Monday, April 29, 2013

A big thank you to Paul, Aunt Karen and the Eyres for your letters! I'll try to write you back ASAP!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Operation Teachers Getting Married

Halfway Done with Training

how have i been here for 4 weeks! i honestly don't know. the russian is coming along i least that's what people are saying. yesterday we did SYL (speak your language) ALL DAY. it was rough but helped so much. so a lot of big news this week. first, on friday brother o told us that he might be leaving next week! OUTRAGE. he got a job offer in colorado and he only has 3 classes left before he graduates so he could just take those online and leave provo forever!!! but we can't let that happen because operation teachers getting married is back on!!!! well we told brother o that sister v has a boyfriend and he runs over and shuts our door....we thought he was going to give us a 'we need to focus on missionary work' lecture be he goes "what what is this guy's name? where is he from?? did he even serve a mission?" hahahahaha and then we told him that he doesn't even speak russian and brother o goes "he can't even appreciate how special she is!" so so so adorable. so he admits to us that he 'invited her to do something' already and she was busy so techinically she didn't say no and we admitted that we have a picture of said exchange because we could see it from the window! he was majorly creeped out by that but secretly proud of us. so anyways he admits to us that's he's passive agressive when it comes to girls so monday night when they were teaching together, as they walked out the door sister rohrbaugh goes "remember brother o, don't be passive agressive!" and he got the biggest smile on his face. also i wouldn't share my hymn book with sister v so that she had to share with brother okoren. don't worry it's gonna happen.
anyways, in the world of missionary work things are going pretty well. Anatoli has a baptism date and so far so good, except on monday we taught about the word of wisdom and he kept asking about hot chocolate! we had no idea how to explain ourselves so we handed him a pamphlet and we're gonna try to explain that better next time. Natasha wants to be baptized but is scared to talk to her husband about it, so she's gonna bring her husband to watch Anatoli's baptism! i wish these were actually real people because when we're teaching it definitely feels real. Anatoli is such a sweet heart and he is so excited to see us whenever we come teach. Natasha is so strong and has such amazing faith. She was asking us why Jesus Christ had to suffer for our sins because it doesn't seem fair to her. She explained that when her daughter does something wrong she has to have a punishment otherwise she'll never learn right from wrong. We tried to explain this on the fly, i read D&C 19 but we'll definitely go more in depth next time about the Atonement. What I really wanted to explain to her is that Christ chose to suffer for us, He did it out of love for us and for our Heavenly Father. I have so much to say in English but in russian all i can say is "Christ loves you" which is what it all really comes down to i guess.
Sunday night we had BYU Men's chorus come sing (why did john have to graduate? i totally could have gotten a shout out!) and let's just say......if vocal point was a challenge for the sisters just imagine 180 strapping young men in hogwarts uniforms. yeah it was great. they announced a missionary cd that is free to download for all missionaries and we were so excited and then we remembered that we're a mo-tab only mission so darn. but you should get it...i'm sure it's awesome. then last night we heard from david f. evans who is in the quorum of the 70 and also the executive director of the mtc so basically THE MAN which was so awesome. he talked about repentance which is what our next 2 lessons are on so it was so perfect! read mosiah 2-4 and maybe 5 i don't remember but King Benjamin is the man!
on saturday night brother o had us read the first few pages of the white handbook together which talks about the sacred nature of our calling and how we need to dedicate ourselves fully to the work. it was kind of a wake up call for all of us because we can all do better about staying focused during studies and not distracting each other. before this talk i felt like i wasn't really learning that much but since we all committed ourselves to being better i can feel such a big difference! the russian is finally starting to click and i feel like i'm actually making progress!
let me tell something to you.....russian grammar is crazy!!!! most languages verb conjugations are about as complicated as you get, well in russian every noun pronoun and adjective changes according to what part of the sentence it's in. for example a book is one thing if it is the direct object and something else if it is the indirect object. so there's 6 cases that a word could be in and in each case there's a different ending for if the word is masculine, neuter, female or plural. so basically there's like 24 different ways every word could end. AWESOME!!!! so basically you have to dissect every sentence you want to say and label all of the parts of speech in english and then translate a word at a time. the good news is once you learn the rules and patterns russian follows the rules much more closely than english. brother o says in order to speak russian we're going to learn english grammar better than most PhD's. well, he's known to be a bit of an exaggerator but still, this will help me a lot with my grammar classes when i get home! literally every day we talk about how we wish we were learning spanish and how we're so glad we're not learning chinese!
funny stories of the week:
-ask sarah about the awkward tissue incident, i don't have time to type it again
-during sacrament meeting in the opening song we were singing (in russian) and there came this crazy word that had like 32 consonants in it and i accidentally yelled WHAT? really loudly. you know how loud i sing...well it just kinda came out because i was so surprised at how crazy long the word was and i had no idea how to say it! well every turned around and laughed because they were thinking the same thing! me and my companions were laughing the whole rest of the was bad.
-we (and by we i mean i) came up with our next hit single: Awkward Christian Soldiers. oh yeah
-Sister Rohrbaugh was trying to ask us if we were ready to go to dinner but she said "are you ready to go when the time comes?" and i thought she was talking about death hahahaha so now we always say that really dramatically. it's great
-we were reading a bio of an investigator and it said that she was dating an RM and i go "wouldn't that be nice!" talking about myself but brother o heard it and thought we were talking about him (all of his girlfriends decide to go on missions) but the best part is he turned around and thought sister rohrbaugh said it hahaha
okay i'm realizing that all of our really funny moments are actually not that funny but they are to us. also we finally get new russian speakers today!!! usually they come every 2 weeks but we've been the russian babies for 4 weeks! we're so excited not to be the babies any more!!! also last week was the first time EVER that more sisters entered the mtc than elders! oh also this week our schedule is completely changing so we have to eat all of our meals like 2 hours later, but we don't have any classes after dinner which will be nice. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Richard G. Scott, Mary Ellen Edmunds

