This week has been a great one. So, a large chunk of our zone has left the Training Center and have now hit the field. Though I'll miss them, they're off on an epic adventure and I can't help but be excited for them. During their send off they sang the well-loved hymn, "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" in their mission languages. (Lithuanian, Estonian, Latvian, Russian, and English). That was a musical number I definitely will not forget anytime soon.
We've started skyping native speakers from parts of the Ukraine and Russia, for our language training. The first man we spoke with was fairly stoic, but he had a slight grin the whole time. I'm hoping it was because of the wicked charisma Elder Parker and I have, but I feel it had more to do with our poor grammar and lack of confidence at first. He later spoke to us in English (since he too wanted to practice his language skills). He told us about the culture and how proud he was of his country and it's rich culture. It was an amazing experience to hear what he had to say, It got me very excited for my time to serve the wonderful people of Russia.
We've learned all of the grammar concepts, so now we are just reviewing and trying out best to get familiar with all of them. The teachers strongly suggested we learn of the culture in our free time so we can better understand and communicate with the Russian people. So I had decided to read over the history of Russia and her culture. I was amazed by what I had learned.
While reading, about the history of Russia, I was very impressed in their ability to retain their culture in the midst of constantly changing leadership, rougher conditions, and the wars they bravely fought in to defend their lands. Regardless of ones opinion of the Russian culture, their resilience is something to be impressed with and I personally believe that we can all learn something from it. Since this is the blog of a wanderlust filled boy, and not a historian, I won't go deeply into the history of Russia (though, I suggest you do) but I will elaborate on that rare trait of resilience.
So, for those of you who know me well, I used to make knives and work a lot with different metals. Now more often than not, the steel in the very beginning of knife making process is not strong enough to be a legitimately useful knife. The sharpness won’t hold and the blade will bend. To strengthen the blade, it needs to be put through extreme heat and then quenched in water. This heat treating process strengthens the blade to be significantly stronger. We as people are similar to a degree. If we sit in our safe bubble and advocate complacency, we're pretty useless and no progress is made. It's when we are outside of our comfort zone, and facing that extreme heat; that's when we grow and become stronger. Unfortunately, sometimes we're thrown into that refining flame unprepared (i.e. death of a loved one, disease, heart break, financial troubles, depression etc.) and that is when resilience comes in and we bite the bullet and face that flame with bravery and the knowledge that it will make us stronger.
It's easier said than done, but I know that our trials (if viewed correctly) can be opportunities to strengthen us physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I hope you all are having a wonderful time as we're going into fall. I love you all! Have a great day!