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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Beautiful Day in Utah - October, 2012.  Enjoying the warm sunshine!
A Few Days later - The First snow of the season down in Provo.

Amber and Sis. Christensen attend the Provo Temple


Happy halloween all! 

Its a beautiful day here in Utah and while i was looking forward to Operation Acclimation in getting ready for Russia, I'll take it while I can. Speaking of Russia... I just found out this morning that I'm not leaving til the 26th. We had heard last night on one elder being delayed but this morning our district leader ran into us and said everyone except for missionaries going to moscow and ukraine are getting delayed. most others though are leaving on the 22, i think thanksgiving, and vlad missionaries are the 26th. Something to do with the visas, the Church is trying to get it where we only have to leave the country every 6 months or never so i guess they are reworking our visas. I was excited about the prospect of going to South Korea but we'll see how it works out. Not that South Korea is the biggest thing on my mind right now but in all, I'm taking the news quite well. Its a bummer because mentally we are all ready to head out and talk to real Russians but the MTC is awesome so I might as well take every opportunity to learn as much as I can here. And now, I'll get turkey on Thanksgiving. I'm not sure how this affects everything as far as companions in Vlad and the womens conference I was super looking forward to but we'll see when I find out more. We haven't been to class yet or anything but the travel office did tell us that most people were leaving on the 22 if not the 12th so im not sure if the next few weeks just turn into personal study time or what brett called mdt. I'll let you know more when i find out. But don't worry about me! I'm surviving the MTC! Pray for Elder Schneider, the only elder going to vlad, i think he may go crazy with us sisters for so long haha

Anyway, tonight Sister Christensen and I get to demonstrate "How to Begin Teaching" for the new missionaries coming in today.  We got a note on our desk last week and monday we went to a meeting to explain, basically it the same thing they did for us when we came in. All the new missionaries are in a room with an "investigator" youre meeting for the first time and then missionaries come in to talk to them for a few minutes and then the moderator tells them to leave and all the new missionaries critique them. eek! While im a little nervous it really is an answer to prayers. We both wanted to focus on our spiritual preparation and not get bogged down with the language so this is one way to do it! When we practiced monday, they basically said the only thing you need to do is love the people and then they are just your friend. And i love it! Its so fun talking to new people and finding out what they are struggling with and how the gospel can help them. Cuz it can help everyone! 

Also, no one else may care but this Sunday i accompanied for an elder singing in church. I've done it before just out of the hymn book but he gave me real music thursday so i only had friday and sat to practice for like an hour. It went a lot better than expected until there was a mix up with the page turn at the end. I just assume that sis christensen can read my mind at this point. but it was fun to play the piano! i love music and its the quickest way to bring the spirit to any meeting!

Sorry if this was an undescriptive letter, all the stories start to feel the same. But know that I know this Church is true, I love my Savior and know He understands me more than I understand myself! I'm grateful for the time I have to be here and for the Spirit that is felt here everyday. I love the chance I get to read the Book of Mormon so much and it seriously has the answer to any question. I love you all and have a great week!

Sister Allison
All the missionaries in Amber's district going to her mission.

Sister Braithwaite's Birthday so they all wore her favorite color.

Amber and Sis. Christensen dressed for their interviews from Russian TV Station before the elections


So its officially less than 3 weeks away! Its so surreal!!! Just a heads up, that everyone keeps saying we need to mention, I think my dept date is nov 12 or something, so the last time I'll be able to receive packages and dear elders is the friday before so we usually leave early monday and mail delivery on the weekends is hit and miss. Anyway, the closer it gets I get so excited! Scared out of my mind, especially since its snowing in Provo today and my fingers are frozen while typing, but definitely excited!

