Sunday, December 20, 2015
I literally have no time today, we're writing early because today is the craziest day of my life we're going to be in Rostov to send Sister Marquis off. :(
I am going to be training this transfer. SCARY AND CRAZY, but I'm just going to try to have fun. I'm so excited to meet my new companion her name is Sister Nelson, she is from Utah! I'm going to be in Rostov all week because there's ridiculously crazy stuff happening all over the mission with Visa Trips. I should be in Armenia at some point this week, but they don't know when yet. So basically I'll just be in a new area with a new companion (and become a Sister Training Leader) until further notice... crazy stuff like this happens all the time.
It's been pretty normal weather this week. Not really snow or rain... just cold haha.
MORE PRAYERS REQUESTED PLEASE. This week is going to be insane. I'm definitely feeling inadequate, but I'm ready to do what the Lord wants.
I love you tons!
This week feels like it didn't even happen... everything went so quickly!This was one of the first times when I have really felt the gift of tongues working on me personally...Thank you so much for all your prayers, I can definitely feel them here! I went on splits with Sister Jarvis for a day and a half-ish, and it was such an eye-opening experience. She got to Russia 6 weeks before me, so we're both preeeetty new. She came to Volgograd and my companion went to her area with her companion. It was cool to be in my area, because since it was"my territory," I had to lead. We had a lesson with a member, made a lot of phone calls, and then did a lot of street-teaching. I was honestly amazed by how much that I realized that I could do! It was fun to be with Sister Jarvis, because we're both still learning how to do a lot of things, and up until this point, we've both been in companionships with very experienced, confident missionaries. This week, we both learned how to really step up. And it was the best thing ever :) We talked with so many people. We got four phone numbers on the street! I came home in such a good mood, because I felt like I had personally done something and made a difference! I just opened my mouth, and I spoke, and things to say CAME TO ME! We got lots of compliments on our Russian, and lots of smiles from people, even if they didn't necessarily want to hear more about the gospel. Overall, it was one of my favorite mission experiences so far, because I felt like I myself had a real purpose, and that I wasn't just the necessary-but-quiet companion of a very capable missionary. It was so fun :)
Monday, November 2, 2015
This week was probably my favorite one so far. I don't even know exactly why... just a lot of things happened, and I understood more than I have in the past weeks, and I keep meeting the coolest people ever. :)This week, my branch had a Halloween/autumn activity. They don't really celebrate Halloween here, but the younger generation likes it, so it's starting to become a thing... Anyway, the branch went all out! Some of the members created a little haunted house in the classrooms, and it's was adorable (and scary... of course :). They had the missionaries teach everyone how to carve pumpkins, which was hilarious, because they gave us these TINY pumpkins to work with, and the insides were hard, so we had to saw away at them to hollow them out. But everyone loved it, and they made some really funny pumpkins! So many people invited friends, and overall, it was just an incredible success! I talked with a lot of people that i've wanted to get to know better for quite a while. Marina, a girl who comes to our English group, became an investigator and wants to meet this week to learn more about the church. She was so sweet, and stuck with me most of the activity, helping me to understand and play the little games that the members had set up. The youth dressed up, and it was just so cool to see them getting excited about this silly holiday :).
Monday, September 28, 2015
Oh my goodness, where to begin??!
I just realized that I haven't even been away from the MTC for an entire week,and that seems crazy to me, because I feel like I've been in Russia/traveling forever! It was really hard to say goodbye to my district at the MTC, but everyone was so excited to get into the field,so that made it doable.
We traveled to Rostov in a group of 12 missionaries (which is a huge number for our mission--the older missionaries here were blown away when all of us arrived). It was a very confusing, long two days, but miraculously, all of us and all of our luggage made it to the mission home safely! I'm proud! We stopped in Moscow for a while, to apply for second passports (it's required here, because our Visa situation is super weird), so we got to drive through the city a bit! We didn't see much, because we didn't actually get to tour around, but I did get a sighting of my first Russian temple! They're just like the pictures--gorgeous, and very different from anything in America :). Our driver was arranged by the Church, but he didn't speak English, and as soon as we were done with our passport stuff, he helped us get all our luggage out of the van, and then just dumped us outside of the airport and zoomed away. It was hilarious--us 12, clueless, exhausted Americans with SO much luggage and no idea what anyone was saying. :) Somehow we navigated the airport, and we got on our plane in time! Seriously, it was kind of amazing.
