Thursday, June 30, 2016

Halfway There! (Week 4)

It's Thursday! You know what that means!! AN EMAIL FROM OUR FAVORITE SISTER MISSIONARY!!!! And she sent pictures this time, so you're in for a real treat!!

"On Sunday I gave a talk in Russian and it was pretty awesome! It was about 5 minutes long and I barely had any issues with any of the words! My district also did the musical number which was singing Nearer My God to Thee in Russian. (In the MTC we have a special musical number every Sunday).

I never thought I would be so happy for the Mission President seminar to be over. We are back to our regular food now, and I guess you really just don't appreciate something until it is gone. We finally have more than one choice for food again Hoorah!!!

Service is seriously the antidote for everything, I swear. I have learned so much about serving other people in the short weeks that I have been here! I love how it makes me feel when I can think about other people.

Our regular Russian teachers are both back in town finally, so the schedule isn't quite so crazy anymore (we don't have a new teacher everyday). It's good because they know what we have and haven't learned. I am getting better and better at remembering and recognizing words everyday! We are trying to memorize around 20 words a day, and it gets easier all of the time. I am starting to recognize what type of endings Russian uses for verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc. The cases are super tricky, though, and learning the masculine and feminine words is a pain! However, seeing how far I have come in this short time, I can't imagine where I will be in 18 months!! It's really cool to hear the new missionaries in our zone learning so much already. When we have zone prayer, we get to hear Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian praying! It's absolutely amazing. This has got to be one of the coolest places in the world.

In other news, we can teach a lesson without looking at any books now, it's a little hard, but we are getting so good! My companions are amazing.

On Wednesday, we got to host new missionaries again. There were only a couple hundred coming in this time instead of 800. I hosted a cute sister going to Canada Calgary English speaking. She was so excited to serve her mission. It's funny to watch people being dropped off because they're always either super excited or super sad. I think I was a little of both!

There's not much else to say this week besides I love all of you and I love being here! I cannot believe that I am halfway into my MTC stay. I am sad that I will be leaving the other Sisters when they go to Russia, but I am so blessed to have met them all. The friends I have made here will last a lifetime!

Sister Jenne"

Unfortunately, Sister Jenne didn't caption the pictures, so I can't tell you what is going on in all of them, but it sure looks like she is still learning a lot and having an awesome time!! I chatted with her over email, and I know that she is absolutely loving it there so far! Stay tuned!!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

We Are the "Oldest" Now (Week 3)

I've been so lame with making sure I get these posts up on time!! I'll do better, y'all, I promise!
Here's the email for this week.

"So, when I say that we are the oldest in our zone now, I mean that everyone else in our zone LEFT to go to either the field or the SPAIN MTC. I have new companions now! Yes I have two instead of one! Sister Wilson and Sister Bolander are awesome companions. Our little class is so much fun.

 From Monday to Wednesday, we only had 5 people in our zone/branch. And we were all sisters. We went those days without zone leaders, and we all got callings and assigned to teach on Sunday because it will be the first Sunday for the new missionaries. They are lucky that it isn't fast Sunday...that was the worst.

Anyways, Sister Blonquist and Sister Mitchell from the other district joined our district (but not our class), and they got called as the Sister Training Leaders for the new sisters coming in. I got called as the Online Coordinator (thankfully), Sister Wilson is the music coordinator and Sister Bolander is the District Leader now. It's weird because the District Leader is usually an Elder, but we don't have any so when we go to get the mail it's just a ton of Elders looking at us wondering what we are doing in their territory haha. It is wonderful.

I learned this past P-day that I really am not very good at doing laundry. I honestly still don't know what I am doing even though I've been doing my own for almost a year now. Last week I tried drying the clothes twice and they still came out wet. I had to hang everything up in the room for them to air dry. It was frustrating because then everything dried all gross.

On Friday Sister Shippen had to head to the doctor. It was weird to miss class and be out in Provo with our badges...and to ride in a car! Super strange. Everyone was asking us about where we were serving and saying hello! We got to see some people coming out from getting their wisdom teeth removed and that was very entertaining.

Sunday I had to teach district meeting all by myself. Thankfully it was in English and not Russian. It was hard because I have never really taught a lesson that long by myself like that before, but it ended up being ok.