yes i got the package!!!! thank you thank you thank you! we figured the treats are like a mix between take 5 (minus the pretzel) and pay day. way good! thank you! the dress is great, i wore it yesterday. thank you to jason for the dear elder and grandma and grandpa for the nice card! mail is like christmas here. oh speaking of christmas, it has been snowing this week....WHAT?!?!?! every time we do SYL (speak your language) it snows! i guess mother nature is justing trying to put us in the russian mood or something but it's super annoying. good thing we live in our classroom and not outside. yesterday morning it was so foggy we couldn't even see the mountains and it felt like home! sister willerth and i were so excited! (Sister Willerth also grew up in Chicago.)

just fyi we wake up at like 5 am on wednesdays to do laundry so i'm gonna be checking email way early on wednesdays. okay anyways this has been a crazy long week! i figure i'll just give you the run down of a typical day because that's what i wondered the most about the mtc. we get up at 6:30, get ready and have breakfast at 7:10 then have an hour of language study, then class with brother okoren until lunch. after lunch we have gym (aka stretching) for 30 minutes and then comes our favorite part of the day....we have 45 minutes to get ready to go back to class. those 45 minutes are precious fun time that i don't think anyone else has used to their full potential before. maybe we should be using that time to learn new russian words or something, but i'm a firm believer in the 'study break.' we even study during stretching! come on! so yeah we look forward to those 45 minutes of happy fun time every day. except p day and sunday. anyways, then we go back to the classroom for personal study and companion study, then have dinner, then sister vasilevskaya teaches us until 9:00 which is planning. so basically the description of "eat, study, eat, study, eat, study study study sleep" is 100% accurate. we consider 'home' to be our classroom, not the room we sleep in. good thing we love our teachers and our district because we are with them 24/7!!! also the schedule is a little bit different every day because gym time rotates throughout the day. sometimes it's right after breakfast so we're stretching zombies, sometimes it's in the middle of the afternoon which is best because it breaks up the day really well. someday i'll send you a picture of our's crazy.

