Thursday, January 27, 2011

3 More Weeks!

  Can you believe that time is flying by so fast! i only have 3 more weeks
  here at the MTC!! i cant believe i have almost been here for 3 months.. it
  kinda freaks me out. I dont have my travel plans yet... i get them probably
  next week sometime so right when i get them i will let you know as soon as i
  Well... everything is pretty much the same here at the MTC... like i said
  last time we got to take the Native russians around when they got here.
  There are 2 sisters and 4 elders and they are all sooooo funny! They come to
  this MTC cause this is where the russian speakers come i guess? i am not
  sure. It was actually really cool today we got to go through with 2 of the
  elders to take their endowments out. Its quite an amazing experience to be
  there with them. We try to talk to them all the time an its hysterical cause
  they just laugh at our horrible russian haha. And sometimes, they just start
  speaking russian at us and we just sit there and i am always like "you KNOW
  i dont know what you are saying" and they just laugh cause they all know
  really good english.
  Oh! we start speaking russian 24/7 tomrorow.... yes for 3 weeks we cannot
  speak any english here... that... should be interesting... haha Its actually
  physically draining trying to speak Russian all day...
  Well hmm.. sorry my thoughts arent all gathered yet and nothing much has
  happened so i am just going to start answering questions... i am going to
  send actually letters to every who wrote me today anyway so maybe this email
  shouldnt go out this week..
  Mom... i only got your first email i dont know if you sent another one but
  this one had questions on it? well to answer them...
  And any kind of phone card i guess...  i dont know how to use on anyway...
  just one i can just on a pay phone probably?
  And NO black and white shirt?? are you sure it wasnt there? haha oh well i
  guess.. thanks for sending that package i appreciate it alot! did you send
  it by the way?? like is it on its way here?

  Grandma! I am soooo happy grandpa went to church again! tell him if he has
  any questions to ask me or the missionaries! i am soooo excited about this
  you have no idea... oh
  and about the family... Remember the question i asked in my other email
  about them not wanting to join? i dont know.. maybe they could send me an
  email or something... just cause i think if i can understand their concerns
  it will help me alot in russia. and grandma.. chelsea i know got the temple
  bag for her mom i am not sure if she got the other ones.. but she got the
  white one! so thanks soo much! and thanks for the bars and hats that are on
  their way!! and i am going to send you and grandpa letters soon too!

  Dad... NO haircut yet? i am sooo sorry! wish i could be there.... 16 more
  months and i will be there to cut your hair. oh... and you make me want good
  food everytime you tell me you ate chicken wings or something! not fair!

  Rach.... how are ya doing? is gainer reading the BOM? did you get my last
  letter? hows ned? maybe not in the picture anymore? haha i dont know

  Jess... Thanks soooo much for the pictures!!!! i loved them soo much!!!
  haha especially the one of you and sam that said "we look so hot" hahahah
  that was so funny!
  OH AND WHAT THE HECK! you guys were actually IN the MTC!!!!! i was freaking
  out when i saw those pictures!! i didnt know you went inside!!! i wish i
  could have seen you!! and i am so happy the kids are reading too!

  By the way fam... how is EVERYONE doing on  Reading the book of mormon and
  going to the temple?? Mom dad rachel??? if i have to be doing this 24/7 you
  guys can do a little too hahah keep me updated

  Tell the rest of the fam i say hi... like everyone! jamie jackie tami jeff
  ruth jerry will eliza brenner grandpa sam and alll the kids! i miss everyone
  so much but i know this is where i need to be!

  Well family... just know that i love you so much and i love my mission. Its
  super hard but i am so happy i am here...I have learned so much through
  prayer and scriptures already that I cant even believe it.... The scriptures
  actually make sense now... its kinda crazy.. and they gospel has been
  simplified for me so well that i feel i can understand and teach it... Maybe
  not in russian... but i am catching on..
  Im sorry this is so random but i dont have much to say this week. I love you
  guys a lot and am so thankful for your support... Everyone! I love your Dear
  Elders so much! So i will try to have a more interesting email next week k?
  i am sending a few pictures home and right when i am about to leave i will
  send cds again so you can see all of them. and mom you are saving the cds
  so i can delete my pictures right?
 all of my friends wrote me this week so they will all get letters from me too...

