Monday, January 30, 2012

BRRRRRRRRRRRR January 30, 2012

Hello Family and Friends!!

Well, I am  now in the coldest part of our mission for the winter!! But hey!  That means that I will actually get to experience a kind of real Russian winter!  So far it has only gotten down to -20 degrees Celsius. :)

This week was crazy and we did a LOT of traveling!  On Monday we had a going away party in K-dar and Elder Potter made us all his world famous southern fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy!! It was AMAZING!  It was hard to say goodbye to everyone in K-dar, and I did cry a bit, but not too much!  Thank goodness for the Internet, so that we can always stay in touch!  Dima said that he would come and pick us up to take us to the Voksal on Wednesday morning.  Our train left at 6:50 and so we agreed that Dima would be there at 6:10.  I called him around then and he said that he was on his way. 

We got everything outside and the next time I look at my watch it is 6:30!!!  I call him again realizing that I may very well miss my train and ask how far away he is!  He says, "5 minutes!"  I told him that I would miss my train and he says... no... you'll be fine... Well, at that very moment a taxi just happened to be driving down our not very busy side road and pulled over and asked us if we needed a ride!  We said yes and took it!  We told him we needed to get there fast and made it to the Voksal with about 5 minutes to spare!  We to the platform and found the Elders and made it just in time to get on the train!  It was a little bit stressful but amazing to see how the Lord takes care of us even in the littlest details of our lives.  Well, after our 4 hour train ride up to Rostov we were at the mission office. It was GREAT to see Sister LeBaron again and then we got to meet our new companion right from the MTC. Sister Whitaker!!  At first we thought she was super serious so we were really glad that we would be in a 3 some.  We went out to get some food and then we had to all haul our luggage about 1/4 of a mile on the snow to the buses.  We then had an 8 hour bus ride to Volgagrad while a HORRIBLY weird TV series played almost the whole time on the TV.  Finally getting into V-grad I realized that it was COLD!!  One of our branch members had come down with his friend and picked us up in his marshrootka.  Our area is about an hour and a half from center.  We got back to the apartment at about 11:30.

This week has been kind of slow as we have moved in and planned a bit. Sister Whitaker is AMAZING!!  Her Russian is already SO good and her grammar is already better than mine!!  She is a convert of 2 years and actually took the missionary discussions when she lived in St. Petersburg teaching English there.  She has sacrificed a lot to be here and is the only member in her family!  She  can take our crazy sarcastic senses of humor and can even dish it back!  We are having a MARVELOUS time all together!  After going into district meeting on Friday we got on a marshrootka and someone had to tow us out so that the driving could then kick the stick shift into action... haha! 

We love Russian transport!  We to got to go and visit a less active who was sick in the hospital this week.  Hospitals scare me in America...but here they are pretty dirty and some of the people and things you see make you feel just SO sad.  We finally found her though and she was actually able to make it to church on Sunday!

Branch counsel on Sunday was a blast.  Pretty much the whole ward is in the Branch counsel.  there are only about 20 members who come regularly.  This week the lady who was supposed to be speaking in church called and said that she didn't wanted to and asked if we could.  when we called the Branch President to see what we needed to do he didn't quite understand that we didnt' necessarily want to speak.  He was all, "well, of course you can speak!!" haha  Well, we all ended up speaking our first Sunday.  The speakers finished early, so with the extra time left the president has me and sister LeBaron teach the congregation a new hymn.  We sang it 3 times... all 4 verses!! My voice and arm were extremely tired!! Our branch is SO interesting!  We have the man Peotr who wears his bright blue suit every Sunday, brat dmitri who like never talks and just stares off into space with his thick glasses, our branch president who sings so loudly with his bass voice that he is the only one heard when we sing hymns together, and brat Valerie and his x-wife sister ulya who still live in the same house together but you can feel the tension between them!! haha!  In the counsel meeting it was pretty much just a lot of arguing and disagreeing going on!! haha!  I'm excited to serve here!

To deal with the cold we went out and bought lots of tights and nylons!  We got these SUPER WARM leggings that have two layers.  a fuzzy warm one on the inside and a spandexy one on the outside!

Sister LeBaron and I have taken to wearing our comfortable leggings them!! they are GREAT for dancing!  Well, we will try to stay warm this week and get into a good schedule and get some good work done here!  Sister Whitaker's Russian is already SO good and last night she pretty much told her conversion story by herself to brat valerie in Russian!! I love my new companions and am excited for this area!!

Cectpa Cunningham


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