It's been another week already, it's hard to believe! I've decided that here at the MTC it is just one really long day with sleep in between haha. Lots to say to so here I go. I forgot to mention last week that I am supposed to leave for Ukraine September 13 instead of the 14, and my card says I will serve until July 16, 2013. That's about two years from now so it makes up for the time (kind of) spent here. Also, Elder Welch is in the other district in our building. His room is like right across from mine so I talk to him now and then. He's doing good. We have a new Elder in our district now, his name is Elder Jiles and he's from Elder Welch's district. He is great and fits in well with our group. He is going to the Romania Bucharest Mission and is from Kansas/Arkansas. Basically his companion was asked to change mission languages from Russian to Romanian so he moved to a different building and moved Elder Jiles to our district. So now we have 12 in our district. I really love my district, they are awesome! I learn a lot from them and love them like brothers. Thanks for the packages! They were great! The mini four square balls work good for our hall ball court haha. Elder Moss's mom sent him an official four square ball so we will use that. The gym is closed right now so we have to play on the field court with all of the Italian missionaries. It is lame, so we are waiting for next week when the gym is up and running again. And the bamboo towel adds a great touch haha. The other towel was better after I washed it, but it is nice to have more than one towel. It is retarded using the same one every day but it's okay. And the animal cookies were great! You know my love for those!
Our lesson with Victor and the Holy Ghost/Word of Wisdom went really good. We challenged him to be baptized in our terrible Russian and he accepted. The next day in class, he walked in wearing a shirt, tie, and white nametag that said "Brother Eckersley, Provo MTC Teacher" haha. Turns out he was our other teacher the whole time and he and Sister Alletto will be team teaching us. He is awesome. AND HE SERVED IN DONETSK!! So he's been telling us all sorts of stuff about Donetsk. He had a baptism and said that it was an amazing mission. He is a little better at teaching us than Sister Alletto. He explains things more in depth and he will say things in Engilsh after he says them in Russian, unlike Sister Alletto who only speaks Russian to us. But it's good to have a variety. Bro. Eckersley's new investigator he is being is named Valera. The investigator is about 50 years old and is the only member in his family that isn't a member. We taught him about the Restoration first and asked him to pray about The Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. He said that he would. Tomorrow we will be teaching him about eternal families and challenging him to come to church this Sunday with us and his family. And Sister Alletto's investigator is named Anya. We are teaching her today and we know about her that her father died and she believes in God and Jesus Christ, so we're going to teach about eternal families to her and have her pray to know if our message is true. Our companionship and the rest of our district just alternate days on teaching these investigators. It is good practice for sure and we learn how to say things in class to apply to lessons and stuff.
The Russian is coming along. It is really confusing because there are six cases to learn as well as present, past and future tense. So the endings all change six times based on how you are talking about something. We are teaching ourselves about this right now because our teachers aren't teaching us and we want to get ahead of the game. This is similar to German, so my comp Elder Moss understands it pretty well and is helping us outside of class. And this other Elder, Elder Hunsaker, has been taking Russian for a year and a half so he can understand about 80% of everything and get his point across. He tried to move up to the next class to get to Vlad early (and get out of here!) but they wouldn't let him. But he is great, really really smart. And he helps us all the time. He is like a Russian dictionary. He also marched for the BYU marching band so we have music interests. Sometimes Russian frustrates me because during our lessons I know exactly what the word(s) are that I need to say, but I just can't bring my mouth to pronounce the crazy combination of letters haha. And I can't roll my r's so I focus too much on that and just kind of spit out words sometimes. It's like I freeze up mid-sentence. So I am just trying to work on fluidity with speaking and practice what I'm going to say in the lessons and stuff. I have faith that this weakness can be made a strength for me though. (Ether 12:27)
Will you please send me two copies of Elder Bednar's talk "In the Strength of the Lord?" You can go on Google and type that in and then just put it in word. It also might just be saved in word already. Also, will you send me one copy of the talk I gave back in April at Bryce's farewell on this subject? Elder Moss and I are teaching our district this Sunday on grace. Basically every Sunday a companionship teaches on their chosen topic, and when I learned this I knew instantly that I wanted to teach on grace/Bednar's talk. So we are teaching this Sunday and I want to have Elder Moss read the actual talk and myself review it so if you could get those to me soon that would be great!
I am sorry that the pictures have taken so long to get ready! I am sending them later on today so you should get them tomorrow. There are like 30 or 40 pictures, something like that. Basically there are two camera machines in the bookstore. One of them is permanently broken so that leaves one machine for 2,000+ missionaries to use haha. I had tried using it 8 times and finally on the 9th time I was able to get it to work. There's always a long line, or I don't have my camera, or it's just out of order for that day. It's lame but nevertheless, the pictures will be mailed today.
Well I have 35 seconds left on this thing so I'm done typing. I love you guys so much!!!! Things are going good here and I'm grateful to be here!
Love Always, Elder Keown