Monday, July 12, 2010

July 12, 2010

Hello Family!
There are many nationalities here in Russia, although you can only tell a few apart. As heard from others, there are different cultures in different areas of Russia, and when people move within Russia, they seem to take the culture with them. Most people generally look the same, but there are definately categories that you can say people look like. There are also People that moved to Russia from different areas of former USSR. There are people from Khazaksthan and other -stani countries or even some Asian countries (possibly Mongolia). These people look asian, and they are dark. You have the standard Russian people who are generally white, but some have a dark tint to their skin, making them look almost Mexican. Other Russians are light skin with dark hair and crystal blue eyes. There are also many Russians with light hair, eyes, and skin. Most Russians are not very tall, but they are usually bulky. Russians seem strong, and you see every so often, really big Russians. There are also Bashkirians and Tatarians that live in Russia, and they look more Asian. I have only seen 1 black person on the street. It is rare to see, but there are more in different areas of Russia. Some are from Africa. There are many Jehovah's Witnesses here, and we are often mistaken for them. There are also many Muslims here.

The dress here is about the same as America for the older generations. In general, dress is a lot looser in certain modesty aspects, but not really a whole lot different than America. The young women have a modern style of dress (it looks like America to me), but the boys dress differently. The boys were a lot of sport slick tops and bottoms. Boys and men also wear short shorts and fish net shirts (which is completely normal). There is a hairstyle here were it is commonly popular to keep the hair bangs long, and wear hair in kind of a mullet. Men wear a lot of nice pointy dress shoes, and they really try to make themselves look nice. In terms of piercings-For the young men, it is very rare to see people with pearcings, at least more so than in America. Many people have tattoos, just like it is in America. I do not see extremes in style here as nearly often as in America, but in general, people look the same as in America, except racial diversity is more greatly evident in America.

The exciting thing that happened this week is we got to meet with Mike again, the boy who is smart. This week we met with him 5 times, and he is great. He keeps every commitment we give him, he prays, reads, and wants to learn and follow what we say. He has been sharing the gospel with acquaintances, and he is even making a good song about Joseph Smith. He is in a band, and he can play various instruments, and sing well too. Every time we meet, he is really great. We want to commit him either today or tomorrow for baptism, depending on whether we can meet with him today. He is very humble in everything, and it is fun just to speak with him, because he is focused on the right things in life. We will continue to meet with him more. We find out about transfers this week because this is the last week of this transfer, so hopefully I can finish the lessons with him regardless if I get transferred or stay. My visa expires on the 28 of July, so that means I have to go out of the country to get it renewed before that time. According to the current method and place, it only take about 2 days to complete the process, and I also get to go to the temple.

Everything sounds good back at home, and in Argentina. I had the opportunity to teach and think about Christ this week. Some people do not realize or access his atonement in full. Some people think living outside of the law is more free and liberating than living with guilt under the law. If we do truly realize the atonement, we recieve blessings of living within the law while being free of any guilt, because we can continually access the atonement. I know that Christ truly suffered for all my pains and sins, and I am grateful that we have the knowledge ability to be forgiven. Let us always forgive others, and share with them the great message we possess. I love you all. Bye- Elder Larson