Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jerimiah Was A Prophet, not a Bullfrog - District 9‏

Hey everybody, I hope that everything is going well with you.. I have been very glad to hear from a few of you through letters or Dear Elder so keep them coming.. Also this computer that I'm on puts in two periods everytime I type one, and the enter key isn't working, so don't judge.. Things are still awesome and going strong for me here, it's hard to believe that it has already been two weeks.. My ankle is doing a lot better now, and I've been cleared to play in gym again, just gotta be careful with it.. This last week was training week for the new incoming Mission Presidents here at the MTC, so things were really crowded around here.. This also meant that the 1st presidency and the Quorom of the 12 were spending a lot of time down here as well- We had a Special fireside on Friday night, and Elder Oaks was the speaker.. Elders Anderson, Christofferson, Cook, Bednar, Scott, Holland, and Nelson were also on the stand, it was really a powerful experience to have them all there during the fireside.. Elder Oaks gave some great counsel on why this Gospel is the one and only true one on the earth.. I also read Our Search for Happiness this past week, and that has given me a lot more to think about/ work on.. The Russian is still coming along really well, it's very different from English, but still not terribly confusing, there are just a lot of different rules to remember with all of the cases and verb conjugation.. We made our first contacts and appointments in Russian this week, and are getting to know peoples family and stuff like that.. I also have about half of the 1st vision memorized, so that's fun as well.. I've really been focusing on trying to increase my faith in the Savior, because that's something that I could definitely try to teach about Him and His Atonement with more convincing power.. I was able to watch one of Elder Holland's talks that he gave here at the MTC a few years ago, and that has really given me new ideas about the kind of missionary that I want to be.. There is no time to waste while I'm out here, and I'm going to be old a lot longer than I'm going to be young and able to do this, so I need to push myself to be all that I can be.. Yeah, like I said, I'm still really enjoying my time here.. The days are all just kinda blending together, P-day and Sunday are really the only ones that are different.. Anyway, my time is about up, love you all and hope to hear from you soon.. -Elder Austin P.. Atkinson

God Bless Us, Every One (Say like Tiny Tim)

Hey there family and friends,

I got your dear elders, and that is probably the best way to contact me here in the MTC, so I can spend my 30 minutes of E-mail typing and not reading. I didn't get an E-mail from anyone, so hopefully you haven't tried sending anything. These computers are being really faulty right now.
So guess what the subject of the E-mail is supposed to mean? That's right, I managed to get a 3rd degree sprain on my right ankle (which was my only good one) came down on an Elder's foot during my very first gym period on Thursday Morning. I was on crutches for a few days, and it was waaaaaaayyy swollen and purple everywhere. I got a blessing from the Zone Leaders though, and that has worked famously. I have definitely been blessed, especially that it happened at the beginning of my stay here, and not right before I was about to fly out. I have sweet pictures, though I haven't figured out the best way to get them to you yet, I'll work on that.
Our Zone has like 4 districts in it, 3 of them speak Russian and one of them speaks Ukranian. There are like 26 of us total. In my district there are 8 of us, and 4 of us are going to the Baltic. About half of our zone is going to the Baltic. My roomies are Elder Huber from Alberta Canada, he's like 6' 5" and he's a baller (I can't get enough of his accent either haha), and there's Elder Palmer. He reminds me of that kid Goob from meet the Robinson's (as far as looks go anyway) he's a pretty cool guy though. And then there's Elder Thomas, he's awesome. He wants to be here as much as I do, and I couldn't ask for anymore than that. Our District Leader is Elder Petterson (Russian speaking, going to Ukraine) and he's kinda funny. He has tried to convert us to using flouride-free toothepaste and he meditates and reads Isaiah for fun. Haha, he's not bad though, we have to remind him to check the mailbox a lot though. Oh well, we are all one in purpose and we learn to love each other. One of the Districts is older they've been here for 6 weeks now, there are 6 Elders, all russian speaking, all going to different missions. Elder Reeves (a ZL also) is going to the Baltic, he just turned 19 on Friday. The rest of us just got here on Wednesday.
The days are very long here, I come home very exhausted but not discouraged. I made it to sunday, and things have definitely picked up since then, we have a lot more time to choose how we want to study. The Spirit is very strong here, and it's way awesome. There's like no contention either, which I love.
The food is good here, I don't have any complaints as I'm happy I don't have to cook for myself for 3 months. I weighed myself yesterday though, came in at 10 pounds more than when I checked at home when I left. I think part of that is that I haven't been able to work out much with my ankle. I don't wanna get up to 2 bills, so I really gotta work on that. My P-day is today (on Tuesday) so that's when I'll be writing and sending letters and stuff.
The class and the Russian is super intense. It's like EFY on steroids, with no girls (at least that you can flirt with) and not as much free time. But I love it. We can already make a street contact, pray, read anything, and bare our testimony in Russian, and I know that that is only because we have been blessed by the Spirit.
Our Branch Presidency is really good too, on Sunday during Sacrament Pres. Childs asks two random Elders to come up and give a 3-5 minute talk on a certain topic. Guess who got picked. Me. and one of our Zone Leaders, so I spoke on commandments and bore my testimony in Russian in front of the whole branch, it went very well.
Hope you had a good Birthday Mom, and Father's day Dad I love you both very much =)

That's all the time I got, I love you all
Send me Dear Elder's when you get time
-Elder Austin P. Atkinson

First Post!

The time has finally come! This is the first post for Austin's mission experiences. The plan is to post his emails here and some of the pictures he sends us. If you know of anyone who would like to stay caught up on how he is doing, feel free to share this site.

The titles for each post from Austin's letters are his own.