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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...

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