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SYLSYLELDER JESSE STRICKLAN

ShellyElder Jesse Stricklan is my nephew by way of my older sister Juli. In August of 2008 Jesse returned home safely from Russia after serving faithfully for 2 years as a proselyting missionary. Serving in the St. Petersberg mission, Jesse experienced a culture shock that most of us will never experience.I hope you enjoy some of his messages...

VIEW JESSE’S COUSIN ELDER BROCK GRIFFITH’S PAGE

VIEW JESSE’S BROTHER ELDER ANDY STRICKLAN’S PAGE

MAY 17, 2007 - THE KEY TO IT ALL: KEEP IT MOVING FORWAD

--- Jesse Stricklan <stricklj@myldsmail.net> wrote:

Subject: The key to it all: keep moving forward From: "Jesse Stricklan" <stricklj@myldsmail.net> To: jdws_5@yahoo.com, drewps@myldsmail.net, melissamarie.s@gmail.com, strickland@byui.edu, tjs_fb53@hotmail.com Date: Thu, 17 May 2007 07:49:51 +0000

Well, the Preacher said it was fear the Lord and keep his commandments, which was true. But the way to do that is keep rolling. After my little ditty in Estonia, which was restful, I came back here and got hosed down a bit with picking back up the load. Have I told you the fable by Tolstoy about two men carrying their loads down a road? The first takes many breaks to rest, setting his load down while he catches his breath, and then lifting it again before continuing. The second just keeps struggling forward without a break, and though he doesn't rest, he finishes first and is less tired. Why? Because every time the first man stops to take a break, he has to lift his load again, which makes you more tired usually (and according to the scientific definition, requires more work--work is the movement of inertia against a force, i.e. gravity) than if you just keep going to the end. Well, if you fall down, that's a problem, but if you can keep walking, usually that's better. Thanks Leo.

Good to hear Tim is doing good work and taking care of you while Papa's wandering the southlands. Tell him he's a malodyets. That means a good-job-er. If you follow what I mean.

I also am dealing with some people not behaving like they ought to, i.e. like responsible adults who should be taking care of their lives. It's our goal in life to become responsible for ourselves, but I'm not sure yet how to approach things when people don't or won't act responsibly, especially when you feel like you have a responsibility to care for them. I also wonder quite often when it's right for someone to become a "leader" or director, and when you should just let them be. It's kind of become a theme of my mission so far. Russians really don't like "hands off" and consider it weakness, though like you said, it's usually the preferred form of correction in the Gospel. There have been many times when I've tried to decide whether I had better jump in, or better to let things be. I have inherited your point of view on the matter, I think because it's right, but it basically works best when you can "teach them correct principles and they govern themselves." I'm not certain how to act when people won't govern themselves (which is why I'm glad you did such a good job of teaching ME to do so... it's just awful when people don't) but I'm certain it has a lot to do with patience, with timely and sincere prayers which lead to revelation, with D&C 131, with love, and with accepting failures in favor of peace and charity.

It's sometimes rough, and I'm not yet satisfied about it. Let me know if you have more thoughts.

Our investigator, Sergei, has picked a definite baptismal date (next Saturday!) and Elder Lowry and I are really happy, though busy out of our minds. He keeps saying this is "horoshi stress" (stress here is a Russian word too, and horoshi is good). I'd take good stress like this every week! We are also doing so much better about talking to everyone, everywhere, about anything. Several times people have stopped us and wanted to talk to us. This has never really happened to me, at least not this frequently. It has a lot to do with the fact that we are equals and that we are united much better than in the past. My life is happy.

Horoshi stress. x_X and ^-^

I love you very much, Mum. I enjoyed talking to you and Timbo, who seems to be pretty zhe/(um... it just means "emphasis!") cool nowadays. I sent Mo a postcard in Estonia, so see that she gets it if it ever makes it across the Atlantic. Andy is a missionary! :D!!! Dad is really cool, and it's good, because I'm more and more like him every day... hrm... ^_^

Tell your family "hi" for me. It will be a harmless little sundrop that might cool a tense conversation sometime. I love them too, very much.

And off we go. This work is true--and by this work, I mean the Church, in its doctrines, which are unmatchable in clarity, depth, and sincerity; in its form and organization, which is the greatest "working laboratory" for the perfection of self that has yet been introduced into the world (which means that imperfections exist, but for our own growth!); and in its authority, revelation, and leadership, which is so important and so often overlooked by us and by the world at large. It's all true, and I know it because we're living it. Hold the rod, y'all! Tis strong and right and true.

