Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Last email from MTC & Leaving Monday for Russia

Hello family and loved ones and happy Fourth of July!
So the big day is this upcoming Monday that I will be leaving for Moscow! It is official that Moscow West missionaries are now simpy part of the Moscow Russia mission, so I will be flying to Moscow and staying at Presidnet Sorenson's house. We're leaving the MTC on Monday and 5:00am. We'll probably get to the airport about 6 and then get through security around 6:30 or 7. So family, I will be calling around 7am, which is probably about 8am on Monday, Houston time! Please answer the phones! Any-I'm not sure whether to call mom or dad's cell phone and I need Anna's number! Then our flight takes off from SLC at 8:30 and we fly to New York. We'll arrive at 3:10, & then we have an hour to hustle and make it to our next flight to Moscow. This flight takes off at 4:10 and then we arrive in Moscow 9:55 am (time change taken into account).
I still don't have my new address for Russia, because the one on my blog and facebook was for Moscow west, but I will send it my first email home in Russia! Until then, please do not mail anything to MTC, because I won't be here to get it, but if you want to write, email is probably the best way until then.
Today the temple was closed, so we had our whole P-day to pack, which has been a bit stressful but I think I have the situation under control. Delta now charges $75 for a second bag, which we have to pay out of pocket but then the church will reimburse us. I'm a little scared and excited and nervous and about a thousand other different emotions! This past Saturday we had our last weekly planning and last companionship inventory, and then we've had our last lessons with three of our "investigators" Lydia, Vanessa, and Rebecca, which makes me really sad. They've all agreed to a baptism date and I feel happy that we're leaving them on a good note.
Words can't even describe what this MTC experience has been like. I've never cried more in my entire life than since being here! Both the good cry and the bad cry! But I also have had some of the happiest moments, and have truly felt the Lord's love and have felt so loved by our teachers, and Sister Carver, and my district.
Last night was our last Tuesday devotional and we heard from an emiritus or retired seventy, Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi, who has served as a seventy for 36 years, was president of the Tokyo temple, mission president of Asia north, and mission president of the Honolulu, Hawaii mission. He was really funny and very direct and bore a very powerful testimony of the importance of being obedient and clean. He stressed that we should read the Book of Mormon and Preach my Gospel, everyday for personal study unless the Spirit dictates otherwise. He told us that "Angels are videotaping" us and told us that when we're clean and pure it's like holding hands with the Savior. He said that our number one souvenir to come home with is the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and that when we are obedient and worthy we can feel his presence 24 hours a day.
I loved his talk and felt that it was truly inspired for me, especially before heading out into the field.
I've realized since being here, that this experience at the MTC is not about the language but about strengthening our own personal testimonies of Jesus Christ and of the restored gospel. I feel that I can leave the MTC confident that I was diligent and did my best to study both the gospel and this language. I had started reading the New Testament this past week after finishing the Book of Mormon, but I felt impressed that I should restart the Book of Mormon. After deciding that, we heard Elder Kikuchi speak last night, who stressed the importance of reading the Book of Mormon everyday, so I felt like it was an inspired decision.
I've decided to make some goals for myself the first week that my teacher Sister Alletto helped me set: I want to talk to somebody everytime I go somewhere, and I want to talk to anybody I sit down next to.
I know that if I have the courage to open my mouth, that the Lord will fill it and allow me to speak the words that that person needs to hear.
I'm excited to see who I'll sit next to on the plane, to meet my mission president, and to meet my trainer, but most especially to meet the people I will teach!
It is surreal that I'm leaving in a couple of days, but I feel so excited and I'm grateful that 6 members from my district will be going with me to the same mission, because my temporary family will still be with me!
I love you all and thank you so much for your love and support and prayers!
I'm so grateful that I get to spend 4th of July here before leaving and to be a citizen of this great country! Tonight we actually get to watch a talent show and fireworks which I'm excited about!
Love you all!
-Sister Schmidt

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