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Monday, July 29, 2013

email received April 21, 2013

Hello family!

Its spring time here and i love it!! I'm offically down to wearing one pair of tights and one hat ( i used to layer and wear two) and occasionally gloves - sometimes just for a pop of color, thanks for the bright gloves mom:) It does still snow but then melts really quick so there is mud. 

Funny story of the day: we put our window screens back in today. I have to explain windows in russia. large enough for my body to fall out of. There were some tense moments involved and i think the 2 men taking a smoke break outside were taking longer than necessary to make sure we didn't die or that the screen didnt fall and hit their car. I like to think the former. Either way, window 1=success. There was too much anxiety to do the other two, maybe next week. 

An update on Margarita, she is still coming to church every week but is still not really feeling the idea of listening to 2 20-yr-olds so we just make sure we have other members help us on the lesson. But she does say that she feels a difference in the atmosphere and loves how accepting and friendly everyone is so we are still working on it. 

Also, I can introduce you to Ira. I met her on the bus a few weeks ago, she came to english club that night and really is just one of the coolest nicest people ever. She does believe in God and that he hears and answers prayers which is awesome! I just love when people know that God is our loving Heavenly Father! When people don't agree with that truth, its hard for them to want to pray about anything. She came to game night on Saturday and loved it and really just seems open to new ideas and wanting to learn. She is your typical busy college student which makes me love her even more and just want her to see how this gospel can help her in her everyday life!! How else do people survive finals or wedding craziness? 

Side note: Apparently for easter they do some game here with their boiled eggs, like where two people hit their eggs together and whoevers cracks loses, kinda like the wishbone concept i think. I havent tried it yet, but if you have any leftover eggs from easter let me know how it goes...

As far as my random musings for the day, our RS lesson yesterday was about trials, (ch 7 in the lorenzo snow book?) and some awesome points:
-The Lord tries us until He knows what He can do with us.
- We are always nearer to God at the end of trials and more confident to call on Him for blessings.
-We can always bear more after trials than we could before. Like we are stronger now, than we were a year ago, or two years ago, or five years ago, etc.
Basically trials really are how we grow and learn more. And I love the idea of being more confident to call upon the Lord. Which makes me wonder how many blessings I've missed out on but not asking?!?! In the Young Womens meeting before conference, which yes we watch here in Khabarovsk ( i'm trying to start an ice cream tradition here hehe) but seriously - Sister Dalton said our most significant opportunities will come in times of greatest difficulty. And I know our Heaven Father just wants us to grow and become amazing poeple!  Which you all already are! I'm not going to lie, I like the idea of having a new companion occasionally so that I can talk about how cool our family is without her getting too annoyed yet:) But I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Sister Allison
email received April 14, 2013

I'm Officially Old. . .
Not just because I'm 22 either. Today I bought new boots and at first was kinda bummed that they weren't as comfy as my old ones. Which look like I've been mucking horse stalls. Then I realized that its because I needed to move my Dr. Scholls over. End of story. 

Anyway, my bday was excellent! And Crystal they do celebrate here. Maybe more low key, not many presents but english club sang happy birthday to me. And they are great at wishing people the best. Like they say "happy birthday, I wish you health and happiness and luck and I wish you and your friends and you family the best year and i hope.....etc etc" its awkward sometimes. 

As far as conference, I loved it! Sister Ferguson and I are still trying to work hard and find new people to teach and help those we are already teaching to progress. It has been a good transition and we are trying to refocus our goals on what matters most. I think my motto for now is trying to seek growth oppurtunities and not shy away from experiences that may not come naturally. I love doing missionary work and teaching and helping everyone we talk to! Yesterday I talked to a guy on the bus who surprisingly asked "there's a prophet today?" And it was so cool, especially with conference earlier that day, to say "yes!" gotta go but  I love you all! 

Love you all!

