Well thanks for all the good letters and the birthday wishes! You’re all the best, we definitely had one to remember yesterday. I will tell you about it...
First off, we had a good week of going to these zone trainings with president that were more of a mini zone conference that were just for the morning hours and a little into the afternoon to help with some training and get everybody pumped! It was really fun, we had some good things happen on the way. On Wednesday, we were here in Samara and had a fun afternoon- I was with an Elder Bucanov and we found a kid that was on his way to take a test and then was willing to meet. The first thing he said was "I need to repent." Man we were so excited! So we met with him, had a restoration lesson, invited him to baptism and he accepted and it was just awesome. We were on "bro hug" basis by the end of the lesson. Unfortunately, the next night, I called him and had a twenty minute phone call after he had said that it wasn't for him after reading the Book of Mormon. I was stumped, heart break hotel! But we keep movin’ on! It was a cool experience though, just too bad we couldn’t move forward. Anyways, had a lot of other good things, and then a great day yesterday!
So, we got up and had a good ol' bowl of cereal for the birthday breakfast and did a little contacting on our way to the branch building. We ended up getting to watch conference for birthday church! Russians love their birthdays, so Svyetlana came to church with a nice tie for me and things, and even Natasha that we had taught a year ago came to church with a present from her and Masha with a big card that Masha painted! Good memories. Usually we watch conference in English but I decided to sit in on the Russian translation for my last time and that was so cool to be with my Russian friends- we had a bunch of members from both branches here in Samara (they usually combine to watch conference) and so I got to be with them. It was a really touching day to sing hymns with them and feel their faith in the apostles and prophets. Anyways, after conference we had to help pick up the chairs and things, and when we came down stairs, Svyetlana and a bunch of other members had written little messages and put them in balloons and had "Happy Birthday Elder Nielson" written on a chalk board and everyone was in the room and sang me happy birthday. Man- of course my Nielson blood kinda cringed at that, but it was the best birthday ever. We got a picture, don't worry momma I just don't have it right now. Anyways, that was really cool. Basically we left from that and had a lesson and then the rest of the day and the whole night just pounding the streets and finding and teaching people the gospel on the streets! It was the best- I'll always remember that birthday. And we did find some good people by the way.
Well, things are just great. I love my mission in Russia, hope you all have a good week!
PS here is our birthday party last night with our birthday hats!- nothing tops off a long day like a bowl of cereal and this granola stuff they have here with some yogurt! I can't even express how happy that hat makes me every time I see it.