Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Week 61:

Normal week.  Peter is officially out of prison.  YEAH.  And he still likes us.  YEAH.  That was good news.  We got a couple new people to work with this week.  This one guy who has had a rough time with the ladies in the past and been through a couple of famillies, some women have done him wrong and now he doesn't trust anybody.  That's rough.  He's out here by himself looking for a place to find good people.  We got that locked down.  He figged us on sunday and didn't come to church though.  Darn old people.  We had another cool guy come to church too.  He came up to the missionaries in some other area and told him he was interested.  Always better when they come up to us.  He is really cool, just looking for truth and stuff, love those people.  Also Dima is planning to get baptized in august now, but unfortunately he has moved out of our area so we won't be able to get him all ready to go anymore.  Now we have to do the awkward thing we say, ok you are gonna talk to these other weird americans in suits that you don't know and we will see you around.  That's always interesting.  So yeah.  That's about all the fun from this week.  Met a lot of crazies.  Love me the crazies.  Heard the US is doing well in the world cup.  That's pretty neat.  Yup.  Well, that's about all I got.  People reading these emails, I'm sorry I bore you every week with my endless babblings.  Your patience is appreciated.  If people reading these do indeed exist.  Alright, I'll check in next week, later family and friends. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Week 60:

Hey everybody, good week.  I'm out of time and not a ton happened in our area so I'm just gonna tell you about my trip back to Tver.  So me and Elder Anderson got down there on tuesday night and when we stepped off my favorite modem of transportation I realized something.  Tver in winter = dark sad and cold.  Tver in summer=  crazy beautiful and fresh smelling.  It was great, especially coming from moscow breathing all that fresh air and seeing all the vegetation.  Awesome.  We went to see my russian momma to get the key to the appartment here and when she came out she busted out the door of her appartment building and snuck a hug on me.  I was like Tamara what the stuff, we can't hug, she was just like, aw who cares I'm old.  It was great seeing all the members, pretty sad though too.  That place is falling apart without missionaries, and they were all like, hey this means your coming back right Holland, and you are going to be branch pres or first counselor or something?  Pretty hard to say, no guys, just here for the day, probably not coming back.  They've got it rough as of now.  Hopefully president will open her up again soon.  Besides the members I also got to see Eelya, my brudda over there.  He was pretty peaved that we only had an hour to hang out.  He called it "a drop of water in the desert".  He's a drama queen.  Oh, also Roma another guy there is reading the Book of Mormon I gave him.  Awe yeah.  Well that's Tver.  Me and elder mckibben are still doing work out here in rechnoy, but everyone was gone this week because of some russian holiday, bumma.  Well, that's about it.  Happy fathers day all dads reading this, I just found out like an hour ago that that is happening.  My dad is still the best though, sorry other dads.  Take it easy everyone, send emails.  Later. 
Week 59:

Hey friends, this week was pretty good.  Started off pretty normal, nothing exciting, got a bad haircut.  Then on wednesday I got pretty sick, nothing super bad just a cough and cold kind of thing but enough to not be able to do anything.  So I got told by the mish presidents wife to stay home that day, which I thought would be kinda nice.  NOT..  So boring awful bad.  Just kinda sat around and waited for the day to end, getting sick on the mission is not cool.  After that I felt better, haven't fully shaken it yet but it was back to work.  We got to go visit that sad lady who has the sick husband, she really needs the company.  We keep telling her to let us do something for her like fix something or help her take care of her husband but she absoloutely refuses.  Then we visited our giant neanderthal looking new convert out in D-Prood.  He's doing really well, quite guy, hard to read, but really funny.  Had another lesson with the sky diving guy, he's still awesome.  Turns out his dad died last year and he got super depressed and then he let his appartment go to poo.  Since he started meeting with us he's been starting to clean things up and when he starts the remodel phase he promissed we could help out.  Also we just yesterday got a new guy who seems like the real deal. He's a genius scientist by education, but he decided he wanted to make bank so he dumped all that science junk and started winning at business things.  Moscow is a good place for that.  He's really got his head on straight and is just looking for what's right.  Other than those things just a lot of hitting the streets.  We got to see a baptism of some lady from Uzbekistan, she is awesome, but doesn't know a word of russian.  Really cool to see people join the church.  Me and Beauchemin were on splits that day (he's ap now), and after that baptism there was gonna be another one in an hour but we couldn't go because you can only go if you have someone with you who is not a member, so we walked around inviting strangers on the street.  It didn't work, it was pretty funny though.  Good news, I get to go visit Pear on wednesday. YEAH.  The zls have something to down there so I'm going with one of them for the day and we are gonna visit all the peoples out there.  That was the best news ever.  Congrats to my bro for graduating the middleschool.  Hey everybody, you should email me.  Not to sound desperate.  Ok, later friends, take it easy.
Week 58:

