Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March 22, 2011

It's Here.

Hey Mike! Happy Birthday a few days ago! I can't believe you're 11. Do you know that I remember when you were born? Yeah, I'm just that old, I guess. Thanks for the package and the letter. I'm glad that I could be a part of Spring Break, especially even cracking a joke. :) GRAAAAAAAPES. After I emailed you, I thought of some more stuff that I could use, but it's probably a good thing, since I don't want my bags to be overweight. Don't worry about sending them until later. I will let you know what they are when you decide on sending me a package in Russia.

So. Guess what. Exactly one week from today, I will be on a plane, on my way to New York, where I will then board another plane which will take me to Moscow! AHHHHHH!!!!! I leave for Russia in a week! I am so excited! On Thursday when we got our travel plans we were all so excited and freaking out. The travel office has all our visas, all our tickets. It's really happening. :) What's really exciting is that our entire district gets to fly together from SLC to JFK. We were almost positive that since we're going to different missions, we wouldn't all get to be on the same flight, but we all get to be together for the first leg of the trip! We leave the MTC at 5 a.m. though, so that will be really awesome. I just can't believe it. I am really going to Russia in 7 days. I'm excited to see everything, and find out what it's like, and to meet President and Sister Sorensen, and my trainer, and to teach people and be a missionary in Russia! Sister Cranney (the wife of one of our branch presidency members--they were the mission president and wife in Moscow until July) was talking to us earlier this week about visa trips, and how she's pretty sure we'll get to go to the temple in Kiev on those trips every 3 months--which would be awesome! And also about how our first day will be with getting there and meeting people and having a nice dinner and getting to go to bed early and spending the night in the mission home. She also told us about how the missionaries get to go to cultural events every so often. I am so stoked. MOTHER RUSSIA!

This week has been really crazy though. The main events all centered around Cectpa Stiles. I love her a lot, and we're good friends. We were in the same BYU ward for a long time, got our calls on the same day, and now (even though she's a Ukrainian speaker) we're in the same zone here at the good old MTC. Anyway. Last P-Day while doing laundry she hit her head really hard on an open overhead dryer door. She thought nothing of it until the next day when she started feeling sick. Her companions (they're a 3some since C. Stiles is the only Ukrainian sister) took her to the health center and they told her that she might have a mild concussion. Things got progressively worse though, so they took her back the next day and told her that she definitely had a serious concussion and had also jammed her neck and pinched nerves, all from a dryer door. So poor C. Stiles spent most of the week in a lot of pain, feeling very sick, and being very out of it. Her and her poor companions hardly got any sleep at all this week. Us other sisters in the zone would trade off being C. Stiles's companions when we had MDT so that her companions could go to class. There was a late night trip to the ER, lots of paramedics/security on our floor at odd hours of the night, and lots of worry. Luckily, after a pretty scary Saturday night, she is up and running again. She's still taking it easy, but we're glad to have her mostly back. And we're glad that it's P-Day so that she and her companions can rest and catch up on sleep. Even on the nights when nothing eventful happened, they still had to wake up every 4 hours to give her medication. But they're all troopers and this whole experience brought them all closer together, and all of us closer together as a branch/zone, too.

Sunday, they always play church films after the firesides, and this week they finally had a translation in Russian! So I got to watch Legacy in Russian. That was cool. It made me realize how much Russian I don't know, but at the same time I could understand quite a bit. But on the plus side, Sister Clark and I taught a native sister who is here going to serve on Temple Square yesterday, and she said that we both have good Russian. I am hesistant to believe her, but she seemed very sincere and not just saying it to be nice, so...here's hoping. We also had a native teacher sub our class for a bit last night. She was such a sweetheart. She's been here in the USA for 7 months and didn't speak any English when she got here. She said that if she could learn English in 7 months (and she still has a few more months left in the ELC on BYU campus), despite not understanding English tenses, then if we read the Book of Mormon in Russian for at least 10 minutes every day, we'd be able to be perfect Russian-speaking missionaries. So that was cool.

Yesterday we had a ton of meetings. This whole week is going to be ridiculous, with preparations for leaving. Yesterday most of our district, plus a few other companionships from our zone had to go to this training meeting, because we've been picked to demonstrate how to begin teaching for the new missionaries that come in on Wednesday. So basically the first night we were here we were all divvied up into different rooms with different investigators and some missionaries came in and started getting to know the investigator and then we all taught together as like a 100-person missionary companionship. And now we get to be those missionaries. Last night we also had this big health and safety meeting, which was a lot of common sense stuff and the senior health Elder telling the Elders to have common sense and good hygeine. But yes. Tonight's our last Tuesday devo here, and then tomorrow we're teaching, have a language meeting of some sort, our hosting meeting, hosting new missionaries again, then after dinner we go straight to this other new missionary demonstration thing that we had the meeting for yesterday. And then after that we'll go to our last TRC appointment. It's going to be insane. And today we have to get all packed, because we're supposed to have our bags all weighed by Thursday. It's just insane. I can't believe it's coming up so soon.

But yes. It's so weird to be leaving. We've gotten to be really good friends with Hermana Larsen. She's the best friend/most likely future sister-in-law of one of the sisters in our zone, and we lived on the same floor before we moved, so she called us all "her Russians." She's serving in Argentina, but not in Matt's mission. However, she left yesterday, so Sunday night we took pictures. I have one of her wearing her Argentina shirt and me in my Russian shirt, so that's cool. But yeah. She's gone and on Monday the first of our group leave, and then we leave. I will miss the MTC, but at the same time I am so excited to get out into the field. :)

Anyway, I've got to go but I love you all!

Sister Rachel

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