Over halfway done, less than a month left! Гип гип ура! (Means hip hip hooray, pronounced "geep geep oo-rah!") The weeks are flying by now. It's a good thing I'm keeping a journal or else I would forget everything that happens each week.
Our investigators are all progressing really well. Edward is committed to be baptized on December 6th (yay!), so we're getting him ready for that by teaching him about what baptism is. Vasya finally prayed! We've been trying to get him to pray for sooo long, and he finally did. He really likes to read the Book of Mormon because it teaches him about God. Now we're trying to help him recognize the Spirit and pray to know truth. We've only had a few lessons with Sveta, but she's sweet to keep meeting with us. She really loves her son and wants to be better for him, but she's not very open to change. Nastia is sweet, as ever. One lesson we had with her wasn't as spiritual as we wanted it to be because a firebug landed on my arm and I kind of freaked out, and then she killed the bug. Not the best Spirit-bringer, but our next lesson with her was better. We're hoping to ask her to be baptized this week. She accepts almost everything we say without question, but when she does have questions, it's because she's really thinking about what she's reading and learning.
I had a cool experience this week when I was taught by one of my teachers and by my district. They didn't teach me as an investigator, they taught me as myself. They prepared a whole lesson geared toward me and my needs, and as I was being taught, it helped me realize that this is how our investigators feel when we prepare lessons for them and when we really show them that we love them. It's nice to know that somebody cares and that somebody listens. It also helped me realized that missionaries really are guided by the Spirit when teaching because they shared scriptures and thoughts that helped me so personally that there was no way it wasn't inspired.
I keep running into more people from home. Abby Spafford works in the cafeteria (Kayla Stockwell said she saw her, I didn't); Morgan Maylett just came in last week (he's going to Ukraine, speaking Russian, in the other Russian branch); Chloe Coleman's going to London; and Brian Pistorius, one of my swim coaches, works at the MTC. It's always so fun to talk to them and catch up on old times. New friends are great too. There's a sister who lives in the room next to mine, and her name is Sister Dalton, but I didn't know that when I first met her. When I first saw her, we were brushing our teeth, and she was wearing a T-shirt that said "Mexico" and had the Mexican flag on it, so I started calling her Mexico, and she called me Russia, so that's what we call each other.
A lot of Russian missionaries left on Monday and Tuesday for Russia. It was really sad to see them go because we were all so close, especially this one district from my zone. We all wrote notes to each other in our transfer journals, and one day after our missions we all want to see each other again. Want to know something random? Sister Brayton's transfer journal is made out of recycled elephant poop. Strange, but also interesting and a little cool. It's been sad not seeing the Russians around. They all left boxes of things they didn't take with them because of luggage space, and the next morning the sisters scavenged those boxes like vultures. They were circled around the boxes and picking through them to find the good stuff. Sister Balls-Barker and I wanted to take a picture, but we couldn't without it being awkward. I'm just glad we have a bunch of new missionaries to fill in the void. My district is (are?) no longer the greenies. Our zone got two new districts: one's learning Ukranian, the other's speaking Russian and going to Samara. There are four new elders in the Samara district - Elder Mills, Elder Plettig (from Germany), Elder Fletcher, and Elder Barney. I don't know them very well yet, but I have several weeks. That district also has Sister Thomas, our new companion! Technically I'm her companion and no longer companions with Sister Balls-Barker and Sister Brayton, but because of lessons and classes, we all basically do everything together like companions. Sister Thomas is super sweet and fun. She's from Kansas, and she already took Russian for 4 years in high school and lived in Russia for a while. She went to Yale last year, and she is a bundle of fun. I love her already.
We had lots of substitutes this week, but they were all good. Brother Storey is in charge of training new teachers, so he comes in and usually works on language study with us to show the teachers new ways to teach. Another sub was a native Ukrainian speaker, and she speaks Ukrainian, Russian, and English. She's going to be teaching the new Ukrainian district. Another sub had us write down a question we wanted an answer to, and then we just let the Book of Mormon fall open to a chapter, and we read that chapter, and it totally answered my question! It was a cool activity, so if you need a question answered, you should definitely try it.
I need some good jokes. We had a little party for the sisters who were leaving, and we were all sharing our good jokes, and mine were pathetic. There were two really good ones that they shared, though. The first was "What does a Mexican cut his pizza with? ... Little Caesars!" The other one was a lot longer, but still good, if not better: St. Peter is at the gates of heaven, and there are only a few spots left in heaven, so only people who have really gruesome death stories can get in. One man tells his story. He says that he thought his wife was cheating on him, so he came home from work early one day, but didn't see anybody in the house. Then he saw some fingertips on the edge of his balcony railing. So he runs outside and see this man dangling over the edge. He tries to knock him off and has no success, so eventually he grabs his fridge and throws it onto the man. Unfortunately, he got tangled up in the cord and also fell over the edge. The next man in line then tells his story. He said he was working out on his balcony when a sudden, strong gust of wind knocked him over the edge. Luckily, he grabbed the railing of the balcony below him, but all of a sudden a crazy man ran onto the balcony and tried to pry him off. The crazy man then grabbed a fridge and threw it on the man hanging onto the edge, and he died. The third man in line begins his story and says, "Get this. I'm in this fridge..." I died! I hope that was as funny in writing as it was out loud, because it was good.
Sunday was great. We talked about the Atonement in our classes and in sacrament, and we heard the testimonies of the district leaders (Elder Ferguson and Elder Kunzler) and sister training leader (Sister Stockwell). Sister Balls-Barker and I watched the song "Glorious" by David Archuleta at least six times, and some really nice elders gave me one of their copies of the EFY medley translated in Russian. I love singing the Russian hymns. The more I learn Russian, the prettier it sounds. My companions and I also sang in choir this week, and we sang "Praise to the Man" (the same arrangement the MTC choir sang at general conference when David Archuleta was in the MTC). I'm not the greatest singer, but I still felt the Spirit as we were singing that song. That was at one of the devotionals. The devotionals every week are seriously the best. I don't know if you can watch the MTC devotionals, but check out the BYU devotionals on their website because I know they're just as good.
That's pretty much everything this week. I never know what to write about, and the hour goes by so quickly, but that's this week! Hope you all have a good week! I'll send more pictures next week because I have to wait for some other missionaries to share theirs with me. Love you all!