Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October 5, 2011

Hey hey everyone! It has been a GREAT week. :) First, I have to say, I already know about the temples. Since we have pretty easy computer access here at the ward building in ZGrad, we looked it up. I am SO excited that they're turning the Provo Tabernacle into a temple. I was so sad when it burned, and Provo needs another temple, even though that is quite the surprise. Also, when I noticed that Elder Holland spoke at the Priesthood session, I was super bummed, because he is one of my favorites. And then I realized I could just listen to it, so I did! Awesome awesome talk. I loved when he said "In this family, we serve missions." I can't wait to watch all of Conference this weekend, especially for President Uchtdorf's talk. He is always a fav. Well, Moscow IS beautiful, but not everywhere. Most of it is probably exactly how you thought it would be. :) But ZGrad is also beautiful. I love all the trees here. It has been getting colder, and has been really wet and rainy. There have been a few really cold days and a few nights ago it was almost snowing, but then a few days ago it was also nice enough to walk around without my jacket at times, so it's up and down. It will probably be winter by the end of the month though, I'd imagine. Which is kind of depressing. The fall is super gorgeous here. It gets dark probably around  7? A little later. It's really dark by 8. I have to say, I am not super excited for winter and it being super cold and short days. But I am pretty excited for Christmas to get here. Speaking of winter, I realized that I'm probably going to want some long sleeved shirts that I can wear under things for warmth. Do you think you could maybe send me some? Like white and black, maybe a brown, maybe some fun colors, but probably just 2-3 white and black one or two. (Also, while we're talking about things to send me...some good smelling bath and body works lotion and shower gel would be great presents, that I don't really need but would be nice.) Who all have I received letters from? Wow. That's a big question. A lot of people. But more people should write me. DearElder is soooo easy. It takes 5 minutes. However, I have not heard anything from the Bishopbric, but feel free to give them my emails. Anyway, the biggest thing about this past week was Ksusha! Friday was her 18th birthday, and then Saturday she was baptized! She is just a miracle. I love hearing her bear her testimony and I am so excited that she is now an official member of the church! The baptism was wonderful. It was funny--something was wrong with the water heater so after promising Ksusha that she would for sure have nice, hot water, it was freezing cold! The Elders got there early and did their best to make it warm--one of them boiled water for hours and poured it into the font trying to make it warmer. It didn't really help much, but it makes a good story. And I don't think I told you last week, but Ksush asked me to speak at her baptism. Oh man. I was so honored that she would ask me, but it was so nervewracking. My first official talk in Russian. I was so nervous, plus I wasn't feeling too great that morning when I woke up. But it all went great. I definitely had help. Sister Marty said that she was blown-away by my Russian. Gift of Tongues for sure. Everyone said I did great--I'm not sure that I believe them, but I do know that it for sure was not me talking up there. My Russian isn't completely horrible, but it definitely is very far from super great. But the Spirit is there and that is all that matters. I was just grateful to be a part of Ksusha's special day. The Spirit at baptisms is so perfect and wonderful. I think back to before my mission and I don't think I realized how important and beautiful baptism is. In other news, also involving my Russian skills...I translated for the Gronnings, our senior couple, during sacrament meeting on Sunday. Translating is super cool--because a lot of the time I only have a basic idea of what they're saying, or I miss something because I'm translating and they continue and it's hard to speak English and process Russian at the same time, or they're just talking super fast. So a lot of it is relying on the Spirit to pick up what you missed or to just kind of guess as to what they said, while still communicating thoughts to whoever you're translating for that will help them. And then Sister Gronning asked me to translate into Russian for her while she bore her testimony. I know I did a horrible job, but once again, the Spirit was there, and that's all that matters. So although I know I'm super far from perfect, I'm feeling a lot more confident in general about my Russian skills, for sure in understanding at least. I just need to learn more vocab to use when speaking. Lastly, can I just say how much I LOVE the Book of Mormon? Before my mission I knew it was true, but I think that only on my mission have I truly developed such a deep love for it. We are reading it backwards as a mission right now and I love it. I love reading it in English, in Russian, outloud or in my head, on the metro or the bus or at my study desk or in the branch building. It always brings such a special spirit and there is always something to help me that day, that moment, hidden (or pretty obviously displayed) among the chapters I read. It is the word of God, true through and through, and it is distinct proof that this is Christ's Church on the Earth today. Elder Holland said it right when he said 2 years ago, "I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world, in the most straightforward language I could summon, that the Book of Mormon is true, that it came forth the way Joseph said it came forth and was given to bring happiness and hope to the faithful in the travail of the latter days." I know it's true. That's why I'm here on a mission. I know that this is the true church, that this is where I am supposed to be. The Russia Moscow Mission is the greatest on Earth (sorry Matt. :P) But no matter where in the world you are, and whatever language you are speaking, whether in English or Spanish or Russian or German or Cantonese, this is still the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and it will always be true and it will always be His. Love you all! с любовью, Сестра Ашби

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