August 24, 2011
So, it's odd to think about, and maybe it's bad to start every letter back home like this, but I've got 2 and a half weeks left. That's just crazy! I feel like I don't know NEARLY enough Russian to go, but at the same time, I really just want to head out and do the work, know what I mean? The ebst I can do is just use what time I've got left to study and pick up what I can.
It's so awesome to hear that Baby Brett is born! Was he born on the 22nd or the 23rd (I got the dearelder yesterday, so I thought maybe yesterday, but I don't know). If it was yesterday, then I totally guessed right! In any event, woo hoo! I can't wai8t to see the pictures :)
Sorry for the moderately late e-mail today, just been one of those days. But I'm here and doing fine! Russian is chugging along, though I really am just worried about learning enough before I go out. I still hate vocab cards with a passion, but I'm doing them and they do help. Just grumpy about them I guess -shrug-. Did ya'll still do things like vocab cards out in the field, or what did your study consist of? I'd imagine it'd be different from what it was in the MTC, but to be frank, I really don't know! Any suggestions would be most appreciated :)
Stuff in my district is going well! Everything's settled down, and has been for a couple of weeks now. We're all just anxious about prepping and going to Russia. We are getting our travel plans either tomorrow or next Thursday (I'm pretty sure it'll be next Thursday), so that'll be super exciting. Though, even though we will ahve travel plans, that doesn't necessarily mean our visa is fully done. They haven't told us anything about it, and I doubt they will until the time comes, so I should stop worrying about it. Still jsut crossing my fingers!
I saw a friend of Sean's today while I was at the temple! He said he served with Sean and recognized me from pictures (which is surprising since I'm guessing in pictures I'm not usually wearing a suit or glasses), but his name I think was Chris Tellington. Said he'd give you a call, but just in case he doesn't, just thought I'd tell you he saw me! Good times!
Thank you so much for your help and support over these past few weeks especially. Ever since the new Russian Elder's have come in time has been flying by and it kinda scares me a bit. But everytime I've got a letter it's boosted me up so much and has brightened my day quite a bit. Thank you especially to all my brothers. I'm so sorry I haven't written any of you back yet, and I promise I will before I leave the MTC. I know you understand (you all have been where I am now), but still, you are owed a lot more than you are getting. Thank you especially to Neil. You wrote quite awhile back, but your letter of support and suggestions has helped me quite a bit since I've been here, and I even used your suggestions the day I got it for one of my investigators!
Thanks Mom for sending out my New Testament book! I think I should be getting it within the next day or two. I jsut really miss my notes in my book about the second half of the New Testament and it'll help em in my studying of the first 4 Gospels too. Already been finding out so much though from my scripture study! I especially have been loving the Doctrine and Covenants lately. I think it's Section 11 where it talks about the 116 pages that were lost. Always before in classes and whatnot we had read abotu how awful it was that it was lost and the poor consequences that resulted from it. But in reading the chapter personally I was so incredibly uplifted.
Take this for instance. Here at the MTC, as I've mentioned many times, I don't like flashcards, but I know that I can learn a lot from them. Yet for a week or two I ddin't really do them or add to teh stack, and so as a consequence I ddin't learn as much as I could have. I felt extremely bad in having done so afterwards in thinking about it, because there was no reason not too and the whole purpose of flashcards is not to agitate me but rather to help me learn the language. But I felt a lot of comfort after thinking for a minute or two "Oh gosh, I'll never be able to learn Russian now and I'llf all behind and be stupid". After I had been thinking that a ray of reality hit my mind and brought some peace to it. Yeah, it's a bummer that I didn't do those flash cards, and yes, I really should have. But God know's I've been working hard here. I haven't slacked, though I could have worked more effectively, but I felt that God understood that.
Despite those lost pages, God still know that everything was going to be ok. In fact, He was so wise that He inspired His servants to locate those most precious doctrine to another part of the plates where they would stay undefiled and would be able to come out, in full, in these latter-days. In that same way, God knows I ddin't do flash cards, but He has still continually helped me and provided me a way to learn Russian.
That reminds me of something. For those of you who don't know, my teachers here at the MTC are not old, hired professional Russian proffessors who are experts at the language. Nah, one of the is 21 and the other is 22, barely returned fr4omt heir missions, hardly masters of the language, and they are hired to teach us. Perhaps it's hard to understand at times, but it amazes me that God is sending out 19 and 21 year olds out into all the world to preach His gospel. They are not master linguists, in fact sometimes the ones who struggle the most with language get the hardest languages, but by the grace and mercy of God they progress and learn, and are able to go out and perform the miracle daily of inviting others to come unto Christ and to accept His atonement.
I still don't understand why God wants me to learn Russia and go to Samara. I speak a lot better English and a lot fo the things I learn daily in my personal study in the scriptures I can't even begin to form into simple sentences. But the most vital parts of the Gospel have been taught to me in Russian, and I can string together coherent converstations. Even then, I am no master. But, this I do know. I know I was called, by divine revelation, to be where I am now, and to go where I will in the future. God knows me by name, and called me by name, to serve a special people. I know that, so much more and much much more powerfully than I know Russian. And in the end, that's what counts, right?
Thank you so much for your love and your support. Mom and Dad, I especially love you. I feel your prayers daily, and it gives me strength when I feel like I ahve none (paitence too). Thank you so much Mom for you love and care, whether it come in fruitsnacks or in velcro strips or in a loving letter. I love you so very much.
Everyday I thank my God for my family and for my friends. Without you, I would not be here. God be with you always, till we meet again.
Much love, as always