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

23 May 2011

Igor is getting baptized!

Hello... Been busy week... and will only get busier! That's a good thing though...
Elder Anthony's first name is Christopher, and he is from Tacoma, Washington. (near Seattle) He came in with Elder Berven's group. (By the way, Elder Berven is AP with Elder Punderson, but Elder Punderson is going home early this transfer, so there will be a new AP this transfer too.)

I will miss Pskov, but it wasn't as hard to leave there because I knew that I would be coming back to Vyborg and Kaliningrad and stuff.  Elder Loskutov is still there with Elder Nielsen, so all should be good down there. I like the city. We have to go to the office often for Zone leader stuff, and it is about an hour away from there, so that can be a pain, but other than that I love my area so far!

Busy week -wow, but it was really good. Since last P-day we have worked a lot with investigators and less active members, and did a lot of traveling. For the less active members we worked with a man named Faik, who used to work for the mafia many years ago before he became a member of the Church. It's some crazy stuff. We also met with a painter (really good by the way) named Myakishev, and a Babushka named Raisa. All really cool members, just need to find a way to help them back to church.
We also met with a branch member, McCartney Mueller, from South Africa. His ancesters are from Germany and he speaks English, Afrikanz, and another African language perfectly. He has lived in Russia 7 years, and will soon be graduating an international school of medicine in order to be a GP. He is a really really smart guy and really friendly. We had a meeting with him about the Sabbath day, as we thought he didn't come because someone offended him, but we talked with him and said, "It's my choice to be offended at something, and I don't choose to be offended" and then pulled out a talk about that he had just read and read it with us. He then came to church on Sunday and was really happy with how the branch loved to see him at church! I really like McCartney.

WE WERE IN VYBORG! Coolest story that has happened to me on my mission. Do you remember me talking about an Igor Shevchenko from Latvia who was living in Vyborg. Well he's getting BAPTIZED on Saturday!! We went up to Vyborg and I was allowed to do the interview with him and he passed with flying colors. He has grown so much since I left and has a great testimony now. Stronger than a lot of peoples. He is the first person I have seen the full process of conversion on my mission. I was there when he was contacted by missionaries, there during his teaching, there during his baptismal interview. Unfortunately I won't be able to be there for his baptism, as we have to go to Kaliningrad. (Which isn't bad at all, only in the aspect that I have to miss Igor's baptism) I really gained a testimony of how missionary work is the Lord's time and plan, not the missionary's. The Lord works through the missionaries though, and He has a plan for every person. Igor testified that to me after the interview. It was great to see that he still called me "Mister Elder Larsen" and remembered our handshake. Ha ha. SO HAPPY IGOR IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!

Got to see a few of the branch members in Vyborg. It was great. While in Vyborg I was on a split with one of the new Elder's who came in this transfer, Elder Tekolvi. (He is American, but he has a Dutch last name and I don't know how to spell it so that is how close I can get at the moment) He is a good missionary already. Even though he doesn't understand the language, he is very brave and tries to talk with EVERYONE. He'll pick the language up pretty fast.

I have a really good district. It has a senior couple, the McArthur's (nice) so district meetings are in English. First time ever for me. Kind of weird to be honest, but I'm not complaining! 
Tell Chris good luck for me if you make it to his farewell. Can you make sure that he knows my mission address here in Russia.

Well, I gotta run. I love you guys a bunch! I hope all is well, that you are healthy, happy, and safe! I hope you feel God's love in your life and try to show that love for everyone else. Thanks for everything. I know the Lord is guiding me and everyone else here on earth. His plans are better than ours, and His plans always work. Follow his instructions for the plan He prepared, given to us in the scriptures and by living prophets, and everything will work our for your good. Talk to you later.

  God be with you til we meet again.
Love,
Blake

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