This week. Wow. It feels like a day. Where to start? Did you like my alliteration as my title? I couldn't think of what to call this email. The Snickers is because we laughed a lot, and I ate a Snickers ice cream bar two nights ago.
This week we had our first Skype TRC. (Have I explained what TRC is? It stands for Teaching Resource Center, and we teach members, usually RMs who speak Russian, but not always, a quick lesson. It's great because we teach real people as themselves and is good practice teaching in Russian, which we always need.) A Skype TRC is when we teach a member who's a native Russian. We taught Svetlana (Светлана), and she actually lives in Boise, Idaho. She was super nice and sweet. I was surprised how much I understood of the lesson, and I think it went really well. I was really nervous going into it because I didn't know what to expect, but it was so chill, and the Spirit really helped. I can't wait to do it again next Monday!
As a companionship, we have been working on SYL (Speak Your Language) more. The teachers really encourage us to use what Russian we know whenever we can, and if we don't know a word, we look it up and learn it. One day we all SYL-ed (SYL'd? You get it.) all day long. It really is amazing how much we know, how well we can work around what we don't know, and how it helped us learn. I think we were blessed for SYL-ing because when we taught эдуард (Edward), we had one of our best lessons with him so far. There's this quote in Preach My Gospel that says "Obedience brings blessings, and exact obedience brings miracles." I can definitely say that I'm beginning to see the truth of that statement!
There was the first snow of the season this week! Sister Balls-Barker cried because she was so happy. I was surprised how much snow fell that day, and it actually stuck overnight. It's gone now (actually, today's pretty warm), but I'm in no rush for it to come back because I know I'll be getting my fill soon enough.
Every Friday morning we have service, and we help clean the sister's residence hall. This week we were sweeping and mopping the stairs, and I finally memorized the first vision in Russian! It took me long enough, but I've got it. It's funny because I don't have it memorized word-for-word in English, but now I do in Russian. Now I'm working on memorizing the missionary purpose. It's easier because by now I know most of the words. The most difficult part of Russian right now is learning the vocab. and learning how to use the cases to add endings to words. Thankfully we have a fancy little chart to help with that, and one day I won't even need the chart!
Sister Balls-Barker story time. She does so many funny things, I just love it. We were all at dinner one night and there was a lull in the conversation, so Sister Balls-Barker asked Sister Thomas, "So, do you like to hang out with your cat?" Not random at all, right? She totally thought that was a normal question, and I guess it is, but it was so unexpected we all busted up. She just really wanted to know because she takes an interest in people's relationships with their pets. She's also been writing a poem in Russian about food, and it's actually really impressive because it rhymes. Do you know how hard it is to find rhymes in a language you've known for less than 2 months? When she finishes, I'll probably ask for a copy of it because it's really good.
Another story. One night, Sister Brayton, Sister Thomas, and I decided to scare Sister Balls-Barker, so while she was in the hall, I climbed into her closet and shut the door. We waited for her to come in, and she took, like, 10 minutes before she came into the room. What we didn't know was she was pretty much all ready for bed and had no reason to open her closet again, so Sister Brayton casually asked Sister Balls-Barker a question that would get her to open her closet. I was trying to hold in a laugh, but I let out one snicker, and Sister Balls-Barker was like, "Who was that?" Sister Thomas saved the day and said, "It was me," and Sister Balls-Barker said, "That's funny, it sounded like Sister Springer coming from your bed," and then she opened the door and I popped out and scared her and it was just really funny. I wish we could have recorded it.
More spiritual experiences! I had the chance to plan, study, and teach a lesson with my teacher, Sister Lund. It was just the two of us, and we taught an investigator named Deema (Дима). I loved seeing how an experienced RM planned and studied and taught, and there were lots of things I learned that I want to start incorporating into my own study.
For Sunday sacrament meetings, all the missionaries have to write a 3-5 minute talk (in Russian) and be ready to give it if the branch president asks them to (which is after the sacrament when he's announcing the rest of the meeting), and I was asked this week! It was on enduring to the end, which is a topic I love, but I was a so nervous. My heart was beating so fast! It was fine according to what other people told me. I did have to read most of it, but this probably means I won't be picked again in the next three weeks. Also, it means I have a bunch of short talks written in Russian that I can save for the field in case I need them. Also, Sister Brayton performed "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" as the musical number in sacrament, and it was so beautiful! It was my favorite arrangement of that song, and I wish I could record her singing it because she's so good. If you want to listen to the song, I think it's on YouTube, and it's the EFY version. It's really beautiful.
We had a great lesson from Brother Spjut (one of our teachers, who served in Vlad) about the true meaning of the fast. If you're interested, read Isaiah 58 and see what you find. Is fasting really about just going hungry and praying for blessings, or is there something more? I'd tell you the answer, but I'm running out of time (and it's good for you to study on your own).
Devotionals. Sunday, we listened to Sister Wixom (for the 2nd time, how 'bout that?), and she gave another great message. Last night we heard from Brother and Sister Burton. Sister Burton is the Relief Society general president, and she talked about Christ and the Atonement. The Spirit was really strong in the meeting, and she shared a great story about two twin boys. They were both riding bikes, and one of the little boys fell and scraped his knee. His brother quickly went to help him and began to carry him inside, but it was difficult because they were the same size. By the time they got inside, the brother who hadn't fallen was crying instead of the one who had, and when asked why he was crying, he said, "because my brother's hurt." That's exactly how Christ feels for us! When we are having a hard time, or when we're hurting, Christ is sad for us, and he knows exactly how we feel. It's nice to know there's somebody out there who can relate even when we think nobody else can possibly know how we feel.
This email was really long, but I hope I got in some great stuff! Have a great week everyone!