I done booted Elder Hawkes out of my country.  It was weird to see people I actually know well go home.  It was a lot of the missionaries I looked up to a lot and we seem to be losing all the mission leadership that has been the same for about a year.  So basically nobody is going to know what is going on after august when the next group leaves.  This week was really good, I got my new companion Elder Mckgiben.  He's only been out for three months but he knows a ton about the language already.  He is a machine when it comes to studies, he just doesn't stop. Still has a rough time speaking conversationaly, but already knows a bunch of random junk that I don't which is pretty cool.  He is starting to light the fire under my buns again, figuratively speaking of course.  This week we got dima to come to institute where they were talking about Moroni 10 and how to find a testimony of the Book of Mormon.  So basically it was the most perfect thing that could ever happen, he loved it.  He's heading home for a week to see his family in whatever strange country he came from that I can't pronounce, but he'll be back the 10th.  We also met with our skydiver camerman and he is still awesome, except drop zones in russia are only open saturday and sunday so he can't come to church yet.  Darn you rules of Russian airtraffic. Other than that we have just been trying to get on the members' good sides, show them we aren't annoying little dingles that just want stuff from them.  That's about all the super important events of the week.  Congrats to me sister for heading through the temple, thats big stuff.  Also my to my brud who is graduating middleschool.  Why to people have to get so old all the time.  Well.  That's about all I can think of.  Hope everyone is doing well back home, love hearing from you guys, take it easy. 
Week 57:

Well my comp is about to bite the dust.  We had a good last week. Had a couple lessons with dima, a guy we lost for a long time and then finally got in touch with him.  He wants to get baptized within the year, he's just trying to figure out by who.  Good guy, really sincere.  Just doesn't show up when he says he will.  Figgy. Then we have a new investigator who is a skydive camera man.  Another really nice guy, he used to believe in God but it's been hard for him lately, has had some rough times; like everyone in Russia.  Then there is Peter who got dumped in jail for saving a damsel in distress.  Guess what... he was in jail this whole month!  I've never been so excited to find out one of my friends is in jail.  He probably just got messed up in a court case that was supposed to go easy and now he had to sit for a month.  He's almost done so we'll see how he's doing when he gets out of the big house, hope he is ok.  Better than him hating us and never wanting to talk to us again though.  Also we got a media refferal from this guy who found out about us online.  I had my first lesson with an investigator in their own home.  It was a billion times better.  He got to learn in his own comfortable atmosphere, I would way rather do that just every time.  Problem is russians are scared of us and don't want us to come over.  Transfers came and I'm getting and elder Mckibben who just finished his training and apparently has a really big desire to learn the language.  Hopefully he can kick my butt back into gear with the russian.  Hate to say it but the fire kinda died now that everyone understands me and I can pretty much say whatever I need to. It will be good to light that fire again.  Coolest event of the week was Elder Bednar coming, that was awesome.  That guy is an apostle, no doubt.  How can some American guy who knows nothing about russia walk into a room full of several hundred russian people and change their lives in about 2 hours.  He's got help from upstairs for sure.  He came and had a meeting with us too, it was awesome.  They are more fun in person.  Yup, that was my week.  Keep sending letters people, only got a couple months left here, make it so that we aren't strangers when I get home.  Later.   
Week 56:

