Monday, June 27, 2011

June 27, 2011

Hello Family,
This week has been going well, but a little different because of transfers and problems with visa trips and other things. Elder Zhdanov left, and Elder Pearson came on Wednesday. I am excited again to work with Elder Pearson. He still has great ideas, he has changed a little, but I love being with him, and he is also bringing in some new ideas from his experience. At the end of the week, I was also with the zone leader from the adjacent city because my companion had to go on an unplanned trip to Finland. It is cool how all the little ones are there in Arizona. I hope you all are having fun. I hope the medical tests go well. It is strange how brad is already home, and how Alex will soon be leaving. I hope all the check ups go well mom. I live on Shefsckaya street in the northern part of Ekaterniburg called Uralmash/ Elmash. Ural heavy machine factory is located nearby. I live in a new building towards the edge of the city.
There is some exciting news that we will have a baptism on Saturday. She is amazing, accepts everything, and it has been about 3 weeks since the time we started teaching her. It has been a huge miracle, and it really helps me see that God has the power to change hearts. We simply need to invite people and we don't always know who is ready. I will still be here for a while. NExt week, I will have a new mission president. President Allcott has been great. I am really loving this time, and I really love how simple the Gospel is. Following commandments, we receive blessings. If we mess up, we can sincerely repent and change through Christ so that we can follow the commandments, and receive blessings. It of course isn't so easy to always do, but we have so much help given from God to keep us on the right path. I love you all. Be Healthy. Don't miss me too much, just kidding, not really. I don't know. I love you all. Sorry, I just have a blank of thought today. I know that Christ is my Savior, and I know that through the teachings of Christ we find happiness. Good bye.-Elder Larson

Monday, June 20, 2011

June 20, 2011

Hello Family,
This week was a very good week. Dad, it sounds like you did a good talk. I like it and it sounds like mom liked it too. Happy Father's day. Sorry I didn't notice. It is on a calendar I have, but I just didn't notice I suppose because they do holidays a little differently here. There was someone who did a talk this week end though and it was really interesting. He did not ask for participation from people because it was a talk, but he asked some questions and gave answers as if it were coming from the crowd. For instance, he asked women about which traits they like to see in a man, and he answered on the question himself with something they may have thought of. It was interesting and he wanted to focus on becoming more like Christ and developing traots tjat really matter and that people admire. Sounds like a good ceremony that Alex had. I am also very excited to hear that Jeff is on the mission and that he is already there serving and enjoying his time. I am glad to here about all of the youth who are really making good decisions and changing their lives to become more like Christ.
It is cool how you all got to see the grandchildren.
We have got a baptismal date for an investigator, and we are excited because she is great. She is a member referral, but she is accepting of everything, and she has really put forth a lot of faith. Her name is Lidia She lives only 10 min. walk from us, and members have been helping. She is around 58, and she really enjoys what the Gospel brings to her. She will be baptised July 2 if not early depending on ward activities happening around that time. She has really shown me that there are people that are ready, waiting for the Gospel and recognize that it is right even without a huge knowledge, but she is accepting and learning, and she also enjoys church.
My companion received a transfer to Dyoma (a place where I have previously served. My 2nd area). I am going to serve with Elder Pearson (he was one of my first companions when I was in a threesome.) This will be my 2nd companion that I have served with twice. I enjoyed serving with Elder Zhdanov. I like Elder Pearson a lot, and he works very hard, so hopefully we can work hard together and have some great experiences again.
Mom, the mission has not really helped me know what I want to be after my mission, probably because I try not to think about it, but I have found out a few things I like. I like to work and serve others. I like Russian language, I like to solve problems, and I like to write and fill out papers. I also really love to teach people about Christ and help them come closer to him. I know that part will be a life long mission, but as for the other stuff, I am really not sure. It has really been dark, windy, rainy weather for a long time, but I am really enjoying my mission. I love you all. Good Bye. -Elder Larson

