Zdravstvuoytseh! (sorry, that's the best american sound translation I can give for hello)
I have now been in the MTC for 28 days- so so so hard to believe. The time is absolutely flying by. If I was english speaking I would already be in the field, so I am truly grateful for all this time that I have here.
We had a pretty good devotional last Tuesday night, from Elder Robert K. Dellenbach (and emeritus seventy) and he opened up his talk by talking about journal writitng. He showed us his Mission journals, and expressed to us how important they really were. I guess when he got back from his mission in Germany, the church was interviewing him about it, and asked if they could use his journals for their own records! Crazy right? I guess you'll never know what can happen. So I have set a little goal to try and write something everynight, and to remain positive about it. I think it was President Kimball that said those who write in journals every day are more likely to remember the Lord in all things- I can testify of this statement.
I'm still getting along very well with my companion Elder Thomas, sure we have our differences but he is so dedicated and it really helps me stay on task. We do very well with setting our goals and really helping each other reach them. Also, Elder Huber (the Canadian) says that I don't know how to really make my bed, so he does it for me every single morning. I can't complain =)
Russian is still going well, we met the some of the Latvian/Lithuanian/Estonian speakers this week. I need to go talk to their teachers to find out more about my mission. Because all of my Russian teachers went to Russia, they really have no idea what it is like there. I mean it's probably similar, but it would still be cool to find out more about. I found out there are like 20 of us going to the Baltic on the same day - August 30 (10 of which are in my branch).
So the gym is being closed tomorrow, they're finally putting the bleachers back in. But that means it'll be closed the rest of the time I'm here (that's what they tell us anyway) so we'll have to do gym outside from now on. It's also kinda lame that they took out the bleachers, because they don't have an MTC-wide choir without them. I was kinda upset about that but oh well, I'll get over it.
The temple is still closed too (bad timing? I'm not sure) but only for two more weeks. Hallelujah!
I'm still doing alright with the food, everyone else like hates it and complains about it all the time- I'm honestly happy that I don't have to cook for myself =)
oh the older district in our branch got their flight plans last week, that was pretty exciting. They're all going to be flying out next week, except they're all going by themselves. So I think they'll be switching up Leadership positions this sunday- again, it's so weird that I have been here for this long already!
The Sunday Fireside was really good as well; it was Sister Jenny Oaks Baker (renowned violinist and youngest daughter of Elder Dallin H. Oaks). She did a mix of talking about her experiences with the gospel, and performed a bunch of songs from her new CD, it was beautiful, and nice to get to listen to some music. Elder Oaks was there too, but he just sat in the audience (Like two rows in front of me, it was legit!)
I was also really touched by the talk that President Childs (our branch president) gave in sacrament. He spoke on the Atonement, and I swear- it was as if he prepared that talk exactly for me. It was just what I had been praying about, and what I have been working to increase my faith and testimony of. So good, I'm really grateful for our branch presidency, and all they do to help us.
Well my time is running short, thank you all for the love, prayers, and support.
-Elder Austin P., Atkinson