I have now been in this country one full calendar year.  Woo.  Feels all home-y now; the dirty streets, the ghetto appartments, the old drunk people.  Good stuff.  This week was our mission wide push for working with the members, we were working together to get 200 lessons with members on them.  Elder Hawkes and I went hard and called everybody in existence, we got about 4 or 5 set up but they all didn't show.  So we were up to the third hour at church sitting on a goose egg and feeling pretty lame when who should show up, none other than crazy sergei, our favorite beardy health nazzi.  I just gave Elder Hawkes a look and said, alright sergei lets go brotha.  We had a lesson, it was ok.  Pretty weird as usual.  He's a super good guy, just pretty confusing brain he has there.  Other than that we met with a really cool family, met the dad on the street and when we set up the meeting in the park we didn't know he was gonna bring his wife and 2 kids.  Fun.  The wife was super scared of us at first but after an hour they were in love with us.  Still not the most interested in church but we'll see what happens.  They are great people and they are trying to find a good environment to raise their kids in, kind of hard to come by in russia. Also we stopped by a lady who hadn't been to church for like 10 years, she let us in.  Turns out she didn't even remember being baptized, but she is super sad cuz her husband is sick to the point of lack of consciousness and she has to take care of him by herself and has nobody else.  We are gonna keep going over there and helping however we can, she's got it rough. Anywho that's about all the news for the week, nothing super crazy interesting to bring to your attention I think.  Um.  Yeah.  Oh, we have stake conference this week and Elder Bednar is coming out and he's gonna have a meeting with just the missionaries after.  Party on.  
Week 55:

This week was a good one.  Number one, got to call home, that was a good time.  Number two, we got to go to victory day festivities which was awesome.  In the morning we went early to a parade over near the center whith this one member.  We waited for like 50 years and the parade was only like 10 minutes long.  It was cool though, they flew a bunch of airplanes over and then drove through with giant tanks and missiles and stuff.  Befor the parade though everyone was fighting to get a good spot and there were these garbage trucks parked along the road so everyone started climbing into them.  The driver got mad at them but they wouldn't leave so the police had to come kick them out like 5 times.  After the parade we went to a huge park in my old area where there was a bunch of cool stuff.  On victory day all the veterans dress up in their uniforms and wear all their badges and stuff and stroll around the park.  Then russian women, who are not ugly by the way, walk around with a ton of flowers and walk up to all the old dudes and give them flowers and kiss them all over their faces.  Not a bad day to be an old man in russia.  People we are all singing songs and dancing and stuff it was super cool.  Then we went with two other guys from the ward to a different park where there turned out to be nothing, there was an old lady reciting poems on a stage there though. The two guys we went with, one of them is getting ready to go on a mission and the other just got baptized, is like 6'8", hasn't had a haircut or shaved in probably 5 years, and is possibly the most awkward human being on the planet.  But hillarious.  Anyway after we went to this russian food restaurant, it was pretty good actually. So V day was a good time, got more of a taste of russian culture.  As far as missionary work goes this week was just ok.  We met with a member out in an outer area who opened the door in a banana hammock and said "Forgive my nakedness, come on in".  He was pretty funny, weird though.  We also had a lesson yesterday with that awkward giant's mother.  She's great, just looking for answers.  We had a member on the lesson and we talked to him after and he said "O yeah, she's totally getting baptized".  Hope so.  Well, that's pretty much it for this week.  I'll try to get some pictures to you guys somehow. Talk to you guys next week, take it easy.  
Week 54:

Well I left the country again, escaped the mother land for a good like twenty minutes and then turned around and came back.   They almost locked us in a room in the airport and made us miss our flight.  Oh Riga.  That was pretty fun, well not super, but it was a change.  This week Peter fell off the grid and we freaked out, but we got in touch with him finally on like saturday and it's all good.  We don't know how serious he still is but he's alive.  We met with another guy named Roman this week and taught him about the Plan of Salvation.  He loved it and we gave him a b date for the first week of June. Yeah!  He's a solid guy, he's really funny, he read stuff on the internet after our first meeting and then texted us saying he loves Joseph Smith and Mormons.  That's not usually what comes of the internet.  Anyway we are pretty excited about that.  Nobody got their lazy buns to church though.  We also met this weird kid in ikea when we were getting 15 rouble ice cream (50 cents) and it turned out he was homeless and what he does is he hides in one of the cubboards in the display kitchen until they close the store, and then when everyone leaves he sneaks out and sleeps on the couches.  Smart homeless guy.  This week is gonna be victory day so russians have been drunk for the past 3 or so days straight and it will probably continue until saturday.  We got permission to go to all the parades and picnics and stuff on victory day though in normal clothes and junk so we are super pumped about that, it's gonna be awesome.  Just gonna chill with the members and take pictures with old mustached russian men in there army uniforms.  That's about it for this week I suppose, things are going pretty good, summer makes russians happier and they want to talk to us more.  It's funny, I know no other people who have to live in the cold like russians, but I also know no other people who hate the cold like russians. See ya guys later, send some love.  Bye
Week 53:

