Mom, That is fantastic that you started ready the Book of Mormon and finish the Bible. That sounds very quick. Happy Birthday Alesha. It sounds that you had a fun time at dinner. Yes mom, I do hope I stay in Perm a while. I have really gotten to love the members here, and this has been my favorite place. It is getting a little warmer, sunnier, and I am liking it. The snow does not stay too soft, but does harden, but when the sun is strong, it does start to melt a little. Maybe I will try to walk backwards to change my walking skills, but people might look at me funny... No I hope that you are doing well dad. Thanks always for the ward and stake news, it is really interesting to me how all that changes and all the people that are on and intend to go on missions. It was also nice to hear from Blaine, and it sounds like Shane is in a pretty, rainy and a pretty rainy place.
It has been a good week. There were two people baptized this past week in the other ward, although the service was held in our ward because we have the font. One man is the man I had told you about that looked like a bum that came to church and we taught him a lesson. The other Elders continued teaching him, and through the gospel, they really helped him changed his life, and he is unbelievably happy. Even though he had a lot of trials, he trusted in Christ, looked to the scriptures for strength, and he was ready for the waters of baptism. The other person that was baptized was an african from Nigeria. He is a really nice young man, and he said that he was ready to follow Christ. We just hope that he feels welcome in his branch becuase he does not know Russian too well yet. I know that we are all children of God, and no matter our circumstances, if we follow the commandments, read scriptures, and pray, Heavenly Father will hear us and help us come closer to Christ if we are willing to act further. I love the mission, I love you all. Bye. -Elder Larson
It sounds like things are going very well there at home. I was glad to hear about Erik and about his vacation coming up soon- yes the ziplining is quite fun, and the beach biking also sounds like it is very fun. maladets молодец mom. That is how you say good job. And dad too. Keep up the reading, studying and typing names. It sounds like you are all having some fun times, and I am proud of the good works that you are doing. It has been very cold here recently, but with dad's recent forcast, and with February coming closer to a close, it should start warming up here fairly soon. I do like Perm, it is not very cold for my lungs though, and when I fall it doesn't hurt too bad, because there are a few layers. The only time the cold gets to my lungs is when we run home to make it in on time, or to get to other places on time. I actually imagined Russia to be much worse, but this has actually been a mild winter. We will be getting a new mission president July 1, and his name is Kent Rust, but President Alcott is really awesome, so it will be strange for a change.
It has been a very smooth transition to work with Elder Haag (He is from Bountiful Utah, he has around 6 months left, and he is pretty awesome and a great example. I have been blessed with some good companions on my mission), and I am really enjoying it. He is very kind, and really sharp with knowing what he needs to be doing, and he has already helped me know in which ways I can improve. He has been asking me some questions about the area, and when I don't know the answer, I realize I can know the people and the area a little better here. Something exciting that happened this week is that we had a member give us a referral simply at the beginning of the lesson, and we intend to meet with her this week (last week her son was sick), so hopefully that will work out to meet soon. One of our investigators says she doesn't have time to meet, so that was disappointing, but we have a few other investigators or potential investigators who seem to be making progress or at least developing a greater interest in the church. We have been able to meet with a few less active and new members, and although they seem to read the scriptures, they have not been coming to church. I feel like I have been a little more organized this week, and having a better plan has felt good in being sure that we are using our time wisely. I now feel like I need to work on continuing to find people. We want to effectively find some more people to teach.
