Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24th

I'll start off with a story. I was talking to a member about how I had strep throat (or whatever it is) and he told me all this stuff about how he deals with sickness and whatnot. But then at the end he added in, you know how I dealt with being sick before I was a member? A bottle of vodka, it didn't help the sickness at all it just changed my attitude about it... I didn't care! 
Russians are the best.
I think my favorite scripture is 1st Corinthians 5:6 it is actually a really good analogy and I have started quoting it a lot. 
Other than that it was pretty much a normal week. here are some interesting things that happened though
Met a British dude from Bristol traveling through Russia, he was harder to understand than the Russians and he was speaking English
The crazy old lady in the hospital with Peter asked us to bring back Communism (I think she is hard to understand)
Elders Stepheson, Lusk, and I all have the same first name. That's 3 out of 4 of the Elders in Irkutsk.
And I ate at Subway
Just some more answered questions from the Bushman's, thought they might be interesting for everyone.

The members rarely if ever ask us to come over for dinner, and I have heard stories of awful and scary food when it does happen.
It is hard to tract here because everybody lives in apartments and you have to have a code/key to get into the building to even get to peoples' doors.
We do work with less active members and we have some investigators, not any that are progressing though.
We find people to teach by walking the streets talking to everyone we see.
The senior couple here host lots of activities and just try to help out wherever they can. They don't speak Russian though.
Russians don't mess around when it comes to snow, as soon as it hits the ground they are shoveling it into dump trucks and hauling it out of the city. They have tons of street sweepers and tons of city employees that sweep and shovel snow.
 The branch here in Irkutsk has about 45 people every Sunday and the building is just as big as ours in Davenport, maybe bigger. Except the sacrament hall is smaller I think. It isn't a church building it is just the second floor of a business building on the main street of the city. There is a Subway on the first floor so it smells like sandwiches a lot. We are going to go to the senior couples apartment for Thanksgiving so it should be good. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week of November 17th

I Got this email of questions from grandma and grandpa Bushman I thought it might be nice for the blog. 

If you have space, we’d be interested to know –

How many branches or wards in your city?
There is one branch in Irkutsk.

How many members usually attend your branch/ward?
We have anywhere from 45 to 55 members each week on Sunday.

How many Melchizedek priesthood holders attend your branch/ward?
There are about 10-15 active or semi-active Melchizedek priesthood holders.

What is the level of commitment/energy of the bishopric or branch presidency?
Our branch president and the second counselor are wonderful they put in a lot of effort into leading the branch and we are blessed to have them.

How many missionaries serve in your city?
There are 8 missionaries including the senior couple

How many lessons do you teach a week?
The standard of excellence for lessons a week is 15 but there was a change in the "definition" of what a lesson is which made them harder to have, so we have had around 10 the past couple weeks.

Do you know the ratio of new investigators to baptisms in your mission?  (In our mission, it is 16:1.  That is, for every 16 investigators, we reap one baptism.) 
 I do not know that ratio but I know that the ratio of baptismal dates to actual baptsims is 7 to 1.

You said you walk a lot.  Do you have at least two pairs of boots to wear, so you can trade them off each day?
I have two pairs of boots but only one pair of insoles and I have been being lazy and not switching every day.

So something great to get in a package would be just a bunch of the cheese packets out of Kraft macaroni and cheese. Just need that cheese sauce. And then maybe like sour patch kids watermelon things or candy corn, you know whatever. Oh and there's no licorice here in Russia. I have searched, there is no licorice in Siberia. Its sad. 

