Friday, September 14, 2001

The end of my training

Get ready for lots of photos! Today is my last day with Sister Bullough. Tomorrow we will head to transfer meeting with her luggage. I will be staying in Perovo and receiving a new companion. Thankfully, I am not training (well no new sisters are coming anyways). My companion will Sister Carlson who has spent 6 or 7 transfers in her last district. I have a feeling that next transfer is going to be awesome. She has a lot of traits that I hope will rub off on me. I'll admit that her Russian is not the best but she does not let that hold her back. And everyone just loves her. So I am excitied. I will be sad that I will not be with Sister Bullough. We have gone through some rough times together and grown. But I know that this transfer is the Lord's will. It's funny how everything has worked out because we had some investigators passed to Perovo from Arbatski (where Sister Carlson has been serving) and that will make the transtition all the smoother.

In regards to your comments about the 90s, Sarah I have to tell you about the fashion trends. Of course leggings and the almost no clothes look is popular among the females. For men, mullets seem to be big, especially for little boys. I laugh everytime I see a mullet. And, just like the French, Russian women love their high heels. Today we went to a Renik (a huge bargaining mall) and I saw some rain boots... with high heels. 

Thank you for all your emails and words of encouragement. As you could probably tell last week was rough. Some many emotions were bubbling inside me and finally I exploded, starting with last Wednesday. I am not so much discouraged with the work as I was with myself. Our area is rough but at least we have investigators, which is more than some other areas. I hadn't felt like I had changed. In fact, I felt like I changed and became better and then regressed to pre-MTC state. There were some tears last week that I could not explain but I realized the problem. I focused too much on my weaknesses. I have learned a lot on my mission so far about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and God's love for me. I have also learned a lot about the reality of Satan and his power and how he wants us to be miserable. Because I focused so much on what I could not do I forgot who I was, the power of my calling, what I can become, and that I have the Lord helping me. Yesterday or Monday (I forget which) I sat on the train thinking of the things that I could change. As I thought of constructive, specific ways to improve I was filled with ideas that inspired me. They were simple really, and things that I know I should be doing but I felt enthusiasm and they refocused me on my purpose: Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. So I am pumped and ready to go.

And all the emotional whatnot last week reminded me of how much I am loved here on earth and by those I can't visibly see. Last Wednesday after English Club I had a chance to talk to Sister Thrall, my MTC companion. We breifly asked how each other was doing. She could probably tell that I was going through a rough time. The next day I found that she left me a chocolate bar and a very sweet note. 

Last Friday we had our first culture night! We went to the circus and it was SO COOL! I included some pictures of some of the acts. My favorite was the very first one in the spinning wheel. And yes, in one of those pictures they have blindfolds. Before the circus we went to Chili's with our district. The food may have been American but the service was so Russian. We ordered our food and they bought all our food, apetitzers and main dishes, out at the same time. There was not enough food on the table for all the dishes. And they rarely came by to check on us and we had to flag the waiters down to get the check. But the food was tasty. 

It was funny that you asked last week if I had given a talk dad. Sunday morning about two hours before church our district leader called us, "President Makarov called. He wants Sister Bullough to give a 10-minute talk and Sister Daniel to bear her testimony." Our study plans were shot for the morning as we freak out and prepared our talks. Then we got to church and as Sister Bullough was finishing her talk in walks President Sorenson, our mission president. But it went fine and all the missionaries (the four of us) spoke. Then we had dinner at a member's apartment. I am starting to like herbal tea and hot milk with honey.

On Saturday I fly to Kiev for my first visa trip. I am excited to be with Sister Thrall and have a long chat with her. But most of all I am excited to go to temple and feel the special peace there and to be instructed even further by the Lord. Hopefully, I will have some exciting stories to tell next week.

I love you all and am so thankful for all of your prayers and support. I know that the work is hard but I do love it. Most of all I am so grateful for the opportunity to give back to the God and give him my time and service. Afterall, I have so blessed, especially by all of you and I could never pay him back enough.