President and Sister Miner met us at the airport in Rostov, and they were so accepting and wonderful right from the moment they saw us! They don't speak Russian, so it was a nice break to be able to have an understandable conversation. They've only been here for a few months, but they seem to have this whole running-a-mission thing in the bag! We all spent the night in the mission home, and Sister Miner made enchiladas (!!!). I had my first interview with President Miner--he just rocks. The next morning, we had orientation, and everyone met their trainers!
My new companion is Sister Marquis. She's from Utah :), she has two more transfers, and she's trained basically half of the missionaries in the mission. Also, she's basically fluent in Russian. She seriously knows what she's doing. She's always on the ball, and she's obedient but a lot of fun. I have no idea how I got so lucky, but I already adore her, and I'm so glad to have the chance to learn from someone so experienced! We street-contacted in the afternoon after orientation, and it was terrifying but also amazing. I even started a couple of conversations. Basically, I can say, "Hello, we're from our church,and we know that God loves you." Then I can ask them what they believe about God or something similar, but as soon as they respond, I get really confused and Sis. Marquis has to take the reigns... I knew that it was going to be hard to understand people here, but I guess I didn't know what that really meant until I experienced it. Their accents are so different, and they speak so fast! I love the way it sounds, but I have no idea what it means! It's been getting better, and people are usually way nice about repeating things for me, but WOW, it's crazy. It's really nice to have Sister Marquis here, so I have hope that I'll eventually be able to understand and respond coherently! :)
Right now, I am in Volgograd center. it's beautiful and busy. This morning we went for a run, and we got to run right alongside the river. It was lovely. I adore the branch here! There are about 60-70 members, but I've probably met about 40 from the activity on Saturday and church yesterday. There's a lot of youth, and they especially love the missionaries, which is way nice. Right now, we have 2 sets of elders along with Sis. Marquis and I serving in the branch, and 2 of the 6 of us missionaries are new this transfer! The members are patient and sweet,and their testimonies are inspiring. I was asked to bear my testimony in Sacrament Meeting yesterday, and afterward, many of them have reached out to me personally. It's so nice to be here, and to feel their support!
There's a university here, which means a lot of students--and a lot of them are non-natives. There's one incredible member named Freesia. She's from Ghana, she moved here and started studying 3 weeks ago, and she started coming to our branch. She speaks English and is learning Russian right now, but is really struggling, so she loves to talk to the missionaries. She is one of my favorite people ever, because even though she is so discouraged and scared, she has this unwavering testimony that God loves her and that she's here for a reason. We went over to her place last night and shared a spiritual thought, and she was so grateful, but I think she uplifted me even more than we uplifted her! She is so incredible. She lives in student housing, and there are toooons of people there, so when we were leaving, she introduced us to like a gazillion of them. We're actually meeting with some of them tomorrow night, and I'm pumped! Her friend Samuel was talking to us, and when we invited him to learn about how our church was restored he said something along the lines of, "yes, I've been talking to Freesia, and I'd really really love to schedule a time for that, and maybe possibly to be baptized, too." ??!!??! <--That was my brain at that moment, haha. :) I'll let you know what happens with that whole situation. Last night was the best though, meeting with all of those wonderful people.
I love you and I have to go right now! Thanks for all your love!!
Sunday, September 20, 2015
Saturday, September 12, 2015
Well, hello everyone! :) Sorry it's been a while--last week was INSANE. We got asked to move to a new residence hall last P-Day, and ended up having to switch rooms several times (long story), and then in the midst of all that, my companion got pneumonia/bronchitis/some mysterious illness. Combined with all the normal P-Day stuff, it was a crazy day, and a lot of things didn't get done like we'd planned... I did get to read emails that were sent to me, though, and I just want to say thank you again for all the support and encouragement! I have no idea how I got lucky enough to have so many wonderful people in my life! It means the world to me to hear from you.