Speaking of Russian, it has been so much better this week! LIKE SO MUCH BETTER because my class only has 3 people now and we are getting so much one on one time with our teachers. Also, A lot of the teachers have been going out of town, so we are getting to have new substitutes all the time and we get to hear a bunch of different Russian accents which is SO helpful. I can understand what the teacher is saying about 80% of the time which is a huge step of progress as compared to last week. The hardest thing is remembering how to say words. I have so many words at the tip of my tongue, and as soon as I hear them I know what they mean, but remembering them is difficult! I am getting better every day. We are also learning how to read and write Russian cursive which is pretty tricky. Everything is going so much more smoothly! We have learned about conjugations and the cases in Russian and they are so confusing, but it is starting to make sense.I am amazed every day at how much I have been able to learn here in the MTC.

My favorite scriptures from this week are Samuel 16:7. 2 Nephi 9:51, and 1 Nephi 20:18

The new missionaries in our zone are awesome! Only a few of them are Russian speaking though...the rest are Latvian speaking, Estonian, and Lithuanian speaking. I feel bad for the Elders that are going to be called as Zone Leaders their second day here. wow I can't imagine.

сестра дженни (that's my last name in the Russian alphabet)
Sister Jenne"

For some reason, she didn't send pictures this week! I'll be sure to remind her to send them next time! Make sure you look up those scriptures she liked and stay tuned!!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Pet Plants, Cafeteria Food, and Inspiration (Week Two)

Hey, everyone! I was at EFY this past week, so I'm putting this blog post up a couple days late. I'm so sorry about that!! Anyways, here is Sister Jenne's email for this week, and I will attach the pictures after the email!

"I have decided that it is super weird that the rest of the people in my zone are going to Russia. They are always talking about power converters and snow and how to be baptized in Vladivostok, you have to cut into the ice to get to the water underneath (there is legitimately a picture of missionaries in the Vladivostok mission doing that hanging up in one of the buildings). Sister Bolander and Wilson are going to Vladivostok and the rest of my district is going to Moscow. The Russia Moscow missionaries go to the Spain MTC on Monday. There will be 5 people in my branch next Sunday unless we get some Baltic missionaries on Wednesday. So lonely. I am so sad that Sister Shippen is leaving! She has been a wonderful companion and friend. I don't know how to missionary and MTC without Sister Shippen!!

Some things we discovered this week:

The song head, shoulders, knees, and toes absolutely does not work in Russian. The Russian words for those have entirely too many syllables to work correctly with the tune of the song. We have also learned that Ukrainian Russian is entirely different. They have a different accent there than they do in Russia even though it is the same language.It's almost like the difference between American English and British English. Hopefully we will get the hang of it eventually. I am understanding SO much more as our teachers talk to us and learning how to remember words by looking them up in the dictionary and then writing them down and then reviewing them throughout the day. The best way to learn words and phrases is to use them in everyday life! Memorization just doesn't work so well for me. I have also learned that having a blanket from home is the best thing ever. Also sheets. The blanket and sheets that they give to you in the MTC are crappy. I love having my soft blanket that actually keeps me warm and isn't basically thin enough to be see-through. The food is on kind of a cycle. It seems like we have some type of burger like 3x a week (whether it be a turkey burger or a pork or maybe even a beef one once in a while). The cafeteria food definitely gets old after a couple weeks. ONLY 7 to go! 4-square is so fun! I don't know why I never played it more in middle school. It's so entertaining how intense and competitive it can get. It's a lot of exercise as well! I'll be a pro by the time I leave the MTC.

Our investigator's name is Tapac. Which in Russian is pronounced Taras, but we think it's so funny that we call our investigator Tupac all of the time. It never gets old. I'm just worried that one day we might accidentally call him the wrong name during a lesson.

Our zone had a rock-paper-scissors bracket and I am proud to say that I made it past the first round. The other district ended up winning, but Sister Shippen got to the semi-final!

We hosted this week and it was a lot of fun. The new missionaries coming in were all so happy, but it was emotional to watch them all say goodbye to their families. I hosted a Sister from Tahiti that was called to New Zealand and another from Idaho that was going to Cali Spanish Speaking. IT was a lot of fun and I hope that I get to do it a few more times while I am here.

