Monday, January 30, 2012

Beginning to say goodbye

This past weekend (January 27 - 29th) has been a wonderful one for us. We had our last night at the Boston temple Friday night. It was truly a highlight for both of us. We had a chance to work with some of our wonderful friends that we have served with over the past years. Some of our friendships truly are very precious to us.
We were both VERY busy and the night just flew by. The icing on the cake was the sealing of Matt and Marcia Long and their two precious little boys. Words cannot describe the joy we felt as we gathered together with dear friends to witness the celestial marriage, sealing them together as a forever family. Isn't this what it's all about? Temples are all about forever families.
I truly cannot imagine what it would be like if we did not have the opportunity of spending eternity with those we love.
Dave was released as a sealer from the Boston Temple and I was released as an ordinance worker from the Boston Temple.
We both recognized the special blessings we received this last night in the temple.
We anticipate that our mission will fly by and we will be back serving in the temple once again.

Stake Conference on Saturday and Sunday provided us with the opportunity to see many friends that we don't see very often and gave us a chance to say dos vidonya for a time. When our mission was mentioned Saturday night and the location of our mission, there was an audible gasp.
We feel blessed and feel the support of friends and family as we begin this new season of our lives.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Speaking in Russian

 Today  Dave and I were asked to speak in our ward (congregation) on our preparations for our fast approaching mission. We each began our remarks with a few words in Russian. We could tell they were REALLY impressed, especially when I emphatically told them that the one thing I did NOT want to do was to learn a new language. Dave had more interest in learning a new language than I did. However, as previously mentioned, the opportunity was afforded to us to have a wonderful tutor (a returned missionary  recently back from a mission in Ukraine which language is quite similar to Russian). Why would we turn down an opportunity to learn (or at least make a serious attempt?) Anyway, we have been working very hard in our preparations - physically (getting in better shape by working out at the gym, and striving to be as healthy as we can be) and spiritually (being prayerful and reading the scriptures and other Church material).

 It is our desire to serve the Russian people to the best of our ability.  So we will add learning Russian. This is taking time and patience but is also rewarding as we figure things out, understand more and can speak more simple phrases Hopefully in the next 17 hours of language training before we leave, we will improve even more and feel more confident in our ability to communicate with these wonderful people whom we are being called to serve. Once we arrive at the MTC we will meet up w/ Carson Monson (our tutor) again and have another 8 hours of language training.

I didn't have much confidence in myself that I could learn a new language. I am learning however, that if I put the time in that I can learn. Psalms 118:8 says "it is better to trust the Lord than to put confidence in man". Ok, when we sent in our papers to serve a mission in the first place we decided not to make any specific requests but to let the Lord decide. Since He decided to send us to Russia, and gave us the chance and opportunity to learn a new language than I have to trust that He will help me accomplish this.

Dos vidonya and boods da rove.

Friday, January 20, 2012

There are different kinds of missions

We leave for Salt Lake on March 1, just under 6 weeks. We know that we are going to be in the mission office. I will be acting as secretary and Dave will be working with finances, but we don't know what else we will be responsible for, what our hours are or anything like that. We'll let you know that later when we actually know.

We were aware when we started the process that there are different kinds of missions. Humanitarian, Church Education, office (like us), working with young single adults program (18 - 30 years old), leadership where the missionaries help strengthen the church in areas of the world that are struggling. I'm sure there are others.

We have friends at the temple, the Hadleys who served a Russian humanitarian mission. They loved it and have been very helpful in answering questions and helping us practice our Russian. There is another couple, the Alicos, that we know who are serving in Nahodka. It is WAY out there. They have been helping strengthen the little ward in this remote area. We just learned from them that they are being transferred. WOW.

Brother and Sister Alico just left from Nahodka, traveling west into Siberia to be in a city on the east of Lake Baikal. THEN in March when another missionary couple goes home, they will travel again between that city to one on the west side of the lake to work with the Young Singles in two branches. Now, get this. These two branches, which mean VERY small congregations (I'm guessing  20 - 40 people) are 7 hours apart by train. My hat goes off to them for their dedication. They have told us what a wonderful experience they are having and how much they love the Russian people.