okay so the major highlight of this week was Richard G. Scott coming last night! and I TOTALLY CALLED IT!!!!! they never tell us who the speaker is going to be because they want everyone to be excited and every week someone starts the rumor that it's an apostle but this week it was for reals. during choir we always watch the people setting up and doing sound check and i noticed this week  that they were checking for bombs under the chairs. also the guys checking the tele-prompter things were squatting so they could see it from the speaker's angle and i thought to myself...hmm who is a shorty apostle? i know...MY BUDDY RICHARD G SCOTT! i remember when he came to bg2 and talked to all of us in the eyre's family room. it was so cool! i mostly remember thinking he was funny and adorable and short. also he told me my smile makes him feel good inside so there's that. anyways, his talk was amazing. he talked about prayer and how it is such a great blessing, and we need to take the time to talk to our Heavenly Father and tell him how we're doing and feeling. definitely a good reminder for missionaries who are always asking people to pray, we need to sincerely pray ourselves! he also talked about answers to prayers and if we don't receive an answer to a prayer right away we should just exercise faith by keeping commandments and following truth. he said we should be grateful if the Lord doesn't answer right away because that means He trusts us. Wow I had never thought about it like that! That was a big testimony builder for me because when I was praying to know if i should come on a mission i never really felt like I got an answer. i definitely didn't get a no, so i figured that mean Heavenly Father didn't care either way and I could choose. but every day that i spend here I know that I am meant to be here. (ps elder boyce from australia always says meant to instead of supposed to so i'm adopting that phrase). Elder Scott also said that the Lord will fit the work to my capacities and that I will never be asked to do something I cannot do. I had always thought about fitting myself to whatever the Lord requires of me, but it interesting to think of it the other way around. Towards the end Elder Scott said he felt impressed to give us an Apostolic Blessing that the burden of learning a new language will be lifted so that we can master the languages we are learning in order to become more effective servants of the Lord. i couldn't stop myself from doing a tiny fist pump when he said that! every single foreign language learner here was so so grateful for that blessing! the coolest part though was after the closing song, Elder Scott hopped up again and said he felt inspired to say a little more. He told us for probably the 10th time that each one of our calls is inspired and the that Lord will not abandon us. He also said that this mission is an opportunity to learn things about myself that I never knew I could do. So in summary.....THE GREATEST TALK A MISSIONARY COULD ASK FOR.

also on sunday morning for relief society we had mary ellen edmunds come and talk about her missions! so our two famous guest speakers this week are like the only 2 famous people i have ever met! anyways she was so hilarious! it was so long ago now but my favorite part was she said "DON'T TOUCH THE ELDERS!!!! but remember the ones you do want to touch. make a list and then come home, get in shape and go to those mission reunions!" hahahahahahahah we were laughing for like 10 straight minutes in the middle of relief society (it is all the sisters in the mtc...we take up the entire gym.) oh btw our teacher said we were the first district EVER to have 7 sisters in it which i thought was sooooo cool and then i talked to an elder going to to the baltics whose district is 9 sisters and him. poor guy! Sister Edmunds also made a comment that really struck me which was, the holy ghost knows everyone who we are going to teach. we might not know anything about them, but the holy ghost knows all. that is why we need the spirit so badly when we teach, because the spirit knows what will touch their hearts and we do not. 

oh the operation to get our teachers married is offically off because sister vasilevskya has a boyfriend! lame!!!!! i mean we're happy for her, she's so cute and sweet but our life just got a whole lot more boring. before we knew about the boyfriend brother okoren started reciting this russian love poem and then they just said the whole thing to each other and we were dying!!!! even the elders are giggly about's so funny. but now it's over and life is boring again. why was he reciting a love poem? no one knows. for some reason in one of our books they have a bunch of love poems because they want us to learn the culture and those are their most famous poems or something but it's really weird. 

oh the other huge news of the week is there's a 95% chance that we'll be moving to raintree apartments!!! say what?! we will live there and have class there and they will bring food to us in a 'modular food transport' AKA we'll be eating in the back of a trailer. it's gonna be crazy. but it would be so cool just to say we did it! they said it will happen sometime in may so we're hoping it's just our last week. i'm hoping they just give us lunchables for every meal. all the elders care about is how they're gonna do gym! they live for gym and we live for the 45 minutes after gym hahaha. all i cared about is if we're gonna have to walk to get to devotional and the answer on that so we'll see. 

next time you send a package can you include my slytherin shirt please??? we take this slytherin stuff seriously....except we're the mudbloods because we're going to ukraine and the ukrainian speakers are squibs because they know about russian but can't speak it hahahaha

okay i have to go, i'm gonna send some pictures. i love you and miss you!!!!! byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Birthday Miracle, General Conference