Big news for the week: Last Friday, our teacher's boss came in to tell us that our district had been recommended out of all the Russian districts for a Russian new group to film that was coming to Utah to tour the MTC and Temple Square and stuff. We've seen camaras around lately and don't even think about the election and thats why everyone is here. But they said they usually just poke their heads in, 20 minutes, so just a heads up. Then Monday, a very authoritative man walked in during class and said he would be back in an hour to talk about Tuesday(when they came). His face looked so mortified as we were all wearing red and had decorations up for Sis. Braithwaites b'day. Needless to say we stopped class, picked everything up, took down the Ukranian flag like he said, and he came back as promised. He talked to us for and hour and 15 minutes about expectations, etc. I'm not gonna lie, I did think "this is right in the middle of my language study!" but it was an intense conversation! I guess with the election going on, a lot of people tie missions in with creating a strong generation kind of thing, with politicians, businessmen, so that they would probably be asking us questions on our political views, why we are there, how we feel about Russia, and every anti-Mormon question you can think of. And this guy, Brother Christensen literally went around the room and asked how would you answer this question... Super on the spot! And then once we're all nervous and wondering why they chose our district, he said "just realize that tomorrow you will contact more people than you will your entire mission." Eek! Super crazy to think about though! At this point, politics is the last thing on my mind, but its neat to think that this TV station (REN-TV) is the biggest private news station and is played all over Russia, even in Vlad! 

Well, it was super anti-climatic. We all got up early to look good, we're still girls what can I say, and showed up to class. Bro. Christensen showed up early to talk to our teacher, make sure we were doing something interactive cuz thats what the camera guys want, make sure we wouldn't offend them some more, i was starting to think he didn't trust us! Then Sammy, a guy from the Church Public Relations talked to us some more and turns out he served in Ukraine so he spoke Russian, which was a relief since none of us really do...Well they came, we introduced ourselves, they filmed us for about 20 minutes and then they asked one elder in our district to show them around the MTC. So they did the whole laundry room, gym, cafeteria bit, super exciting I know. But he did say they asked him a few questions about if he wanted to be president, if he thought this experience would help him towards that, or help him want to be pres, stuff like that. It is strange to be thinking so much about politics when all we think about is Russian and church topics. So its been a weird few days but its over now. And we might be on Russian TV!

Last side note, on Sunday, Sister Dibb spoke to us in Relief Society, and at the end talked about President Monson and we could ask her questions. She notes that he does not dye his hair, in case anyone was wondering. And after, we got to meet her! I was wearing my yellow sweater and she said thats his favorite color:) It made me smile!

Well I gotta go soon but I love you all! Enjoy the az weather for me!
October 17, 2012 - Black & White Day


Hello all!

So yesterday, I'm sitting in choir, which shockingly I do every week because 1. I love the music 2. The director is hilarious and 3. It saves my seat for devotionals, anyway so I'm sitting there and Sis. Christensen and I talking about how we have like a month left and another Russian missionary turned around and said its actually 25 days. (or 26 i cant remember). Gulp!! We think our departure date is the 12th and that we get travel plans not next week but the week after. Its crazy!!! While I feel like I still dont know Russian, I know I can smile and bear my testimony! Game plan for Russian, talk to everyone I see and then turn it over to my hopefully fluent or native companion. As great of an idea that this sounds like to me right now, here's the kicker. In 3 different talks/firesides/devotionals we've heard this week, they all asked who would be in the field in November-I raise my hand. They talk about a 12 week training course we go through once we get there that basically qualifies you to be a trainer. Put 2 and 2 together: they straight up told us that with the expected influx of new (and younger) missionaries, we need to be prepared to be trainers in 3 months. Again, gulp! But I know at this point, the best way to progress is to immerse myself so here we go! As nervous as I sound, I am super excited to finally go to Russia and teach real investigators! Im sure 25 days still sounds like a long time to everyone but you can feel everyone cracking down here. Lets just say most of us sisters in my district bring earplugs to class and if you walked in during language study, you would think we were cramming for finals or something. Its crazy. 

