Hello family and loved ones!!!!
Oh my goodness time has flown by and this past week and has been jam-packed!!!!
Thank you as always for your letters and support-please send me more because I only have 10 days left in the U.S. and then once I get to Russia, I'll only get letters every 6 weeks!!!!!
And mom, please send me the stuff I asked for before its too late!
I still don't have my Russian address, but I will probably have it by next Wednesday for everyone after we get our travel plans!!!!
I hope everyone is having a good summer and doing well!
Right now it's new mission-president's conference at the MTC.
On Saturday we didn't have class because the new mission presidents were meeting with missionaries from their mission. We didn't have a new mission president for Moscow, so the rest of the missionaries got to watch "The Other Side of Heaven" which was a pleasant surprise! I'd never seen it the whole way through, but really enjoyed it. I was suprised how some parts of the film were actually a little uncomfortable to watch, that wouldn't have bothered me as much before my mission. Which I think is proof of how strong the Spirit is in the MTC and also how sensitive it is!
So yesterday we got to go to a special devotional, because it's mission conference for all of the new mission presidents!
So the prophet and all of the twelve and first presidency have been here, but we haven't been able to see them because they have seperate training with the mission presidents. I was kind of bummed about that.
But yesterday's devotional was a special one that was in the afternoon instead of the evening!
We got to be in the same room as all of the new mission presidents and then seated on the stand were Elder Perry, Oaks, Holland, Nelson, Ballard, Bednar, Scott, Anderson, Christofferson, and Cook!!!!! So TEN of the TWELVE!!! Presidnet Packer wasn't there or Elder Hales and none from the first presidency but it was soooo amazing to be in the same room as ten of the twelve apostles and the Spirit was so strong!
I was thinking to myself, "These are the closest men on earth to Christ....and there are ten of them here!" It was soo amazing and I felt so blessed to have that opportunity, because I know that if I was doing anything else in my life right now, I wouldn't have had that experience.
Elder Perry was the speaker, so we got to hear from him again which was wonderful.
I was a little suprised at the talk because I was thinking it would be doctrinal, but he actually spoke and shared statistics from the church from different studies that have been done around the U.S. by univesities and other institutions.
He called it "The Mormons Next Door" and here are some of the stats for the church:
LDS women live 5 years longer than non-LDs
LDS men live 10 years longer
Because of fasting, LDS are 40% less likely to have clogged arteries
90% of LDS report satisfaction with their lives as opposed to the national average of 75%
81% of LDS say that being a good parent is an important life goal
The more education LDS church members have, the higher percentage of church activity which is unusual because the opposite is true for most other religions
80% of those who served missions believe it prepared them for careers.
LDS perform on average 428 hrs of volunteer service as opposed to 48 hrs of average American. 9 times more!
100% of donation for humanitarian efforts go to charitable causes.
Beneficiaries of church welfare do not become dependent.
And according to the Wall Street Journal, the welfare program of the church, "Creates the kind of safety net that government can never hope to create."
He also spoke about the perpetual education fund and how 50,000 from impoverished backgrounds have benefitted from it and they earn 3-4 times as much as those who are not given opportunity from impoverished background. So it really struck me as to how the church is trying to help all of humanity-whether LDS or not!
And the church is making great efforts to break cycles of poverty in countries where people have no opportunity, and it in turns benefits those countries!
His talk really reaffirmed my testimony of how perfectly the church works, becuase it is GOD'S church, and it has only one aim: to benefit God's children, which is everyone!!!!
Unlike government institutions, there is no corruption, because it only wished to benefit everyone!
So that was a really interesting and eye-opening talk and helped reaffirm the knowledge that I'm also going out to do the Lord's work and try to better his children and this world! After the talked Elder Scott waved to us and Elder Holland blew us all a kiss! I was really hoping to get to hear from Elder Holland at some point in the MTC, but I loved Elder Perry and I was happy that we just got to be in the same room as ten of the twelve! Some non-Russian missionaries were complaining afterwards that they didn't think it was a spiritually uplifting talk and I was just so surprised and thought to myself "Seriously?! How can you be complaining?! What a priviledge to see them at all!!!!" I've been very impressed to realize the caliber of the missionaries going to Russia, because I rarely see behavior or hear things that suprirses me like that. But I might also be a little biased!
I can't believe I only have 10 days left in the US! We should be getting our travel plans here in the next couple of days, so we'll need to start packing and I'll find out exactly where we're flying!
Today was our last temple trip because it will be closed next Wednesday for fourth of July! Me and Sister Carver were pretty sad, because we've been able to go every week for the last 10 weeks, but we think we'll be able to go on Visa trips and hopefully get to go to the Kiev Ukraine temple!!!!
Last Wendesday, me and Sister Carver got to participate in the How to Begin Teaching workshop for new missionaries. We basically got to "knock" on a door of an investigator's house and then get to know them for about ten minutes before they let the new missionaries take over.
Our second investigator was this hilarious Japanese man who kept telling us about how his friend told him that he was sending the "cutest missionaries" and that he said that his friend said we were going to sing for him! We had a microphone and were in front of a huge group of new missionaries so were like....ummmm....please no!!! He kept making jokes and trying to get us to sing and we were trying to stall him by saying a prayer and asking him questions! Luckily, the teacher in charge of the workshop cut us off before he could get us to sing!!!
So that was a really fun experience and I feel blessed to have been able to participate in it!
We also got a new "investigator" this past week named Lydia who's very sweet. She's an elderly grandmother and was already taught in Ukriane by the missionaries, so she knows about the Book of Mormon and a little about the Plan of Salvation, but hasn't quite gained a testimony yet. So it will be fun to teach her for the next week before we leave!
I love you all and miss you all! Please write to me and pray that I will be able to get everything together before we leave!