The past two weeks have been exciting! We stayed in for a few days because of Cectpa Meade's sickness, but I got some good studying and journal-writing time in, and I got to know the sisters in my new residence hall. We made quite an impression, barging into our new building, half-packed and diseased, but everyone has been super kind and helpful. I've been really impressed with how accepting everyone has been, although I'm sure it really wasn't convenient to have us show up unannounced and falling apart like that. We had so many people offer to get us food, to go on companion splits so I could go to class, etc. It was super sweet, and I couldn't have asked for a better place to be reassigned! Cectpa Meade is back in the game now, and everything's looking up quite a bit. We've been able to go to class full-time for the past few days :)
Oh! I've also got to brag about my district for a minute, because I've just been so amazed with how they've handled things this past week. They'd check up on Cectpa Meade every time that they saw me, when I did get to go on splits. They made her cheesy get-well cards, and they cleaned and organized our desks when we missed class. And then one night, they came to our building and gave her a blessing. It was the most touching thing to watch this group of silly boys get serious and thoughtful throughout the whole week, but especially at that moment. I could just feel that they understood the significance of the opportunity that they had to give Cectpa Meade a blessing through the priesthood. They KNOW how important and powerful that is, and it was so sweet to see and feel that from them. I've said it before, but I've got some stellar district-mates. They're just good people who are trying to live righteously, and that makes such an impact. I seriously love each one of them, and I'm going to miss learning from them all day every day. They've become great friends and examples to me. It's going to be hard to leave them!
Speaking of leaving...it's happening! Things are getting real here, because we have flight plans and everyone's realizing that we legitimately don't have time to slack off. My Russian is not where I'd like it to be,but I'm getting closer every day! I'm excited to get to my mission and to be surrounded by this terrifying, rapid-fire Russian all the time! It's going to be hard, but I think I'm going to learn a lot faster when I'm forced to speak and hear the language 24/7. I'm preparing for the craziness :)
The email schedule is going to be wonky again next week, because I'm going to get a new P-Day, but you should hear from me within about a week and a half! Next time I email, I'll be in another world :).
I can't express how much I love being a missionary. There's nothing I'd rather be doing right now! I love you all. Thank you for everything that you do for me! I hope you have the most wonderful week! :)
Sunday, August 30, 2015
This week has been a rollercoaster! So much has happened.
So, last Wednesday night/Thursday morning, one of the sisters in my zone coughed so much that she split a blood vessel in her nose, and she ended up having to go to the ER to get it to stop bleeding. So she got a tube stuck up her nose, and she had to keep it attached to her face until. She was basically confined to her room for half a week, being tired and in pain. Everything is okay now, and she is feeling wonderful, but it was a crazy crazy experience, and it caused for a lot of companion splits and schedule-changing. All the sisters have missed plenty of class this week. We've gotten a lot closer as a zone, and I love these sisters so much. They're so sweet and helpful and patient! I've learned a lot from each of them, and I really think that having us all grouped together was a truly inspired decision.
Cectpa Meade and I were called as the new Sister Training Leaders this week, which means that we get to help orient the new sisters that we're getting today! I'm so excited to get to know each of them!! We're getting two new districts, with only four sisters total, but since we've only gotten elders since my group came in, we're excited for some female representation, haha! This means that our Relief Society class will finally have more than 5 participants each week! :) Tonight, we get to meet everyone. !!
Our teachers have been giving us stories from Russia, and they're making me super excited to go. I can't believe that we only have 3 more weeks here! I don't know nearly enough Russian yet, but it's coming along! The grammar is starting to make sense! I am so grateful that I get to stay here for 9 weeks, not only because I need that time to learn the language, but because I am amazed by how much my testimony has grown here. I think that a big reason that I was called to learn this language was because I needed the time to learn more about the gospel and become more converted myself. I am loving this experience.
Thank you everyone for the emails and support. I'm sorry if I didn't respond--I never have enough time! But I hope you know how much I love and appreciate all your kind words! Have a great week!