I can't believe I've been here for two weeks! And what I mean by that is I can't believe I've only been here for two weeks!!!! I am not jealous of the muggles who left this week though....there's no way I could be ready to go! Every day I somehow feel more prepared and less prepared at the same time because the more I learn the more I realize that i don't know anything!!! okay well i'm struggling with how to organize this so i'm just going to go day by day. but first happy late birthday mom!!! i was so stressed and hurried last week that i forgot to say happy birthday to my own mother! i am a despicable human being (tangled quote). also happy late birthday to justin!!! april babies are smarter. it's a fact. anyways okay here we go:

Thursday was my birthday!!! I'm going to start off and say that I loved my birthday. You might not believe me here in a little but but trust me, it's true. So basically I had a fever all day and felt like my brain was simultaneously melting and exploding ALL day. I'm not sure if it was a sinus infection or the flu because it felt kind of like a combo but all i knew was i felt that death was upon me but it's okay because death was one of my russian words for the day so i got to practice it a lot. Anyways so we have this small fan in our classroom and my companion put it on her desk and had it blowing right in my face all day, which helped a lot, and everyone was double nice to me because it was my birthday and i was sick. As sister willerth said, "if you're gonna be sick, at least it's on your birthday so your day isn't completely terrible!" that was a great attitude. so anyways i'm not really getting anything out of class, i just feel like i'm struggling to exist and elder hildebrandt (my favorite) says "you know, if you ever need it we can give you a blessing" and i was like "you sir, are a genius" so i got one of the sweetest blessings of my life. our four 18 year old elders gave me a blessing and it was so adorable because none of them had ever done it without their dads and they had to read it over in the handbook like 100 times to make sure they got the words right. it was so humble and made me so glad for worthy priesthood holders! these kids are only 1 year older than sarah (weird!) but their power is real. my fever broke that night and i woke up feeling 10.4 billion times better (those are the exact words i used when i woke up...i was still under the effects of nyquil i think). so that was my birthday.

Friday was a great day. I studied about charity and was really inspired to be better. I'm especially trying to have charity for our two new investigators Natasha and Anatoli (more on them later). We talked in class about how the investigators will believe what you believe and if we can picture a better future for them, they will be able to as well. Part of that is seeing them as Heavenly Father sees them. So i'm working on that. Also on friday we got our second teacher!!! so the first day they make a big deal about how the mtc is all about being self taught and the teachers are just here to help you teach yourself, well we took that literally and thought it was normal to have only one teacher for 2 hours a day. turns out every other district has 3 teachers!!!! hahaha so things are a bit crazy up in the russian building, there's usually 80 russian learners in the mtc at a time but right now there's 110 and in the next month there will be 200! slytherin is about to take over. anyways so they're short on teachers but we got our second one and she is awesome! she's from russia and joined the church when she was 14. i think she went to ben's mission? she said it was i'll ask her if she knows him, i'm pretty sure she got back recently. Anyways we are really trying to get our two teachers together and on friday we looked out the window and saw them talking to each other on the street corner just past our jail fence!!! we took stalker pictures for proof! now i understand that in real life people can talk to each other just as normal human beings and it doesn't mean that they're going to get married and have 14 beautiful russian speaking babies....but when there's no drama girls will imagine drama and that is just a fact of life. i'll keep you guys updated on this situation.

Saturday was conference!!!! it was so good!!!! i've never gained so much personal applicable knowledge before! i wrote down 3 questions and they were all answered multiple times in the first session! woah. I wanted to know what our investigators needed to hear and they each had a talk that i felt like was exactly for them! then i was wondering what can i do for my family while i'm gone, and two talks talked about how Heavenly Father is looking out for your family, you don't need to worry about it! i'm not sure if anyone even actually said that or i just heard it. and Jeffrey R. Holland's talk about just believing is enough was exactly what i needed to hear! sometimes i get frustrated that my testimony isn't a perfect knowledge, but we all have to walk by faith in this life. it's a relief to know i'm not the only one.

Sunday was even more conference! and then we got to walk to the temple and have ice cream at lunch and dinner so pretty much best day ever. so in conference there were two obedience talks in a row and if that wasn't a sign to me i don't know what is! not that i'm disobedient or anything, i think it was just a good reminder why obedience is so important and just a good idea. the talk by elder clayton about marriage was kinda funny because i turned to my companions and said that we should pretend he's talking about mission companions instead. it was all pretty applicable except when he talked about retiring to bed together hahaha. I loved Elder Christofferson's talk about redemption,..definitely want to read that one again! can you dear elder it to me? oh and sunday night we had a fireside with vocal point which is just straight up unfair for us poor sisters. let's just say that being surrounded by 18 year old babies and then having 10 full grown attractive men come sing your favorite hymns acapella is not exactly fair. all of us sisters were struggling to keep it together. it was pretty great.

