Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Last English Club Part II

Since Brandt could not teach both the beginner's and more advanced English classes simultaneously, (his companion, Elder Aleksey Busov, does not speak English) English Club had to end. So here are pictures from the last English club, and other random pictures of Brandt and his companion.

Last English Club

Saturday, October 24, 2009

E-Mail from Mission President

The mission president sent an e-mail with a question for me, and a nice paragraph on Brandt, which I include on the blog:

Hello Sister Curran,

I've got your e-mail address from your son Elder Curran. I'd like to tell you that everything is good with him. I saw him last week during our zone conference. We had a chance to talk during my interview with him. He seems getting adjusted fine. His Russian is getting better and better. He proabably told you he had a Russian companion for this transfer.

President Nechiporov

Russia Rostov Mission

(Even though he is in the Lord's hands, a Mom can't help but worry a little. Getting an e-mail letting me know that he's doing great is always nice.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Travels with Chibi

Elder Duersch and companion with Chibi
Brandt and companion Elder Busov with Chibi

Zone conference (with Chibi)

Uh Oh, Poor Chibi!

Brandt included the following e-mail from another missionary that discusses Chibi, the furry toy that appears to be a mission mascot. (The e-mail appears to have been written by one of the Russian missionaries.) Pictures with Chibi above.

We have some more pictures of Chibi's journeys throughout the mission.We've been able to get 2 of the last 3 challenges which is good but we hadn't received a letter from P-Zhok for a while. But we just got the following...

Dear Chibi,
I apologize for the long time between letters. We tightly have been working and we experiencing success. Why-to many of people have been trying to eat me because I am in the quality of food. They don't draw attention on my eyes, mouth and the fact that I speak. It has been to me scary not long ago and to me it seems that someone is trying so stop us and our work. Be careful there. Our conferences of zones have been pretty steep and to us it wants to work dilligentlier than ever. I love this work and our time is diminishing but work hard. Of luck keeping up with our pace. We are still winning, and when you lose, just remember, that there is always available in the school of missionaries a job in the cafeteria. P-Zhok

After we received this letter we received this disturbing's the last one.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Still Working


No pictures were attached, unfortunately. Maybe next week. As far as college-aged kids, that's not a good approach here in Tuapse. I don't know how to explain it, but pretty much 99 percent of everyone here hates us. Not just hates us, but literally despises us. So, that's what we're dealing with here. Anyway, missionary work is slow. But I keep trying.

Elder Curran

P.S. I need to buy a decent blanket and some other things.

Love, Elder Curran your son

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Keeping it Real

Elder Porter, Lyudmila, her son and his family, Elder Curran, Elder Gregersen

It's I'm going tosay 8 (it's really 7) in Tuapse, Russia and I'm going to say 65 degrees! That's nuts. I swear if we took a picture of where I tracted my first week here, you would think I was in Brazil. Anyway, on with the news.

The bad news is that my beloved traner and good friend, "Elder Porter" is gone. Also, they put me with a Russian companion, who doesn't speak English at all, Elder Busov. I don't know how to explain Elder Busov. At home, he's cool and relaxed and likes to eat weird Russian things with a ridiculous amount of mayonaisse. But on the street, it's like serving with as rude robot. But on the street if anyone, maning pretty much everyone shows disinterest or has conflicted feelings about the church, he talks to them like they're an idiot or shurgs his shoulders like it's their loss. Dang man, at least be kind. Idk.

There is an upside to this companion transfer. I am no longer a greenie. And my Russian is improving like crazy. In our bathroom, there are a bunch of signs with instructions about what to do with the water heater and toilet...and etc. When I got here, I was like man I might as well be reading Elfish. None of this makes sense. Well, today a miracle happened. As I was "doing my thing," I was reading the signs and was like holy poop! I understand every word on here. It was definitely a great moment. I haven't spoken Englsih in five days, so to write in English is a great relief.

Also the other night I was laying in bed looking out the window, and I see this Russian guy walk out of his house and straight up pee off his third floor balcony apartment, and it didn't even faze me. Russian pee anywhere whenever. All toilets except home toilet you have to pay to use. So kids are taught from an early age that if you have to pee or "do your thing," just find a nice quiet spot outside and go for it. Anyway, enough about peeing. And toilets.

