serving, and she had seen the missionaries a long time ago and always wanted to get a Book of Mormon from them but never saw them again, she waited for years, then we just happened to stop in at that exact stand and give her the Book, and it must of truly been an answer to her prayers as is was to Elder Robert's prayers. I'm excited to see what happens with them in the future!

So other than that I have worked with the Mission Leadership on the skin stuff and they have had doctors look at it and they just said for now to just keep and eye on it, I would send you pictures but like I said we can't lately because we don't have access to a USB port but we will try to find one, and we can still only use Internet for a short time once a week on Mondays, when I was with Elder Roberts it was an exception for him. Other than that this week I know have a lump in my throat where they think a gland would be and they're not sure if it's an abscess or an infection but I'm taking some medication for it, I stopped taking the amoxicillin indefinitely though, I don't want to build up a resistance to it, and I figured that the recommended dose of 1000mg every morning for this long might be too much, but there is nothing to worry about yet, we'll see what happens, I just figured I would tell you now so if they're was something that had to be done like lancing an abscess, then you would already be in the loop but the Mission President and his wife are fully aware of the situation and know what's up, they'll call for sure if something merits it, but otherwise you can assume that everything is ok. This transfer has been so odd because it's just been one of us sick after the other, it's already coming up on half-way over and it feels like not much has happened, but we'll see what the future holds. I love you guys, stay safe, and until next week!

-Elder Skene

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Wild Week!

Hey everyone, I'm glad that you all recieved my package that I was able to send and everything turned out well and you guys like the stuff that I was able to send! It's rad! I wonder how long it took exactly, but it sounds like it was relatively short. So to answer your questions, Rostov is different, largely different in the regard of the proximity of other missionaries and most other things that are going on, but it's just faster paced and a lot of fun sometimes. Today we went to the Presidents house, and we had a big party with the whole Rostov zone. We had a water fight, food, and an epic ping pong tournament. This whole week was even more crazy because my companion, who I like serving with for sure and it's a change of pace to answer your other question, he got way sick, so sick that we were gonna go to Moscow to see a doctor, I'm fine and he is better now but the whole week was like chilling and we were uncertain of what was up, 2 nights and like 3 days of the week we were just in the mission home with the Mission President and his wife, they are awesome. So all is well now, but it was just crazy because they didn't know what he had and he went to the hospital and just in the end it was a big toss up on a lot of things. Haha I realize that this doesn't make the week sound exciting or intense but it was when your comp is on the verge of going to Moscow because he's way sick.
So other than that I was way surprised because the President made me a district leader which I was kinda blown away by, and just that all along with the sickness stuff, hanging out with missionaries today at the party, and just everything else. Just for the record, the internet here is out of this world, and by out of this world I mean it's so bad that it doesn't belong in this world, with dial-up we could have gotten more work done, and I'm not kidding, not just that but there isn't any way for me to send you photos even if the internet did work, honestly I don't even know if I'm gonna get to send this letter, but we'll see. Our apartment here is for sure better than in Novorossysk, but not a ton better, but I have to be thankful for it none the less, Russia is way awesome in a lot of cool ways and it's way epic, but to be totally honest, I have never seen a more depressing and dirty looking place in a lot of locations and towns I've been too, we live in a straight up concrete jungle haha, but I'm not here on my errand, I'm here for the Lord and I just have to remember that he wanted me to go to the Russia Rostov mission, for one reason or another, but I'm really glad I came here in a lot of ways, there is a bunch of cool sights, cool food, epic language, and just crazy stuff all over the place all the time haha. Well this is for sure pretty abrupt, but I gotta go because half the time we had here in the Internet club was spent on loading my email inbox, but I love you guys, stay safe! Until next week!
-Elder Skene

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Great Gig in the Sky

Hey guys! So I was transferred last week up to my new area in Northern Rostov on Tuesday, and I arrived there on Friday, after my visa trip and some other complications, which brings me to my bigger news for the week, one of our Elder Potter, a senior couple missionary, passed away last week in the morning when he went for a jog, his wife and him were on a walk and he started jogging so she sat down and waited for him to come back but he never did, she then left to search for him but by the time she found him he had already moved on to the other side, it was way hard to hear this news, the Potters are an awesome senior couple, they are in my visa group and would have been in my district here in Rostov. It's really hard to hear stuff like this not only because of the news within itself, but then you think and worry about your family and friends back home and then you start to worry a little bit about your own safety, because life is so precious, and you can lose it so easily. As I've said in the past, in a mission of about 30 Elders, everyone knows everyone, and when the death of a missionary happens like this everyone's gonna know about it and it's gonna hit hard for everyone. We thought about why it maybe happened or what went on, but God works in mysterious ways, and we don't always know when he will intervene and when he won't, and what parts of this mortal experience are parts of his plan and what are the result of the free agency of mankind, but in the end all we can do is try to keep the commandments and be good people, and trust in the gospel and follow the Lord, and at the end of the day, the Great Gig in the Sky rolls on. At the best, I would think that if there was anyone in this mission that had come to earth and accomplished the things he came to do, and was maybe ready to be taken so he could continue on the other side, it would have probably been Elder Potter.

