Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day



Our District

Sister Shrek and Sister Russell

Our Ukraine Shirts

Matching troikas

I can't believe I only have 2 weeks left!!!! We're leaving two weeks from today, on the 28th. Yesterday we said goodbye to the district just older than us so now we're officially the oldest Russian speakers in the MTC...weird. Well the most exciting news of this week is that Adam is the best brother ever and we got tshirts with brother okoren's face on them!!!! we're wearing them to class tomorrow to surprise him so i'll send you pictures next week. it's a combination of two inside jokes that I'll have to tell you another time but suffice it to say, he's gonna love it. this week we also got our Ukrainian shirts (at the bookstore you can  order shirts with your mission country on it) which much to our dismay are in ukrainian! even the bookstore cannot comprehend the fact that we're going to ukraine but speaking russian....it's really complicated i know. so we're considering crossing out the Privit and writing Privet under it with a sharpie. This coming week we should be getting our travel plans and our russian name tags!! Mine's gonna look so awesome. I've been told in the field that i can get one that just says sister shrek so that would probably be the greatest thing ever. I'll keep you updated.
You know how I said last week that so much happened? Well i feel like this week literally nothing happened. I know that's probably not true and I probably learned some russian but i seriously feel like p day was yesterday. i guess i'll just tell you a couple of funny stories. so awhile back we asked brother okoren what kind of shoes he wears in normal life (we only see him in dress clothes) and sister willerth predicted that he would say pumas. he told us that he would love to wear pumas if he had some, but he does not. so last week doing laundry i found a puma sock in my bag when i was done, so what was the natural thing to do? obviously give it to brother okoren as a present. now i was not sure how this was gonna play out because it's kind of a really weird gift and he loves to throw things away so i was worried he would just throw it away and that would be a waste of a good joke. i also know that he's not a huge harry potter fan so i couldn't go the dobby route and stick it in his journal. anyways, things worked out in my favor and he loved it for some reason! he uses it as our eraser for the whiteboard and seriously loves it. our old eraser was so so bad and just made our whiteboard dirtier so this was a win win win situation. also this week i was starting to get a sore throat so i was gargling some salt water (what are the chances that that  day someone in our district found a salt shaker and decided to bring it to class?) anyways it wasn't very salty at all so i was just gargling it in class and going to swallow it when sister rohrbaugh said something hilarious and i spit the water all of the class room! i caught a good amount of it in my hands and ran out as fast as i could but brother okoren totally saw the whole thing and officially thinks i'm the weirdest person ever. oh well i probably am. and now my books all have water damage so whatever. we shreks are used to water damage. also this week we were practicing direction words with sister vasilevskaya (right, left, around, over, under, etc) so we went outside and played following the leader. the person in charge would shout out a direction word and we'd all shout it back and then do it. so just imagine 11 kids marching around yelling in russian disturbing everyone in the MTC who is trying to study, it was pretty great. especially because our favorite word is tuda suda which means back and forth so we'd just do that over and over. yeah, there's a reason why Russians are notorious in the MTC for being the loudest and most annoying. everyday i realize more and more how my mission call is perfect for me. we've decided that kids going to Russia are goofy and kids going to ukraine are legitimately crazy. i'm fine with that.
This week i forgot my spiritual journal which is so lame because i had so many good quotes to share!! i'll do a lot next week i guess. one thing i remember is brother okoren gave us the hammer of faith analogy which i like to call the Thor analogy. He said that we have a mountain to overcome (missionary work, learning russian, etc) and we have a hammer. All we have to do is pick up the hammer and chip away, one tiny piece at a time. We have a choice to make, we can give up and not even pick up the hammer, or we can realize that God has given us the hammer, but He has also given us the mountain. As long as we do our one part, no matter how tiny or insignificant, He will combine it with His infinite part, and 1+infinity=infinity. My favorite part about this analogy is when he said "Elders and Sisters, I don't know why God made us different, but he did." and i said "oh no. is this a bathroom talk? we know we take a long time in the bathroom, okay!" hahaha it was a bad way for him to start the sentence. anyways, what he was saying was that elders have a tendency to see a mountain and to get pumped up about it. they think, okay yes he's a mountain and i'm gonna climb it and i'm probably gonna do it better than anyone else. sisters just do not think like that. we see a mountain and get discouraged and doubt ourselves. All we really need is to believe that God loves us and will help us. Sisters really just need to believe that we are worthy of God's love and that He will never leave us. This is so true. I know that I could never learn russian on my own and the times that i get discouraged are the times when I am trying to do things on my own. As I have faith that Heavenly Father is helping me, I can do more than I ever could on my own.
On Saturday we skyped a real russian to practice teaching a lesson! It was way scary but the lady was super nice so I'm worried how scary it will be to teach someone who isn't so nice. Anyways, we taught a lesson about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and at the end we all bore our testimonies as usual, and then she asked us all to bear our testimonies about something we haven't learned straight from our books! Um hello? we don't know how to say anything that's not in our books! It was good though, it made me think and try to come up with sentences on my own which is the hardest part of speaking Russian. I stumbled through a sentence about how much joy it brings me to know that I can live with my family forever and that I want to share that knowledge with the people of Ukraine. Hopefully she understood at least a part of what I said.
This week we had to say goodbye to Anatoli because we're getting a new investigator, Zintars. Yep that's right, the sleep/sing incident was our very last lesson with him. We told brother okoren that we're sisters and we need closure but he just didn't get it. He said Anatoli is over it, so i guess we'll get over it too. It's crazy how much you can love a fake investigator; I'm so excited to love real ones in 2 weeks!!
Sunday was a little bit rough but also good. They put these signs up around the MTC that said "Missionaries are not allowed to call home on Mother's Day from the MTC" but the 'are not' was super tiny so that was just plain rude. For Relief Society we had Janice Kapp Perry come (didn't she come when abby was here?) and now i have to apologize for all the rude things i've said about her cheesy new beginnings/yw in excellence songs. i still think they're cheesy, but she has written so many good songs too, A child's prayer, love at home, i love to see the temple, army of helaman, basically everyone's favorite primary songs. she had us sing a medley of her songs which was just so rude on mother's day. how could you possibly sing the words "i see my mother kneeling, with our family each day, i hear the words she whispers, as she bows her head to pray. her plea to the Father, quiets all my fears, and I am thankful, love is spoken here" and not cry on mothers day?!?! we all lost it. then we had the coolest experience ever. Sister Perry wrote new words to As Sisters in Zion just for sister missionaries! It's called "Sisters of Zion" and we were the first people to ever sing it! I don't know how it's gonna be released, it will probs be in the New Era or something but look out for it, it's super cool. I can't explain to you how amazing it is to be in the MTC right now. There's more sister missionaries than ever before and you can tell we're all just so excited to be here! Also if anyone is worried about being in the MTC and not being 18 or 19, seriously don't worry about it. First of all the MTC is weird and you can never guess anyone's age anyways, but if people find out that you're 'old' like me (21 is super old i'm not even kidding) people just respect you for some reason. like i'm some sort of wizened old lady who has all this life experience hahaha. people also expect me to be super smart which kind of works against me but whatevs.
okay i think that's all i've got for this week. Just know that i missed you so much on mother's day, but I'm so excited to talk to you on the phone in 2 weeks! I love you so much and i'm so grateful for your example to me! 

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