Hey friends.  Well I had my first full week back in the big city, and it actually went really weell, We had a lot of really cool stuff happen.  Our district this week decided we were gonna invite more people to get baptized, so we just kind of went around asking errybuddy.  Some of them were pretty ridiculous but we actually saw good stuff come out of it.  That guy who got gyped hard and went to jail when he tried to save a lady is getting ready to get baptized on the 17th, so that's pretty neat.  Also we met this one fresh 22 year old guy on the street and taught him about the law of chastity right there. Heh.  He was like guys, I felt like that my whole life, but I just couldn't take it anymore and I fell off the wagon like a month ago.  He's a pretty sincere dude and is looking to get his life going the right way.  Met some other cool people this week that I can't remember.  Had a great lesson with this one guy named Deema from some far away city I've never heard of and his lady friend.  Then a couple days later we sat down on the metro and elder hawkes realized he was sitting right next to a sleeping Deema.  We woke him up and said whats up.  I'm not calling the miracle card, but there's a lot of people in moscow and Deema doesn't live near us.  What else good been done.  Oh, yesterday we were just peacefuly talking to someone and this old crazy guy with no teeth jumps in front of us out of nowhere and screams at the top of his lungs "GO HOME YANKEES".  He was eating something so it got food all over me, I'm counting it as getting spit on.  Now people just gotta through rocks at me and I'll have missionary bingo.  Don't worry mom no one is throwing rocks at me.  People are actually pretty laid back in this area.  Oh a couple days ago we did a service project cleaning up some railroad tracks and hauling out some dead trees, that was pretty fun.  It was like an archaeological dig of drug paraphernalia.  Pretty gross.  Anywho yeah, things are going good, me and Elder Hawks are having a good time and looking to see what we can do before they kick his butt out of Russia.  Oh last cool experience, I was on splits and got on a lesson with Arsen, the swaggiest 60 year old man in the universe.  His 34 year old lady-friend who he has two kids with kicked him out and won't let him see the kids.  He's got it pretty rough right now but he's the most sincere guy in the universe.  Good people around, they are out there.  That's about all I think, hope everything is going well back home.  Congrats to my seester for graduating college, way to go dude.  Send some love people, in electronic or letter form.  Good day.   
Week 52:

Hey Everybody,
Well, I escaped Tver.  Back to my land of birth in the big city, it's actually really nice.  There are  other missionaries here and stuff, pretty weird.  Also the ward we have here is the absolute inverse of what I had.  Instead of a handful of old crazy people I have to keep track of we've got a bunch of fly mormon young people and super strong famillies.  YEAH.  That helps the hope factor and now it's awesome to take people to church, not scary.  For the first time I'm coming into an area that has a little bit going on, not that we've been able to meet with anyone yet but there are already some people here interested.  Elder Hawkes is an interesting guy, he's super solid and not at all what we like to call "trunky".  A term used to describe lazy missionaries about to head home.  We are gonna do some work in here before he dies.  Anyway the area is cool, a little more ghetto but not really.  Our appartment is ok, there are some floorboards coming up and stuff and you have to cross some train tracks to get there but other than that it is pretty luxurious.  And no bed bugs.  So yeah, things are pretty good, no stories about people yet because we have just been contacting really, been meeting some cool people  though.  Had some pretty weird stuff happen too but I don't really have time to write about that.  Ummmm.  Yeah.  Oh one of our investigators saw a girl struggling with a man attacking her so he went to save her and the man broke his hand on peter (investigator), turned out the guy was a cop and so he threw peter in jail and they held him for a day and didn't feed him.  Russia. Easter was fun times, like I said the members here are awesome.  People here are just happy and cool, not dirty and or angry.   So good.  We also get some areas outside of Moscow here that are on the way to tver, we went to one on saturday and found some kids playing basketball trying to figure out how to alle oop, and failing, we went over and talked to them and they took us over to another court where all their friends were and we played with them in our suits.  It's a good thing that russians are terrible at basketball because I suck and they still made me look good.  After blowing their minds with our skills we talked for a minute and now they want to come to english and other stuff.  That's pretty neat.  Anywho yeah, things are doing good, transfers are nice.  I miss tver but it was time.  Place can be a little rough.  Hope everybody had a good Easter.  ОН ВОСКРЕС.  You're darn right he is.  Oh also it's crazy hot here, we have to wear suits. NOO.  Later everyone. Send love.   
Week 51:

