Wahooooo! I made it. I have no clue what anybody is saying or how to respond so normally my comp just translates for me. They talk way too fast and I can only pick out a word here and there.
I am serving in Saratov! I know what you all are thinking -Saratov Approach. Well yeah, that happened in my area! Sounds crazy but the kidknapper's brother is in the ward I'm serving in and he is also in the stake presidency. We visited him last night and he is a way cool guy and he has a very nice Russian house. It's so awesome to be here! I am in a ward of about 300-400 people but only 47 people were at church yesterday. Apparently, there is an 85% inactivity rate which is so sad. That is our goal here tho is to help bring back the members.
1st time walking around in Samara, before leaving for Saratov, some guy saw us walking in our church clothes. I just heard him mumble in Russian and afterwards the AP's told me that the guy thinks we are American spies. He was walking behind us for a while. Welcome to Russia Elder Kramer!
Me and the new missionaries stayed in a Holiday Inn for the first and second night! It was so fun. What was the first meal I had in Russia? Mom won't be happy about this one but it was KFC, baby. It was so good. Apparently its super cheap here so if you are ever in Russia and are looking for me just find the nearest KFC. I also had shawarma and it was incredible!
Me and my comp and the sisters in our area taught a lesson to Alexie. He wanted to practice his English so we taught in English. We just decided to read a chapter out of the book of Mormon. It was in Moroni I can't remember the chapter number but it was a good and comforting chapter and then we asked if he had any questions. He said "Yes, I want to know what the secret combonations are." I was stunned and he refused to talk about anything else. We told him that the secret combos are bad and he was like "I don't care, I want to know them." We just decided to move on and ask him to start reading the good things in the Book of Mormon. We also asked him to pray about 5 things that he was grateful for. When we asked if he could do those things he said "no because you're not the prophet." I was like huh?
In another lesson we went to a Babooshkas house and she was feeding us dinner. She dished it up and it was all pink and I was like what the heck is that? I still don't know what it was. It was not very good at all, no flavor and the texture was weird. Somehow I got the whole thing down. Afterwards, she gave us tea and that was pretty good.
Yesterday at church, in Elders Quorum, they consecrated some oil. Then everyone wanted their vile to be filled. All of a sudden this guy I was sitting next to who happens to be the ward mission leader pulls out a needle and syringe. I am just like what the heck is going on? He just went on to get oil and filled up the syringe. I was like is he going to inject himself with consecrated oil? I had no idea what he was doing. But then he started to fill up everyones vile with oil from the needle! It was the weirdest thing that I have ever seen.
Saturday is sports day - which is so cool. We play for like 3 hours with members and friends. We played basketball and it was a blast. But, Russian basketball is like a combo of American football and basketball. They are so aggressive and they want to hit you. I tried dunking 3 times and only got 1. But on one of them I try to slam it with all my might and I just get rim stuffed! It was so fun. We also played soccer and if you think American football is a rough sport, your right, BUT Russian soccer is probably rougher and it was so crazy getting tackled.
I might know why Russians are known to be bad drivers. It's because there are so many pot holes in the road and they try to swerve and miss all of them. I was walking up our street and there are a ton of potholes everywhere. Then there was this car and it was going a good 50 MPH, swerving out of control to try to miss all of the potholes. Then, at one point, he is headed full blast right for me. I thought I was going to die.
The craziest thing so for about Russia to me is crossing the street. You just have to go. There is usually no light and you just got to go. They actually will come to a screeching stop or they have to pay like a $50 dollar fine! It's honestly so crazy. Even the busiest roads you just throw yourself out there and start walking across the street. But, as soon as you pass their car, they just floor it and I always feel like they are going to clip my foot or heels off. They actually don't have that many accidents believe it or not.
Next week I am going to try and sign up as a volenteer for the world cup! I am so pumped! President and Sister Ottesen are so awesome! President told me that I can go see any game if I have a reason. Like, if I take an investigator or a less active - which is pretty dope!
The language is the only hard part about things so far but other than that I am having a really good time.