Well, I have so much to tell you all! First off I have an important annoucement:
RUSSIA IS GETTING ITS FIRST STAKE! (The caps should express how excited I am) And the stake will be in Moscow and be established on June 5! My teachers found out on Sunday and could not wait to tell us on Monday. I can't wait to get to Moscow!
Also, we had another visit from an apostle. This time it was Elder Neil L. Andersen. We have been very fortunate. The districts before us only heard two and that was towards the end of their MTC stay. He began his talk by mentioning that when he tells the apostles that he spoke at the MTC there will be a sigh because they all love talking to the missionaries. He mentioned that apostles love coming to the MTC because they feel the missionaries are one of them.
His talk was about what it means in 2 Nephi 2:6-8 that we are saved by the merits, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ. The merits of Christ are the power of resurrection, that all mankind will resurrect and how this will bring hope to people who have experienced tragedy. The mercy of Christ is that through Christ's Atonement, that he died for our sins, we can cleansed from sin. The grace of Christ is the power to become something you are not. And he suggested we read the entry for grace in the Bible Dictionary. I read it last night and it is beautiful.
Things are going really well. They are not perfect but everything is steadally moving upwards. Last week my companion and I taught at the TRC. It was a good lesson, but not our best. However, the observer (teachers observe us via cameras and offer feedback) mentioned that everytime he listened to Sister Thrall and I he felt peace. "This is a good companionship," he said before offering his feedback to the elders.
Then on Thursday I had my progress check interview with my teacher, Brother Wilson. It was overwhelming positive and uplifting. He said that I was progressing very well with the language. He said that the grammar concepts just click and I seem to absorb all the information. This was especially encouraging because one of the wives of our Branch presidency told us that Brother Wilson was a great missionary and they were impressed when he arrived in Russia by how much he knew. So hearing Brother Wilson express those comments about the language meant a lot.
He also said that I was a good teacher and he never worried about Sister Thrall and I. He hears us discuss our goals and said that the way we set our goals will help us be great missionaries. Lastly, he thanked me for my participation in class. I worry sometimes that I talk too much in class but I am glad he appreciates my comments.
Then on Friday Sister Thrall and I taught "Sergei" again. We learned more about the real Sergei too. He was an investigator Brother Gallo taught but he was never baptized. As we taught him, Brother Gallo said he received revelation on how he should have taught Sergei. He also said there was a moment of silence where he almost cried. Overall, things are going well.
We are now the only districts in our Branch. All the older ones went for their missions this week (all the elders wanted awkward sisters photos with us because our district has the only sisters in the Branch). That means that everything is in Russian. We will be giving talks in Russian at church, our elders will administer the Sacrament in Russian, and we will be teaching our investigators in Russian. In fact, tonight we teach our first investigator in Russian. We have been practicing teaching a lot in Russian so I feel we will be ready to give a simple lesson. We shall see how it goes.
All else is going great. I love learning Russian and learning more about the Russians. It seems I will need to learn to like mushrooms and herbal tea, though. I can't wait to get to Russia but I enjoy this time to prepare myself spiritually to teach the Russian people. I love this Gospel and the chance I have to share it. It has brought me the most hope and happiness in my life. God truly loves us, His children. I hope everyone has a great week.
With love, Sister Daniel