Anyway, I can breathe now. So the new Russian missionaries came this week! And our new roommate, Sister Gates is going to Vlad! Along with 3 new elders. Sister Gates took 3 semesters, I think, of Russian, which is why she is paired with Sis Fairbanks, so it was humbling to realize that our new roommate would already speak way better than us. But I keep reminding myself I've only been doing this since Aug 29. Its so fun to have all of the new missionaries here and I feel like it has also helped us step up our game. This may be old news for everyone in the real world, but in Jan all of the MTC time is getting cut in third, so English goes to 2 weeks, Spanish goes to 6 and Russian goes from 74 days to 60! I think they are already trying to speed up the process with these missionaries, or at least I feel like they are getting more than I did my first week. Maybe I just blocked it out of my memory. 

To get more practice teaching, we teach each other too as investigators and while its good practice teaching, I think its awesome to think like someone hearing missionaries for the first time. While I was hearing Sister Braithwaite in my district teach me about Joseph Smith and quote the first vision the Spirit was so strong! As an investigator, i can't say everything would have made sense or I would have understood the magnitude of what she was telling me, but you can't deny the Spirit! Everyone keeps saying the missionary work is more about who you are than what you know, which comforts me in my coming adventures.

We also ran into a a lady who's husband was a branch president here and they served in Vlad a few years ago (coincidentally with my branch pres. son. small world) and she was telling us about Russian history a bit, how a lot of these people were exiled there for religious reasons in the first place so they may accept religion more than western Russia since they come from religious families. On Sunday, we heard from Sister Burton the Relief Society President and one of my favorite parts was when she told us she worried and cried over her conference talk. Which sounds weird that that was my favorite, but you realize that she's just like us, only leading the largest women's organization in the world, so with the Lord's help we can do anything!! Then on Tuesday, Elder Bowan and his wife came who just spoke in conference and he talked about how we need the Spirit with us while we are planning, finding, teaching and all the time! He talked about how the Holy Ghost takes the natural man out of us and I can be the first to tell you that I think coming here, I didn't realize how much I needed to change! Like the more devoted and committed I am to this mission, the more the Lord will be able to mold me into a better person! I'm trying my best and hopefully making you all proud! The Church is true and I love you all!

Sister Allison

(I may have time to send pics later, we'll see)
September 29th - Night of Relief Society Women's Broadcast
Sister Brinton (in Orange) - Amber's Mission President's wife visiting the MTC.  

Blue Day - It seems like since Amber and the other Russian speaking Missionaries  stay so long in the MTC, that they have come up with fun ways to keep from going stir crazy!


Hello family!! I'll start off by saying this was an AWESOME week. Seriously, I don't think I can use enough exclamation points to emphasize how fabulous it was. 

Anyway, I shall start by saying, this Friday was the best ever!!! Thanks for the prayers everyone! I'm being serious when I say it was such a good day and we were in the best mood and I know the prayers help! Something that added to the awesomeness..we got an unexpected visit from Sister Brinton, my mission presidents wife! All 5 of us going to Vlad literally ran out the door to meet her so if anyone wants to google Sally Brinton's blog there may be a picture of me:) Prideful I know. So the first news for the world about Vlad is that the just had the APEX conference and of course Russia wanted to impress other countries so they just redid the airport and built 3 new bridges and filled all the potholes. Im sure no one cares but us, but we were excited to here about it. She said miracles happen everyday and we need to work so hard on the language so we can hit the ground running! Talk about motivation! We had the goal to memorize 100 words over the weekend and I ended at about 60. THere wasn't as much time as I thought but it was still nice to know I worked super hard and wouldn't have gotten that much without a high goal.

