I got an email from Madison, and she sounded a little happier. I love those children, and I want the best for them. It is wonderful to know that Madison is excited to be baptized. Maybe Madison can find a member at her school who can help her make it to church.
I don't know if you all have seen or talked to Shane Sorenson recently, but he sent me and Shane a message. He sounds like he is happy with life and that he has got a plan for the future. I really hope the best for him. It is funny how he looks though because he has a moustache and goutee. He looks much older than me. I still feel and look like a little kid, and I hardly have to worry about facial hair. In that picture of missionaries you all received, there is a Russian sister (the smaller one with dark brown hair, dark brown eyes, and blue eye shadow toward the center of the picture) and a Ukrainian sister (who has orange hair). We do email at the same place, so she says привет, which means hi.
The reason why there are Muslims is because the Bashkortastan area is inhabited by people that originally had Muslim beliefs (Bashkirians, Tatarians, etc.) I do not know exactly where they come from, and you may be able to find out more, but the place was founded about 500-600 years ago. Some of the people are also from the -stan countries, or armenia. There are many different people and situations, so I do not definitely know.
That is a crazy story that Shane shared. I have seen some crazy things happen, but nothing to that extent and that kind of crazy. It is too bad that that did happen though. I heard about my past area that michael kind of fell of the radar, but 2 of his friends (who I got to meet with) have baptismal dates. That is not exact information as it is passed from the zone leaders, but I hope that will happen. A few funny things that happened to me a while ago. A man in the train had an empty noodle box and walked in front of our train coupe shouting pizza just for an excuse to talk to us. People will sometimes tell crazy stories to try to talk to us. A ton of the youth here will say hello to us, which is actually how the majority of Russians answer phones, to try to communicate to us in English. Some laugh at the fact that we respond often with an ordinary hello. Many are very friendly, and their age groups different, and they want to talk to us. A man we met also recently gave us as a gift his army belt buckle with the hammer and sickle on it. I let Elder Cordon have it since he has less time to get gifts. He recently passed his half way mark on the mission.
One nice thing that happened this week is we visited an older lady that made us tasty food. Russian food is actually generally simple (focusing on breads, pastries, fruits, and vegetables. Generally people make food with very good ingredients and us their own vegetables which were grown on the garden. She was very grateful that we came out to visit her. I really enjoy speaking with older people.
The new Preach My Gospel simplified curriculum will help us focus a lot on teaching by the Spirit and according to needs. It is not a different Preach My Gospel, but it is simply a focus on those most important aspects of teaching. I understand people alright now, but I just want to love them. we only have 1 investigator, so we are spending a lot of time trying to find people and meet with our members. We have a service opportunity to help someone remodel this week.
I know that Christ is my Savior, and I am glad we can be his servants. I liked what you had to say dad about that duty to God. You don't need to be a missionary to be his servant or carry his name. I just get a great opportunity to hone into that servantship. I love you all bye.