Last transfer we worked hard and ended up with one progressing investigator, Lera. She is the 18 year old girl, who came to English Club. Well, we finally got her to come to chuech, and she brought her mother, who was visiting frou out of town. They had a blast. No doubt they felt the spirit, and acutally the mother left telling Lera that she needed to come to our church every Sunday. We gave the Mom a Book of Mormon and a bunch of Liahonas and sent them off on their way. Excited about her Sunday, the mom went to her batushka (Russian Pravoslavniy Priest) the mother showed he all the stuff she got and told him about her wonderful experience she had at church. The batushka immediately told her she had committed the worst sin she could and that she needs to pay "X" amount to the Pravoslavniy Church for "X" amount of time, say the prayer "Our Father" 40 times for a month, and come to the true church every Sunday for a year for Lera and her to be forgiven.

So...pretty much Lera is no longer an investigator, and the Tuapse missionaries are back at square 1. Nothing :(. We are teaching, but it seems that no one wants to pray about the Book of Mormon.

The other day, this Protestant group of young adults, probably about 23 or 24 years old, came to talk to us outside. And we taught them the first lesson. They were like there is no need for a prophet or a Book of Mormon and you just need to read the Bible, pray to God, and he will tell you everything to do. I was like why do you read the Bible if you see no need for prophets. The whole book was written by prophets and is their counsel. After that, I committed them to read 3rd Nephi 11 and pray if the Book of Mormon was true. They said they would and would call me. They didn't call me. Not surprised.

Anyway same old same old. Endless knocking. Lots of doors slamming. People calling us devil worshipers. yelling at us and calling me the N word. But hey. The Church is still true :). It really is and a testimony of that is the only thing keeping me out here. Cause, to keep it real, Tuapse is not a pleasant place.

I'd like to give a challenge to all of you to read 3rd Nephi chapter 11 in th eBook of Mormon and pray in your own words to God, your Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, your Savior to know if the Book of Mormon is true. If you already have a testimony, strengthen it. If you don't, I promise you that youcan receive, if your desire to know is sincere.

Well, I'm signing off.


Elder Curran

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Week 5 in Tuapse

Switching Jackets

Elder Porter in a car

Tough Guys

Well, it's been a couple of weeks since I have written, so I will try to sum up the events that have taken place.

--Zone Conference Trip from Heck

Drunk ladies on the train, we left our house key in a city four hours away, we were homeless for a night, a guy pulled a gun on us had to run away, Tuapse flooded the next day and we were still homeless.

- We then helped a drug store unflood themselves for about four hours with five normal sized buckets, and it was about a foot and a half deep. That was crazy.

- We then got our key back and all was well.

As far as missionary work, we aren't having crazy success, but we are trying.

We have in my opinion five investigators, but only one is progressing. Lera is an18 year old English student and right now she is reading the Book of Mormon and trying to get a testimony of it. She is keeping her commitments, and as soon as she receives a testimony, we will commit her to baptism.

We have a woman named Sveta, who is very eccentric and loves to talk to us. she keeps promising toread the Book of Mormon and doesn't. But I think she's going to make us lunch on Friday, and I'm down with that!

Also, we have this guy named Zhenya, who always feeds us gross stuff like rotten fruit and warm tomato juice. They listen to us, but are not progressing.

And we have a really old woman that meets with us and I think she would progress, but every time after we leave her with a commitment to read the Book of Mormon, she forgets where she put her book. She is really old.

It's getting cooler here, so we have started wearing suits,which is pretty cool. I had a theory that more people would talk to us, if we wore suits, but that is definately not the case. The sme amount of people continue to yell, curse, and be rude. Speakin gof that, I almost had to "throw down" (hit someone) this week when this guy kicked us out of his mother's house after she had let us in. And then when his mother reopened the door to let us back in, he got in my face so close as he spoke he was spitting in my eyes. But I remembered what I was there for and who I was representing and walked it off.

Anyway, I have to go, but that was week 4 and 5 in Tuapse. On Saturday, I will find out if I am getting a new companion or getting transferred.

MUCH LOVE.. They church is true.


Elder Curran

P.S. The package did have peanut butter. And I'm glad the peanut is coming. Right now, I use the other thing you got me, but the peanut is way better. As far as missionary work, it's mostly just endless knocking and contacting. No one is very receptive. But for those that are, I will mention them in weekly group e-mail. I'll be trying to send pictures too. Thanks for everything and the package, too.

