Hello my family dear!
Man it is so good to hear from ya and it sounds like each of you are just doin’ well, holdin’ down the fort! Way to go. I had a fun time getting to open my lil' notes you all sent me! Ya baby, zone conference means mail time! Thanks so much all that contributed, I'll be waiting for the next batch around. I have a good family. And thanks for the picture, I'll knock some babyshka's socks off with that number of vnychkee (grandkids).
Tanner, it sounds like your just doin’ well, you’re the man, as usual. I am glad to hear that your getting’ to play some ball and having dad as the coach- your a lucky guy. Sounds like we got an up and rising Gary Sheide. And good luck with the basketball tryouts- I'll be excited to hear how it goes and I'll be sure to wear the elite socks in your honor. There is a little Nike random shop here that I've gotten Sergei and Ivan hooked on finding "fresh" stuff. So funny- I wish you could hear them say it with their Russian accents. And dad it sounds like your keepin’ just busy and things are going well, and thanks mama for the thoughtful letter. I sure wish I could do a personal letter to each of you every week because it is fun to hear all your thoughts and things and what's going on.
We have had a great week hear in the big Zavodskoy- “Geneva Road”. I am so grateful to be serving here, I would love to stay for a long time, and I already have. Crazy to think that 9 months is creepin’ up on us, and that I just passed 6 months in the country. Hopefully with the “boots wit da fur” I'll blend right in as a true Russian real soon here (had to throw that in for Sarah). We were so blessed with an awesome and brief zone conference this past week. We had President Malm of the seventy who did a mission tour and did much of the teaching at our conference. I love the zone conferences and being with a group of missionaries, it is fun to realize how good of friends you make on a mission. President Malm taught us some very good things that touched me very well and motivated me a ton to do the work here. He taught us about how we really don't understand who we really are. The theme of the conference had been how we want to become "always" missionaries. But, he began to just very simply unfold the plan of salvation and how we all lived together- even all these people on the streets were there and accepted at some point the gospel and said "yes". Really when we think about it, everyone here on earth are "yes" sayers. We, however, promised to come here and even promised to help further the work of our Heavenly Father. What really got to me, is to realize the fact that I promised somebody, somewhere that I would find them. At the end of his comments, he said, let’s have somebody get up and bear testimony of what the spirit is teaching them. Of course, I looked up and he chose me. Man- it was a great experience as I was able to bear testimony and realize and have the spirit seal to me that I really am here to find that person I promised. We then of course continued after lunch to talk further about what we are really wanted to become and the next level that we are striving for. It was kinda that football practice mid-season that you realize we've done pretty well, but there is a whole new level to be achieved. The thing is, it was a time that I felt real motivation. It wasn't just an empty motivation, meaning that I just wanted to go talk to people, but rather a realization of what we're really doing here. It's interesting to realize how good you really aren't. However, it has been interesting to be a little bit of a different missionary and doing things the Lord's way- as President Sartori put it- being always missionaries. What it is that provides us strength through anything is a real understanding of true principles of the gospel. At this point in time, it is the understanding of the plan of salvation and that perspective that I try to teach investigators being engrained into me. What a blessing I have to be on a mission and to have the time to learn what my testimony really is and to look at things as they really are. I won't lie- the work can be very hard at times. As President Sartori put it- sometimes they are just mean. However, that doesn't bother me, when these things are realized. Nothing can really stop the work from progressing because in the end, the truth and eternal principles can overcome and can help us overcome all. We are so blessed to have this. I love you all and hope all is well with you at home. Have a good week!
The markets are getting back into winter season! I was first in line for some of this. Woof!