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 13, 2011

Hello family,
I am doing well, and I was glad to hear from all of you. I am doing well. We had Zone leader Council, and I learned a lot about planning and how I can better plan and goal set in order to get things accomplished. It has already had a good effect on our attititude, and we have a good week coming up her. We also think that we will have a baptismal date with a woman today. Her friend invited her to church, she has been  3 times, she is very nice, we have met with her once, and we feel like she is ready for that challenge. It is weird to hear that Brad will be going home soon, but from the sound  of his leaders, it seems like he had a great time, and was able to make a difference in many people's lives. It is sad to hear about all those fires. My companion is from Donetsk Ukraine, and he lives with his mother at home and also has a sister who is 2-3 years older than him, but he is 23. This is the last week of the transfer, but I feel like there is a likelihood that I will stay here, and I am glad, because I feel that there are some good things going on, but we will see. I did not ask directly if he had been to the castle, but I am pretty sure that he has not.
There are a lot of people divorced in Russia, and it makes it difficult for the Church a lot. It makes me grateful for my family, and I see that it is a stability and a foundation in a literal sense. I am grateful and love my family, and a strong family is centered on love for God, Christ, and each other. If we follow the commandments and follow the prophets, we can have a lot of happiness in our families. I suggest you two for family home evening to read together proclamation to the family. I don't think that there are secrets to becoming a happy family, but a lot of times we forget, which is why reading scriptures and words of the prophet is important to help us remember the commandments. A lot of problems also occur if we start thinking about ourselves more than our companions or others. It is interesting to see that sometimes amongst companions on the mission, but it is also great to remember that Christ is here for us and repentance works, and no matter what goes wrong, we can always make it on the right path with his help.
It would be cool to see Erik and Alesha near me if he goes to school at BYU. Bye. I love you all. -Elder Larson

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June 6, 2011

Hello Family!
I was glad to hear from you this week, and I was also glad to hear from Shane and Madison. It sounds like Madison is happy, doing well in school, and I had actually never seen that feather thing, but it looked pretty cool in her hair like that. Madison, I hope you are reading your scriptures, and then your days will be even more happy and fun filled. Be a good example and help out your brothers and sisters, and I know you can even be a great example for your family. A miracle we had in the work is we were able to help someone do a renovation in his home. His wife is against the church, but since we've been going over and helping she has become friendly, kind, and she is actually quite funny, although she still doesn't let us pray in front of her. We are putting up some dry wall ceilings, and it has been fun to learn how to do a few new things. It is also fun to help this member. He is really a gentle man, and we are preparing the room for their new baby that comes in less than a month. This was the last Sunday that our Mission President would attend our ward and also a 70 quorum member was there at church. He is from Russia, but he is a nice man. Also, a sister from the church invited a friend, and we set up a meeting with her and her friend next week, and it showed me that the Lord really does soften people's hearts, and that we all can play a key role in missionary work with the help of the Spirit.
So you watched Andrew zimmern in Russia, it sounds cool. I haven't been to a huge market, but there are quite a bit of markets that are just in the streets, and actually next to our home, there is a market that had a variety of vegetables at a really good price. A lot of the -stani people are involved in shipping and trading of produce, so you have a lot of darker skinned people that don't speak russian, there are a lot of grandmothers on the streets that sell things. I have not been to a big market in Ekat for food, but I have been to a big market for clothes and it is interesting. A lot of times you will even see chinese or vietnam markets where they sell those items.
I have tried tongue here, and I don't really like it a whole lot, but all of the pastries are really good. In the Urals, there are I believe nearly all natural resources and many minerals, stones and ores. I don't know if they have a rock museum, but it would be good to know. It sounds like everyone from the ward is getting married or leaving. It seems like a lot is changing. Thanks for the package. The weather is nice today, and it has been cloudy and rainy all last week, and it was disappointing to hear it will rain again. Last summer it was so hot and sunny, but so far this summer has been very wet. It will be good for produce and the price of food. I know that serving the Lord we can really be blessed and be happy. I know that he knows our needs and only through him can we find the answers to our needs. We get our new President the 1 of July, and that is when the Alcott's go home. They have been really great. I hope you are all doing well, working hard, counting your blessings, reading your scriptures, saying your prayers, and following the commandments. If not, you can always change, and through Christ, he will help you get through anything. I love you all. Good bye- Elder Larson
For Alex. -Charity has really helped me on my mission, and I especially realize how much it can bless our lives. I have a few examples of charity. Between our loved ones, we should have a great amount of charity, although we take them for granted a lot of times. It is like a companion. You need to work on loving the ones around you and serving them, and thinking about them at the same time thinking about Christ, and it helps you become more humble. It helps you become happier and think about others more than yourself.
We need to not judge those that we do not know. We do not know their circumstances, why they do what they do exactly, but we must love and serve them. Sometimes we cut them down, sometimes we act better than them. If they truly do have an inadequacy, we should help them up, not beat them down, and we should never act like we are better than them. (You can refer to the story a wrote probably in Feb about the drunk man by the church.
Through charity we become like Christ and we become humble ourselves, although through our talents, abilities, and skills that we have been blessed with, we can make a difference in the lives of others.
I ran out of time. COuld you please remind me next letter, and I can write some more.