Now for conference weekend...I wasn't going to go on and on about the announcement but people have asked how I feel so I'll tell you! First off all, imagine a room full of 2000 missionaries watching general conference. The prophet starts talking and the way he set it up you could kind of tell what was coming with all young men being able to go on missions at 18 now. But regardless everyone is silent leaning forward in their seats and then he says it and there are a few cheers and lots of whispers of "thats awesome" stuff like that. Then he starts talking about sisters. Silence. And then he says they can go now at 19, seriously loud gasps, everyone is going crazy, girls especially, wide eyed, "are you serious" etc. So while I'm sad I wasn't home to see Bradley's reaction to it (which Brad you better give me some first hand info as to what you were thinking!) I think I was in the coolest place ever to hear it, even compared to being in Russia. Thats all we could talk about all day. Do I think more sisters will go on missions now, of course. Its easy for me to think especially in terms of Russia and other countries that literally we just need more missionaries to go into more countries and I think this will help. I thought of the quote, Mom I think I showed it to you, about women desiring to go on missions so that they can raise the next generation kind of thing. I think this will help strengthen families now and in the future, will help marriages, will help youth with the new youth program, which from what I've heard so far is straight up awesome, Dad, Brett, and Liz I'm curious on your thoughts about that. I think it changes the culture/stigma of "sister missionaries", changes singles wards basically everything. While women still are not required to go and neither have to go this young, I still think it makes it real to have the option to go right after high school, like don't wait til after to prepare yourself. While I might be blowing this out of proportion, its just awesome to see continuing revelation from the prophet. 

Monday morning we had to go to BYU health services and the receptionist said the phone rang for an hour straight with girls wanting physicals and one of our teachers is the secretary in his ward and the bishops whole night of interviews besides one was girls, a lot of whom probably want to talk about this. I realize I'm in a SUPER concentrated area of Mormons but its fun. I ran into one of the girls who works here who is a freshman and she has asked us how we decided to go etc, so when I saw her today I ran up to her and the first thing she said was, "guess what, I'm going on a mission!" Its cool to think that I'll be in Russia training these missionaries!

And to make this all more awesome, last night Elder Bednar spoke at our devotional!!! He said it was fun to hear everyone speculate as to why this was happening when he was actually in the council that decided it. Apostolic humor he called it:) He said the 2 reasons are "The Lord can do His work and He can hasten His work in His time". Bam. It was neat to know that this was revelation when I first heard it but also to hear an apostle of the Lord testify of it was so special. The rest of the devotional he talked about how he goes through the conference issue and looks at doctrine, invitations, and promised blessing and then types it all up on a chart. To know that an apostle studies them this much is really humbling and we know how much the rest of us need to study them! Also, can I just say I loved Elder Nelson's talk about missionaries. If anyone ever wants to know why I decided to serve a mission, there you go. it-thats all we say here so we don't really have access to google. We're ridiculous I know. 

Anyway I'm sorry for the super long rant about all of this but needless to say I'm excited to work hard. I think we all have a sense of urgency now which is good so I'll try to make you all proud! Love you all!

Sister Allison
Amber and Sis. Christensen with Color Charts which apparently are lifesavers in learning the Russian language
Loving the life of a Sister Missionary

Wear Pink or Red Fridays - Tough days are made easier by brightening up their wardrobe!

Amber and her companion with the Sisters leaving for Russia after  Amber's first month.

Amber and Sis. Christensen with the companion they had for a week while she was waiting to go to Russia.
Email received October 3, 2012

We officially had our one month anniversary! Haha I sent pics to mom so hopefully Mama you can forward them to others.

This has been a super crazy week. And because of that I think everyone in my district is getting stressed out, which means people are cracking! Fridays, our schedule is set up so that we have basically nine hours of class in a row with just a break for dinner, where other days we have gym and other stuff in between. So I'm not joking when I say prayers are much appreciated on Friday. Like morning, afternoon, night, whenever you feel like saying a little prayer for us, its much appreciated. All of the sisters decided to wear red or pink on Fridays as a superficial pick me up. It feels like a scene out of Mean Girls or something. But we'll keep working hard! It feels like I'm climbing a mountain at times, so I just have to remind myself, one step at a time! 