  Oh! and by the way... when i leave i can send boxes to provo for free.. so
  when i send things home i might send them to my friends and then jess...
  maybe you can pick them up? i dont know we can figure that out for sure next
  Oh mom.. one more thing.. I actually i got all the letters
  from the young women and stuff so i will send a letter to them. I appreciate
  it.. But alsooo...
  if you can tell me my balance in my account? and i might need maybe like
  $100 more dollars put in there when i actually fly to russia for luggage and
  stuff... i just know know exactly how much money i am going to need and i
  dont have that much cash on me... plus right when i get there i buy all my
  stuff so i might need some cash. Just let me know about my account at wells
  fargo... i left you the info so if you could check that. and also... what
  happened to my chase bank one?? did we cancel that? OH! and another thing...
  talk to wells fargo and let them know i am going to russia.. cause a lot of
  times they have to know i am in russia or they will close the account once i
  use it there... thats another thing...
  Sorry theres sooo much! but ok... i will write you guys better letters...
  like real letters... when i have time. Tell grace i am sending her a letter!
  oh! did she get her birthday card too? oh! i want pictures of baby savannah
  hah ok sorry I ask for wayyy to much! but ok... i love you guys soooo much!
  and send me phone numbers too ok? like jess rach dad grandma cause i can
  call everyone when i am at the airport!! that would be great!! LOVE YOU
  SOOOOO  MUCH!!!!!!! i will keep you updated better next time..

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Love You

  Well, not much has happened this week... just the same old same old... we  are starting to do a lot more in russian... we taught for the first time in  russian on wednesday and all our meals we now are speaking in just
  russian... we realized that you can say a lot with just a few words. hahah I  think its going to be so funny when i actually get to russia and i cant say anything except "i know that God lives and we are his children" haha no no i  know more than that but they will answer me and i will have NO idea what they are saying... our teachers speak russian to us but they know we are basically incompitent and so they speak super slow...
  Funny story though.. they other day i was sitting there in study time and I was reading out of the book of mormon in russian... and i thought "what? never in my life did i ever think i would be reading out of a russian book of mormon..." haha no, i could not understand it all, but it was just soooo funny... its kinda crazy where life takes you i guess... Oh, i guess another thing is that me and my companion, sister trottier were made the coordinating sisters..  nothing too cool we just get to welcome all the new sisters when they come in tomorrow! i cant believe it, we are now what they call "the older districts"... i know sounds weird, but we had two districts that reported 6 weeks before us speaking russian and now, that us... i cant believe ive been here 6 weeks... my 7th week starts, you said that its gone slow but also fast.. i hear ya.. honestly, the days here feel like weeks and the weeks days.. its the craziest feeling ever!!! But ya, so being coordinating sisters will be super fun for us because it kinda breaks up our schedules for the next few days and lets us
  takes them on tours and i am sooo excited.

  Well thanks for the letters!!! seriously they help so much... i know it sounds so cliche that a missionary loves getting letters, but its sooo  true... its like the only thing that is a surprise to us!! EXCEPT... we ate at the temple today and it was sooooooooo good! REAL food! and i know ive been complaining about the food here, i would still like some bars but i got it covered... so basically... in the morning i eat hard boiled eggs... ew i  know but it gives me protein then for lunch and dinner i will have veggies and friut and maybe some soup or cereal.... ive kinda gone on a vegitarian diet.. which is ok i gues.. then when night comes we all just like binge on candy and junk food which is horrible!! thats probably why im getting huge here! haha thats why i dont want any candy! and im partially surviving cause the girls in the barbershop bought me diet coke... hahahaha yes... ONLY cause it gives me energy... i dont even drink one a day and if i do drink> its just one... which is fun... i can still live without it..