We have the baptismal question and most of the First Vision story memorized in Russian.

We also discovered a new verse for I believe in Christ, it goes like this:
"I believe in Christ, he bled for me. So for him I'll serve, unselfishly. I'll share his word of love and grace, enlisting all in royal ranks. I believe in Christ. I fight with faith. The sword of truth I'll wield with strength, and so I'll shout to everyone those words of his 'thy will be done'"
We sang it for Sacrament meeting and it actually worked with the music pretty well.

Choir is absolutely amazing! The chorister is my favorite. We sang the opening song for the devotional on Tuesday with Elder Soares. His Brazilian accent was awesome sounding. English is like his 4th language! #goals

We have plants, and I am supposed to ask everyone from home if they have any name suggestions. Please send them back!

Never forget...if you want different results you have to do different things! I have learned this so much this week and it is 100% true!!

I was so tired this week that I literally fell asleep during personal study time, but I am still loving it!!!!! Especially now that my cold has cleared up. I love you all!

With Love,
Cectpa Jenne"

As you can see, Sister Jenne is doing great! I received a couple of pictures from Sister Jenne's companion that are also from this week. 

"Our first day with the orange dots!"

"Exercise time!!"

Stay tuned!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Life in a Bubble! (Week One)

EEEEE!! Today is Sister Jenne's P-day!! You know what that means... an email and pictures!! Here's what Sister Jenne- or should I say Cectpa Jenne- had to say about her first week at the MTC:

"Hey everyone! I don't have much time to email, but I just wanted today that everything is awesome! I love it here in the MTC. Everyone I have met is so nice.

I don't even know where to start!! So, so much has happened in the past 8 days. 

Obviously, today is my P-Day. We have time around 8am to print off emails and reply to short ones and then time around 10am to email longer emails while we are doing our laundry. Speaking of laundry, I feel like I am already getting tired of wearing skirts every day...but at the same time I really like wearing skirts all the time. I don't exactly know how to describe the feeling. Day 1 was terrifying. Brother Hale, my teacher doesn't speak in English unless we really have no idea what he is saying. We spend around 10 hours a day in our classroom, but about half the time our teacher isn't there and it's just used for unsupervised Personal, Companion and Language study. That time is also used to teach our investigator. I have only been here a week and my companion (Cectpa Shippen) and I have already taught her five half hour lessons. She only speaks Russian so we have to teach in Russian...a lot of the time this consists of us reading off of the piece of paper, but day by day we are remembering more words and relying more on the Spirit to help us remember words and phrases without having to read them out of the books. There are SOOO many books. I'll attach a picture of the books that they gave us. I have everything in English and Russian along with a ton of Russian grammar books. That's not even including the books that I brought with me!! 

Cectpa Shippen is an artist and so she drew a picture of each missionary in my district on the white board. We have little speech bubbles that we each write a new Russian word in every day and we try to learn each other's words throughout the day. It's a fun and pretty awesome way to remember words. 

All of the missionaries that are going to Moscow will leave for the Spain MTC in about a week and a half (including my companion). There will only be about 5 missionaries left in my zone. Which is crazy because that means that our sacrament meeting will be so empty untl we get new Russian or Baltic missionaries. In sacrament meeting we have to sing the Hymns in Russian which is SO hard. But, we are getting better at it every time we do it! The gift of tongues is real guys!

I was sick for the whole first week that I was here. This place is a breeding grounds for colds. Almost everyone I talk to has had a time when they were sick here. I would sneeze literally hundreds of times per day and have to blow my nose all of the time. I am already out of the Kleenexes that I brought, but luckily, I am getting better and finally feel pretty much back to normal today. The days are so long (we wake up at 6 and then go to bed at 10:30 everyday). P-Day has been so nice because we haven't spent any time in the classroom yet today. 

I accidentally wore my watch in the I might need someone to send me a new one because now it is all foggy and super hard to read ALTHOUGH it does still work. I love getting the DearElders that Emma and Paden have been sending me. I'm not homesick, but it is good to hear from people. I also spend a few minutes every day looking through my little photo album. I just have like 10 minutes a day where I allow myself to be sentimental and then it's back to work! 

