|Photo from his first area. Thanks again to Nika Udoltsova for sending us this photos.|
So this area is pretty crazy, I love it. This place is young in regards to missionary work, and doesn't have a "Mormon stigma” because missionaries weren't here before and we have started on the right foot with them. We are very focused on doing "undercover" missionary work. Since it's like that, we go by our first names a lot. It's really weird to hear someone call me by my first name instead of "elder". That's been the only hard thing to adjust to here. Aside from that this area is super fun. People here love to talk to us and are very willing to be our friends. The work here is quite unique as well. We have been teaching a lot of English and using that as a very effective tool. We have about 100-120 people come to our English classes. We are often making deals with businesses and universities about whether or not we can hold big seminars. It's pretty fun in all honesty. It is definitely a different kind of vocabulary to learn in Russian. We've currently been working with coffee shops all over the city to hold English classes and little seminars. This week we have a meeting with the biggest company in the city to teach their employees in English. So we have a lot of interesting work ahead of us.
Now this may not sound like missionary work, in fact, this sounds more like an English school/business we're running. The work here is a little different, and I was skeptical about the unconventionality of this kind of work myself. However, we've seen a lot of success out of this. We had 7 "investigators" (friends of ours who aren’t members of the church) come to church and have 4 baptisms lined up for the next 20 days. It's been pretty interesting to see how it all works out. We become good friends with the people, and then offer them an invitation to learn about the gospel, which is the main reason we are here, and then the rest is up to them. I guess if there's anything to learn from this is, people will be more keen on listening to a friend than a from a stranger. I'm excited to continue to work here in Crooked Horn.
I love you all and I hope you all have a great Valentines Day. Give the person you love something nice! (not Valentines candy, it's disgusting)
--Elder Cody Lee Johnson