Monday, January 31, 2011

January 31, 2011

Dear Family,
Congratulations on the birthday mom, and congratulations dad that you have done so many names.It sounds like things are good down there, but a lot sounds different.I am doing well this week, and we had some interesting experiences this week. We spent a fair bit of time with the Nehrings before they had left (They were a really nice couple, and I hope you meet them some day), and Monday night, we were at President Abagyan's home with him and his family. He and his brother had prepared meat shishkabobs for the missionaries and the Nehrings. They were pork with some greens and onions, and it was some of the best meat that I have had. There was also an Elders quorum activity on Saturday which seemed to help the men get to better know each other. It was not organized all that well, but it seems like they had a good time together. We had a dish called plov, and some played checkers. 
We have a few investigators, but we also found that another one of our investigators has a mother that is very against the church. It really seems to be her desire to be baptized and she really thought about it, but her mom will only let her have limited activity with the church. Another investigator we had told us that he does not believe in our church and wants to continue searching and studying in other directions. A few other potential investigators have just been difficult to set up meetings with and develop a good relationship with them. Hopefully we can meet and help them feel the Spirit and a desire to know more.
Last Sunday brought some large changes in the ward. President Abagyan was released, and валерий власов was called. Many of the ward members were shocked, and they had started to build good relationships with him. The sacrament program went well, and stressed the points of not comparing branch presidents and accepting the Lord's will. Naturally, some members do not like the change, but we will see how things go. They really are two different people, but rock solid members.
It has been snowing a lot here, but it is still not too cold. I am having a really good time, and I am learning a lot. I have really learned about the power of the Book of Mormon, and also that through the atonement, so much can be fulfilled. No matter our mistakes, or inadequacies, through Christ we really can make those weaknesses into strengths and develop into a person like him. I love you all Bye.-Elder Larson

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24, 2011

Hello family!
Happy Birthday mother! I hope you have a great time there on that very special day. I was in Finland this past week, and it was really a cool opportunity because I was able to do it in Russian, and it was exciting. I hope that I get to stay in Perm for a while. It is glad to hear that Shane wants to stay in his area for a while. Some of my week was lost because I was in Finland, then my companion was there for a while, and then there was a special celebration for the senior couple because they will soon leave. I really know that Christ is my Savior and that repents is very very powerful. I have seen people change here because of it, and I also know that the Book of MOrmon has great power. I feel that ward members are really escited, and I am also very excited about the work. I do not have as much time for internet today because we are going to the branch president's home to have shishkobobs. He is really funny, kind, and he is armenian, so his culture is quite different from Russian culture. He is kind and does much work for the branch. I love you all. Bye. -Elder Larson

Monday, January 17, 2011

January 17, 2011

Hello family, I hope you are all doing very well. I am having a good time here in Perm. Right now my companion is in Finland, and tomorrow I will go for my Visa trip. Right now, it feels like we have about 6 investigators, but a lot of them have a lot of concerns, religious traditions, and previous thoughts about things. It is very difficult to break tradition, habit, and belief, especially since it is part of the country, but hopefully they can feel the Spirit and really decide to make a change. We actually met a man on the street who wanted to meet with us, which doesn't happen often, but we did meet with him, and we had a great lesson. He understood what we had said, and he also seemed willing to act and change. I don't know when we will meet next, but hopefully in the next few days. I feel that this will be a good transfer, and there will be great things happening in this zone. There are 2 brand new sisters, and it is interesting that I was in their shoes around 9 months ago. They were excited to be here, and they seem very optimistic. One is from Hawaii and the other from Utah. Another sister who has been on the mission a little longer has also come in to train the new sister here. The other change is that Elder Cordon, my former companion came. It was great to see him, and he seems excited to be in a new place and work here. Our mission is fairly small so that I almost know who are the missionaries are, and I have gotten to know quite a few of them. I have been thinking recently about how important the basic gospel is, and if we really keep it to the basics, everything in life falls into play. God looks out for his children, and he want every one to be successful. We just have to decide that for ourselves. He has set the plan and we just follow it. It sounds simple, can be very difficult, but with Christ's help, we can successfully follow the plan.
I love you all. It has not been to cold for me. I have become accustomed, but it is actually supposed to be a lot colder at this time of the year. there are still a lot of people out and about, and it is not too bad. I love you byee. -Elder Larson

Monday, January 10, 2011

January 10, 2011

Hello Family! New years was great. I did not write because internet was down at the majority of places in town because New Years celebration is so big. Many people are off work, places are closed. It is much bigger than Christmas here and there were fireworks, we stayed inside, my companion and I got to know each other better, and it was really a good time that we had, but it was also very weird. I am safe though. Sometimes, if I do not write at all, there is typically some sort of meeting, strange circumstance, but no need to worry. It sounds fun that you were able to go hunting. The senior couple Elder here used to like to go hunting, but he says that he does not think it is as fun as it used to be.
This week, there were cool ward activities, and one of the ward activities involved children, a play, and a Christmas tree. It was one of the best programs I have ever seen, especially for the children of the ward. It was very enjoyable, and quite funny to see some of the ward members act different parts.
A man that walked in the Church really wanted to know about the church. Maybe I told you about him. He has really nothing, and he lives in a social hotel. He really liked what we said about the church, and then we sent him to the other Elders because he lives there. He came back a few days later, and we taught him again, also telling him that he needed to go to the other church building and the elders there would work with him. After that lesson, we gav him a blessing so he could quit smoking. Before that lesson, he had read the Book of Mormon in the night, and said it just filled him with joy. He found work, he is happier, and he feels that God really loves him and answers his prayers. The other Elders met with him yesterday sometime before or after church, and they committed him to baptism. I hope that he can be baptized and really find happiness.
The commandments are really important and I am grateful that I had the gospel growing up. Recently I have seen some pretty poor situations, and I am overwhelmed at how much I really do have. I am grateful for what I have been given. Like Shane, I also know the Book of Mormon is true, and it really does hold a great power within that helps in every part of life.
I am having a great time, and I am learning a lot. Recently I have had some wonderful and exciting experiences, and for transfers, both my companion and I are staying here, so it should be fun. I love you all. Thanks for the pictures, the kind words, and it is good to see that Ashton looks bright and healthy. Bye. -Elder Larson