  Well it sounds like everything is going good! tell katie congrats on her baby please! i dont have her address or else i would have sent her something! (well a card at least) and please send pics!! of her baby and of sounds like everything is going great at everyones houses!  grandma got a haircut? haha i hope it went well! and GRANDPA WENT TO CHURCH! haha thats soooooo awesome! i would love to hear what he thought about it... also i have another kinda weird request... so being out here in the mission,  and having to figure out peoples concerns about the church and what keeps  them from believing or even being interested... its really hard.. and i know  without a doubt we have an answer to everyones problems or concerns... but i would love to hear from the family.. like grandpa and jeff and jerry and Tami... not why they havent joined cause honestly,im not trying to convert them.. but they reasons for not being interested or the doubts they my family i would love to know where they are coming from.. i know i am going to be confronted with problems daily out in the field and to just hear from the people closest to me why they dont accept the church or what they questions they have concerning the gospel would actually be a really big
  help... I know that could be slightly awkward and i feel bad asking that,but i think as a missionary it would help me better understand my purpose and help me once i get to russia... so if its at all possible... maybe they
  could send me a letter or an email about the questions and concerns and  reasonings for their decisions... its can be as simple as "we have a religion already" but some of me thinks that they might have some
  questions... i know again.. super weird but ive been thinking about that a lot lately... Oh! and tell everyone i say hello! i hope jamie is doing well in school jackie isnt back with marcus hahaha... tell her to stick to the
  normal boys! tell tami jeff ruth jerry eliza will and brenner hey! i hope they are all doing well....
  Dad, make sure you tell grandma west i love her too! and maybe you could get her address? i dont know if she gets mail.. or maybe if i send a letter home  for you to give her that would be great.... i would love that.
  Mom and jess... tell the boys to keep reading the book of mormon! the part where Nephi cuts of labans head is pretty sweet... theres a part where i think ammon? cuts off the arms of a bunch of people in like alma 17 that would be fun for them to read too haha... they you can always go to 3rd nephi where christ wants all the little children to come forth and he> blesses them... they would probably like to here that part too...

  Ok sorry this is so random! i never have any time to think about things...but i just want to say again i love you guys and they support you give me. i appreciate it more than you know... i know that i am supposed to be hereat this point in my life right now... honestly... i have learned more in 6 weeks than i could have possibly imagined... i have a LONG way to go i know that but i can say without a doubt in my mind that this church is true and i couldnt be doing any better work right now. Yes, its super hard... honestly i cant say this enough, its the hardest thing i have ever done... but i know the blessings that will come along the way are for eternity. This mission will change my life forever and it already has... I love this work and the message we get to share. I love knowing i get to bring people to come to know their christ... they one and only person who could save them. He is everything... If you guys want... 3rd nephi 11 talks about when christ came  to the people in the americas and its a pretty powerful chapter. Its kinda crazy that Isaiah prophesied that christ would go to the other sheep.. which were not of the same fold.. and that chapter is that being fulfilled. So
  just a side note... ALSO i hope you guys are trying to read and also go to the temple... even if
  it is just initiatory... they work we do in the temple is amazing and what better way to prepare us for the millenium.. thats ALL we are going to be  doing hahah  so i encourage you to do that... let me know how its going! I love you sooo much! WRITE ME SOOOOOOOOOON! i will write a letter in
  russian soon

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Half way through...

