Beautiful Russia!

Beautiful Russia!

Our great friend, Roma made dinner for us!

Our great friend, Roma made dinner for us!

Elder Rasmussen is very excited to see real food!

Elder Rasmussen is very excited to see real food!

Companion and friend, Elder Jake Rasmussen

Companion and friend, Elder Jake Rasmussen

Trifecta's Last Time In Estonia

Trifecta's Last Time In Estonia

With my wonderful friend, Faik.

With my wonderful friend, Faik.

Sunrise, at One P.M.

Sunrise, at One P.M.

Petrozadovsk District

Petrozadovsk District

Lake at Petrozavodsk

Lake at Petrozavodsk

North Zone Conference Nov. 2011

North Zone Conference Nov. 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner 2011

First Zone Conference with President Clark

First Zone Conference with President Clark

Neva River Fall 2011

Neva River Fall 2011

Visa trip, Oct 1st 2011

Visa trip, Oct 1st 2011

Oh my aching jaw...

Oh my aching jaw...

Hermitage Museum on P-day!

Hermitage Museum on P-day!

Me, Svetlana and Elder Loskutov

Me, Svetlana and Elder Loskutov

Birthday lunch with Kostya

Birthday lunch with Kostya

My friend, Grisha

My friend, Grisha

Service for Babushka

Service for Babushka

MTC Missionaries in Estonia

MTC Missionaries in Estonia

Waiting in Estonia...

Waiting in Estonia...

Visit from Elder Russell M. Nelson

Visit from Elder Russell M. Nelson

Elders Larsen and Anthony

Elders Larsen and Anthony

Our MTC teacher surprise visit!

Our MTC teacher surprise visit!

Podvodov family gave powerful talks!

Podvodov family gave powerful talks!
Pskov, Russia Branch

Vyborg Castle

Vyborg Castle

St Olaf's Castle Where We Do Service Work

St Olaf's Castle Where We Do Service Work

Beautiful Vyborg on the Sea of Finland

Beautiful Vyborg on the Sea of Finland

Vyborg

Vyborg

Misty day in Kaliningrad

Misty day in Kaliningrad

Kaliningrad District May 2010

Kaliningrad District May 2010

Russian MTC Group

Russian MTC Group

Russian MTC Zone at Provo Temple

Russian MTC Zone at Provo Temple

21 October 2010

Adventures Continue.....

Hello! It's good to hear from you again... I can't believe that it is already P-day again. Time is going by way too fast. So let's see... What's new for this week... This last week I had a Visa Trip to Estonia and that was fun to say the least. This time the driver didn't go across the boarder with us, so it was just me, Elders Gerard, Andersen, Hill, and Sister Lane. The Estonian government didn't like the fact that we were all Americans with 2 passports and tried to tell us that we couldn't have both of them. We told them that we weren't doing anything against the law and if they had any questions, they could check all the dates in our visas and see if they were correct, and they could call the mission visa department with questions. Elder Gerard and Sister Lane seemed to be a little worried when this happened, Elder Andersen seemed normal, and me and Elder Hill were trying not to laugh to be honest. Elder Hill's dad is the mission president in Croatia, and he said that this was the "first time" someone had a problem with that. We told them to check the dates on our visas on the computer, and they did and everything was okay... so they had to let us through, but they didn't seem too happy. We just crossed the boarder and came right back. This story is probably more entertaining to me than anyone else just because it happened to me! I think I set a record of how many people can flip me off in a day while I was in St. Petersburg... The city is definitely a lot different than Vyborg. I'm glad that I serve in Vyborg! Monday through Wednesday the Zone Leaders were in our area and I was on a split with Elder White, while Elder Domanskiy was on a split with Elder McCleary, both are from Seattle. It was the first time I've ever really met Elder White, and he is a cool guy too. I haven't really met anyone I don't like here serving on a mission with me. Both the Zone Leaders loved Vyborg and want to serve there sometime. I've been lucky to serve in Vyborg and K-grad. So our investigator who has a baptismal date named Roma I don't think is going to work... After we set the baptismal date with him he ignores our calls, and while on our split, Elders Domanskiy and McCleary saw him down the street and he quickly hid himself when he saw them.... It makes me sad because Roma is a really cool kid. I don't know why he doesn't want to talk with us, but I still pray for him and wish the best for him... Elder Domanskiy and McCleary did however set a baptismal date with an investigator named Katia for this transfer! Missionaries had met with her before I came to Vyborg, but she hasn't been living here up until just recently and that was our first meeting with her. While they were on a meeting with her, Elder White and I met with Vladimir, and investigator we met through English Club. He is in his 50's and comes to English every week. He is very interested in the church, but is very scientific and can't understand why people believe in God because he doesn't see the evidence. We talked about faith and how we can't see everything, but we can see the outcome of them. For instance, we can't see gravity, but we all stay on the ground because of it, and science has done experiments to help show gravity exists. It's the same with faith in God. We can't physically see Him, but we can see His works all around us, and we can experiment on the words in the scriptures to see if they are true... He listened to us and said we had a good point, but he didn't seem ready to try, it seemed to me. He wouldn't let us try to give him a commitment. I hope this interest that is growing in him about the church will soon turn into a desire to experiment on the word of God. So today Elder Domanskiy asked me to only speak English in the apartment to help him learn. I agreed to do that of course! ha ha. My Russian is no where near perfect, but Elder Domanskiy has helped a lot with the Russian, and people are saying that my Russian improved a ton last transfer. Just remembered a story I never told you. A couple weeks ago one of the 8 year olds in the branch was getting baptized, so we had to go and fill the font. Elder Domanskiy forgot to turn off the silent alarm and the police came... 2 1/2 hours later. If you think that Mormons are bad at being late to things, wait until you meet a Russian Mormon... ha ha! I'm kidding of course!! I love Russia! Just made me laugh that it took so long. Thanks for the pictures of Code!!!! He looks WAY different to me! I started writing a letter last week to send home with a couple pictures, but I still haven't finished it. Hopefully I will send it today... How does my blog have people from Germany and Brazil and stuff on it?... I'm confused... I thought it was a Facebook blog... I've been praying for dad to find a new job. I hope it all works out soon (of course you know that already) I know that it will soon enough. Shoes are still okay... I switch them back and forth every now and then seeing that I brought two pairs, but I know they aren't going to last my whole mission. Soon I can wear my winter boots. It's getting really rainy here, and colder, but still not as bad as I thought it would be. I will have to buy a better coat for winter probably. I'll find out how much they are? Only bought a normal winter hat. The only Russian hats I could find were half fake leather and half fur... I want one that is just all fur. I will keep looking! Well, got to run. Know that I love you all back home and that I am happy to serve a mission!! I'm learning more than I thought I would, especially about myself, and my relationship with my Father in Heaven and elder brother. Still haven't found the words to describe the feelings I feel that come from this Gospel, but all I can say is that God lives, LOVES us more than we can understand right now, and that he provided the way to not only find strength, peace, solace, joy, on earth, but to continue onward into eternity and become His eternal Children. Love, Blake

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