Wednesday, May 16, 2012

3rd email from MTC

Hey everyone!! Here's Laura's 3rd email from the MTC. It's hard to believe that she's already been there 3 weeks! Enjoy!

Hello family!!!!
So it's hard to believe that 3 weeks have already gone by! This is the beginning of our fourth week! We have 8 more weeks left-the other Russians that got here before us are leaving in two weeks and we're going to miss them! They were all on a special 9 week program that was being tested. I realize though that I'm here for 12 weeks for a reason and I need that extra time to learn!
Mom, dad, grandma, anna, johnny-thank you so much for your letters and for being so diligent!
And mom thank you for sending my shower caddy-it literally is saving my life!
So this week was wonderful but the days are starting to feel a little routine. We seem to have a couple of ho-hum days interspersed with really wonderful days!
I'll just elaborate on some highlights:
Guess who came to talk last night at Tuesday Devotional?!!!! None other than Elder L. Tom Perry!!!! It was such a surprise since we had Elder Christofferson come the Tuesday before that! It was a complete surprise but the moment he walked in I was just hit with a wave of emotion and gratitude.
Yesterday I'd been having a rough day. I wasn't feeling productive with my studying, the language has gotten harder, our last lesson with our "investigator" was a bust because we didn't have time to plan and we didn't have a commitment or goal in mind so it didn't have any sort of direction, and I was just starting to feel anxious about things.
Nothing could seem to make me feel better or to get me out of the funk. So when Elder Perry walked in, it literally was an answer to my prayers and I just felt so much peace and joy! He talked about the priesthood b/c apparently May 15th is the anniversary of the restoration of the priesthood to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. He gave a great talk, but it was more his presence and the Spirit felt that made a bigger impression on me. He bore a powerful testimony of the priesthood and told us "Jesus Christ directs this missionary work."
How amazing is that?!!!
So that was absolutely wonderful! Being here has made me realize how much I need to improve on my faith in my Savior, especially when I have rough days.
Something else really neat: on Sunday when we went on our temple walk, we met this man from Ukraine named Vassily Osipenko. Apparently he converted to the church back in 92 and then served a mission for the church in Moscow! He talked to us for a long time and told us about the people and amazing stories from his mission. He gave us his business card so we could have referrals when we go because he knows lots of people in Moscow!
Talking to him just made me so excited to go to Russia and to meet the people. I wanted to talk to him all day long, but he had these three adorable little daughters with him who were playing around us the whole time and they were starting to get wrestless. He told us that the members in Russia LOVE the missionaries so much that apparently they will come to them with serious life decisions and questions like "Should I have a baby? Should I get married?" Talk about overwhelming!
This past week the language started to get a whole lot harder as we started getting more in depth with cases. In Russian, you not only have to conjugate verbs and whatnot, but the endings of nouns change depending on their position in the sentence, prepositions that come before them, or verbs that force different cases. We got this ridiculous little chart that has all the cases and their nouns endings and a bunch of ridiculous things. I understand them, but the idea of mastering them seems almost impossible. But I'm just going to continue to have faith that the Lord will enable me. It was funny-yesterday our teacher Brat Adams explained the instrumental case to us. At the end of the night all of our brains are pretty much fried.
I hadn't felt too tired up until the past couple of days, the fatigue started to hit me. I'm trying to stay postive though.
This past week me and my companion had a bit of a humbling when we realized that the way we were planning lessons out word by word wasn't working. You can't teach by the Spirit while you're reading something off to someone. So we just decided that we need to focus on good questions, have a specific commitment in mind, have some keys phrases, and then a couple of good scriptures.
We had two of our best lessons yet after we decided to do that. The atmosphere of our lesson with Kostya was completely different in our second lesson compared to our first because we were able to talk to him and he was much more receptive. He agreed to read the Book of Mormon, pray about it, and go to church!
I planned hard for that lesson and was able to recount to him a lot of the Joseph Smith story and have him read Moroni 10:3-5.
But our second lesson didn't go so well because we didn't have any time to plan. So it's kind of hard trying to achieve that balance between planning and letting the spirit and the needs of the investigator guide the lesson.
We get to go to TRC tonight, and then we have 3 more lesssons this week, and me and my companion are in charge of teaching a lesson during district meeting on Sunday. Oh, and we always have to be ready to give a talk in church in Russian on an assigned topic each week in case we get called on. So I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. Please keep me in your prayers! We just need to keep in mind that the Lord wouldn't give us this mission call if he wasn't planning on enabling us.
Something else that was neat: For the Sunday fireside, a member of one of my stake presidencies from my old singles ward at BYU came to talk! It was really cool to see a familiar face!
Please keep praying for me and thank you for your letters and your support!
And happy late mother's day! Love you all!

-Sister Schmidt

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