 Hello! again i want to say thank you for your letters.. it sounds like you had a ton of fun in utah! You guys went sledding? haha i want to see  pictures from that... did everyone sled? or just the kids? and it makes  sense grace and gainer would be scared... i bet sammy and dean just were rolling in the snow... they are used to it. It was pretty crazy weather  though when you guys were here... it got really cold here... but then i had to just remember i would be in like 54358947389 more cold weather in like 5 weeks!! And i cannot believe you guys were at the MTC!!!! If i would have  saw you i would have freaked. The temple was closed when you guys were here  so we didnt actually walk off campus but it would have been crazy to see you  guys. Isnt the MTC weird... it kinda looks like a prison and it seems so forbidden when you drive by it but its so funny cause its just a bunch of  teenage boys... its kinda funny cause the elders seem like they are confused  here at the MTC. Its like... their 19 year old selves come out however they know they are missionaries and need to be more dignified.. so its funny to see them change from situation to situation. However it is amazing to see  the change in them, (well at least the ones in my zone) from the first day  they got here... they have grown so much.. i hope i have grown too...
 AND you guys went to the zoo? thats so fun.. not out of africa? haha when I  get back we will have to make a trip there...  So this week... the older district is all leaving to russia... which means we get new russian missionaries come in in a week! which means... we are now the older district... which mean.. WE LEAVE NEXT! i cant believe i am halfway done with the MTC... i love the MTC but man, let me tell you, i am already SOOOOO ready to go to russia... Being at the MTC makes you so excited to actually be in the real mission field and get rejected and get  yellled at and everything! it sounds weird, but i am so excited. I know I will struggle sometimes but i am excited to say that i made it through my first 3 months in russia ya know? after 3 or 4 or 5 months, it will still be really hard but i am hoping the language will come and the Lord will help me through all those hard times so i can have the best mission ever!
 Its was really cool, this week we actually started teaching in russian… yes... TEACHING! hah we say like 5 word sentences but we are told to simplify the lesson so its kinda great that russian MAKES me do that. I realized that the Lord sent me russian speaking because he knew i needed to simplify my words. When i would teach in english i just ramble. I need to just get right down to the point and speaking a new language helps me do that because i only know like 10 words. haha No no thats not true... its kinda crazy that i can actually speak SOME russian... i know when i get out  into the field i am going to cry cause im going to actually realize I know nothing, but its crazy what we do know only being here a month...
 Thats about all that happened this week. Everything else is still the same. We have the same schedules everyday.. so we know by the end of the MTC days we will be 150% sick of what we are doing and just ready to get to russia...

 OH! HAPPY ANIVERSARY GRANDMA AND GRANDMPA... haha thats so awesome that you guys have been married that long. Oh, and i sent everyone pictures... i hope you got them.. and mom i sent you CDs of all the pictures i have taken thus far.. i will probably send you another couple of CDS like that before i leave the MTC and then do the samein russia... will you let me know when you get them and if they have pictures on them? cause then i can delete the ones already on my camera?..  i  was told that was the best way to do it so keep them and we can have a record of all my pictures...

 Well... I dont really have much more to say... thanks to everyone who is  writing me and has written me. Letters are great i love hearing whats going on. Just know the MTC is great but i am soooooo excited to get out into the field. My decision to serve a mission i know was made when i entered the MTC but my excitement hasnt stopped growing and the confirmation of it continues to grow as i progress and get closer to bringing people to the knowledege of the Gospel. A cool thing we were taught, which i knew was our purpose but  wasnt put into words.. is that we arent here to baptize. Yes, thats the result of peoples actions, but we are here to bring people  to the knowledege of their savior and his atonement for them. Its to bring them to the knowledge that they have a father in heaven and we need to have a strong relationship with him... Its to bring them to the knowledege that there is a plan for them, that their is a purpose for them... its to let them know that the Book of mormon is the true word of christ and that that little blue book contains the fullness of the gospel and can literally answer any question of your soul.. Once we, and our investigators know that, they will have no question in their mind that THIS IS the true church, and they will be jumping into the waters of baptism. We arent here to baptize, we are here to bring people unto their savior. I know that so sister missionary of me.. but to come to that realization has been the most amazing thing to me. I dont know where i would be without the little knowledge i have obtained here in the MTC and i cant imagine the things im going to learn from my investigators and just being on a  mission... It really is an amazing work i get to do here... I honestly feel truly blessed to be set apart as a missionary right now... I dont want you guys to think that everything has been peachy for me here though.. yes its been amazing, but its has been extremely hard. I feel like hard times have come my way before but this is different. This tests you in ways you wouldnt even imagine... But how grateful i am to know that whenever  i am struggling, i can get down on my knees and he will lift me up. Its like peter, when he asked christ if he could come out onto the water with him and he did.. he was walking steadfast as he kept his eyes on christ, but as the waters went tempest and waves came.. he got distracted and took his eyes off christ and lost faith, he started to sink and christ lifted him up... I KNOW that i have felt waves come at me here at the MTC... they have kept strong, but as i have used my faith in christ, and asked my father to save me... he has held out his hand to me and pullled me from those hard times. I know i wouldnt be writing this email right now if it wasnt for him. I would be home. How grateful i am for the lord and his help...

