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

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