Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 8, 2011

Departure in T-minus 3 weeks!

Hello Family!

First some things I forgot to write about last week. For DearElder delivery, they deliver DearElders at night Monday-Friday, and will send anything that was written between noon the day before and noon that day. So if you want something to get to me before I email, you need to write it before noon on Monday. Also, I realized I said thanks for the cookies, but I was really more grateful for the music and the shirts. Lastly, this is a friendly reminder for Elizabeth to post emails on my blog. Last I heard she was a bit behind. But ladna (whatever). :) oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY MATT! Today, even.

This week has gone by so fast! I cannot believe it's P-Day again already. Not much has happened I feel, but time is starting to go by so fast. I never have enough time in the day to get all the studying--both language and spiritual--in that I want. I feel like I'm starting to fall behind in the Russian vocab, but oh well. I'll do what I can and when I get to Russia, I'll feel like I know even less and then I will pick it up a bit faster being all immersed in it.

Sister Jenson, one of our teachers, was sick this past week with mono. She's back as of yesterday, but we had subs for 3 days. It was crazy and really weird. You get used to your teachers and although all our subs were awesome, it was weird to have someone different. We were also kind of worried because she's getting married in a month, but she got better very quickly, so it's great.

In other news, Paul Bezas is here at the MTC. I see him almost every day, because all the eastern Europeans share the same gym-meal-meeting schedule, so it's pretty fun. Sister Clark really has come alive this week, opening up, showing her funny side to everyone and not just the sisters, and being really awesome and cute and funny when she freaks out about the organ in devotionals. She's an organist and so she loves it and always gets excited about what stops they're using or the chord progressions or the pedal runs. She's super funny, and I love her to death. Our Progressing Investigators are going really well. This week was so much better than last week, and I feel like we're starting to get to know the newer districts better, especially the sisters and the companionship that we teach for PIs.
The exciting random part of the week was when we went on a walk with Bpat Savage Thursday afternoon. We call them "Pronounciation Parades" where he'll call things out to us in Russian and we repeat them to give us an excuse to get out of the class but still be productive. But on this "pronunciation parade," we found a huge chunk of dry ice outside in the dirt. Some of the Elders picked it up and we took it inside to the class and played with it during one of our breaks. It was a super funny 5 minutes. One of the things I love most about being a missionary is the funny things that our district does like there. We're still focused and work hard and aren't distracted, but are able to laugh and have fun and be awesome in between all the scripture reading and Russian studying.

On Sunday we had such a great fireside. The Provo Temple President and his wife spoke to us. It was one of my favorite devotionals/firesides that we've had. So probably #1 or 2 out of 14ish? It was so good. Just being able to learn more about the temple and the missionary work that goes on there/the other side of the veil. Each time we go to the temple, we help 1 person gain eternal life in just 2 hours. It is such a special place. President Daines gave us 3 things (I think for Elder Maxwell) that help you decide if what you're doing is worthwhile. 1) Is it True? 2) Is it Important? 3) Is it Urgent? The only thing that fills all three of these is missionary work (and therefore temple work). Make it a priority. I know that going to the temple is always one of the highlights of my week. I am so grateful that I will probably have the opportunity to visit the temple in Kyev everything 3 months when I get my visa renewed. Not many people have that opportunity on their mission, especially in eastern Europe. It is so amazing how fast the church is growing over there. 20 years ago there weren't missionaries, and now there is a temple. The only other time that has happened has been in Kirtland. But there are 150+ temples announced or dedicated, and we are so blessed to be living so close to them, whether in Twin or Provo or Moscow. So go more often than you think you can. :)

So I'm in the process of putting together a package to send home with some stuff and picture CDs and a tape of me talking in Russian and some stuff, but I'm starting to think that I probably won't send it until right before I leave, so...be patient.
The last main thing that happened this week was that yesterday we moved! They kicked out all of the sisters who were living in 4M (aka me and the rest of our zone and the other Russian zone), because they're remodeling it into classrooms, I think, and moved us into 3M. It's super disorienting, especially for those of us who have been here practically 8 weeks. We're on the 3rd floor instead of the 4th, at the opposite end of the hallway, so everything is backwards. It's just super weird. But oh well. You win some, you lose some. Losses from the move: our great view of the temple and mountains (replaced by a building), my nice mattress (this new one sags in the middle), and the shelf by our bed to put alarm clocks and journals on and stuff. However, we've won a much nicer bathroom with showers that actually work and stay one temperature and don't burn or freeze your skin off, a lot more space, and 3 more vending machines than we've had before (unfortunately last night all 4 of them were broken). Yep. So it's had it's ups and downs so far, but we've only been there for one night and the move itself went well. And if it's horrible, oh well. I'll be in Russia in 3 weeks anyway! We're all starting to speculate about when we'll get our travel plans. The older district got them 2 weeks before they left, which means we'd get them next week, but we also know some people who didn't get them until the week before, so we'll see. But still! 20ish days and I am out of here! AHHHHHHH! It's so crazy!
Anyway, I think that's about it. I don't think I've forgotten anything. I love you! Thanks for your prayers and support and letters and love.

Sister Rachel Ashby

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