Monday we taught Natasha for the first time and it was definitely different. Katya was so open and interested but Natasha we're gonna have to work a little bit to open her up. We got nervous and accidentally forgot to ask our get to know you questions so that didn't help at all. we're definitely going to do that first thing tomorrow! she kept asking why we need to book of mormon when we have a bible so we're gonna have to go over that next time. Thinking on your feet is hard in english...try it in russian! mondays we have service and this week the troika had the honor of cleaning the was actually pretty fun. sister rohrbaugh had the back pack vacuum (loving called the back packuum) and i got to mop and sister willerth dried....i don't know how anyone but a troika could accomplish this great feat! anyways we had 8 flights of stairs to do and nothing to entertain ourselves with so naturally we started to remix some of our favorite hymns. don't worry mom we didn't do any sacred ones. okay that sounds bad but you know what i mean. our fan favorite right now is "come come ye stairs" with a close second of "as troikas in zion." our pre-order is already on itunes, for 24.99 you can get a three disc set with a digital download of our first single "army of slytherin" and a pdf of the album art. full album drops may 28th.

tuesday which by some time lord magic was only yesterday was probably the longest day ever! i don't even know why. our lesson with anatoli went really well! we asked him several deep questions about what he believes in and how he thinks we can help improve his life (if we didn't ask him he'd probably ask us so it's better just to make him talk) even though we had no idea what he was saying we could tell he was kind of thinking about it for the first time. then we just bore simple testimony that God lives and loves him. We asked anatoli to pray if our message was true and he's like "i already believe it's true." and we're like what? okay! you want to take this book? we don't have time to talk about it but we'd like to come back. and he's like yeah come back any time! i don't have a job! so pretty much he's our best friend now. our teacher told us if we'd didn't fall in love with anatoli on the first day we were doing something wrong so apparently we're doing it right because anatoli is the best!!! we also had a great devotional from gerald lund about receiving personal revelation and distinguishing between the spirit and our own thoughts it was way good.

okay and today is wednesday! today we have scheduled in a two hour is written in our planners so we have to do it! i literally cannot wait. okay i got dear elders from you, dad, sister russell, emma, paul, heidi, aunt cheryl, paul, steph, adam and stevie, sars, jackie, aubrey sperry, and aunt karen. THANK YOU!!!! I will try to write back as soon as i can! I also got packages from aunt karen, aunt cindy, and sister eyre...thank you!!!!!!! everyone thinks i get so much mail but i try to explain that it's just because of my birthday and i turned off my facebook wall! but seriously thank you guys i feel so loved! thanks for prayers and love, i can feel it from here! 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

