Hello my beautiful family and friends! It has been so nice hearing from all of you! Thanks to Cody, Beth, and Jamie for their DearElders! Just a reminder to everyone that I do receive handwritten letters and DearElders every day, not just my P-Day (which is TUESDAY!). So feel free to send those whenever you’re thinking about me Just a foreword, my English is slipping just a little bit (which is sorta sad for an English Major…oh well.) so don’t judge me if my English and grammar isn’t the best.
Wow. There is SO MUCH TO TELL YOU. I feel like I have been in the MTC for YEARS. There is this thing called the MTC Time Warp. It feels like the days are weeks and the weeks are days. And that is SO TRUE. I won’t lie to all of you, the first couple of days in the MTC were REALLY hard for me. I cried, I struggled, and I almost packed up and came home. I have never thought that I would have struggled within the first few days of being here at the MTC. I felt so lost and confused and I honestly felt like I was going to explode at any minute. I kept asking myself, “Why am I here? What am I doing? This isn’t fun! What is this?!” Everyone was so happy and cheerful to be here and I was thinking, “Why am I not feeling that?” But, everyone did keep saying, “Just make it ’til Sunday! Sunday is the best!” And how true that was! SUNDAY WAS MAGICAL. We got to hear MUSIC at the program called Music and the Spoken Word for the first time in the MTC (music isn’t allowed…unfortunately). It was so beautiful that I cried! I can’t believe the amazing influence music has on my life, and to go without it for so long has been rough. I loved Sunday though. Relief Society was amazing. The speaker talked about Pioneers and our Heritage. It was so neat! Then we got to watch Elder Bednar’s talk about Christlike Characteristics. Y’all should look that up, because it was AMAZING. I especially loved it because duringWednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, I felt so distant from Heavenly Father and the Spirit. I felt like I wasn’t feeling the Spirit because I was focusing SO MUCH of my time and energy on adjusting to MTC life, and was trying to get the language down.
I also felt very limited in relation to the language. Having taken two semesters at BYUI before I came, that put me ahead of my entire district. So that means, when our teacher isn’t here, I’m the one they go to for answers. The first couple of days I felt VERY overwhelmed with the amount of questions that were being asked of me. BUT, I remember in my setting apart blessing, the Stake President told me that I would be able to master the language, not just know it. So I believe that teaching it is definitely a form of mastery. So it’s been good not only to speak it, but to test how much of the language I actually know.
Companions! I HAVE TWO! They’re so great. Sister Taylor (skinny, with brown hair) is very particular and likes to do things her way. She is also a very strong person, but gets frustrated with herself. I think part of it is because she wants to be SO good at the language SO SOON. We’re working on handling stress right now, so that’ll be good for her. And Sister Miller (red hair, tall) reminds me so so SO much of Karly Moore (In a good way. Shout out to my Karkarmoo!). She’s very athletic and has a great attitude. The MTC does seem to be a more social thing for her, than an actual learning program, but I guess it’s because she knows SO many people here. Every other minute we have to stop and say hi to someone. But it’s going well! We are three very different personalities, and we all have something to bring to the table. I feel like they’re teaching me a lot about myself and about the Gospel as well. I’m learning a LOOOT here. We actually taught our first lesson for our first investigator (Antone) on FRIDAY. That was TWO DAYS after we got into the MTC. And yep. It was in RUSSIAN. The other sisters knew a lot, but I felt like I did take control of the lesson because I knew more than they did, and could understand more of what he was saying. So I do need to work on not taking control of the lessons all the time. We have been teaching just about every day and it’s getting better every time we do it. So hopefully we’ll continue to grow and learn by the Spirit.
I know Dad asked about the food, and some people hate it. But honestly, I think they feed us a little TOO well here. Hahaha, seriously. There’s so much good food here that it’s hard not to over eat and it’s hard not to eat all the sugary good stuff. But we get fed really well here. So no worries on that!
Also, this is exciting news! I was able to a few people I know! Shout out to Jenny Wilson! I saw Elder Wilson (it’s weird not to call him Dakota..and to shake his hand…). He says hello! I also saw Becca Huber, Rachel Claire, Elder Wineager from the ward, and I saw Elder Kidd (it was really weird not to be able to hug him and call him Connor!).
So, I have to tell you about our district. Our district is called District 9 (which I just learned is funny because of something to do with…aliens? I dunno. Fill me in on that, will ya, Dad? I know you know!) There are three sisters in our district (me, Sister Taylor, and Sister Miller). We’re all going to Moscow, and only two elders, Elder Stebbing and Elder Hyde, going to Moscow. The rest of the Elders are all going to Vladivostok, which is on the other side of Russia. Their names are Elders Laws, Raymond, Sitton, Hasebi(who’s grandpa is Iranian! SWEET!), Erickson, and Basset. These elders just BARELY graduated high school! It’s weird…they all seem so much younger than us. They’re like our little baby brothers! They are hilarious though. They kind of remind me of you, Dustin. They were all quiet and reserved the first few days, but yesterday, they started to come out of their shells a little bit. They are SO GOOFY. And you’ll see that in some of the pictures. They seem so young and goofy when they mess around in class, but on Sunday they seem like men when they pass the Sacrament and have respect for it. It has been so amazing to see them grow in such a short amount of time. They have a fire and a passion for the Gospel that is unfathomable. They’re going to be such a good driving force for the Church in Vladivostok!
So…tomorrow (the 24th) is Pioneer Days. That is my FAVORITE holiday. So please, PLEASE, PLLEEEEAAAASE!! Send me pictures of everything. I’m going to miss the parades and the picnics and the plays and the rodeos. So send pictures so I can feel like I’m there. I love you all so much, and I think about you all the time. I pray for every night and I hope that you are all doing well. I love your email, letters, and DearElders. Please do not hesitate to send me letters, packages, and DearElders. They’re like gold over here and you wouldn’t believe how badly us missionaries (hah…I’m a missionary!!!) hunger for them. We long to hear from home and to know that someone is thinking about us. You could also send me some poetry too, since I’m an English Major…starving for something beautiful (besides the scriptures of course) to read. I love you all SO MUCH. I wish I could share all of these experience with all of you. But a year and a half will go by so fast and soon we will see each other again. I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true and living Church. I know that God lives and that Jesus Christ is my Savior. He lived and died for each and everyone of us. Things happen for a reason, and we can do things that we never thought we could through His help. I love you all so much and I look forward to hearing from you soon! I love you!