Elder Rasband's visit to the Russia Yekaterinburg Mission (Hans is kneeling in the front row on the right)
Hello Family, We supposedly have the nicest apartment in the mission. I have not really had time to take a whole lot of pictures, or I have forgotten to take pictures, but I will hopefully try to remember and get some better ones to you someday. If you ever send a package, could you include some pictures of the family. People commonly ask to see pictures, and I feel pretty bad to say I don't have any. It is my fault, but if it is at all possible, could you send those. Thank you loads.
Recently it has been hot, and the hottest temperatures I felt here have been in the 90's fahrenheit degrees. Yesterday, it rained quite a bit, and the weather changes very rapidly here. Last week, there were very strong winds that caused a lot of damage to the trees. Today is partly sunny, windy, and feeling fairly nice outside so far. I have almost forgot about the sun, and it isn't very weird to me anymore to see the sun go down over the horizon at around 10:15 in the night. Everything is green here in Russia too, and just a little bit outside of the city, it is quite beautiful country. I generally do not go there. It is only 15 min. from the city, so it is not very far, but we only go to help on dachas or if there are ward activities there. In terms of total time on the bus, it takes a while to get from where we are to the edge of the city, out, and back. We do not live in a centralized area, but we live more on the edge of the city. We are trying to figure out how to better use our time, because we do need to come home for lunch, and it is basically necessary to use a bus each time we leave the home.
Again, my Russian is improving. I am understanding more and more, and I want to work on speaking better so that I can express my thoughts, and really speak with the people. This week I had an opportunity to eat native Russian food at someone's house. We met a lady on the street, and she said she would like to have us over. We got to meet her daughter, son and law, and her friend. She is and older woman, so her children were a little younger than mom and dad. We had potatoes, chicken, homegrown apple juice, pirog (vegetable stuffed fried dough), and a could soup (I forgot the specific name, but it had sausage and herbs inside). The family was very interested to talk to us, but we didn't have a lot of time to teach them the gospel, so we will most likely return. We gave them a Book of Mormon to read, so we hope we can talk more about it next time. We also had a ward picnik on Saturday. We shared a spiritual thought, and a few of the English club members came. Hopefully we can get some more non members to come next time. We really want to start working a lot more with the members. That will be the key, and sometimes it is tiring to commonly be on the street. It is difficult sometimes to meet with members and people because there are often single woman that we need to visit with, and there are only a limited number of men in the ward with varied schedules living in different locations. I shouldn't complain because there is another branch in the mission that has no priesthood holders and the missionaries there are the branch president and ward clerk. Our branch president is president andrei. He is really good, and we have been trying to work with him to better the ward.
It is important to exercise gratitude for the things you have (both physical and spiritual), but the physical things we have will not come with us. Talents, abilities, and qualities will come with us, so those are the most important things to develop in this life. The Lord wants us to use our abilities to help others, and I suppose that the most important use of physical things here on this Earth should be to develop our spiritual selves. We too should not be proud of what we have, but continuously give God the recognition. We can act like Ammon, who was happy and proud in the Lord his God.
I love you all. Continue in following and remembering Christ continuously. I am learning a lot and excited to be serving the Lord.Bye - Elder Larson