Tuesday, July 12, 2016

surprise!

Things actually happened in the last seven days. Weird.

Tuesday our new mission president made it down to Saratov, so we had zone conference. The Ottesens are REALLY cool. They're pretty funny. Fun fact, before they started dating president Ottesen (or whatever they called him back then) sent weird things to Sister Ottesen in the mail to get her attention. Like wooden boards and coconuts. 

Thursday we/a van of missionaries drove down to the border so we could re-enter on our new visas. My last few times have been pretty uneventful. I've only ever done it from Samara, so I have to say that  saratovskaya oblast is beautiful. Spacious skies and amber waves of grain. The roads are awful, but we had air conditioning and all was well. But the border people got all weirded out by the whole Americans-have-two-passports thing, so we had to stay there about five hours longer than we planned while we all got interviewed. Zone leaders told us to bring nothing but our passports and water so that it didn't take forever for them to search the van, so we were pretty bored. But hey, our leaders have asked us to fast for the leadership of this country...

Anyway, Roman, our legendary mission driver, leans back and is like "hey guys, just so you know, the worse you know russian the less time this will take. If you catch my drift"
So I was getting ready to answer their questions in horribly-accented scriptural russian, but it turns out I'm terrible at acting. But my interview was still pretty short probably because I'm a girl who's never served in the army.

I don't know what Russian border control is expecting to hear when they interview seven Mormon missionaries, but after they wrote down my name and address it was like:
"what is the purpose of your visit?"
"to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ"
"what do you do here?"
"I preach the gospel of Jesus Christ"
"got it. But, what do you DO?"
"talk to people and tell them about the gospel of Jesus Christ"
"who do you talk to?"
"...anyone who will listen?"

Maybe I should have turned it into a better teaching situation, but I'm not sure how. Maybe next time I'll ask for a referral while they finger-print me and take mug shots?

Friday we got some bad news and had to have rainy ice cream dinner. See attached photo. I feel like most of you that have the internet probably know that a law was signed in Russia this week that might change our work a little bit. It's probably not a super big deal, but we only have nine days left to proselyte in the normal way so you can bet we're going HARD. (p-day activity? contacting!)

We have a cool new investigator! Except she can't read Russian. We read to her. Maybe we can teach her how to read? Also we got a referral, this girl works with a member and she asked him if she could meet with us! We're stoked. 

So Sister Hines is getting transferred to Samara, sad. For me. She's probably not, she's going to the only city in the mission that has a crossfit gym... It's a good thing sister Markelova gave her a haircut this week. 

Sister Bierman is coming here, p.s. parents that's the sister that you were asking about a while back when she came into the mission because she has family in cache valley or something? Actually I think she is also from cache valley... I can't keep track of these things

um yeah to explain the photo someone on the bus gave me flowers (#dachaseason) and I decided to take a senior portrait. Maybe I'll have a flower shop one day. I'll call it "розы от розы"

Love you! Praying for you!
Sister Nielsen



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