Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Count Down Continues...

Well hello family! Already back to another p-day. My second to last p-day in the MTC! But who's's been a good week though just filled with some solid preparation for our friends in Russia. I need to apologize to Tanner and Sarah first, I got a little busy and wasn't able to send your letters till Saturday, only to realize the mail doesn't pick up Saturday afternoon, and then to learn that President's day was Monday. I would have had no idea it was President's day if the mail room wasn't closed. But holy cow the time is winding down to begin the real mission experience! I have loved the MTC, but sure cannot wait to leave and meet a real person. Word on the street is that we get travel plans tomorrow, so keep fingers crossed! Suddenly with time winding down like it is, it doesn't seem that two weeks is enough time to learn all I can. But it's all good, I can't wait to get there. For the time, it's felt like I've been called to serve in the MTC. The week itself has been a good one. It's definitely been a lot more busy with Elder Davis and I because we got two new districts of the Russian speakers in our zone. They have been a little stressed, and it's kind of our responsibility to make sure they have a decent idea of what goes on and how to do things. This whole assignment to be zone leaders has been a very big blessing, although at times it is a little stressful. Sometimes it kind of feels like we are baby sitting a bunch of other 19 year olds. But it's fun because it has given me an opportunity to come close and become friends with the missionaries in our zone, as well as close with our branch presidency who I love. It also has helped Elder Davis and I come closer as we have to work together and basically just be the best examples we can and love the missionaries in our zone. The Russian continues to progress. We have begun our final two weeks of only speaking Russian. Obviously this isn't a perfect 100% and who knows if we are anywhere near correct on what we are saying, but it's really fun to speak and challenge ourselves. My favorite part is singing in Russian. The translations have to be a little different, and so I learn from the hymns. Also, just Russian in general translates things a little differently that causes for a different perspective on things. For example in our hymn of "Onward Christian Soldiers" the last line reads, "за Христа готовый жертвовать собой!" which translates to "for Christ we're prepared to sacrifice ourselves". Just fun little nuggets of Russian wisdom that make things interesting and have been a blessing. I have come to love the Russian language. Yes it's difficult, and yes I'm not near anywhere fluent, but it really is a beautiful language and fun to learn about. I am grateful to serve in Russia. I have also just continued to learn about the simple aspects of our gospel. It is so interesting how more and more is revealed to us as we study the pure doctrines of Christ. I love a quote in Preach my Gospel from Hyrum Smith that roughly says, "study the first principles of the gospel. Study them over and over again and I promise you that God will reveal more and more about these." I love the connection between the first principles and the gospel to my purpose. In fact, they are exactly the same! I am to bring others to Christ through these principles, which are the doctrine of Christ. It truly is the word that "healeth the wounded soul." I am so grateful for the way in which our Savior heals us and that He loved us enough to suffer all so that He might heal us. What a blessing this knowledge is. But first we must trust and have faith on His name. Then repent, followed by baptism (sacrament) and receiving the Holy Ghost. Funny how these apply to all aspects of all phases of life. And of course we must endure. I saw a glimpse of this today in the temple. I watched as an older woman walked into the celestial room and sat next to her husband. She scootched her chair a little closer and they grasped hands and began to pray. I wondered about the size of smile that must be on Heavenly Father's face to see this. It softened me up a little bit. I can't wait to perhaps begin someone's journey to receiving this happiness. Not too much else goes on around these parts. Just livin’ the dream going to class and learning the ol' Russian. I can't wait to get out there and hope to get out healthy. I made a personal vow to not play basketball the rest of the time. Sounds goofy, but it gets a little sketchy and the last thing I want is something on my body messed up from a dumb game. So four square is my new found domain. Tanner, that had to be one of the best letters I've gotten here. It sounds like your keepin’ it all pretty real at home and you found my treasure chest of goodies in my closet. Well done my friend. Congrats to Newman by the way on the call. I hope all is well at home. It sounds like everyone is doing great. I appreciate the support and the fun little goody packages. I gotta say dad, you outdid yourself on the last one. I have made a lot of friends with the fiesta packages. I am so grateful for our family. I have thought about that a lot as I look at our picture on my desk and feel so much support and love. It is a pretty unique thing I believe to have the blessing of a family that I do. Don't know what I've done to deserve it, but I hope to maybe help a friend in Russia receive this. I love you all and continue to keep you in my prayers.
Elder Nielson

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