Hello! Lots has happened this last week and I don't even know where to start. Transfers happened and I have been called to serve in the city! I'm serving in the southern west area of St. Petersburg, which they call the Avtovo area. This area has been closed for a while, and has been opened up off and on, and me and my new companion are opening it up again. Our area is about 30 minutes by metro from the mission office. I'm senior companion to Elder Andrei Svirskii from Ukraine. This is only his second transfer here on the mission. He seems like he is a really nice, humble guy. He's pretty shy but he's cool though, and I look forward to serving with him. We live on the 13th floor of an apartment building and you can see pretty far. I've never realized how big St. Petersburg is until now.
Elder Berven is still in Petergof as our district leader, so I still will be talking with him every night and can tell him to say hi to people there in Petergof, so that's good. His new companion is Elder Wilde from St. George, Utah. Will miss Elder Berven. Great friend, great missionary! Before I left Petergof, I was able to make it around to all the members to say goodbye except for one. I'm going to miss Petergof alot! All the members are so nice and friendly, and since the branch is so small it just feels more like a little family meeting every week than a sacrament meeting, but I like that. We also were able to meet with Vladimir and Sergey. Sergey was pretty sad to see me go, and we took some funny pictures because he wanted me to remember him as a fun person. I'm glad to have become his friend! When I met with Brother Silva who is from Cuba, that was the first time I was at his house, and he has a Lab named Nika who looks just like Shelby but black instead of chocolate color. I played with her while I was there and got my "dog fix" satisfied for a day. Ha ha. After that she wouldn't leave me alone and keep putting her head on my knee like Shelby used to do, and then when she realized I wasn't going to pet her anymore because we were busy talking, she laid down on my feet. Brother Silva is a cool guy! He knows the Gospel like a General Authority would, and speaks English, Russian, and Spanish. He has some birds too at his house, all very bright colors that like to sing.
It's been really cold lately. REALLY COLD! A couple days ago during the evening it got down to -30, and President didn't want us to be on the streets... I've been living in a freezer for the past 3 months. Add the humidity and the wind factor, and that -30 feels like NEGATIVE DEATH sometimes. Bitter!
Did you get my letter yet, Dad? I sent one for your birthday, and it should be arriving there soon. I just barely got a letter from Bishop Rose that was sent on my birthday. Tell him thank you! It was really nice of him to send that. Yes, I know that chapter well, Dad. "Oh, if I were an angel..." One of my favorites, after Alma 26 or 3 Nephi 17-20, especially the part when Christ is praying to Heavenly Father for us.
Today for P- day we are going to go play Floorball again. Maybe by the time I get home I will be able to play Hockey like a Russian?! ( they are pretty good, really good! )
I feel very blessed, as I already notice that I can talk better with Elder Svirskii better than I could back with Elder Domanksy. Somehow, I'm slowly learning this language... And that Somehow is the Lord. I couldn't do it without His help. I've realized that I can't do anything without His help. He's always willing to help me out, even though I have my weaknesses and inabilities and problems. I can't even describe it. I'm just happy that He is there.
Well, Love ya! Miss ya! I'll write again next week, but until then, BE HAPPY! Be of Good Cheer ( I have to give credit of this saying to Liz, since I stole it from her letters ha ha) Keep smiling! (from Grandpa Clifford)