The biggest thing this week was the older group of Russian missionaries left Monday and Tuesday. Its hard to explain, but since we come in every six weeks, you really do look up to those who speak the language better than you. And now, when the new group comes in next week, we are expected to be that example! Which I'm not sure we're ready for, but all the olders said that this week was a huge growing week for them in the language so I'm hoping for that. It was so sad to see them all go, including our roommates who have been so awesome, but they were all so excited so its good. Our roommates weren't very on top of packing though and they got up at 3 to leave, so I got about 4 hours of sleep that night. Which wasn't good because Monday morning was....SYL!!! (Speak Your Language) It was our first SYL day since being here which means you have to speak the whole day in your language! By the end of the day, we all had headaches from the Russian and 4 hours of sleep didn't help. But i'll admit it was kinda of awesome to realize how much we've actually learned! Some conversations though, you just make a mental note to bring up later because you don't want to attempt it in Russia. Also, this was the first day we had Sister Fairbanks in our companionship becuase hers left for Russia and we hadn't talked about schedule at all. So sister christensen just knocked on her door at 6:30am and said "food now?" which is her way of trying to explain that because we had gym in the morning, we were getting food first before getting ready. You can see why we're getting so good at charades! 

Well thats gonna have to be it for this week, sorry its so short but I love you all!

Sister allison
Hello family! (Email September 19, 2012)

I think I now understand why people say missions can be emotional roller coasters. Not in a bad way, but literally you can have a super great experience followed 10 minutes later to the reminder that you still don't speak Russian...So last Thursday was an awesome day. First Sis. Christensen and I had "coaching" where are teacher pulls us aside to see how we're doing, I call it counseling, either one. He reassured us we weren't behind in the language which was much needed. Then later, I was reading to Sister K just to practice pronunciation. Sister K (its really Kunetstova or something like that) is super Russian, like stereotypical blunt and forward, will tell you when you sound bad, etc. Anyway after I read to her for like 10 minutes she said "Sister Allison, I'm very impressed. Really, I'm very proud of you!" I almost started crying because I'm pretty sure she's never complimented me before haha. Then later our other teacher told us we were speaking exceptionally well and he was proud of our progress, etc. Awesome day right?!

So Friday we woke up feeling pumped to work hard. So we planned awesome lessons for our investigators and started translating stuff we wanted to say...And then Sister K came over and basically told us Russians don't talk like that so it doesn't translate like that so you should say this, etc. So we literally wasted 4 hours of the day and had to go back to square one which was depressing. Saturday was ok, we went into our lessons not as prepared as we like to but sometimes you just have to get through it. 

Sunday was awesome though! For Relief Society, we got to hear from Sheri Dew! She gave an awesome empowering talk about misperceptions people have about LDS women and how our message is so important Heavenly Father wouldn't have left it up to women he didn't trust, which is always good to hear. Then, we had a district meeting where our counselor in the branch presidency talked about how weeks 3-9 are when missionaries lose sight of what they are doing, so this is when the Lord and I find out what kind of missionary I will be!! Then another awesome talk about the importance of the Book of Mormon, and at night, we watched a talk by Elder Bednar about the "Character of Christ" and how He always turned out when the natural man turns in. Definitely makes you re-evaluate your priorities. 

As far as the language, its still really hard and slow, and honestly the longer I'm here, the more I realize Russian is more complicated than I thought! But the way they say it is that English is a lang. of exceptions and Russian is a lng. of memorizing. So if i can learn all the cases and all the irregular stuff than hopefully I'll at least have decent grammar by the time I leave. I'm starting to be able to understand the missionaries who have been here for 10 weeks though, which is exciting, but also I'm realizing how simple their sentences are so they are kidding when they say I'll arrive in Russia and not be able to understand anything. Also, Russian don't even pronouce half of the letters, apparently they are implied, so unless the syllable is accented, your guess is as good as mine. Basically, I'm gonna work as hard as I can here and then gear up for an adventure! But Sis. Christensen and I mapped out our language study plan, which is basically long term goals, weekly goals, and daily goals which I'm really excited about! While the language is super hard, we still have little victories! One of our investigators is Muslim and while he doesn't believe Christ is our Savior still, we taught him how to pray to Heavenly Father! Which at the end of the day, I can say to myself, so what if i wasted 4 hours translating sentences wrong, I still taught someone how to talk to their Father in Heaven!! The MTC is hard work, and mentally and emotionally exhausting but I love knowing that what I'm doing will help someone's life now and eternally!

