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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

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

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