Monday, March 11, 2013

Good morning family!

Well it is a good day here in big ol' Samara! We've had such a darn good week and it has probably been one of my favorites. I really don't know why, there have just been a whole lot of good things and probably more hard things, but it's cool how much I have been able to learn and grow from them. Those were all a bunch of super fun letters that I was able to get from each of you, I was able to answer a couple but am super grateful for all the support that I feel from you there at home. And don't worry about it momma, I totally understand, you still wrote a nice letter and I appreciate it. Anyways, it sounds like everybody is doing well and that is good to hear. That sounds way fun to be going down to St George with dad and Tanner to meet Tana and Grandpa. That will be so fun, reminds me of goin’ down and playing with dad and then getting a migraine down there. Good times, hope you do well down there lil’ Tanner! Anyways, thanks for the updates everybody and hope all the missionaries headin’ out back at the ranch have a good time. Because it's a good time.

This week has definitely been an interesting one as I said earlier. There is a whole bunch goin’ on and I am grateful for all the little experiences that happen out here on a mission. We started out the week with the big visa trips coming in and out. We are actually coming to a close of having to do those every 3 months because they now have come out with 3 year visas and we only have to leave the country every 6 months to renew our "migration cards" which we get at visa renewal time as well. Anyways, it will be a lot simpler basically and only every 6 months, just kinda some fun facts for the day for you. And, there is a possibility that we will be flying straight to Prague where the visas are made which would also be cool. Kinda random.

So, we had our last groups coming in and out which made for a good full apartment for the first part of the week. That is definitely a funny aspect of my mission that I wouldn't have thought I would have had. But, we came around to the last part of the week and were able to have some meetings with investigators and there are a lot of good things going on there. Ryslan is just still our bro. We are definitely trying to work to make him build some foundation of faith for him. He is funny, he says how things are just bad here in Russia and that nobody can really build a good life here and that anybody that does is pretty much just lying to them self because it really isn't that good. Anyways, it is really twisting us to try and help him to see the light and how much he needs the faith, he just needs to be humbled a little bit. I sure love that kid though. He's so darn respectful and probably the nicest Russian kid that I have ever met. He is always paying for our bus fares going to church or other things and always has some kind of surprise for us. Man, I can't even imagine what the gospel would do for him.

And with Anna, things are still just kinda moving slowly but surely with her. We weren't able to get a real meeting with her this week but we were able to get her to come with us to our weird culture night that we walked out of - some remix of Nutcracker - and then she came with us with a couple other members and Ryslan to get some dinner and was able to make really good friends with them and things. It was so cool, that made the torture of nutcracker fluke all worth it. You'll have to ask Sarah a little more about it, I explained it to her. Anyways, we were able to have a good couple of days and had the Sartoris come to our branch which was awesome as always. I had to go up and translate for President Sartori which was pretty cool, a little scary, when he spoke which actually turned out pretty good. Kinda fun. But church went really well besides that and big Ryslan came and gave his little donation again. And yes mom, that is the same name as the other guy we baptised. There aren't many names here for some reason, it has just kinda turned out to be that way because of the grammar and things. Kinda weird, everybody has the same name. And just so you know, that Ryslan and Tatyana that we baptized are doing super well and it is super fun to be around them and watch them grow in the gospel.

Anyways, that is about the jist of things that happened over the last week. I say it every week, but it has been such a blessing to be on a mission and to learn so much. The Atonement definitely takes more effect in our lives as we strive to be better and as we get better because it becomes that much more important. And then it is cool to see how even those things that were good remain good in your memory, and even the bad things become a good memory because we are able to be healed of the embarrassment that comes with mistakes and gain all that we learned from those experiences. It is such a blessing to have that in our lives and in our family. I sure love you all and hope that you have a good week! See ya next week!


Elder Nielson

P.S. can you believe that this time last year I was just getting’ here and writing you from Kazan? So crazy how the time goes. Year in Russia baby!

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