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

03 January 2012

Sign boarding~ What is Happiness?


Well, I was in the future for a little while this week. New Years came several hours earlier for me, so I was a whole year a head of you guys for a while! ah ah aha ha!

Well, New Years has come and gone, and Lee is now another year older. Weird to think. Thanks for the picks of her Birthday! That was nice to see. Looks like she was happy. It was a bit weird to see the house... I'm not used to seeing my own house anymore! ha ha. New Year's was pretty quiet here. Elder Rasmussen and I went to a nearby town to have a meeting with an investigator from the area book. When we got to his house and he said that he couldn't meet anymore and we should come back later... A phone call would have been nice, but what do you do? We did a little contacting there and saw some cool old buildings and towers from like the 1700's or so. 

We  went sign boarding, and saw a lot of success. We held a sign that said, "What is Happiness?" and asked people as they stopped by. It was so great to see the smile on people's faces as they stopped, thought of something that made them happy, and shared it with us! I think we gave out over 50 brochures and invitations in 2 hours. We even contacted a student from America who was really interested and thought that we were Russian with good American accents, until we told him that we were from America. Ha ha. Way better than contacting. 

We had to be inside by 5:30, and we were allowed to watch animated movies, so I bought "How to Train Your Dragon" in Russian so I can watch it when I get home. We just watched it in English this time. SUPER WEIRD to even watch a movie... The next day we were allowed to go to church and then we had to go back inside, for safety precautions. THE STREETS WERE DEAD. No one was outside in the morning and it looked as if the whole city just stopped everything that they were doing and disappeared! It was weird, yet surprisingly peaceful.

That's too bad that you weren't able to be at BP's homecoming due to the old switch-r-oo of fast Sunday and everything due to New Years, but so cool that you met Chris at the airport and took him to BYU! Tell BP hi for me. Maybe now he'll have time to come and stop by for a visit? Have you heard anything from Nate Booth? Tell them all hello! That was nice to do the anonymous secret santa for that family. Where did they live? How did you deliver it to them? That is the true Spirit of Christmas, Charity and Unconditional Love.

Are you going to go to Kaylee's farewell? Maybe Tate's date to enter the MTC got pushed back a little or something. I know that happened to a group of Elders here. Whatever it is, it will work out if we have faith.

Our investigator, Yuri says that he wants to be baptized! His concern is that he is a little afraid of water, and we promised that when the time comes, he will have courage and the Lord will help him. He also didn't set a date with us as he is leaving today to go stay with relatives up north and won't be back for a month. We will write in our area books and make sure the next elders know so it will happen. :)

We also had  a cool experience with a new investigator this week. We contacted an old man on the street and he immediately wanted to talk with us. We were running late, so we took down his name and address and gave him a Book of Mormon. That night we called him and set up a meeting for the next day. When we got there, we found out that he had already read about 100 pages of the Book of Mormon and started taking notes. He is super interested and said that he will come to church this week, he didn't come because of New Years, but he says he will for sure be there next week. We were blessed to cross this man's path at the time we did.

That's pretty much it for us. Lots of people were so busy this week for New Years that we didn't get a lot done, but we had fun doing what we did and we are happy and healthy. Can't complain. It's amazing how much happier you are when you understand why things happen the way they do and when you do your part, try not to worry about the things that you can't change. Trust in the Lord that He knows what's best and He is in control. Everything will work out in the end.

Love you all! Sorry, I've still got to write a letter to President Clark. Happy New Year!

See you in 3 weeks!!
Love,
Blake

PS- Ryan Nelson sent me a short email saying "Elder Larsen's mom is really trunky!" ha ha ha!

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