First Email with photos

Ahhhhhhh i finally made it! Pday is seriously the greatest. This was the longest week of my life but probably also the best. I don't know if i've ever laughed more. My companions are the greatest. That's right i'm in a trio or TROIKA as we call it in russian. we always yell TROIKA and do this awesome three way high five. i'll have to send a picture sometime. I have the two greatest companions around. Sister Rohrbaugh is from south jordan utah and hangs out in grandma and grandpa's neighborhood all the time! she claims to know some bevans but says they are in their 60s and the husband has uchtdorf hair so i'm guessing it's not them...but what are the chances of two bevans in the same neighborhood? anyways sister rohrbaugh (roar like a lion baa like a lamb is how she explains how to pronounce her name) is the sweetest person i have ever met. she cries multiple times a day and is always smiling and happy. that seems like it doesn't make sense but it's 100% true. she smiles when she cries. my other companion is sister willerth who is from algonquin, Illinois!!!! she was in the schaumberg stake so we probs went to stake dances together. so weird! we love to bring out our chicago accents and we both have these matching cubs lanyards that we wear with pride. okay the rest of my district is awesome too. in our room we have sister nash from preston idaho who is probably the most like me and sister hopkin from alaska who is so sweet and a little bit quieter than the rest of us so she probably thinks we're crazy. then we have two more sisters in another room sister walker from riverton utah who is hilarious! she thinks she's half asian half black and acts like it even though she's the whitest person you'll ever see hahaha then sister parker is from mesa arizona and she is really really cool but also quiet so we don't know tons about her yet. we're working on her but it's hard because the rest of us are so loud and crazy that she kinda just sits back and shakes her head. anyways so yep you counted right that's 7 SISTERS IN ONE DISTRICT HOLLA. we have 4 elders who are totally like our younger brothers. we pick on them all the time and totally show them up in lessons, it's great. just kidding, kinda. hahaha in russian we always say "ya shoot shoot choo choo" which means i'm kidding a little bit. so the 4 elders are elder hildebrant who is my best friend because he loves she's the man as much as i do! we seriously quote it all the time. then elder von schlegell who is the one we make fun of the most because he just says things that are like....why would you say that? we were talking about how i'm married to Marius on facebook and he goes "my mom has a picture of me where i look exactly like him" ummm ok?? haha we should probably be nicer to him but we call him princyesa because he is a diva. then elder grochmal is our district leader and he is a really great guy. and everyone's favorite is elder boyce from australia. we ask him to read stuff all the time just because we love listening to him hahaha. willerth and i are trying to teach him how to speak correctly. we're make him say mom like maaaaaaaaam and he CANNOT do it! we're still working on it. p.s. i am the old fart! i knew i'd be the babushka of the group. all of the sisters are 19 except sister parker who is 20 and all of the elders are 18 except boyce is 19! but these youngsters bring out the crazy in me and i don't actually get annoyed by them at all which is something i was worried about. we love to laugh and for some reason everyone loves my laugh. if someone says something funny i laugh really loud and then everyone laughs at my laugh and it's just a vicious cycle of laughter. 

Our teacher is brother okoren who is THE BEST. he is so good with us and knows exactly what we need to hear. the other day we were talking about stress management and he asked us to all just name things which we stressing us out. hahaha um everything!!!! but seriously we probably listed 30 things that we're all stressed about and he was so surprised. he told us this story that he learned on his mission that the Lord didn't call us to go to ukraine to be someone else, He called us to be who we already are. That was really comforting. he also taught us that even though we hear about the few people that God is preparing specifically for us in ukraine, Heavenly Father is working will ALL of His children. even the ones that live in countries that don't have missionaries yet. He loves all of His children equally and surely working with all of us. we've also learned a lot this week about how the mission is not about us. i already knew that, but i learned even more that the minute i stop focusing on myself, i will be such a better missionary. when we walk out of a lesson we shouldn't say how was my russian we should say how was my investigator feeling. we have already taught 3 lessons to our fake investigator, Katya (i know it's funny, every time i pray for her i feel like i'm praying for myself) and it is so humbling. i don't know why i never tried to share the gospel before....IT IS SO EASY IN ENGLISH!!!!! 

We call the english speaking missionaries muggles, the spanish speaking missionaries gryffindor, the european languages (besides russian) are hufflepuffs, the asian languages are ravenclaw, and we are SLYTHERIN!! seriously if you speak russian in a really creepy snake voice it sounds like parstletounge. i already called being voldy don't worry. anyways, katya is great and our last lesson she admitted that she knows she needs to be baptized so tonight hopefully we'll commit her to a date! when we're "done" teaching her, i guess when she gets 'baptized' idk she's going to become one of our teachers so we're really excited. she's actually a recent convert in real life so it will be so good to be able to learn from her. 

Easter was awesome! we had a sacrament meeting with the entire MTC which was church history to serve the sacrament to over 3,000 people at once! it actually was maybe faster than sacrament in the liberty ward hahaha. we heard from bishop causse the presiding bishop (his son is serving in philadelphia, tell mike to look out for him) and it was a great meeting. Then we had an awesome fireside with Sheri Dew and then we watched an incredible talk by Elder Bednar called the character of Christ, you've probably heard it but if not LOOK IT UP! We got to walk to the temple and it was gorgeous!!! 

Last night we had a fireside with Elder Ringwood of the Seventy and i sang in the choir which was way fun. I don't get to sing in conference because i don't think they're doing it this year and even if they are i didn't get here in time because there was no choir practice on easter because of fast sunday...bummer. i was gonna wink at the camera. Elder Ringwood's talk was so good. It was about enduring to the end and he taught that our mission is going to teach us how to endure to the end and will prepare for the most important of the Lord's work which is raising His children. I like that a lot. I decided that a mission for sisters is changing from Plan B to Step 1. 