Other than that there isn't much more news, my area seems pretty cool, and my comp is a good guy, I knew him in the MTC though, he was the group younger than me, and it was cool to be able to see his progress and my own while we were there and now when we are in the field. There isn't photo sending capacity at this internet club currently, but I'll see what I can do in the following weeks. Anyways, I'm looking forward to a fun transfer and it's good to finally be around people know! The branch president here is a good guy, he visited the Novorossyssk branch one day before I knew who he was, and I got a chance to talk to him, and I told him that I'll see him again if I ever serve in Severny (my area), and it was good to meet him. Little did I know that a few weeks later I was assigned to his branch haha, he's a good guy so I'm pumped to be able to work with him, and his Russian is very clean cut and formed, not mumbled, so it's a good learning experience to listen to him talk. So I'm good and I'll have to send some photos when I can get a chance, assuming that chance comes. I love you guys, have an awesome week! Stay safe, and keep the faith! Until next week!

-Elder Skene

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Rains Came Down and the Floods Came Up

Hey guys! Happy Fourth of July, and from the pictures it looks like you had an awesome time at Lake Powell! So as you noticed in my last email I and Elder Belnap are safe and alive. Brad here and his family are also safe, thankfully in our section of the town we didn't receive a ton of damage everywhere, but there was a lot of flooding, we walked in a foot or two of water every time we left the apartment or came home, and we woke up on Saturday morning when the raining finally stopped to find that our bathroom and kitchen flooded, although the damage isn't super severe and we weren't hit way had like some other people we know, and especially where brad lives wasn't too bad because he is in a really elevated location. The bad news is that we have no water but I guess that's old news, and we've had power jumps, so we have to go to the grocery store and grab some bread every time we eat and we can't shower, and our water reserves are out, we only have drinking water now, although, I would assume this is largely due to the flood damage, but we can go to the branch to brush our teeth and wash our faces though haha.
In our area of the city there wasn't much damage, however, in other areas, like in the home of our investigators Andrei and Artyom, they have a foot and a half of water all in and throughout there house, and they're not alone, we offered to help out with anyone that we heard of that got hit pretty hard but they wouldn't let us help because they wanted us to do work elsewhere, some of the people here and just incredible individuals, they have always been so kind and nice to us when they have nothing, it's really compelling to be a part of, but thankfully all the members are safe as far as we know. After church yesterday we all got together as a branch and got a bunch of supplies together for the people in Kryimsk, which is a village that we pass through every time we go to Krasnodar and come back, it's pretty close by, and I remember that a couple days before we left for zone conference on Wednesday, we contacted a pretty nice guy who was visiting Novorossysk, and was on his way back to Kryimsk where he lived, it's just odd to think of where he might be know. I'm attaching some photos of the damage here in Novorossysk, where there is a bunch of debris in the bay. I'll try to get more when I go up to Krasnodar through Kryimsk tomorrow.
So I have a visa a trip on Thursday, I've already been out for about 9 months now! Also, I'm being transferred to Rostov! I'll be serving with Elder Gill in an area called Severny in Northern Rostov, he's a good kid, I knew him in the MTC. I'll be senior companion, so I'll have to try to work hard and be an example, but I'm way excited. I'm very thankful for the times I had here and the people I met, I will miss many of the so much, and it's hard to say goodbye, but at the same time it's good to have a new experience. That's the good news that I talked about, I'll tell you the other news in my person emails to you, but I gotta piece, I love you guys, stay safe and have a great week!
-Elder Skene

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hey Just a Quick Note

So I'll go to the internet club tomorrow to email you guys like usual, and I have some good news and some bad/depressing news for you, but it's nothing I can change and it's nothing you need to worry about, there's nothing I can really do about it. Anyways, I'm emailing you because our mission president asked us to, as you guys might have heard of the epic flooding that has taken place here in Novorossysk, Krimsk, and Gelenjek. Members and the mission president said it's apparently the worst natural disaster in Russian history. I don't know about that but things were pretty crazy, and there's like 150 people dead, but you don't need to worry about us. We are okay and safe, I'll have to tell you more about it in my email tomorrow but no worries we are safe! I love you guys, until tomorrow! I love you guys!
-Elder Skene

Monday, July 2, 2012

Birds and Zone Conference!

Hey guys! So zone conference is this week and it should be awesome, we'll get to do some awesome stuff in krasnodar and get together with a bunch of other elders and meet the new president, so that should be interesting. As far as birds go, i'm attaching some cool photos of the splits we had with the zone leaders a while back, check these out, Elder Smith and I fed the brids across the street and sometimes just held out our hands, and they fly right up, it was rad. Other than that this week wasn't super eventfull, we just did some contacting and standard work, it was Elder Belnap's year mark on Friday so he burned tie, but mostly we've been busy with just keeping the branch together. This week there is a lot planned though and I anticipate a transfer, so I'm thinking that this will be my last week in Novorossiysk, but we'll see I guess. I'm starting to really feel the Russian Language now if that makes sense, like I understand stuff and say stuff without even thinking about it, I'm starting to really like the language more than I ever did before, it's weird to think about it when I catch myself doing it sometimes.
Well I guess this will be another short email haha, but I love you guys, stay safe and have an awesome 4th of July!
-Elder Skene