Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Week 6 - Over the hump!

Hello dearest family and friends.
Well, I am officially over the hump. Week 7 has now begun. This past week was nice as there have been a lot less missionaries on our floor with 4 districts gone. Church was interesting with only 20 missionaries. In addition, our Branch President and Second Counselor were on vacation so it felt really small. We sang the hymn, The Iron Rod, in Russian and if one voice did not know the words you could hear it which made it very unfortunate that none of us had sung the song before and the pianist played it very fast. Afterwards, the Second Counselor's wife spoke and said, "I don't think that was our best hymn. We may need to practice it more."
Today we receive new missionaries! In our zone we are getting 48 elders! Sadly, no sisters in our zone but in the other Russian zones there will be 3 more which means 7 sisters in total learning Russian. We are most definitely the minority. And how those you wondering, Elder Dougherty is my district! I have not seen him yet but I am keeping a lookout. It will be nice to have some family learning Russian, even if he is family through marriage.
Last Wednesday as I briefly mentioned in my last email Sister Thrall and I taught in Russian for the first time in the TRC (Teaching Resource Center where we practicing teaching people who know Russian). Before hand my companion had been pretty stressed out and nervous. I was nervous too so I figured I would be the optimistic one even when I was also nervous. We survived the lesson and it went really well. I did not understand as much as I wanted to and often my companion spoke more than I did (she had previous Russian experience in high school, did I ever mention that?). But overall it went well. At the end we asked our investigator to pray to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet. We said something but we did not understand and we stared at her blankly. She asked us if we understood and we shook our heads. "I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet because of your words." We instantly perked up and were very happy.
Afterwards I was so relieved it was over that I burst into tears. It was partly relief and partly because I was only then feeling how nervous I was. My poor teacher was not entirely certain how to respond or act.
What other exciting things have happened? On Thursday as we were preparing for bed the fire alarm in our building went off. Some sisters on the floor above us burnt their popcorn and set off the alarm. We stood outside for about 30 minutes. Thankfully, it was a good night.
Our distrinct is doing fine. This past week we had three half days of only Russian. We did well up until the last hour then it all fell apart. We have lots of laughs in class. Saturday we played "Do you love your neighbor?" with our new clothing vocabulary. When the word for skirt came up two of the elders did not know the word and got up anyway. We all laughed really hard. We laughed even harder when one of those elders stood up when the word for blouse came up.
Then we have progressive investigators. Things with Sergei are going well. He loves meeting with us but is struggling to know Christ. We also now have Sasha who we are still getting a feel for. Our teachers really get into their role. Apartently a bee flew on one of the elders during their lesson and his companion and Brother Gallo freaked out and began blowing on him. But somehow, he still managed to stay in character.
Oh! I just saw Elder Dougherty! It is so exciting to see all the new elders.
Life is going swimmingly here in the MTC. Of course it is easy to overeat and there never seems to be enough gym time, even with the early morning sisters workout at 6am. But only a few more weeks and we will be in Moscow. Crazy how the time is flying by, especially as I realize how little Russian I actually know. But I am working hard or trying to work hard. Last night Elder Richard G. Hinckley (President Hinckley's son) came to the MTC and he stressed the importance of working hard. He reminded us that we are not on a mission to "be cool". As we walk around town we won't be cool so don't try.
I love you all and the longer I am here the more I realize how much I love Jesus Christ. Through all my hard times He has been there and He is the reason I have survived. Through Him we truly can find eternal happiness with our families.
I hope life is treating you well. I pray for all of you and I love hearing from you.
-Love Sister Daniel

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