Sister Allison

email received April 7, 2013

We watch confernece next weekend so I'm so excited! I think all of our inactives and invesitgators are sick of hearing me say it. But I told our president's daughter about  ice cream sundaes and she loved the idea. I think we get to watch the young womens conference with her while everyone watches priesthood so I may sneak ice cream into the church.
Also, I just found out I can spend more time on internet and write people of the same sex so you can tell people to email me now:) 
This week has been awesome with Sister Ferguson! My brain has readjusted to speaking English, and I think my liver appreciates the break from the advil.  But I have been shocked at how well we get by without older missionaries. It's true that when you need the Russian it will come! I'm finding that lessons and converations with people are easier and that I may not have any bigger of a vocab but that I can understand enough of the idea to answer questions, etc.
Fun story: this morning our power went out. I said "thats ok, even missionaries have to deal with power outages when there are storms". Sis Ferguson replied "there is no storm right now Sister Allison" It was funny, maybe you had to be there. But it has snowed everyday for the past 4 days or so so i guess April shower right?? I may be forced to buy different boots for rain, since the snow now melts at the end of the day...
This week has been an awesome time to evaluate how we both want to go about doing the work, different goals we have, how we can work together as a companionship, etc. I'm super excited to be working with Sister Ferguson and think it will really be a blessing for the work. Yesterday we fasted for a baptism in April and while I'm not sure if its going to be with an investigator we have now or someone we havent met yet, I have faith that it's happening!!! I was reading in Helaman 4 and 5 I think, and there are awesome promises given to Nephi and I know the Lord looks out for His missionaries! I have literally been able to feel how he helps and strengthens me, especailly in these last few weeks without Sister Huber. Especially at this time of year, I'm grateful for the Atonement and the opportunity I have to repent and become better everyday! And to live with the best family in the world forever! I love you all!
Sister Allison

email received March 24, 2013

First Haircut in Russia
I thought i would take advantage of the fact that i'm with a russian companion and she could talk for me. I just wanted my hair thinned out and the lady asked me from where and I thought she wanted to just cut chunks of my hair out. I was scared to say the least but I still have hair don't worry. 

This week has been good, I do feel like I've learned more Russian this week than my whole mission combined! It is a little draining at times not being able to say exactly what i want with the right connotation but it works. I eat a lot differently than i did before, lots of bread and potatoes carbs in general. So I'm not sure how long my body can keep that up....

As far as things with our investigator margarita, she still loves church and we met with her a few times but on sunday she basically said she has lived 75 years thinking one way and doesnt want to change. I think she will still be willing to meet with us, teaching just might be slower than I thought so I'm learning patience. I keep thinking I'm getting better at that trait but apparently not:) But church was awesome yesterday! 29 people 2 weeks in a row! as far as my first week without sis huber, it was a smoother transition than i thought. Definitely stressful but I'm still alive and smiling and preaching the gospel!!  Really this is the greatest adventure ever and while its hard its so fun too! And I think Heavenly Father wants it to be that way. Like life. Lots of curveballs and tough mudder obstacles but find joy in the journey right! Life is good, I love you all and happy easter!

Sister Allison
email received March 17, 2013

Yesterday was the last day of maclaneitza! Basically today is supposed to be the end of winter....They celebrate by eating blenie/crepes. I'm down. Its also the start of our version of lent since easter here is 2 weeks later than in America. Fun fact. Anyway I'm not even going to read over my email from last week but surely it was overdramatic and annoying. Before going to email I told my self I should be calm collected and positive and then my fingers just started going... Sowwy... But life is great here. Seriously if there is anything to cure what you think to be a weakness in the language just live with a Russian. I will admit I may start going through advil a little faster but all in all its good. Her name is Sister Darjeava and she is from Ulan-Ude, been a member for 5 years.  Hold on I need to back up. 

Ok this week was quite strange. Monday after I wrote you Sister Huber wasn't feeling well so we went and she slept all day and we stayed home at night. Then Tuesday we went to District meeting and then she wasn't doing so well so back home. Wed we tried going out, met with a member, then at the church Sister Slava-doctor- was like "this isnt funny. you are seriously sick," she thinks she had a sinus infection, so she wrote a prescription for some shots and we had to stay inside the next few days, and she would come over to give her shots,. Not fun. I think we underestimated what its like to be sick in the cold. We always rolled our eyes when people told us they were sick for like 5 days in a row but now I understand. Walking and taking buses etc is rough if you arent healthy. Sister Huber still isnt doing so well but soon she'll be in the sunny states with english speaking doctors.  

Anyway, so Thursday night, the Brintons and Aps came to town and then saturday morning my comp flew in. We all went to the church in the morning for training, which was awesome. We have been called to build a stake here in the Vlad mission, so we focused  a lot on working with members, less-actives, increasing the quality and quantity of baptisms, basically how to get real growth and retention. he based it all off of the story of Nephi building the boat and how the Lord can teach us how to do things that either seem impossible or unrealistic or that we really just don't know how to do. So there you go, its happening. We're building a stake. Then we headed off to the baptism of Edward, a miracle from Heavenly Father.  He is the friend of an eternal investigator, came to church 2 weeks ago and wanted to get baptized after sacrament meeting. he also came with his friend Margarita...

