Thursday, May 10, 2012

Well hey family!
I am back in cozy ol' Kazan on a nice warm day today!  We had some weird cold weather last week but it looks like things are warming up round these parts.  (I know... crazy of me to think that it would actually get cold here in Russia!)  But let's get down to business first.  The hour to write home and things just could never be long enough.  I will try to get some pics attached to this one.  I have tried the last like 4 weeks so we will see.  Hopefully a pic of Jamala, Kremlin, and a good send off this morning on our way out the door.  Good times.  We will hopefully have some good pics after our visit today with our English speaking Russian grandma.  Will explain in a minute...stay tuned my friends.  Ok drum roll please....we are going to be able to use Skype from a member's house next week!!  His name is Mark and we will go there at 7:00 our time in the evening.  I want to say that would make for about 9:00 a.m. in the morning there in Utah.  I don't know with daylight savings and things.  But so you know we will try to be there at 7:00 p.m. our time, and I will either talk then, or at about 7:50 after Elder Taylor.  Sorry that has been so un-planned.  We are a couple of rookies that didn't really know what was going on and then it snuck up on us.  We will have 45 minutes, so make your Grandpa Arnett list!  I am super excited it will be fun for sure!

Well, it has been quite the interesting week this week.  Russia tends to be pretty interesting every week.  I spent most of the week working in Tolyatti while Elder Taylor had a leadership conference and visa trip.  We just didn't find out about that until about two days before so that's why we had to leave the house so fast and get the house moved.  Holy cow that seems like a dream and a half ago.  So I spent some time with Elder Maloy down in Tolyatti.  It was really fun and we had some sweet stuff happen.  I got a couple awesome babushka stories for ya.  On our first night Elder Maloy and I stopped a babushka and started talking to her. She asked what we were and we replied by telling her that we were missionaries, she just goes "oh how beautiful!  how clean!  ah, lads, go SERVE!"  and like pushes our chest.  Holy cow I was rolling I was laughing it was so awesome.  Man I love the funny people here.  Then last night we were talking to this babushka.  She started going off about how she has a neighbor girl and this and that.  So we show her a Book of Mormon and she like rips it out of Elder Taylor's hands and has it like two inches away from her face.  Ah she was so funny and just her little hat and things were awesome.  But she told Elder Taylor to call her right there so that she had our number, and when he called like 5 seconds later she freaks out and is like "holy cow who is calling me?!"  and answers and is just like "who is it?!' It was so funny she was so excited and Elder Taylor is just like "wo lady it's me you just told me to call."  We could not stop laughing.  But hey, we got the referral alright.  Ah such good times.  So I spent the week in Tolyatti just doing the good ol' work.  Oh and I taught the little group at family night how to play Don't Eat Pete!  It was so fun.  "NE KYSHAI PETRA!"  I thought you'd get a kick out of the Russian version dad.  Anyways, I will have to show you this stuff on the Skype, because it is all ten times more funny in their dramatic Russian.  I completely agree with you dad.  It is pretty crazy to walk away and be like "hmm...I was just having a good time with that guy.  In Russian!"  It is pretty crazy how much we are blessed to speak and understand.  Although, I will be very honest that there is a long, long ways to go on that.  Our English speaking Russian g-ma is just a joy for us to be around.  We were able to meet with her and just chat and walk and got her a Book of Mormon.  I am so excited to just slowly but surely help her progress.  We are actually going right after this to her art school in the center of the city.  I am super excited.  She is going to show us around and take us down the main street there.  It is such a cool street with a whole bunch of cool historical stuff.  We got our own tour guide!  And we actually understand her as well.  It is fun also to talk to somebody just about the communist life experiences and understand it.  I can't wait to be able to understand people well enough to talk with people about that.  pretty crazy stuff.  We also had quite the experience at church yesterday.  This older guy got up and just started going off.  I didn't really understand him, but it was alright.  But then he hit a second gear and was just like yelling and this and that about his granddaughter getting to go the temple or not.  Anyways, it was crazy.  Finally, a member actually walked up and told him to finish, and he did.  Luckily that was all that happened.  We were pretty stunned sitting there.  It was pretty good. 
Well for the most part I believe that does it for things that happened this week.  We spent a lot of time on a bus hauling back and forth on some crazy roads.  It is pretty funny, the roads are better in the winter here because the potholes are frozen in.  We were going at crawling speed for a while just weaving in and out of big ol' craters in the road.  Good times. 

But, on a more serious note, I have been growing in such an appreciation for the Book of Mormon.  What a blessing we have to have that pure set of scripture.  I have become thoroughly convinced that if anybody will spend a legitimate amount of time in the Book of Mormon each day and pray, he can't fall.  Heavenly Father knew what He was doing by bringing forth that scripture for our day.   The doctrines are put forth purely, and we have perfect examples of people to follow. Most of all it contains such wonderful testimonies of the Savior.  There is no room for distorting the doctrines, or rationalizing actions.  The Book of Mormon is definitely for each of us and it has been such a blessing and tool on my mission.
Well I will look forward to chatting on Sunday night/morning! It will be a Happy Mother's Day for sure!  I love you all so much!
Elder Nielson

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