Sunday, January 17, 2016

Russian Winters-Collin

Dear Family and friedns,

First off I want to say that this week has deffinately had some downs, but the ups were so much greater. I have learned not to focus on the downs, but \i will share some of the funnier stories. 

I saw Drew off and it was so hard! I cried a bit too hard for that...haha! We left on Monday and it was all good. The flight from SLC to NYC was long, but I had a great conversation with an 11 year old boy. I said hello to him because I couldn't sleep. We started talking and then he kept askeing me about our church. I answered his questions knowing that we aren't supposed to talk to kids younger than 18. He was curious, but it was all good. NY was a disaster. Haha! it was so big and we were so small. It was a good experience though. We got to Russia and the first thing we did was go contacting. Can I just say that I love the Russian peopl? I do. The first lady that I spoke to couldn't understand me. Grantued I didn't know how to start a converstation. We took the Metro and then to the Mission Presiden'ts home. It was so nice! It felt like I was at home and all of my worries kind of just left me. 

We had a Greek Salad and then Borsh. We spoke about things to do and things not to do. We met the Assistants and then we went to bed. We woke up that morning and got a shower and clean. We meet our new companions. I am in a tri-panionship. Elder Hawkins, Elder Fuller, and Elder Makelhannie. (don't worry, it took me a while to even reemember.) I am in Petrazovodsk. and three days ago it was -22 Celcius. There was wind too! My face tried falling off a few tiems. I love talking to the people here. Contacting on the street and the busses is fun. Sometimes when I am talking ot one person and they get off, I move and talk to another. My companions think that I am some sort of crazy master ( I don't know how to say it in english). 

We were tracting and after no success we decided to pray. After we did, the first door that we knocked on opened the door and wanted to read the Book of Mormon. Then on the bus we gave out another. If I had any doubts in the power of prayer, it is all gone.  God answered our prayer and I thankt him for it every night. I am so greatful for this Gospel. 

On Saturday, we met with a potential investigator and he has been practicing Piano for 11 years. It showed how hard he workied. He played a Betooven peice that was at least 8 minutes long from memory. Improvised Jazz...How I wish that I could do that. We taught him about the Restoration, but he wasn't interested in the information. The Spirit was there though. We started off the disscussion by him playing Joseph Smith's First Prayer and we sang. He liked it. He likes us and wants to hang out with us. After we left there we got on the bus and I talked to a lady and she spoke a little English. I like to call those people, "Tender Mercies" I asked her if she wanted to come to an English group where she could practice her English. She said yes! 

On Sunday, they asked me to bare my testimony. We have an amazing branch of about 25 people. It is growing and I LOVE the members. I passed the sacrament. It was so amazing to see how greatful the people are for the Sacrament. We take it for grandted, but I have come to love the Sacrament in more than just one way. I tried speaking to all of the members and the youth. We taught the young men. and also Elders Quorum. I love teaching and constantly finding mistakes with my language so I can improve. After Church we stuck around and I found myself talking to the 2nd counselor in the Mission Presidency's son. He and I spoke about our favorite things. He is from St. Petersburg so I won't see him again unless I go to and serve in St. Pete. It was fun. He spoke to me in English and Russian and I spoke to him in French and Russian. I think I made a friend, but who knows. I thought that he was pretty cool.

After church we had dinner and then went trackting. We gave the Sacrament to an elderly lady and then went out. We had a lot of doors thrown in our face, but the Russians are really nice about it. The take on all of the guilt and say, " Excuse me, sorry" I think that they are great. We have to call and ask for the people to let us in. We were let in and then one Babushka let us in. We gave the the first lesson and then gave her a Book of Mormon. We made a plan to ge back on Thursday. Things are GREAT in Petrazodsk. I pray for you all every night. I hope you all know what kind of examples you are to me. I love you all. 

God is great, live is good, what else could I ask for? 

старейшина Hawkins
Russia, St. Petersburg Mission

Mailing Instructions:
Elder Collin James Hawkins
Russia St Petersburg Mission
Pr Malookhtinsky 16/1
POM 11-H, 12-H
Saint Petersburg 195112

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