Well, transfers done come, and I'm going back from wenst I came.  Word had that I was headed to a far away land called Yaroslovl, but now I'm going to a place called Rechnoy in Moscow, not what I was expecting, but whateva.  I'll be heading out on wednesday.  Leaving Tver has been pretty tough, really made a lot of good friends out here.  One of our english clubbers said he was praying for the first time for me to not leave.  Was pretty awkward when the transfer came.  Anywho, I feel pretty neutral about heading back.  Moscow isn't my favorite place in the world but I hear the ward we've got there is super fun and solid.  We had General Conference this week, I liked it.  G Conf is like Christmas for missionaries, better in Moscow though cuz me and Elder Cox had to just watch it by ourselves.  We've got Easter coming up here this next week.  It's a pretty cool holiday in Russia, people go around to eachother on the street saying "He is resurected"  and then you answer it with "you're darn right he is". I am glad I get to be celebrating easter here, doing what I'm doing.  Every day is russian easter for us, all we do is tell people about how awesome a gift we have from Christ. It's a great job to have.  Be happy people, things are pretty good. 
Week 50:

Hey friends,
Greetings from Moscow. This week was interesting, well not really interesting per say, but ok.  So we got figged a lot this week, a lot of meetings fell through, but hey that's just missionary stuff.  One day we were contacting and a guy called me and was like, holland what up, lets meet.  I said ok cool, who is this?  He didn't tell me just told me when and where to be.  So we went on over, finally found the guy and he was like, woah hold up, you aren't Holland.  I said, yeah I am dude, read the badge.  He said no, I met some big guy named Jewkes and some other guy than you named Holland like two months ago, where's other Holland, did he die?  After 20 minutes of trying to convince him I was Holland I just told him old Holland died and they called me in to be new Holland.  He got all serious and was like, tell me, what happened to him.  I was just like o my, I'm joking you ding dong, there is no other Holland.  Anywho that was weird missionary experience of the week.  Other than that we had one sweet lesson with a  new guy and a member who happened to be in tver checking some stuff in the building when we had a meeting set up and we made him stay for it.  It was awesome, he didn't bring up the slightest bit of crazy and it was all understandable.  The guy accepted everything pretty well and seems interested, really solid believing guy, also he invited us to go take a boxing class with him.  I asked prez, got shot down.  Apparently he doesn't want missionaries fighting angry russians.  Makc is still doing pretty well, didn't get a chance to meet, he was gone for the week in order to "shoot things, fire fire fire"  as he explained it on the phone.  Danger. He came to church though, woo.  Eelya my brotha from english club has been meeting with us pretty seriously about religion too now and we are seeing some progress with him, Eelya is one of those guys that wants to believe and feels something but needs it to make sense before he can let himself.  Makes sense.  We can accomodate.  Thanks everybody for the birthday cards, they were much appreciated.  Hope all is well back home and everyone enjoyed conference, I haven't seen it yet.  Take it easy friends, send some love.
Week 49:

Well, I have successfuly left myself some more minutes to let you guys know a little bit of what's going on up in hur.  Finally.  Sorry that I've been so short lately.  So me and elder Cox are still taking on the illustrious metropolis that is pear all on our own.  2 weeks ago I bought a matress from j-dub.  I don't even know how to go about buying a matress in america so its a miracle that we pulled it off in russian.  Unfortunately there are still bed bugs and they are spreading, so now we are resorting to chemical warfare.  As far as missionary work goes, things are alright.  We have been going to a lot of members that haven't been to church in forever and one got mad when we came by, set up a meeting with us, and asked to not be a member anymore.  So that was awful.  Kind of like a negative baptism.  But hey, no amount of sad stuff can stop us anymore, we have become immune to it.  So we kept chugging along through the week and we ended up meeting with a guy who's in the army and who grew up in an orphanage because his parents got rid of him when he was 4.  Russian stuff.  Super happy guy, we had a couple of lessons with him this week, he came to church and liked it.  Takes special people to like our little branch out here, pretty weird place.  Also he's trying to quit smoking right now. Woo!  They just started a computer class for old people in our library and so they are trying to teach old russians how to use facebook and stuff right now, it's pretty funny.  Biggest news of the week is my seester is coming out to my side of the planet.  AIGHT!  Holly you got one sweet mission call, the czech/slovakians are gonna love you.  You go girl.  That's about all the news for now, can't think of anything else.  We start helping people with english again this week so that'll be nice.  Ok, bye everybody.  Send some love via the internet or mail if you can.  Bye.