-E. J. Stricklan

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MAY 10, 2007 - TO MUM DEAR, AND FRIENDS

--- Jesse Stricklan <stricklj@myldsmail.net> wrote:

Subject: To Mum Dear, and friends. From: "Jesse Stricklan" <stricklj@myldsmail.net> To: jdws_5@yahoo.com Date: Thu, 10 May 2007 08:33:35 +0000

Mamichka! (Which is like saying "Mama mia" even though doslovno/literally it means "mamasita".)

So we had an interesting adventure in Estonia this week! Every year, a foreign citizen in Russia must recieve a new visa, and do that in some other country. The EU is all buddy-buddy with that there USA, so we went to Estonia. Also, it was supposed to be fast because the travel agency there that we use knew the diplomat and could get things through fast. Supposedly. Anyway, I was back with my MTC crew, which was a lot of fun because we got to see how each other had grown and how we hadn't really changed in some ways too. ^_^ We are all pretty obedient missionaries, and so we had no problems and just enjoyment.

I say no problems, but I mean we didn't get into trouble, because we had problems. The director of the Russia consulate in Narva (which is basically still Russia, just EU style and on the other side of the river) was replaced and the new one didn't like giving out visas. :( So we waited around for three days instead of an overnight trip while poor Olga at Balticland (the travel agency) and Veronika (in our office) sweated the hard stuff and made it work. It was a pleasure to see Elder Kronqvist again, though partway through he got whisked off in a taxi to ride a ferry and get up to Vaasa and baptize his father. It's a beautiful little miracle, that story, because it didn't start happening (i.e. his father's heart didn't start softening) until E. Kronqvist left on his mission, and ever since he's been getting closer and closer. It made me really happy! But then we didn't have our Estonian interpreter (Estonian is to Finnish about like Portuguese to Spanish, maybe Italian) and also, we had nothing to do. Narva's not a really big town, but it does have a really cool castle. Pictures were taken. And there was a cool photo exhibit in one of the empty rooms, a imenno/namely about how Europeans eat their dinner. Most of them do it in front of the TV, and they all do it with bread and cheese. Life is simpler than you think sometimes. Most of the time.

This week, then, I met Elder Lowry, my new companion. We are going to rock the town down. If that's missionary approved. We see eye to eye and he's smart, though I'm a bit miffed that he beat me in chess last night. I had him in a death grip the night before, but we had set up the board wrong, so it was a pointless match. Sigh. Life's that way. ^_^

OK, down to business. Mother's Day is in... a couple days. Sunday. Which means that you should probably call me with international phone cards of happiness. My most convenient number (E. Lowry will be a jabbin with Florida on the landline) is as follows: 011 7 905 295 96
61. It's in Russia, and so am I. Please call after 7-ish here, which is what, 9 there? Wait, you might be at church. Well, after 7 at any time. It will work out fine-isch.

I did get your emails, which were happy! But I did also get a hosed on the internet and didn't get to send you replies on them. :( It's OK, my voice is next.

Tell all to think of at least one question. I want to talk to... golly, there's only three of you there! Well, I want to talk to everyone individually choot-choot/a bit and also general stuff. But time is running out on the internet, and I have got to get a haircut. I love you, mum! Talk to you sunday!

-E. J. S.

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MAY 2, 2007 - AGAIN FROM THE HERMITAGE

--- Jesse Stricklan <stricklj@gmail.com> wrote:

Date: Wed, 2 May 2007 12:35:54 +0400 From: "Jesse Stricklan" <stricklj@gmail.com> To: jdws_5@yahoo.com Subject: Again from the Hermitage! Interesting. ^_^

Mama mia, Mamichka maya, Dearest Mum,

I write you once again from the vaulted halls of the Hermitage and once again declare that the only museum in the world that might possibly be greater is the Louvre, and of the idea that it is greater I am not yet convinced. Lets shall plan a trip to Paris and find out! We're here in Peter again to battle with the beast that most people call "transfers". Actually, this has been one of the more painless moves I've had, probably because I'm not moving myself but rather my companion. He's going to go serve in... drumroll please... Peterhof! The irony is palpable until you remember how small this mission actually is, and then it starts to make sense. Elder Pylnikov should have a good amount of success there, because that's who he is, assuming he is patient with his companion. From all reports, the folks there in the house of Peter are doing fairly well, though of course not perfectly. I think Elder Pylnikov will probably be able to help them a good deal. Posmotrim! We'll see!