The mtc is so exciting. rumor has it that there's an equal number of sisters and elders right now but who knows. all i know is that they're calling eastern europe the next brazil. the normal number of russain speakers in the mtc is 80 and in the next month it's gonna be 200!!!! HOLLA. we all eat together in the cafeteria and we call it the iron curtain haha. 

So the first day we heard that there's a secret gym where they play church movies on repeat and you can just do yoga aka stretch the whole time and we accidentally found it on the first day! we were looking for the normal gym but accidentally ended up in the secret one and we've been going there ever since! we usually just bike halfheartedly for about 20 minutes and then stretch because there's so many missionaries here we only have to exercise for 30 minutes now. 

The good news is they changed the rules and WE CAN EMAIL ANYONE AND WE GET 60 MINUTES TO DO IT!!!!! tell everyone to email me! ( i might not have time to respond to everyone but i'll write letters to them if i run out of time! i'm so excited! they changed two rules in my first week! here's to hoping they let us wear basketball shorts 24/7. some funny moments from this week (there are too many to count):

-we were stressing trying to make lesson about the restoration on our 3rd day in the mtc and sister willerth goes "Who knew the restoration would be so hard?" rohrbaugh says "God did!!" hahahahah
-sister willerth said that she'd give up prince eric for ariel's hair and elder von schlegell (we call him van smeagle) said out of nowhere (he wasn't even in the converstaion!) "I would want Belle's hair!" so that's really why we call him princess but he is a total diva
-on the first day one of us was like 'should we tell each other our first names?" all quietly like we might get in trouble and we're like, okay i guess we can. so we all say our names and look around guiltily and then we realize that they're PRINTED ON OUR MTC CARDS THAT WE ALL WEAR AROUND OUR NECKS! hahahahahahaha we are so dumb
-sister willerth said that she had a photogenic memory and the best part is that none of us even realized what was wrong with that sentence

okay probably none of these are that funny to you but when you are exhausted 100% of the time everything becomes extremely funny all the time. it's kinda like girl's camp except the day when i know i can sleep for 17 hours straight to recover won't come for 18 more months. my english spelling is already getting a lot worse so idk if that means that i'm getting better at russian or not but it seems like a good sign. I know the alphabet and can pretty much sound out any words, now i just have to work on knowing what they mean! and don't even get me started on grammar. you know how i said that all welsh taught me was that spanish was SO easy. well all i have to say is...WELSH IS CHILD'S PLAY!!!! for my lessons i write out every sentence in english, russian, and phonetically. my goal is by sunday to stop writing things phonetically but we'll see. 

i see elder johnson all the time!!! at least once a day. he's actually in here doing laundry right now. yep i'm multi-tasking. the laundry room computers are the only ones that don't kick you out after half an hour and the only ones that do pictures. i'll send another email with pictures in it. i got my birthday package and haven't opened my birthday card proud of myself. i got a package from the ericson's today THANK YOU and my jersey from Adam....THANK YOU!!!! everyone is so jealous. my companions might send you some money to have you get them one. sister eyre sends me landon's letters on dear elder so you don't have to worry about forwarding me those. give matt and mike my email because we can email each other now! can you ask sister eyre for landon's email too? i'm so excited to be able to email everyone! that will make the mail situation so much easier when i get to ukraine. 

basically, the bottom line is I LOVE THE MTC!!!! even though logically i should be exhausted and cranky i am happy and so excited to be here! i understand dad's miserable joy saying now. i am so grateful for your prayers and support! i know that i definitely need them! russian is hard, but i can do it. i love you and miss you all!!!!!!!

With Elder Johnson from home ward

Sisters are Practicing their "Russian faces"

Ukrainian Sisters

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

From Katie's Mom:
If you want to write Katie, there is a way to do it for FREE! Register here:  - then you can type your letter to Katie, and Dear Elder will print it and deliver it for free. Until the end of May you will send it to the Provo MTC. After that you will select the Ukraine Donetsk mission. Katie's mailbox is #154, and her mission code is UKR-DON. Packages are tricky to the Ukraine, and are best handled by a Ukrainian-owned private courier. Please email Claire for directions if you want to send a package. (
Goodbye, Adam and Stevie

MTC drop-off

SLC Airport Goodbyes

1st Companion, Aunt Karen

Bye, Daddy!