Here on the mission, you learn a lot about time. Since you have to use your time wisely and effectively it has made me realize that I have not used time too well in the past, but that is the past. I am really glad that we have been given agency to use our time how we want to develop ourselves, our talents, help others, and become like Christ. Remember to prioritize your activities, and I am really pround to hear how all of you have been using your time. I love you all. Keep up the work Shane while times might be hard. Once you push through without letting down, you will see some miracles, but I am sure you have already seen that a lot. Bye.-Elder Larson
I am really having a good time in Perm. This week has gotten a little colder, but it still isn't too bad, and the sun is staying out a little longer. I was excited to see Blaine's letter. Too bad that you have to do all that therapy stuff day. the only problems I have been having are slipping on the ice, and sometimes, that is a little hurtful. Both physically and mentally. There will soon be a transfer, and I will stay in Perm while getting a new companion. It has been great here, and I really like the members, and the Lord has really blessed us. Our main struggle is to find investigators, but we have seen miracles to where people really just come out of no where and we can start teaching them. The Nigerian should be getting baptized from the other elders area this saturday, and they have another man after that. I am glad that you are questioning how else to find people dad, because we need to find effective ways of finding the ready people. Thanks for the happy valentines, and happy valentines to you all. I love you. remember and show your love to the Lord too. I know that he answers prayers, and he has answered many of my prayers. Bye, I love you all. -Elder Larson
I am doing well, and I hope that you are doing well. That is fantastic mom that you are reading out of the Bible and have developed a habit out of it. Remember to read the Book of Mormon, and I am sure that you will have great insights between both of them about how they work together and teach us about truths of God. That is cool how Erik is getting into trucks, and I hope that Dad and grandma are also doing well. Thank you for the pictures and the CD. I really appreciate that, and it has been fun for others to see the family. People think that I look like mom. If you were to send me another package (but do not feel obligated), I would like reeses fast break candy, milk duds, peanuts, peanut brittle, sour worms. There is really a lot here in Russia.
I have a question: Does Justin Wright still live in our ward who served in my mission? The man that he baptized is in my ward. His name is Roman Radionov. There is another family that knows him. Their last name is Ustyuzhaninov. Anatoli and Tamara are the parents. Nikolai and alekcander are the sons. If he is in the ward, maybe you can talk to him, because he served in Perm and knows some of the families that are here that I know.
I did have another question. Could you email my MTC companion and see how he is doing? I think I gave you his email long ago.
This week has been a great week. Elder Sare and I have had some really good opportunities and we have been trying to change and improve our focus. We want to become more obedient and working on remembering and living according to our purpose. We recently had a zone leader conference, and president talked a lot about obedience and how there are no exceptions to the rules. We simply need to be 100% obedient and do what is asked of us. He also talked a lot about our motivations and about being properly motivated in the mission. It was a humbling conference, but very helpful, and some cool things have been happening. I personally want to have a better attitude of finding all the time. I feel like I have gotten better at teaching, but I have had struggles to consistently look for finding opportunities. Elder Sare and I are getting along well, but our ongoing goal is to really become equals and brothers in the work. There will be Zone conference this week with President, so that will also be a great time of learning as well, and things have just been really good.
One of the investigators in our area would not accept baptism because his mom is against the church, but this past week, she came to english club and really enjoyed it. We feel that if she comes regularly, she will become more comfortable with missionaries, desire to come to church, and then let женя be baptized and hopefully desire it for herself as well. женя is old enough to be baptized, but he promised her that he would not be baptized at this point, although he said that he is not against baptism and feels that it is a good thing to do. Another investigator we have given a baptismal date, but she is having some hard times in life, so we are hoping that she relies on Christ and the Book of Mormon to receive comfort and guidance. We have not recently gotten any referrals, but it seems as if church members are talking with their families, and we have been trying to work with a few families.
That was really cool to hear that Shane has recently had a baptism. It is weird that we have been on our missions about halfway now. It motivates me to work a lot harder and because it really did just fly by the first half. I know that this work is very important because through the Gospel we find true happiness. There is a man that we met with who was trying to tell us that we were wrong (I don't know where he was from because he had the claim to be looking for the truth, but he had a bunch of literature from different places and talked poorly about various churches). We knew he wasn't interested in hearing from us, but we had to give something back to the man, so he started talking. It was funny because he tried to say why we were wrong, but the more he said, he seemed to dig a hole for himself, and without us doing anything but testify, he really sounded goofy. I know that the church is true and that the Book of Mormon holds a lot of strength if we sincerely read it, pray about it, and apply it. I love you all. Bye. -Elder Larson