Monday, November 25, 2013


Okay people I don't want to freak you out, but tomorrow is the halfway point of my mission. You might say, wait that math doesn't add up, you've only been out for 8 months! Well let me exlain to you the unfairness that is sister missions. so 18 months does not divide evenly into transfers, so someone somewhere decided (i don't know if this is universal or just our mission) that a normal sister mission is 11 transfers, which turns out to be 3 weeks less than 18 months. but we have the option to go one less transfer or one more transfer. since i want to come home in time for fall semester, i have decided to come home one transfer early, which means i actually will serve 9 weeks less than 18 months. LAME! yes i am aware that this was my choice, but i still think it's lame.
So since tomorrow is the start of the second half of my mission, i think it is reflection time. First of all, you might be wondering if I am the same person that you know and love. The answer is yes.
Do I still love to sleep? Yes. (i just don't get to very often)
Do I still love Christmas music? YES
Do I still love to read? Yes
Do I stilll love chesseburgers? Yes
Do I still love to quote She's the Man? Yes
Do I still love messy buns? Yes
Do I still not know how to take a normal picture? Yes
Do I still find myself in awkward situations daily? Yes
Do I still hate talking on the phone? Yes (but i do it)
Do I still love basketball shorts? Yes
Is my favorite color still yellow? Yes
Do I still love JT? YES. ( i heard suit and tie in a store last monday and literally almost cried. i held it together because sister kopta doesn't know that i'm a freak yet and i'm trying to keep up the act for as long as possible)
okay so now for the things that are different. yes i am still me, don't worry, but I have changed in a few ways since March. 
-first i think the biggest thing is something that happens to most missionaries. being here, my priorities have become very clear. not that i didn't understand this before, but now more than ever I understand that family is everything. i am not going to lie, being here is not easy. but i have a reason to be here that keeps me going. everything that i do is for you, my current family, and for my future family. somehow being on a mission helps you realize how little everything else matters. so i think that's the biggest difference in me so far.
-also my life is no longer about me, and it never will be again. that is really hard to realize and accept. i liked when my life was all about me in high school and college. it is easy to think about yourself and no one else, but that's not why i'm here. as a missionary i spend all day thinking about others and how to help them, and i know from experience that that is where true joy comes from. i know that the days of focusing on myself are behind me. that is tough, but i am grateful to have realized it now.
-also on my mission i have learned how to study the gospel. right before my mission i kind of hit a spiritual lull, where i didn't really know what else there was to learn. that sounds pretty conceited to think i knew everything, but i knew the seminary answers, i knew the sunday school answers, and i didn't know what else to study. luckily on my mission i learned from a great trainer and others how to come up with questions myself like "how are patience and faith related?" and then go to the scriptures, find some answers and find a way to apply that knowledge in my life. i am still working on it of couse, but i am so grateful to have learned that lesson. i don't know where i would be if i never learned how to study the scriptures. 
-also i have learned how to be wrong. it is hard and i don't like it, but sometimes it happens. you have to humble yourself, admit that you were wrong, get back up and try again.
-more than ever before i know that i by myself am nothing. i learned this one right at the beginning. before my mission i didn't need to depend on the Lord for much, but here i need Him every day. 
-lastly, from living with companions I have learned how to let things go. i have always been a peace maker and hated conflict, but now i think i have a better understanding of what things are worth putting your foot down, and when it is better to just let it go. also choosing to be happy is something that i work on every day and it really does work.
so that is how i have changed so far. I know that the second half of my mission will be even better and I will learn and grow even more. I have decided that starting tomorrow I am not going to think about myself anymore. I already spend the majority of my days thinking about others and how to help them, but this second half of my mission i really want to lose myself and go to work.
okay so that's how i'm different, now i have some questions about the real world.
Is instagram still a thing?
What happened to Rebecca Black?
Does the royal baby look more like Kate or William?
Is Ron Swanson still the funniest character on TV?
Is the Miley Cyrus song "we can't stop, we won't stop" as big over there as it is over here? It is literally Everywhere.
Has Leonardo Dicaprio finally won an oscar yet? (just kidding i know there haven't been any oscars since i left)
Are top knots still a thing? (i am trying to make them a thing in ukraine, it's not working)
Does anyone care about the Harry Potter movie or just me?
Does Dad still tweet? (@discodaddyy)
Who is doing the superbowl halftime show and why is it not Beyonce?

okay that's all i got. 

oh also i finally decided you russian names! ready?
 -Dad is Zhenya (the russian equivalent of eugene),
 -Mom is Vera (means faith and is just classy),
-Abby is Alina (named after one of my favorite people in Ukraine),
-Justin is Nikolai (total mob boss name),
-Adam is Dima and also Adam is a russian name (pronounce a-dahm with the emphasis on the second syllable), the nickname is Adamchik,
-Stevie is Eva (pronounced yeva) because Adam and Eve
-Sarah is Nastia because she's a princess. 

To answer your questions, no we still have not gotten our crockpot!!! Hopefully at zone conference in two weeks we'll get it. We are doing a thanksgiving dinner with our district on thursday and i am so excited!!! should be great.

Sister Kopta is doing just great. On her second day she said "I love ukraine! i mean it smells like death most of the time, but for some reason i just love it!" That is the miracle of missionary work my friends. 

okay i'm sorry that was a lame letter, i didn't even get to tell you about our 2 miracles! i will tell you next week for sure!!! love you and have a great week!!!!!

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