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Sunday, September 26, 2010

boy scout training to the rescue!!!

Sometimes I have those moments where I just have to let my Boy Scout show and I can't stop...this morning was one of those times.  Sister Pratt gave me permission to build a stand for our drying rack for our clothes...she didn't know what she was saying... :D  So while Elder Gmeiner was in the shower this morning I took apart a few broken chairs we had at the apartment...used the good pieces to make so that we had 2 good chairs...and then took the "escape rope" from our balcony and used it to lash the chair frames together...and then unwound the remainder of the rope, cut each strand, and used it to lash the drying rack to the feet of the chair that I had lashed to the top of the other chair...I took pictures but didn't bring my cable to hook my camera to the computer...I'll make sure to get those for next week.  It was so much fun.  Thank you pioneering projects at scout camp and Cedar Badge.  You are now drying my towels and rags.  :D
I also had a little potato digging experience this week...I've decided that it is absolutely pointless to try to teach people what they should really do with potatoes.  My 6 generations of Idaho blood didn't convince anyone...but I felt really good to be digging in the dirt again.  I felt like I was back on Mecham's Farm...only without any machinery, trucks, equipment, and I was digging in the ground for spuds with my hands...other than that it was basically the same.  Ha ha.  My poor companion is a city boy and was just in a state of confusion with 3 Idahoans in a potato field.  Of the 6 Elders in my city 3 are from Idaho, 2 from the South East US, and one from Siberia...weird huh?
This week has been a little more difficult, but we are still seeing wonderful miracles.  Pavel and Natalya were baptized on Saturday.  They are a great couple.  Pavel investigated the Church something like 8 years ago, but then the Church moved to a different location while he was on a long work trip and he wasn't able to find it again for 6 years.  They both have great testimonies and are wonderful members of the Church.  I conducted the baptismal interview with Pavel and it was such a great experience.  I felt really unqualified to be holding an interview with a baptismal candidate, but the Spirit was really strong and it was really neat. 
Before the baptism we found that the small swimming pool that we use as a font was missing some parts.  Actually someone threw away the 12 poles that make the frame of the font and keep it standing.  Boy Scout Fife to the rescue! (with the help of a Siberian)  We made new poles out of PVC and it...didn't flood.  President Pratt was really uneasy when he saw it...well everyone else was too...But oh well...good times. 
We're having a wonderful time teaching the Gospel here and are seeing great success in Ussurisk.  We set a baptismal date with Tatiana on just her second lesson with us.  She is so incredible and the members who help on our lessons are nothing short of inspired.  I'm so thankful that the Lord is giving me opportunities to see so many miracles and to be in the midst of them all. 
I'm sure the best is yet to come.  Have a wonderful week, and enjoy General Conference for me!  I won't get to watch it until the 16th of October.  It's crazy that it's already time for General Conference again.  I am already really excited.  Well, have a great one.
Elder Fife

Monday, September 20, 2010

Too Blessed to be Stressed

Well I don't feel as bad about writing really short last week, since this week didn't really work out at all.  The server was down when we I had a very relaxing P Day without writing home.  I took a nap for a little bit, even made chocolate chip cookies.  (I bought a mix at an American store in Korea last time I was there.)  It was great.  Well I decided to write a little bit, a day late, before I go to lunch and then District Meeting. 
So I don't know who started upping their prayers for me...but thank you!  We have seen so many incredible miracles this week.  I think I have seen more accomplished in the last 4 days than in any other stretch of time like that in my entire mission.  We had a meeting with a really less active investigator, who lives in this apartment that looks like Zombies should live there...I get creeped out every time I go there.  One time I swear we saw a zombie was awesome.  It can't be chance that next door is some kind of bacteria lab...creepy. we went to meet with this member, and he told us that there were people at his apartment and wanted to sit and talk next door.  It sounded to me like an adventure so of course I was all for it.  Especially in the Zombie Dome.  (That is what I call it always.)  Turns out next door was his nephew, which was OK.  So as we are starting to talk we invited the nephew in on the lesson and he began to listen and participate.  To make a kind of long story short, the next day we met with him again and set a baptismal date for him in November.  It was absolutely incredible.  I have never taught so much in unity and with the Spirit as Elder Gmeiner and I taught that day, we even took turns playing with his kitten.  The Spirit's presence was felt so strong by all of us.  Soon we are planning to meet his wife and we'll see how well we can help her see that the Gospel will bless her life too.  It was so great. 
Then, on Sunday before Sacrament meeting we had a lesson that was set up for us with a friend of the Relief Society President in our Branch.  I have never met someone so accepting of the Gospel.  (Unless they're crazy or too drunk to understand what they are agreeing to.)  She felt the Spirit so strong, and understood the message so well.  I can't even describe how incredible it was.  There are so many people, everywhere you go, who are ready to accept the Restored Gospel, and do what it takes to follow Jesus Christ.  When we asked her what she expected to get out of our lessons, I don't think I could have thought of a more miraculous answer myself.  She said "I want to learn how to pray, how to workship God, and I want to change my life."  That is what we do as missionaries.  We teach people who they are, who God is, and what our real relationship with Him is.  Once you really understand who you are, then you are already a hop, skip, and a leap closer to your Father in Heaven.  You are devine, and you should know that. 
There is absolutely no substitute in Missionary work for members.  The testimony of someone who doesn't go around with a white shirt and nametag every day, and who does the things that normal people do, is so powerful.  When our great Relief Society President testified of the restored truths of the Gospel there was a Spirit there so strong, and that was when understanding really began to take place on all levels.  The best part is that they only met each other a few months ago at work.  The people who you can help to find the joy of the Gospel don't have to be life-long friends.  It could be.  But it could also be someone you met just yesterday.  Ask the Lord to help you do member missionary work, and He will bless you. 
The message is true.  There is no question in my mind about that.  Prophets and Apostles walk the earth today.  God's power has been restored.  You can find happiness.  Seek, and ye shall find.  I'm so grateful for the opportunities to see the blessings of the Lord each day as I invite others to come unto Christ.  I couldn't ask for anything better to do with my life. 
Have a great week, and happy birthday Tara!  Also to Ammon last week...I didn't forget...they just kicked me off before I could write it.  Love you all!
Elder Sam Fife