Cue music. So margarita came with him, she is 75 and goes to some christian church called "Love". She asked a ton of questions when we met with her sunday and we met with her again Thursday. After teaching the 1st lesson which was hard b/c a lot of questions, it ended on a not so hot note. She really didn't like the idea of being baptized again and we should just leave her alone, etc. It was a crushing blow I decided to leave out. The week before last was quite emotionally draining...Anyway, we asked Edward to invite her to church again when he got confimed and he did and told us she had something else but if she could would try and make it. She came and loved it again, and after told us that she felt like she needed to come today instead of going to her church. She left after talking with members for an hour after church and while we were meeting with someone came back and started talking to the elders about if it was really ok to be baptized again etc. So we have a lesson with her tonight! Say a prayer or two for her! 

It is very evident that the Lord is aware of the work here in Khabarovsk and that really it is only the Holy Ghost that can change people's hearts. I know that miracles happen and that no matter what happens tonight or this week, I know that

Relief Society Sisters including Mission President's Wife, Sister Brinton
through the Atonement the Lord really does make up for our weaknesses and help us become better than we can be otherwise. This is the greatest work on Earth and I'm so grateful to play a tiny tiny role in it!!
Gentleman in Khabarovsk before his baptism.
Amber wearing her new fur coat.  Now she looks like a Russian.
Sister Huber's last Sunday in Russia

I love you all!
Sister Allison

Sunday, July 28, 2013

email received March 10, 2013

Hello fam,
Sorry I didnt have much time to write each of you but I thought I should leave time to tell you the latest news that I heard...So we all know Sister Huber is leaving next week and no one knew what was happening to me since transfers aren't for 2 more weeks. So our DL called president last night and told me that they are flying in this weekend and Sister Huber is going to Vlad with them (unexpected, we just figured I would go with her and then they would send me back with someone) and Saturday night, a mini-missionary from Ulan-Ude is flying in to be my companion for 2 weeks! I should be embarressed to say this but we all know Sister Allison and stressful situations, I think there were tears before Sister Huber got off the phone hahaha not like this was shocking news its just happening a little faster than I had mentally prepared my self for. So as of Sunday, it will be me and a Russian who hasnt been to the MTC. Besides the fact that I'm freaking out about my Russian, which Sister Huber assures me this is when you really see the gift of tongues, like He gives it to you when you actually need it, I'm starting to freak out about everything else!! Like how I don't even know doctrine or scriptures well enough or how to decide what to do when something falls through, or how to blah blah blah Sister Huber just laughed. Which I was too. I know, I know I'm ridiculous. When we were going to bed Sis Huber asked how I was doing and I said "I don't think I'm going to die. So I'll be fine" Which of course just made her laugh again. Im not sure why. No, really, I know I'll be fine, I just try not to think about it haha. I can look at this as a cool fulfillment of prophecy though. The Lord sends the weak to preach His gospel, right? Bam, right here. Haha. I really don't mean to make light of the situation but we all know how I smile to cope with things. Anyway, in PMG it says that we shouldn't have confidence in ourselves, we should have confidence in the Savior and His Atonement so I'm trying to keep that in mind.
Sorry not much about the week but keep us in your prayers. Love you all!!
Sister Allison
email received March 3, 2013
So spring is finally here in Khab! It still snowed again this week but its melitng too. I'm seeing some sidewalks for the first time! And the church gets super muddy. The weather is so nice!! Its still cold and my hands still get cold but I think I may go down to wearing one hat (I've been layering two beanies) and you can actually feel sun which is nice. Sis Huber and I have run a few times in the morning and I just wear long socks, leggings, pants, thermal top t-shirts, hoody, gloves, scarf and hats and hood. And its super fun! Its a nice change of pace from the stairs! 

We haven't been able to meet with our investigators this week because of busy schedules at work, etc. Which is a bummer because we don't want to lose momentum. But we are going to obviously keep trying! We had two investigators at church yesterday, which makes the whole meeting feel better. Heavenly Father is definitely blessing us and continues to bless us as we have faith and work hard. It seemed like we wouldn't be able to reach some of our goals this week and then things kind of just fell into place yesterday. So I'm grateful for Him and love seeing miracles everyday here. I'm learning so much about goals on my mission and especially lately as we have tried to push ourselves.  I am understanding more and more the idea of having names behind goals. And so many times by the end of the week the names behind the goals have changed but i know that as I focus on moving the work forward here Heavenly Father sees the bigger picture and can help us accomplish things in ways other than we have planned. 

That's it for now but I love you all and you're all in my prayers! Thanks for all the encouraging emails:) They brighten my day! Know that I love it here and I love the people! I know this is the Lord's church and the Lords work and I'm so grateful to be a part of it! I love you!

Sister Allison