Love your son,

Elder Curran

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Transfer on the Horizon

Elders Curran and Porter after English Club
After English Club

Flooding in Tuapse

Train Ride to Tuapse with our drunk friends (and train conductor)

Elder Curran in Joobga


Number 1 -Thank you for the package. I got it at zone conference last week. Number 2 -- Thank you for the dictionary. Number 3 -- Still no peanut. Number 4 My peanut broke at zone conference, and I was like well, at least I'm getting the peanut after zone conference. No peanut. Please send the peanut asap so I can have it by next zone conference ... please.

I don't really need any American food. As far as food, we cook a lot of pelmeni and like this frozen plov stuff. We actually make all kinds of stuff, but its mostly pelmeni and Korean ramen. Oh yeah, I would like some peanut butter, too.

The girl who speaks English really well is taking the lessons, and last time she said she wants to get baptized. So.. we will, but we are getting transferred soon, so I don't know if we will be the ones to do it.

Well, hope all is well. Til next week.

Your son,

Elder Curran

P. S. How long did it take you to speak Russian fluently? Any advice, because it is not coming as fast as I would like.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Week 3 in Tuapse - English Club Starts

Its week 3 in TUAPSE !!!!!!

The good news is the church is still true. The bad news is that everyone still hates us. :(

Some sweet things that happened this week is that English club started. About 10 people came and I had 3 in my "Conversational Group" which consisted of a girl that spoke really well, a guy that spoke English but uses ginormous words improperly and a drunk guy that knew 10 phrases who sang for me in Slavic . . . every 15 min. The purpose of English Club is a finding tool, so I think I'll invite the drunk guy to listen to the lessons if he is sober next time . . . or at least not as drunk. I would ask the other guy, but I think he secretly hates me.

Something that is crazy is all the girls wear Hammer pants. I know you think Im joking but I'm serious. Hammer pants. Like the pants that MC hammer wore are trendy. Hammer Jeans, Hammer Sweats, . . even Hammer shorts . . Its crazy. Ill try and get a picture.

One cool thing is that we were walking down the street and we saw some Armenians doing some work on their house, and we stopped and asked if we could help them for free. They told us to come the next day, and we were able to teach them the first lesson. It was way cool, because I felt like Ammon. I don't think they would have talked to us unless we asked to serve them first. We'll see what happens. A member of their family is getting married soon, so we are gonna try and watch Together Forever with them and talk about our Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness.

Other than that, the craziest thing we did was film a short documentary about this crazy guy who was walking around Tuapse with a GIANT, Im gonna say 17 ft, styrofoam plane replica. It was amazingly hilarious.

Also, one day we were walking in the park, and there was this group of old Russians playing jazz. During their break, as we passed by them, one of the played the American National Anthem.

Well the church is still true. ;) Tuapse is still hot, and I have now lost 17 pounds since coming to Russia. Not even kidding.

Elder Curran

P.S. fwd this bad boy on to anyone who wants to hear the weekly rants of Elder Curran. And don't be shy send me and email ;)

MOM: We kind of stopped telling people I was Obama's nephew, but it was funny for a little bit. I went on splits with Elder Hanks. We contacted in the morning and knocked at night, which was the worst thing . . . ever. We decided to "go somewhere no one has ever knocked," which is prob what every missionary thinks, and I think we went somewhere every missionary has knocked and People were literally SCREAMING at the top of their lungs at us. Well, at least earlier I got to eat Uzbek plov and somsa! It was way tasty and brought back tons of memories. As for the mosquitoes, I did use OFF. It didn't work. But they stopped biting me now. Thank goodness.

Elder Curran

PS thats HILARIOUS about Chavez!!!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Last Photos from the MTC

District pointing at the Map
(Elders Spjut, Williams, Velazquez, Curran, Kempton, Benson, Olson, Wesemann, Apsley, Probst)
Rostov Vs. Vlad Rivalry

Rostov is Number 1!

Vladivostok is Number 1!

Friend from BYUI (of course, Elder Curran does not share friend's name nor where he is going)

Look at our T-Shirts
Doing Laundry
Before Devotional

Elders Curran and Olson

Sister Curran and Elder Curran (They met at the MTC and saw each other every day. "Hey Sister Curran" "Hey Elder Curran")

If the Beatles had been missionaries

Brandt's district with the district of native Russian speakers

District at the Temple