Sunday, September 12, 2010

From Elder Fife

I don't know how it is possible to be outsmarted by mosquitoes...but I seem to have gotten very good at it.  Somehow they keep getting into my apartment, and since I am sleeping on the top bunk of our bunk beds, and because my blood is very tasty...they don't let me sleep.  Wednesday I bought an electric fly the electrical tennis racquet is awesome!  Well, it is ok.  So some people sleep with teddy bears or something like that...not Elder Fife...I sleep with an electric bug zapper.  the problem is that the mosquitoes are smarter than I am.  They buzz around my ears and do sneak attacks on the rest of me, then when I go for the racquet they are gone!  I haven't slept well in days.  I just wake up and feel like I should go to bed again...ha ha.  I am going to buy some RAID deal that you plug into the outlet to kill all bugs in the air.  It's really not that bad...but I get all kinds of frustrated that I'm dumber than a bug the size of a popcorn that lives off of others' blood.  Oh well, I'll beat them!  :D 
Well other than fighting little bugs, things are picking up slowly in our area.  We have a few investigators and are finding more here and there.  I really love my companion.  He is a really unique guy though.  Like this morning when he sat and ate cold, plain, boiled buckwheat from a pot.  Just unique.  Ha ha.  Never a dull moment in my life. 
Well actually the post office I am writing at is closing for lunch....funny how that works sorry for the really short letter, but oh well.  Have a great week!  :D
Elder Fife

Monday, September 6, 2010


I feel like change happens a lot in my mission.  Transfers happened again this week and my life was, once again, turned upside down.  Just before leaving Vlad we went to the baptism of this awesome girl, Katya.  She is the girlfriend of a member in my area who was inactive until a few months ago and then became active again to the point where he baptized and confirmed Katya this weekend.  It was such a great turnaround for him.  They are excited that they only have to wait another year before they can go to the Temple and be sealed.  You see the great things a Temple vision can give us in life?  If it's not your goal...think again. 
Well it is a great, sunny morning here in Paradise.  I am serving now in a smaller town called Ussurisk, about 2 hours north of Vladivostok by bus.  They have blocks here!  Roads don't just go helter skelter wherever you want like in Vlad, it is really weird for me still.  I really feel like this is Rexburg, only in a weird, Russian kind of way...but there are kids playing on the streets, there's no traffic, people are out pushing strollers all the time, I don't know what it is, but it's beautiful.  The Branch here is great too.  There are some really strong members here with incredible testimonies.  I'm really blessed to be serving with them. 
As I was moving I realized that it's time for me to find new luggage...I'll attach a picture of what my biggest suitcase looks like was really funny as I carried it from the town square to the Church yesterday...then to the Bus Station...then to my new apartment in Ussurisk.  I tried dragging as long as I could...but...well the picture will make it clear.  Haha.  I'm sure I looked like a goof, but oh well, I usually do.  I'm settled into the new place now and going out for some good pizza in a couple hours.  Pizza in Russia isn't real pizza.  They don't put tomato sauce on it...usually they replace pizza sauce with some kind of weird thing made out of cottage cheese (I think) but at Country Pizza they have real pizza, I am VERY excited! 
My new companion is Elder Gmeiner.  He's from Winston-Salem North Carolina and went to Wake Forest University before his mission.  He studied Russian for 3 years and knows the language like a book.  He actually is kind of like a book, because he knows SO MUCH.  I love serving with people who are much smarter than me, because they can pick up the slack when I do dumb things.  Having companions is a great thing.  Of course I miss my son, Elder Conley, but he is in good hands serving in a different area of Vladivostok with the new District Leader there, Elder Thellmann.  They are going to be a great companionship. 
One thing that is fun and unique about this city is the fact that throughout the city that are what we call "forbidden zones." 
They're parts of town that for some reason or another are forbidden to foreigners.  I guess that you can go just have to be invited by someone who lives there, know the exact address of where you are going, and usually have something in writing proving that you really have been invited to that place.  It's a little intense, right?  I'm sure I'm going to have a lot of great stories to tell about my adventures in Ussurisk.  We currently have no investigators in the area that I just moved into, so I guess I get to go back to finding like I was doing for so long in Churkin.  One of these days I'm going to have to get a little better at it I guess.  That will be awesome. 
Well have fun going back to school and make sure to study hard.  Parents can use this time to relax and catch up on their letters to missionaries.  It's always great to hear from a friend.  Especially now that mail comes much less often, since I am not in the mission office every day like I have been my whole mission up until now.  Now I get to wait for someone to make the trip here from Vlad to bring mail.  Makes things more exciting.  Well anyway, have a great week.  Thanks for your prayers.
Elder three four Fife
The first is me with my poor suitcase...second is a close-up of the damage...