Hi! So, this week hasn't been quite as crazy. I'm not sure whether that is because I'm getting into the MTC routine or whether it is because we have our more set schedule now or what. But yes. I did get your package; thanks so much! I was very impressed with both you with sending it off so quickly and the postal system for getting it to me in 2 days! And yes, Sister Bastow sent me cinnamon rolls, and believe it or not, Matt (Yes, my brother) has sent me like 4 letters! It's been awesome. I love getting mail--the only mail delivery day I haven't gotten a letter or package yet was this past Saturday, and that was actually more depressing than I thought it would be. Anyway. How are all you? Anything exciting going on back home? I know that Matt's EQP and that his papers are in and that Brett is going to Armenia. Crazy! I can't believe I'm old enough for them to be going on missions. But yes. Please use DearElder.com when you send me letters--I get it the same day, it's just like sending me an email, and it doesn't waste my precious 30 minutes to talk to you! The two you sent before weren't bad because I could read them really quickly, but if ever you are going to write me a longer reply, please use DearElder. It's amazing. Just saying.
Um. P-Days are great. We have a new saying in our district that Monday is the new Friday because Tuesday is the closest thing to a Saturday that we get. We get to go to the temple, and then email, and then do whatever we want until dinner, as long as it includes laundry and personal/companionship study. Most of my time is spent writing letters, and today I'm definitely planning on taking a nap. The laundry room here is EPIC though. There are just rows and rows of washers and dryers and it's one big missionary letter writing party while we're waiting for it to be done. After dinner on Tuesdays, we have scheduled "class" time, but since it's P-days no teachers come in. We just have to be in church clothes and we finish any study/language stuff that we haven't done today. Then we head off to the devotional! Last week Elder Gong came and gave a great talk--before all the firesides and devotionals the missionaries sing the first 20ish minutes of prelude hymns. It is such a great experience, and then every Tuesday we start the devotional by singing Called to Serve. It's pretty cool; 2000+ missionaries in one room singing that hymn. Awesome.
The rest of the days just consist of class, MDT (Missionary Directed Time, where we do Personal, Companionship, and Language study for an hour each), and Gym and meals. Most of the day is spent in our class room 207-10M, which is pretty much our home. But it's pretty great. All of our teachers rock. Brat Savage tells the funniest stories, and says "Fantastic!" all the time. We keep a tally. I think he said it 35 times this past week--and he's only our teacher for a 1/3 of the time we have a teacher. So each time he says it we all (well, usually it's only me and Cectra Bullough, but we're all supposed to) cross our legs and then mark it down. It's great. My favorite things about the MTC definitely consist of our district and how much we laugh and how AWESOME we are while still being productive, the devotionals and firesides, and companionship study. Each day Cectra Clark teaches me so much, and we have so much fun laughing and planning and learning together. Oh, and Relief Society. Always so great. We never know who's coming, but it is always such a great speaker with a talk directed towards us sisters.
Wednesday we went to the TRC, which was wonderful. We were all super nervous before hand, mostly because we had to contact someone pa-Ruski and talk to them, pa-Ruski (in Russian...and my transliteration is really bad) for 5 minutes. That was difficult and didn't go so well, but teaching the first lesson itself was great. I LOVE teaching the lessons, whether it's in the TRC to a volunteer, to "Katya" (the "older" sister in the district that's been here longer who is our progressing investigator each week), or just to another companionship in the district. The lessons in PMG just flow and are truly inspired. When you teach them and follow the Spirit, it is truly powerful. Ctaryayshena Clawson the other day, after Cectra Clark and I had taught him and C. Whittemore the Restoration, said that Sisters just do it better than Elders and he was like, "If I was an investigator, I would have been like 'BAPTIZE ME! Here, do you need my credit card?'" Haha, he's so funny. But it is always really awesome to get to teach. Tomorrow is the TRC again. The Russian part is going to be really hard, but we're slowly getting there, and then we're teaching the first lesson again.
Russian facts for this week: No word order. Since they have all the cases, you can tell what part of speech is what, and so it doesn't matter at all what order you say things in. For questions you just have to change your inflection. Also, "What Child Is This?" is in the Russian hymn book, but the literal translation of the title is really "What's with the Kid?" Ever since Brat Savage told us that we've been going around saying "What's with the kid?" So funny. We also like to play Russian pictionary to practice vocab. Also, all the adjective and noun endings rhyme according to case and gender, so there's tons of rhyme and assonance in Russian. It's really beautiful, even if it is Caveman talk (because it doesn't have any articles and things, i.e. God happy when we happy or Book of Mormon true)
Least favorite things about the MTC: when we don't have gym in the morning and have to get ready twice in one day. When they're cleaning our bathrooms right after we get out of gym and eat up our already limited 30 minutes of shower/prep time. When the showers are cold. And when the food is gross, which is actually most of the time. It's not always really bad, but it's never quite as good as you expected it to be, and it's definitely cafeteria food. However, my district thinks it's really funny how much milk I drink. They jokingly challenged me to do a gallon challenge, or to at least beat the Russian zones' record of how many cups were drank in one sitting. I think it's 9. I've been doing 3 a meal, so I don't think it's going to happen, but maybe. ;) Waking up in the morning actually isn't too bad, when I actually fall asleep soon after we get into bed. The days are just so long that you hop in bed and are out. The weeks are flying by though. It's been pretty much 2 weeks already! Crazy crazy.
I'm also singing in sacrament meeting next Sunday, which means that I need to get something together. I really wish I had brought some music, because I know the song I want to sing, but I don't know where it is in all my music, and the music library here is hardly ever open. I took some pictures during our temple walk on Sunday. I'll try to send some soon--I think I can email them to you from the printing order machine but I'm not sure. Anyway, I'll try to get you some. Keep me updated on what's going on at home. I think that's about it, and I'm really close to running out of time, but I'll email you again next week!
Cectpa Rachel Ashby