 Well.... now that i used up all the sister missionary i had in me.. haha i just want to say i love you and i so thankful for my family in my life... i love you guys so much!!! i will hopefully have more to write next week.. but lets be honest, theres not a lot of drama that goes on at the MTC... the most sketchy thing that happens is when you see someone NOT with their companion.. haha... to be honest, i kinda miss gossip... i didnt realize how much i heard being a hairdresser hahah its probably a good thing though...But i Still havent stopped cutting hair, i am actually aloud to cut some peoples hair here, we got permission from our branch president...

 Anyway... i love the MTC... i will write you a letter in russian one time!! Love you and you BETTER keep writing me... thanks to dad mom rach jess grandma and everyone who writes me.. i will try to write actually letters

Sunday, January 2, 2011

You know you are a sister missionary when...

 I hope this christmas was a good one! I really want to see pictures of everything you did and the italian theme... I assume you are still in utah, so how is it? Dad you had said in your email that it was way nice weather in az but then you had to come up here to the cold.... haha im sorry! whenever you think about the cold think about where im gunna be in about 2 months...then it will seem warm!  So i am going on my first month here!!! I MADE IT! I cant believe its already been a third of the way through the MTC... and i only have 17 months on a mission now! super weird... But i will start off with my weeked! SO christmas eve was friday, and we had a normal day until the night then we had a fireside and it was awesome. we talked about the life of christ for the first little bit then to make it more fun we got to sing the 12 days of
Christmas at the MTC... these are the words
1 A rock solid testimony
 2 haircuts free
3 new companions
 4 chocolate milks (cause the chocolate milk here is like a milk shake
 5 hours of gym
 6:30 wake up
 7 luke warm showers
 8 Hours of rest
 9 Vaccinations
 10 More commandments
 11 loads of laundry
 12 hours of class...

  so that basically sums of the MTC. Then they gave ALL the missionaries popcorn and we got to watch mr. krugers christmas.. oh and our zone, we all got togehter and talked about the russian traditions on christmas, and the russians told us all they do! they dont have christmas on the 25th which is
weird but their christmas is new years! so when i am out in the field we basically have 2 days of nothing because too many people are partying on new years and everyone is drunk! Then then next morning, as a district we had a secret santa so we met and opened gifts, then we had a talent show and it was sooooo funny! we have a bunch of native russians here in our zone, and they did the talent show and
 they changed the lady gaga song to "we missionary now" but with there russian accents, it was pretty funny. THey got a standing ovations from all the missionaries. THen we had our devotional and Russel M. Nelson came and spoke to us! it was amazing to see a member of the 12. It really truly is amazing being a missionary and seeing an apostle. I always took that for granted but its amazing! THen we had another fireside at night.. it was a LOT of sitting that day, but honestly, ive never felt better being a missionary then i did on christmas day... Its was awesome to see 2500 missionaries all making the sacrifice to leave their families on
 christmas... And concentrating on the real meaning of christmas made it the best. I missed you guys a lot though, but hope all your holidays went well..

 THen on sunday Elder nelson was still here! can you believe it, he stayed for a weeked! so he spoke to the Elders and his wife spoke to us in relief society, and i LOVED her... and another cool thing about her, is her and sherry dew (dont know if i spelt that right) are best friends so she was there too! we got to talk to them after she spoke. It was pretty amazing to see that both these women are so well known in the church solely because they lived their lives according the ways the lord wanted them too... it was
 inspiring to see how 2 women could be so strong... I loved it! Sister Nelson commited us to really pray to our father in heaven about some question we have.. and then open our books of mormon and she promised if we read we would find the answer... i cant tell you how many times thats happened since
 being here... and so i give you guys another commitment, to do the same! (i know i am a missionary now this is my job, and speaking of commitments, hows the temple and reading the scriptures coming along?? haha you better be doing that too) So try it.... its amazing the power that little book has.