Talking to Russian people they have all said it is super warm here for this time of the year. But the wind, the wind never stops. So this week was fun. We did service for a lady who was moving apartments and we were taking the old wallpaper off the walls. There were like 14 layers of it and as you took the last layer off cockroaches fell out of the walls onto you, yay! Elder Hasebi and I have been experimenting a lot with eating different food. We tried to make pancakes a couple days ago but we didn't have any buttermilk. So it said to substitute it with regular milk and Vinegar. Well when Elder Hasebi was adding the vinegar he noticed that it said 70% concentrate, danger of death if not diluted. So that was a bad sign. Long story short the pancakes just tasted like straight vinegar. But we made chocolate syrup to put on them which was really good so I still ate 3. I am kind of proud of us we took a vanilla syrup recipe which was gross and figured out how to make delicious cinnamon and chocolate syrup.
There is a recent convert named Peter who is like 65 and a little crazy and just kinda weird. Well we visited him and a friend in a hospital (more of a nursing home) and it was super cold outside as we were walking there, but Peter just has a shirt on with a coat unzipped and a beannie pretty much just sitting on top of his head. We asked Peter aren't you cold? and he says of course not I'm wearing a coat, and then chuckles. There was this older lady on the other bed in the room in the hospital. Her phone started ringing and at about the 5th ring she realized it was hers, picked it up, held it in front of her face about a foot away, and yelled "allo? allo?" while it is still ringing. It was so funny we both started busting up laughing. Then Peter went to help her out and she was so amazed that she was actually talking to someone over the phone. Old Russian people are the best. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November 10th

So interesting news this week. I have strep throat. Which has pretty much changed nothing about my life except my throat hurts and I no longer look forward to eating as much as before. I am taking Amoksocillin (I don't know how to spell it in English) right now and I just don't think it's real enough. That's a reference to an Eminem song for those of you who aren't thug enough to understand it. So I think my interesting story of the week is that we were walking through the park talking to people and we start talking to this normal looking dude (normal is rare here) he wasn't that interested but he kept talking to us, he kept offering us cigarettes really forcefully. Like classic "temptation" scenario. Come on take a cigarette it'll be cool. He was cool but only wanted to talk about America and our girlfriends there, he just assumed that we had girlfriends, so we said we had to go. But then he invited us to go have a drink with him and put his arms around us and started walking towards the bar, we insisted that we wouldn't drink so he was like alright lets go talk to those girls sitting on the bench then. It was super funny he kept trying to lead us around and do stuff with him. He stopped somebody walking by and had them take a picture of him and us together. Then asked us if we had Facebook, Twitter, etc. He was super funny and did not understand why we didn't want a cigarette. It was the most I have laughed in a long time. As for missionary work its pretty much the same, talking to people, meeting with people, talking to more people. I have never walked this much in my life. I really need a pedometer. I have started writing everything in cursive, in Russian and English. Russian cursive is really difficult and doesn't work as well as English, but it looks cool so I am going to figure it out. I have been working on my posture a lot and I have started to notice A difference, so I am going to stick with that and have good posture when I come home. 
Couple random things from Russia: The yogurt is realy good, the juice is really good, the thirty cent ice cream cones you can buy on the street are addicting, little kids speaking Russian is super cute, really really old Russian guys wearing shapkas and shooby (fur hats and fur coats) are so wonderfully stereotypical, and almost every single guy on the street is walking around with a European man purse, including me. Embrace the culture.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November 3rd

A pedometer would be an awesome gift in a package. Because I walk like... all day. It is over a mile just from my apartment to the church if we walk through the park. Which we do 90% of the time. So our investigator did get baptized this week. Elder Hasebi and I got some ice cream from one of the stands on the street to celebrate. The cheap ice cream cones are interesting they cost about 30 cents and they aren't really ice cream. Because ice cream melts. And this stuff doesn't. So learning Russian is going well. I am understanding a lot more of what people say, and this last week the assistants to the president came out to Irkutsk for a day and one of them came on splits with Elder Hasebi and I. We started talking to an old guy and Elder Hasebi got surrounded by girls with their faces painted for Halloween trying to take a picture with him (cuz he's a good lookin' elder) and the assistant to the President got distracted by that so I was just talking to this crazy old Muslim guy alone for a while, it went well. He wasn't interested of course, but then the AP asked me how long I had been out and when I told him he was said, "oh wow you speak really well" so that was my moment of pride this week. Don't worry I have humbled myself since then. I forgot my camera this week so no pictures, but I am going to buy some boots this week and then I will be all ready for Winter.
A few interesting things from this week: saw a dog with shoes on that squeaked when he walked, the first thing Elder Hasebi wants to eat when he gets home is a corndog, there was an earthquake, and I started talking to a guy but he only spoke chinese but I was bored and there was no one on the street so I just kept talking to him in Russian and he kept replying in Chinese.