I love you all!
Sister Allison
This is Lori Allison, Amber's mom.  I have to apologize that I haven't done due diligence with the blog.
I got behind and then couldn't find the information I needed to post on the blog.  I will update you from Amber's past emails and try to be more timely in future posts.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

SEPTEMBER 12, 2012 (email to family)
No more speaking in Spanish for me. Its getting really confusing when i try to throw in Spanish words like pero or tambien to fill the awkward silence...But my Russian is getting better! I can officially make sentences when writing but not speaking. You have to conjugate the verbs and the nouns and the prepositions, etc meaning when i got a colored case chart it was pretty much like Christmas. Now to laminate it and stick it on my key chain so everyone can tell who the crazy Russian speaking missionaries are! I love it. This week we had a lesson on setting goals, planning etc so I decided to be really ambitious and have the First Vision memorized by Sept 29th, a month in the MTC. Then that afternoon our second teacher came in and challenged us to have it memorized by this Saturday! For those who don't know, its like a whole paragraph so that on top of all of the other stuff we are supposed to learn and do, we are seriously trying to learn it while waiting in line for lunch or while working out at the gym...Its kind of intense but I can do it!

Oh and a quick run down of my schedule if that helps anyone picture my day. I’m up at 6:30 to get ready, breakfast at 7:10, and then usually class at 7:40. Sometimes that changes if we have gym first or service, which means mopping staircases! Honestly, I've never enjoyed mopping so much as a break from class. Our classes are 3 hours long and we also have one hour of "personal study" from the scriptures. Lunch is at 11:45 and then depending on the day, we have language study for an hour, TALL lab for an hour, which is kind of like Rosetta Stone but with really fast Russian speakers where i have to listen to sentences probably 20 times before i can do it.  In the afternoon or at night we have another 3 hour class. And in class its either Russian or teaching us how to be good missionaries, i enjoy those lessons, like goal setting because they are in English! Sundays are nice breaks because its church and we have breaks in the day to go sit outside the temple...and do Russian grammar. I make it sound hard but it really is awesome. To think two weeks ago i just knew a few words! Although my charades and pictionary really are getting better, I challenge anyone when i get home!

Sister Christensen and i are teaching two new investigators this week, one is a super well-read religious man who before we said anything started asking questions about the Book of Mormon, and the other is a Muslim who wants to know more about Christ but doesn't believe he is the Savior. Both of these "investigators" are our teachers which is embarrassing knowing they know how bad we really are in real conversations but I know its the only way to grow and I really do learn a lot each time!

Last night, being Sept 11, Elder and Sister Carlson spoke to us. He was a general in the Pentagon on Sept 11 so it was awesome to hear their perspective of faith. During times of crisis, praying and reading scriptures makes all the difference. Another lady also talked about how tribulations lead to patience, which leads to hope and faith in Christ. Good point I thought. I also got to watch a replay of "Missions are Forever" by Elder Holland which was soooo good. It makes me want to work hard, all day every day! I know my mission will change my life for the better and am so glad I'm here! 

I love you all!!
Sister Allison
Amber's district in front of Provo Temple.
The sisters in Amber's district in their classroom.

