Monday, June 25, 2012

Hey there my fam!
Man thanks so much for all the nice emails from each of you.  I sure wish I had time to write back individually, but man I sure love hearing from all of you.  It sounds like you are doing so well and it is so fun to catch a glimpse of what's goin’ on at home.  I love the pics, it looks like lil’ Tan is just bein’ the man.  That is so fun to see.  I don't know if I told you, but that package was some good stuff, but best of all was to see the pics.  Now I know how you feel!   I will attach a couple here, one is us with a couple members.  Eugene and Anna are the younger couple, and Anna's mom, Luba, is on the end.  Luba is probably one of my favorite members.  She's been a member for almost 18 years now I thought I heard and she is just the happiest, kindest woman.  Man I love her.  I also had to take the other shot, because this is just Russia.  We got some beautiful sunsets, and not quite as pretty storage units.  It's a little extreme, but it is so good.  Man it’s so weird to think I'm on the mission...and been gone for 6 months!  ah! I sure loved hearing just what's going on around home.  It sounds like you had such a nice time in St. George and I am so glad to hear that.  And the Book of Mormon challenge and discussion at the end sounds like a great experience all around.  I would be lying if I said that would not have been fun to be there, but what motivation it gives to try and give that kind of a setting to a family here.  Yup momma- it's the good work alright.  And Em and Jackson it is so fun to hear what's all going on with you guys.  I love hearin’ mission stuff from you Jackson- I think we got some pretty similar stuff to share.  We're gonna have some good story time in a little bit.  And Em I love to hear just all your stuff.  It sounds like you all might be goin’ on down to the ranch.  That will be such a good time, and it sounds like a pretty special time right now.  You and I all get some pretty special strength from Gma going through her time right now.  What a special testimony of the Atonement she has.  I love getting a report every week from her.   Dad- you had maybe asked for quotes or things that I use to motivate.  I can't say I necessarily have a quote, but my favorite thing to do is this...I had memorized "Abide with me 'tis eventide" in the MTC in Russian.  On those nice and long and hot days with some friendly and not so friendly Russians on the street, I find myself singing that to myself a lot.  It has grown to be a special little memory for me.   Well as far as for things here in good ol' Saratov, we have been blessed with such a good week.  Man it is so good here.  We were again on exchanges with our district leader here and that, as always, is just a blast.  We had a good time and got to know those two missionaries pretty well.  That is the best part of exchanges.  We were back together for a good day on Thursday...we had to do weekly planning for the afternoon, but had a meeting in the middle of it.  By the time that was over, it was a little late, so we just dipped in the store and grabbed a loaf of bread and some juice and sat on a bench for a minute for dinner.  We called some peeps, and one of them answered named Sasha.  He had been an investigator about a year ago and we had met with him once, but he wanted to meet that night!  So we went to Luba's house and met him there, and ended up setting a baptismal date as well with him!  Woo so good!  We have been so blessed with some of these old investigators comin’ outta the woodwork.  We also dropped by Tatyana (our other baptismal candidate) on Friday and gave her some snickerdoodles...ya I'm domestic alright.  She was doing well and asked us some real good questions about the Book of Mormon.  It was so good, and we also agreed to pick her up on our way to church.  This made for such a good day at church as we had 5 investigators there!  We were so pumped, it was such a good day yesterday.  Tatyana stayed for the full three hours and just drank up a conference issue of the Liahona.  I had a pretty good lil’ conversation with her about everything from temples to baptism as she flipped through the pictures.  I am pretty excited, it was nice to have a chance to just chat for a little.   We also had quite the experience on Saturday.  We called a lady at lunch time and she wanted to meet at the park a little later.  So we were all pumped to meet and got there to the park.  When she shows up she just goes, "can I run to the store real quick?"  We didn't know what to say so she just went and came back.  We started talking again and all the sudden she pulls out a beer and cracks it open.  We were just like hmmm...don't know ‘bout that one.  Anyways she wanted to then start walking and takes us by this big fountain in the middle of the park and just says here watch my stuff.  All the sudden she steps up on the fountain and just takes a lap around the fountain and comes back and we started walkin’ again.  I gotta say it was one of the strangest meetings I have ever had.  Man we were just crackin’ up.  Needless to say, don't know if we'll be meeting anytime too soon again with her.  Good times. We then went to this little cafe thing to meet this Armenian guy named Papo there.  He was way cool and was just chillin’ there with about 5 or 6 friends and nobody else.  They were a pretty rough bunch, but were way cool and had us sit down.  Anyways, they were basically smoking the whole time, but were asking us some of the best questions about repentance and things.  Kinda ironic.  In the end, it was so awesome and we got like 4 new investigators as a result.  The coolest was at the end, Elder Cowley and I asked if we could pray with them, they said of course.  So Elder Cowley gave just a nice simple prayer, and by the end, all six of them were just paused and just sat there for a second.  It was one of the cooler experiences I have had.  You could tell the Spirit was really touching them, despite the fact that they were a little bit of a rougher bunch.   Well I believe that sums up a great week here in good ol' Zavodskoi.  The work is good.  I know it is so true, and it is fun to feel that as we grow to know of the surety of the gospel, it really does convert us in the sense of literally changing us.  I love this gospel and love each of you.  I keep you and our family in my prayers, and especially have a special spot for Grandma Nielson right now.  Love you all!
Elder Nielson

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