Every Saturday we do service. I really thought that cleaning the showers was kinda fun at first until I realized that I had to do it 14 times haha. It's nice to know that all the missionaries here are willing to clean up after themselves, though, and cleaning together keeps us close. My ddsitrict always finds a way to make everything fun (we probably have too much fun than we shoud when we should be studying). 

One of the coolest things is that when we sing "Called to Serve" everyone sings so loudly and it just seems so real because we are actually doing what the song says! Also, when we sing "To Bring the World His Truth," we change the words from "and we will be the Lord's missionaries" to 
"and we are now the Lord's missionaries." It feels so good to sing that. 

On Sunday when we did our temple walk, all of the different Russia missions took pictures together. It was sad because I didn't get to get in any of the pictures, but I feel cool being so unique. Being the only person in the whole MTC that is going to Seattle Russian speaking. Everytime I tell someone that their mouth just falls open! 

I am so grateful to be one of the millions of members of this church. I can't believe that I ever cnsidered not sserving a mission and passing up the opportunity to be in the presence of the spirit at all times. I can't believe that I almost missed an opportunity to hear from an apostle of God on a random Tuesday night when I wuld probably otherwise be scrolling through Insta. There is just something so very special about the MTC and the people here. Elder Bednar spoke on the character of Jesus Christ's ministry. The incomprehensible love that Jesus pour upno their children and the stunning fact that even as every individual who has ever lived or will yet live is known in perfect detail by God who has created this vast and beautiful universe. It amazes me that I can be significant enough to warrant any of his time. I cannot imagine going through my life without this spiritual intervention. I am only a week into 18 month, but I have already learned so much! I hope to someday become worthy of this badge that I wear. I am going to try and remember to always turn outwards in the business of loving and serving my brothers and sister just as Christ did. The spirit and the undemable feeling of peace and blessings gained from living anb obedient and loving life are a witness to me of something that I have known for a long time: if we live the gospel how we are supposed to, we won't have to tell people that we are "good christian," they will already know it. 

the shepherd doesn't follow the lost sheep, the 1 in 99, because he knows it will easily follow him back to the herd. He follows the lost sheep even though it will run away and fight not to know the truth that the fold is the safest and most comfortable place for that sheep. I testify that Christ wants the same for each and every single one of his children. God looketh on the heart. We must not judge others. 

This place is such a bubble. Like BYU but WAY MORE OF A BUBBLE. It's a little bit of a culture shock, but I love all of the awesome people that i have met and am having so much fun! I hope that everything is going well with all of you and I love you all so much.

Much Love,
Cectpa Jenne"

These are the picture Sister Jenne sent us! It looks like she is having an awesome time and I am so proud of her and what she is doing/preparing to do on her mission! 

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Welcome to the MTC!!

Today, Sister Jenne checked in at the MTC! How exciting is that?? Grandma Williams and Aunt Diane dropped her off at the MTC. She sent out an email to let everyone know that she made it there safely! Here's her email:

"Hey! I made it here, and they are having me email you guys so that you will know I am here safely.

Immediately, an adorable host helped me with my bag and showed me everywhere that I needed to go to get oriented. I don't actually remember her name because I was so overwhelmed. I think it was something like Sister Wingo. She was going to the Baltimore Maryland mission and she has only been at the MTC for 2 weeks! I guess she will be heading out soon since she is an English speaking missionary.

The process of getting in was like a well-oiled machine (seriously!!!). There were signs and people directing me exactly where to go. I got my name tag and then they took me to get a GIANT bag of books. They gave me everything in Russian (even the things I already had). It definitely weighs more than 11 pounds...I don't know where that statistic came from haha!

I just watched the orientation video and now I am going to go straight into language learning, I think. I already got spoken to in Russian and it was pretty crazy. The only words I recognized were "home" and "yes". Maybe I should have done some more Duolingo. I'm sure everything will be okay!

I will email again when I can.

With love,
Sister Jenne"

She seems to be very excited and I know she'll do awesome! Here are some pictures that were taken of her just before she went in.

Before she went in, she got to go to the Provo temple grounds and take a few pictures.

Here's Sister Jenne waving goodbye to everyone with a cheerful smile on her face! She looks so happy to be there and I know she is going to do some absolutely awesome things with the Russian-speaking people of Washington!