With her companion Sister Christensen

SEPTEMBER 5, 2012 (email home)
Ok here's a rundown of the first week. After I was dropped off my "host" sister walked me through all the newbie stuff, getting my nametag etc (which is awesome in Russian!) Then it was literally straight to class for 3 hours or so. We practiced the alphabet, which it did help me not be as overwhelmed the first day to have the jist of it before. At this point, I'm not sure if Rosetta Stone helped much but I do know words that not everyone else knows, like cafe and museum haha.  Thursday was another full of class, all in Russian, except a one hour workshop with all the new missionaries about our purpose of bringing people to Christ. Our teacher told us at this point that we would be teaching an investigator the next day, which we all were expecting but it didn't make the surprise any easier to take! That night we met our branch presidency, the branch pres. President Cranny was a mission president in Russia so its fun to hear their stories. And of course means we sing and pray in Russian... You can imagine. My companions name is Sister Christensen and she's so sweet! She's super obedient and always pushes me to be better and try harder. I was called to be the senior companion, which says nothing about me but it did surprise me a little because I feel like I have so much to learn from her!!

All of the missionaries learning Russian in the MTC are like groupies. We travel in packs and always eat together so its been an easy adjustment to fit in. In my district there are 5 sisters and 4 elders and I feel like half of the Russian speakers are sisters so whenever we have group meetings I always forget how many more elders there at the MTC! The schedule here isn't super hard to stick to. To all who were concerned, which was probably just me, I have plenty of time to get ready in the morning, at night, and after gym haha. But there are 6 showers and 8 bathroom stalls which seems a little backwards to me, just saying! The first few nights, I didn't get much sleep at all. My brain seriously felt like it was in finals weeks, were you have so much info going through your brain, it seems like you cant turn it off. I woke up i few times and the first things that came to mind were Russian phrases. By Saturday I was so tired, and I finally got some sleep and had my first dream/nightmare. It involved me coming to the MTC to learn Russian in the morning and Mandarin Chinese in the afternoon. I felt like Shia LeBouf in transformers 2 with all the symbols running through my brain. Sunday was much needed rest, involving church in English!!! Mission conference, a meeting with the whole MTC was super uplifting, and I feel like the overall theme that I've needed this past week is that Heavenly Father doesnt want me to fail. As hard as the language is, I know He loves the Russian people and wants them to come unto Christ and will help me as I try my best to be able to convey this message to them!

A little about our invetigator, who is really just a teacher here. When i say we had a lesson, we taught him more through charades, overdramatic gestures, and drawings than Russian but it got the job done! Our first one went ok and the second one was awesome. We really didn't understand everything he was asking or what we were saying but we knew how to testify of the things that we know so the Spirit was there. The third one on Monday was so much harder! We vaguely knew questions he had, but for the life of Sister Christensen and I, our Russian was limited we couldnt figure out how to answer. It was super heartbreaking knowing that someone with a real desire to know the truth who had questions to be answered and yet we felt so helpless. Needless to say, it was at this point that I broke haha.  At least I waited a few days into right! I reassured the elders in my district that i cry when Im happy/sad/stressed etc so not to worry haha. Tuesday we taught him again and it went so much better as we stressed less about the language and more tried to understand his concerns and answer them. 

More than anything, since being here, I've grown so much and know more than ever that my Heavenly Father loves me and wants me to succeed. I know I'm in the right place and that Heavenly Father will use me, my faults and all, to bless the people of Russia.  I love getting up each morning to serve the Lord and know that if we try our hardest we will be blessed!

I love you all and miss you tons!!
Love Sister Allison

Sunday, September 2, 2012

And she's off. . . . .

Bryan and I dropped Amber off at the Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, August 29th.  She is now Sister Allison for the next 18 months.  As you can see she was happy and smiling.  What you don't see is all the tearful goodbyes which came the weeks before.  It was hard saying goodbye to all her work associates, friends, and especially family, but she is excited for what's to come.

The goodbye at the MTC was like a bandaid being yanked off.  It was so quick that I didn't have time to break down.  I was on the verge, so it's a good thing.  We will hear from her when she has a preparation day which will occur weekly, but I don't know yet which day.  Thanks to all of you who have influenced her for good over the years.  She's awesome and will be a great missionary!