2011 January 24,
Well I am still alive if you are wondering. And I am not that frozen either. It has actually been really warm for winter (-10 to -20 instead of -30s) They keep saying that it is going to get colder though. So this week I have a list of some firsts: First frozen dead dog that I almost stepped on. For some reason it reminded me of Dad. I don't know why. There are a lot of homeless dogs wandering around. They tend to not really bother anyone, but they do spread the trash around. First Bible bashing on the street. I couldn't understand what he was saying, but Sis Hakes said he was Baptist and was trying to explain why the Book of Mormon couldn't possible be scripture because there is no scripture after the Bible. Sis Hakes didn't want to argue, but he kept going on and on about saving us. There are a lot of different religions represented here in Perm. For example we live really close to a Lutheran church. I was led to believe that everyone was Russian Orthodox. I played the piano my First Sunday here and my second and I probably will every Sunday here on out. The Senior Couple serving here is going home this next week so they had a going away fireside and guess who got to play the piano for the entire thing including all the musical numbers? I am really going to miss the Nehrings (senior couple). You can just tell that everyone in the branch absolutely loves them. They have opened doors that regular missionaries could not. They just make everyone feel at home. My first real Russian tea!!!!!! Of course it was herbal. We went to our first meeting with a recent convert family (Grandmother and Daughter). They live in a house in a more neighborhood type place. I was also led to believe that everyone here lived in huge cement apartment buildings also not true. We went and they fed us mashed potatoes and we had real Russian tea. We sweetened it with homemade jam. It was very good. They are very strong recent converts. They were both so nice to us. I just love them! The babooshka's name is Maria and she has only one tooth. She is so cute! The members here are just amazing, and they have to get through so much culture just to become members. Everyone smokes. Everyone drinks. Temptations are everywhere. Contacting is hard because people really don't talk to each other on the bus or on the street. They really aren't into pleasant conversation here, but we really have seen some miracles with talking to people. One kid we talked to on the street randomly said that he had a friend who was a member and that he wanted to find out more about what she believed. Sis Hakes has also been calling a lot of people from the Area book. I tried to help her a couple times, but they couldn't understand what I was saying so she had to take over. Russian is still coming along. I can sort of understand the general gist of what people are talking about at church, but anyone else I really don't. It’s a process. Oh I had to translate for the first time! I had to say you have a very nice family. Sister Nehring asked me to say it to a member. It’s a good thing I know how to say it. Please pray for the members here. They are trying so hard to create Zion in the midst of the world. All I have to say is it is really easy to live in Utah. Also pray for the nonmembers here; pray that their hearts will be softened. I love you all so much!!!