 Well.. that was my christmas, your guys emails seem like it was fun! i would love to here how utah is going! THanks for the package! EVERYBODY loved the bows mom and i love my robe thanks so much! and make sure to tell the alexanders thanks for the Bars!! i am so excited! and mom i was gunna ask,
 if you are still in utah, can you by chance send me like a BIG box or maybe
 2 boxes of bars from costco? i got really sick from the food the other day
 and i am not getting enough protein to keep me energized... and i think if
 you send them from utah theres a place you can send them cheaper? maybe ask the alexanders they might know! and thank them again for the bars!
Oh! and thanks to EVERYONE who send me christmas cards! I really enjoyed
 seeing the pictures!!

 Ok so mom, you wrote me about grandpa! but grandma didnt tell me anything
 about him going to church is that true!!! I was soooo excited to here that
 that was his present!! let me know about that please!!!
 Well... the MTC is still great, russian is stilll super hard, but i dont let
 myself get down... I refer alot to alma 32... without faith here in the MTC
 i know i would be home already... Its crazy to me how much i know i have
 changed but how much i know i still need to change... Its really hard
 noticing your faults and realizing that you HAVE to be a different person
 then you were before... i had quite the experience yesterday in the TE
 (which is like a place we go and teach... its weird ) but there are Mock
 investigators that walk around the MTC, so that missionaries can contact
 them and practice.. well theres this guys who works here who is one of those
 fake investigators and he was in the TE yesterday when me and my companion
 were going to to do a workshop, and usually you have to contact them, but he
 contacted us.... which was weird... and he asked where we were from so i
 told him az, and (background hes mexican) so they first thing he says to be
 me was "oh so you are racist" and i was like.. "no im not" and he said " yes
 you are, you fit the profile, you are racist, you are white and have blue
 eyes, you are racist" and me and my companion were weirded out because hes
 supposed to be like an actor... so i just kinda blew it off cause i did want
 to get into that, it was already a hard day, so we said we had to go and
 then he said "no, im not acting right now, im serious, you are a racist. You
 are from az, you are white and blue eyes, you fit the profile you are
 racist... if you arent, then tell me why you arent, because i KNOW you
 are..." and right then we knew he wasnt kidding, (and keep in mind this
 doesnt happen at the MTC) so i just stared at him and he started telling me
 this story about him being in az and being profiled by people like me... and
 i was bawling at this point... but then i just looked at him and said "you
 know how i know im not racist, because i believe that god is OUR father in
 heaven, and him being our father, that means he loves us both equally....
 and because he is OUR father, that means you are my brother and i love you
 just like i love my family. I dont look down upon you like you think i do
 because i have a testimony of Jesus Christ and our father in heaven... and
 my hope for you would that you would feel the same about me. That i am a
 daughter of God and that i am your sister...." and he just looked at me,
 with tears in his eyes, and said "thank you.... i know you now and i know
 you arent like one of them. If you look at me like your brother then i will
 look at you like my sister. As equalls."

 And that moment to me seemed kinda harsh, but i knew that that was the Lord
 working through me... my companion wanted to walk away and avoid the
 situation cause he was being rude, like really rude and calling me a racist
 for like 10 minutes, but there are going to be so many times on my mission
 where im going to be criticized and ridiculed but i cant just walk away, i
 have to bear my testimony,, and even though it was rough, and it hurt me to
 see him think that about me... i knew i couldnt walk away...

 anyway... i hate to end with that story but i am out of time... i love you
 all sooooo much! make sure mom rach jess dad granmda grandpa everyone knows
 i love them and appreciate their letters!!! i love you all!! write me
  i will send pictures soooon!!
  and mom... please send bars??? LOVE YOU!! I LOVE THIS WORK AND LOVE MY