I have to admit, the closer we get to leaving the more excited I am for our mission to begin. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about Russia and the Russian people. Since I am a people person, I am curious as to how well I will be able to communicate with them with my limited Russian.

We have been continuing our lessons. We have 18 more hours of lessons with Brother Monson (who is distantly related to President Monson. Of course I wanted to know.) That should help since we have learned the alphabet and a few phrases and some numbers, all of which will be beneficial to know once we are there.

Until next time boods dah rove and dos vidonya.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dobrey Dee en, Men ya za voot Barbara. Men Moosh David. Cock de lah? Skohl vuee?  Mbl harashow. Ya eez Massachusetts. Mbl ochen pree aht nah. Cock vos sz voot?

OK, enough of that. Just a few phrases (even though not necessarily w/ the Russian characters. I have to)figure out how to do that.

Tomorrow it will be 7 weeks  until we board a plane for Salt Lake City. We are keeping very busy. I started packing a couple of days ago. There will be a lot of switching things around and changing my mind, but with three "piles" I still feel I am ahead of the game.

We are both continuing our Russian lessons. We both know the Russian alphabet pretty well now and now we are working on our numbers. Since I have the alphabet down, I wake up counting to 10 in Russian. Still struggling w/ 9 and 10. We are supposed to be learning 11 - 20. Both of us are trying to write things in Russian and are reading some. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law Don and Trixie Sutton are sending us messages on FB in Russian using the Russian characters. It is fun to try to figure out what they say and I am proud to say we are usually able to figure it out. We are starting to read in Russian! Long ways to go, but it is a start.

We both feel that we will be in a better position to serve the Russian people if we can at least understand a few of their phrases. Plus I think it shows them that we care enough to at least to try.
We have a very busy week ahead. Dave is SO organized (it's almost scary). Me? not so much, but I am making progress.

Until next week, dos vidonya.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Eight week countdown

Eight weeks from today we enter the MTC (Missionary Training Center). Wow. That isn't very far away. We have been busy learning Russian. We have a wonderful tutor named Brother Monson who tutors us on Skype for one hour 3 times a week. So far we have learned the alphabet. It is a bit confusing because their characters are different for some of the letters, some letters we have arn't existent in Russian and in some, like the letter P is an R ( a rrrrolling r), a B is a V, a 3 is a Z, like that. We have gone over and over it and I think we have the alphabet down pat. YAY. Now on to our letters one to ten. Number 4 is the hardest to pronounce. We have also learned a few key phrases (such as where is the bathroom) Pretty crucial, don't you think?

We are following Moscow weather and so far they are very similar to what we have here in Thorndike MA. We hear they are having a milder winter thus far. Hmmm. I wonder if that means that next winter when we are there for the whole winter, will be severe? HOPE NOT.

We have been in contact w/ the missionaries in the mission office where we will be working and whom we will be replacing. We have also been in touch with others who have spent time in Russia or are there now and we have heard nothing but wonderful things about the Russian people.

We are SO excited for our journey to begin. So much to still do and we are chipping away a little each day. Dos vidonya, friends. That is goodbye in Russian. Until next week. boods da rove (bless you!)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Our journey is about to begin!

Hi Everyone. Welcome to the beginning of our journey. Who would have ever thought that Dave and I would be headed for Moscow Russia to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? It certainly never entered into our minds. Africa maybe or somewhere in the States, but not Russia.

Both of us are VERY excited as we prepare for this wonderful adventure. Anyone who knows me knows that this is SO out of my comfort zone. But isn't that how we grow? Experiencing new things and be willing to step out of our comfort zone?

We have known for a long time that we would like to serve a mission. The time is now. We are blessed with our health and we both have been given so much we feel it is time to give back! Russia is a long ways away and we will be gone for 18 months. We are grateful for the computer which will let us keep in touch with family and friends back home. Please keep in touch with us! Let us know how you are and how things are going with you!