Friday, April 26, 2013

Month One still in MTC

Oh wow! It has been a month! I cannot believe how fast the time has flown bye! All of the cectrи were saying how that there is no way that it is P-Day again! I swear the time just flies bye, we have been here for 4 weeks! I have officially completed one month of my mission, only 17 more to go!
This week has been great as well, all of them have just been amazing. Everything is so up and down, but with the Spirit the ups completely out way the downs. Yesterday we had our first complete day of SYL, it means speak your language. We talked 100% in Ukrainian all day! It was so hard, and what we said was not grammatically correct, but we all did it. I was terrified to have to speak all day only in my language, but once I got over the initial fear in the morning I loved it! It was kind of fun trying to act out or say what we could and try to get our points across. I know more than I thought I did! We are starting to do SYL 3 days a week, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and the last week that we are here it is SYL all the time! I can't believe that we are at our half way point on Sunday! I don't know where time has gone, but I can say that I enjoyed every second of it!
I am trying to think of what has happened in the past week since I wrote last... On Sunday we had church again, and we all have to prepare a 2 minute talk in our language and they just call you randomly from the stand to come up and give your talk. This Sunday it was my turn, but... We sat in sacrament meeting, right after lunch, and like 2 seconds before the meeting started I looked at Cectpa Wallace and was like we need to leave, I am going to throw up. So we book it out of our meeting room into a bathroom. It was lovely. So after I had finished we went back to the room to grab some oils and we decided that we should probably tell people where we went. So we go back to the meeting room and our branch president's wife walks out and tells me that I had just dodged a bullet. I was like okay? Thanks...? They had called my name to come up and speak but I was not there, I was in the bathroom. Throwing up. Don't worry, I feel fine now, I think that it was just something I ate. I went and laid down for the rest of sacrament meeting, but was able to go on the temple walk and just avoided eating at dinner. I have felt great ever since! .....I think it is safe to say that I will probably be speaking this Sunday though.
On Friday we got to go out into the real world again. Cectpa Wallace had an appointment with a dentist. It is always a weird experience leaving the MTC! It makes me really feel like I am a missionary, people look at you with your tag and immediatly know who you are, it really is a neat experience. The appointment wasn't major or long, so I think we were really only gone about an hour.
Our investigators, to answer your questions, are real, but not...? Does that make any sense? Svetlana is in reality our teacher Cectpa Garret, who also happened to be Tamara, our first investigator. Cectpa Garrett is however portraying herself. Her name was Svetlana when she lived in Ukraine until she was adopted at the age of 16. She is playing the role of herself at 15 years old when she first encountered the missionaries that her sister's adoptive parents had sent to the orphanage/boarding school where she was living. When Cectpa Garrett was playing the part of Tamapa, our first investigatory, she was playing the role of a sister she had become very close to when she taught her on her mission to Washington State. Does that make sense? Aptem is played by our teacher Brother Adams, and I don't where he got his role from, never really asked him.
This week we also go three new investigators. They are all roommates, Kevin is 19 years old, Baptist, has 2 sisters and one who has passed away. Michaelo is 20, going to school, his family is religious, but he is not. Kosta is 20 years old, Baptist as well and going to school. These three investigators are better known to us as Elders Peterson, Wilkinson, and Vandermark, the elders in our district. So we ourselfs get to practice being investigators as well. This is really actually a fun experience because all of us are on about the same level with Ukrainian, but we do our best to speak it to each other.  Kevin was totally into everything that we were telling him and had even started the Book of Mormon already, Kosta was interested, but quiet. Michaelo was the real challenge, he did not show any interest and was just studying for school the whole time. It was frustrating, but we have 5 weeks before we leave to work with him. Hopefully he will come around.
Have I mentioned TRC before? Training Resource Center, we have it on Wednesday nights. People who have served in Ukraine or are Ukrainian come and have us teach them. They portray themselves, college students usually who are RM's have mostly been what we have had. It really is the funnest experience because we will teach in our broken Ukrainian and they do their best to understand, but they know exactly what it is like to be where we are. It really is the greatest to have them talk to us afterward and be able to relate with what we are feeling. Two weeks ago Cectpa Wallace started crying during TRC because she was frustrated with the language, but the person we were teaching was just so sweet and let her just talk it out, then we bore testimony and left. All of us really enjoy TRC.
There are moments when all of us break down from the stress and doubts and frustrations, but it is all okay. We just have our "human moments" as we have dubbed them, cry it all out, then pick up and move on, even stronger than we were before. I feel like through this whole experience I have experienced every kind of emotion, and have been humbled, learned to rely on my Savior and to trust in my own ability as well. I feel like I really have changed for the better in just a month, I can't imagine how much 17 more of these months will do for me or my testimony.
Every Saturday night Brother Adams lets us have a "party," and for the rest of you out there it will sound super lame, but it is the highlight of our weeks here. We each randomly pick a day during the time that he served his mission and he reads that journal entry. All of us love it, and the Elders say it has helped motivate them to write in their journals. There is not a thing that I want to forget. This experience truly has been the best thing that has happened to me, and I haven't even left Utah. I can't wait until I get to Ukraine and can share the knowledge and experiences that I have had. To let them know just how amazing this gospel really is and the peace, hope, and light that this can bring into their lives. It will change them, just as it has changed me.
Oh, and let me tell you just how amazing the Lord really is! Last week, we were leaving the temple, and as always we offer the take family pictures for the missionaries that were coming in that day. This one cute mom came up to us and started talking to us, so we were telling her where we are all going and everything, then she asked us if we needed a mother's hug. So she hugged all of us sisters and told us each individually how much our mother's love and miss us! It was the best thing ever! Then this week, this morning actually, we were planning on going to the temple at 8:30. Well, Elder Peterson lost his wallet. So the Elders went around trying to find it, so as sisters we went and printed off our emails that we get, ran to the bookstore and just did some odd and end errands. They still couldn't find the wallet, so they headed back to their room to double check everything. Us sisters said a prayer and continued with our errands. He found the wallet like 10 minutes later, power of prayer! That is not the best part though. As we were leaving the temple we met up out front and were just getting ready to start asking people if they needed pictures taken this sweet sister comes up to the Elders and asked if he remembered his mom's cell number. They were all like yes, but is there a reason why... She pulled out her phone and took pictures of all of us individually for the Elders and as companions for the sister and then asked for our mother's numbers. She sent our pictures to our mom's to let them know that we are all doing well. It truly was the sweetest thing ever! She had two missionaries out and said that some people have been sending her pictures of her boys as they are serving and she has just loved it! So, she is paying it forward by letting our mother's know that we are all doing well.
All of us were just so grateful for her and her willingness to help our mother's feel at peace. After the sister had left to do her session in the temple I turned to Elder Peterson and thanked him for loosing his wallet. If it hadn't been lost we might have missed that opportunity.
Last night we had even had a fire side with David F. Evan, of the Seventy, come and speak to us, and in his talk he mentioned how we are on the Lord's time, he will protect us and guide us. We all mentioned that as we walked back from the temple. He truly is just so mindful of every last one of us. I started a gratitude journal this week, everyday I am going to look for those tender mercies of the Lord. I challenge you to all do the same.

I love you all SO much! Thank you for the cookies and the treats! They are always greatly appreciated, we all share what our families send and between the 5 of us that live in Utah we stay pretty full all the time! I feel your prayers daily, and pray for you as well! Keep the letters coming!

I was waiting this day for the letter to come and I did receive a text from a unknown number and when I checked it nothing was there.  I did not think much about it until I got her email and read that is was suppose to be a picture of her.  It was sad to know it was suppose to be a picture of her and her companion. 

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