I am sitting next to my new companion right now, Elder Lowry, though I actually won't be with him until... friday or saturday night. Before that, I will take the long drive into Estonia and back, spending the night in Narva in order to recieve that great gift, a new visa. The trip is only long because Pskov is less than two hours from Estonia, but I have to travel through Peter. Such is missionary life. ^_^ My flight will all be together again, which will be tons of fun. I've hardly talked to most of them since we got here! Also, I will be able to buy Finnish black licorice. (How do you spell that, anyway? Erg!) Finnish candy is true happiness. I never liked black... l-stuff... before I had Finski stuff, but I've converted whole heart and soul. Mmm. I might send you some, but maybe not, because it will probably go bad in the mail. I'll think about it.

I love Russia so much. Interesting how it can work out that when you find out your differences with a person, a place, a philosophy, a way of life, that you can grow even closer to it. I never really felt out of place here, especially in the city with all these other foreigners, but now that I've lived already a transfer (!!!) in Pskov, sipped from its history and culture, I have flyubilsya/fallen in love even more with Russia and its beautiful, tragic, endurant, incomprable history. This corner of the world is more unique and more overlooked than I ever would have guessed before my mission. It's riddled with details that go deep, makes incredible changes in the world that aren't always noticed, and stand far more on its own than we might expect with our limited understanding of history. Because it's almost the west and it's not quite the east, Russia gets a casual glance in our culture, and then grouped with Europe under the category "Other" when it really deserves its own case of study. It's a country that absorbs something, considers it, and then reflects it in its own image--much like our own country, really--while inventing much of its own. We visited a Orthodox monestary, the oldest operating one in Russia, and that was quite incredible. They really do have something there, something valuable, but not the whole truth. It was interesting to see how many themes were left over from the true Gospel even after all those centuries and all those culture changes, through Greece and Kiev and Moscow, Feudalism, Tsars, and Communism. I really wish you and Papa would think about coming to pick me up; I would so love to show you some of the faces of Russia, the cultural center and western connection (Peter) and the deep foundations of Russian culture
(Pskov). I'm afraid I can't always explain in well enough to help you understand... I hope the pictures and a few evenings just talking about it will help me. Russia is incredible.

What a gift a mission is. Perhaps especially here, on the very frontier of the Gospel, we find amazing things and miracles despite difficulties, differences, difficiencies, and failures. We learn how to help others grow, and in the process we grow in enormous degrees. We also fail, and repeat ourselves. Unfortunately, it happens to all of us. But somehow, in teaching all these lessons to others about repentance and faith, about the cleansing power of our Savior, about the "working laboratory" of the Restored Church of Jesus Christ, we get changed a lot more than we can change others. I guess that's probably related to the fact that we can't give what we don't have, and maybe that's why in losing our lives in service, we find it--and in "saving" or hoarding our lives, we shrink and never reach our potential. God wants to give us so much. We just need to recieve it, and then give it away so there's so much more space for more.

Let me know how to get in contactio with Andrei nash/our Andrew. Elder Andrew, that is! (Karoche, in short, whether it's by the electronic mail or by the mail of papers.) Things are very well here--please forgive the previous week, because it was crazy and the internet was shortened. But I still love you very very much. Have Papa write me a travelouge! I am on the edge of falling into jealousy because he is going to the Latin lands! But there is a time for everything under the sun. (By the way, I'm working my way through the Bible, new testament again and ploughing through the old, loving it to pieces and taking notes. I'm about to finish Ecclesiates again and I got lots of stuff out of it. In the NT I'm reading Ephesians--several times, because I glean so much out of it. In Russian, I just about finished the Isaiah chapters of 2 Nehpi. I'm writing up a kind of personal thematic guide... I forget how it's called in the English Standard Works, but smycl ponyatno/the idea is understandable. There you go. Full plate of spiritual goodness! Feasting up!) I got my contacts (happy!) and am doing just fine. I payed the fee on my wells-fargo account last week, because I'm in the mood of just resolving problems instead of trying to find out where fees come from. >.< Analogies to life. Anyway, tell Tim and Mo hello! and that I shall write soon. Sister Mary Pope arrived, which was fun and weird, and she recounted how pretty much every girl I knew in high school now goes by the name of Sister. Very cool indeed. This church is true, and the Gospel changes our lives every moment, if we will let it. Take care of yourself, mamichka! Until the next of weeks. I love you!

-E. J. Stricklan

(Ha ha! Now you have to keep track of which Elder Stricklan you're talking to! :P)

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Any thoughts you would like to share will be forwarded onto Jessie.

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Comments:
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