2012 January 1,
We get to write early this week because nothing will be open on Monday because of the holiday. This week has been a pretty crazy one. I feel like we had almost no time to get any work done. I had my visa trip on Tuesday. I was a pretty quiet visa trip. We went through St Petersburg to get to Finland and so we were able to go to a session at the temple and do baptisms for the dead. We had the senior couple The Jensens from Ufa with us and so the session was in English and so we didn't have to wear head phones with translation. It was so good to be back at the temple. This is my 2nd to last visa trip. This was the last visa trip for Sister Muhlestein in our group. It is crazy to think that she is going home so soon. We also found out that an Elder Waddington from Washington will be going home with Sis Whiting and I. The dynamic of our mission has changed so much since I got here and especially since President Rust has arrived. I don't even know half the Elders anymore because they are all new. It has been a very common occurrence for Elders only in their 3rd transfer to train. I sure have made a lot of great friends though. I think serving together in the middle of Russia just gives you so many commonalities. :D I don't know if I have talked about the new senior couple yet. They are the Coltons and are originally from Maryland. It has just been so great to see how excited all the members got when they heard that there was going to be a new senior couple in the area. I think it has been about a year since the last one was here. They live in our area so we feel like we have more claim on them than any of the other missionaries so that makes us feel special. :D When ever I am around them I feel like I am at home. They are so great.
This week we were able to meet with V. It seems like her husband is doing a little bit better so she doesn't have to be with him all the time. She still really likes us a lot. We will see if she can't progress this next month.
Our investigator Anya's mom bought us tickets to go see the ballet "the Nutcracker" at the grand theater here. We got permission to go with them. :D It was so nice of them especially since after we found out they had bought us tickets other missionaries tried to buy tickets and couldn't becaus they were all sold out until February. We are so lucky! Anya's mom think that we need to be more cultured and so she always invites us on tours of the city and to go to musems and things. It was so much fun! The ballet was great, but as I was watching it I reallized just how long it has been since I have seen a ballet. They had a live orchestra of course. I kept trying to explain to Anya that I played the french horn and that I have played Tchikovski before. We also got to meet Anya's grandmother Raesia. Now if only Anya would have time to meet with us to talk about the gospel that would be great.
We got a new investigator this week. Her name is I. She walked into the church by herself last Saturday just before the Christmas party and so we sat down and talked to her and she agreed to meet with us again. She is older and is really into history. When we went to her house she pulled out a world map and explained why she isn't very religious by showing us where her parents grew up and talking about WWII. We showed her where we were from on the map also. She is really nice and she said she would start reading the Book of Mormon.
This weekend we have to be inside all weekend because of the Holiday, but we have been given permission to watch church movies. Too bad the only church movies we have are the standards: Finding Faith in Christ, the Restoration, and one about eternal families. I am sure we will have some fun somehow. :D Love you all!!!! Happy New Year!!!!!