Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Exciting Times

August 28, 2007

Hello Everyone!

It's been great to hear from everyone and the exciting changes and developments in everyone's lives. I was sooo excited to get a letter from Heather and Sara! I'll be sure to write each of them separately. 8)

Well it's hard to believe that I've been here for a month on Saturday. I've been greatly blessed with a great comp and a WONDERFUL district. We are really united and everyone is open and teachable with everyone which really improves our development. We are trying to have some fun too of course with the occasional fits of the giggles that always seem to come around 1-2 o'clock in the afternoon....Russian kind of does that to your brain after prolonged periods of time. 8)

The temple was of course beautiful and peaceful today. I can't believe that two of my friends are married now! It's fun to think that they are going to the temple just like me even though we can't see each other. I sooo wish I could have gone to Heather's wedding-especially since Grandpa was the one to do it, but I'm sure he'll write to me and tell me how it went and the feelings he had while visiting with them.

Steve, way to start school...i know it's a nice change of pace but also a load of stress-try to enjoy it and keep a positive attitude-you'd be surprised how much that makes all of your assignments and projects doable.

I'm of course excited/sad for the football season to start-i so wish i could be there decked out in blue and getting hoarse, but I'm sure my boys will deliver once again-be sure to keep me updated (which I know Dad will). And that's so great about Gavin doing so well! Wow France...

Mike and fam, how are you all doing?? Thanks sooo much for the letters and news from your area of the world. O yea! Quick question for you guys since you are in the area, do you know an Annie Highland? (I'm not 100% sure on the last name) who lives in Bartlesville? I'm wondering because an elder in our district-his mom got a letter from another mom who's daughter is serving in Russia (not anywhere near me) and apparently there was a kidnapping-nothing serious, but when they were tracting some guy grabbed them as they were turning to go and locked them in a room. They weren't harmed in anyway and got out fine-not sure how, but still it's def making me happy I'm going to Rostov and not that mission, but anywho-I was wondering if you or mom and dad knew a family in Bartlesville by something like that name...not sure if it's Highland. Anywho, Pres. Hinckley sent a member of the 70 to talk to her and make sure she was alright which she is and is continuing to work. I know the Lord looked out for her just as he'll look out for all of us so I'm not worried- so don't you worry ok mom? I know it's your nature and all, but try to fight it! 8) Anywho, exciting times!

Eric, how's it going? Are you finished and studying the random dialects yet - or not quite? Let me know how they treat you, and also where you will be going next!

Grandpa Adams, thanks so much for your support and charity in helping me serve my mission-it means so much! I'm constantly overwhelmed by everyone's generosity and how the Lord helps his missionaries who are trying to serve him. I love you and if you ask me your days sound great-not humdrum...I could use a lil humdrum with this language, but alas it always seems to keep me on my toes, brain firing on all cylinders.

Dad, that's great that you're racking up the frequent flyer miles...I don't suppose South West goes to Russia do they-you could use them. 8) How is the racquetball going-still making young men cry? Be sure to keep me up-to-date with the football and bball seasons, and let me know when you get a calling! I could see something like teaching the elder's quorum or something...

Mom, how are things? I think it's great that you guys are spending time with the Schearers and having fun with them-they're great! how big is their lil Heber now?
I was wondering...prolly not gonna happen, but i was wondering if you could maybe send me some sweater vests-like the one I got at the missionary mall that was white and I think a size small....but just different colors-I'm basically trying to get more color in my wardrobe and sweater vests that you can mix and match with things really add variety to a small wardrobe. either you could look around in Houston-which I understand if you can't find any, or maybe try to send money to sara/amanda my roommies and they could look around here? I don't know...just a thought, if not it's OK-I'm sure the Russians won't care. 8)

Well the older missionaries are leaving in a couple weeks then we will be the old ones and new missionaries will come in-hard to believe. O yea! I have seen Greg Hyatt multiple times and he seems to be doing well, and I also have seen Kirsten who works here and am excited to here that Jason will be working here soon, so it will be fun to see familiar faces. I've also seen Elders Hancock and Beck multiple times and they both seem to be adjusting well.

Well I can't think of anything else at the moment and my time is almost up but I want you all to know how much I love you and appreciate your support and prayers-they really do make a difference that I can feel in my life every day. The language is coming and is a good source of humility for me, and really helps me to rely on the Lord. In two weeks we will be teaching the first lesson in Russian so we'll see how that goes. 8) Prolly not as long as when we speak in English-we won't have a hard time simplifying the gospel then. 8)

I know that Jesus is our savior and has suffered for our sins so that we may return and live with our Heavenly Father out of love and obedience-things that I'm striving to develop well here in the MTC. I know that through the gospel we can have so much happiness-far more than anything else we can do in this life and God wants us to be happy and return to him-the commandments and rules aren't an annoyance but a blessing to help us avoid things that will make us sad or not be able to return to Him. I love you all and encourage you to study Preach my Gospel as well as read from the Book of Mormon everyday and when you do, read with a purpose-have a question or concept you're trying to understand better and you'll get SO much more out of it-you'll not only feel the spirit but increase your knowledge which is why we're here.

I love you all!
Keep the letters and love coming 8)

Cectpa Richards

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Another week has come and gone. That's really nice of you mom, to send my roommates that movie. Now for Dad's questions:

I get a half an hour for emails reading and sending-a lil red clock is ticking down on my screen as we speak so keep that in mind!

I check my emails after my session at the temple on my p-day which is Tuesday and it's generally around 9:45-10:00 so that's when to expect my emails; and this will remain throughout my stay here at the MTC

DearElder is working great-we get those letters later in the day after dinner and any hand written letters are received in the afternoon after lunch-ish.

Let's see....in my district it's me, Elder Brimley, Hatch, and Elder Barrowes and two of my roommates (not my comp.) who are in another district are going to Russia as well (we're the three girls)

I haven't heard anything about my visa yet-none of us have, but there are announcements during meals etc for certain elders/sisters to go to front desk-maybe this is why, so hopefully I'll hear my name soon.

I haven't really spent any money in the MTC. Our lil meal cards take care of meals as well as we receive $8 dollars every week for random things like using it in the bookstore or vending machines. I'm going today to get some supplies from the bookstore and will look at a lil dress shop that they have to see if I can add some color to my wardrobe, but I received a lot of cash on the day I entered the MTC (thank you all) so I haven't had to use my debit card at all.

Thank you all for writing-I can't stress enough how much receiving a letter or package (esp. packages) brightens our days here and gives us bragging rights! 8)

Thanks for your letter Steve-and yes I did understand it, don't you love the timing of it all? Story of my life. 8) I'm excited for your band season-give it your all and it will be worth it, you know that, and it's the same with life and the gospel. I love the temple because it brings everything into beautiful and simple focus and things that seemed hard suddenly don't.

The language is coming and me and my comp are striving to use all of the Russian we know within our English so we've got a Spanglish thing going on only it's .....Engrush or something....anywho, the MTC is amazing and yes we did hear about Pres. Faust's death- we wondered how the rest of the church would hear and when, if it was enough to make the news. We were able to watch his broadcast-but I'm assuming you've received my letter talking about it so I'll move on.

Have you been receiving my letters? I hope so because of this email I don't really write letters to you unless there's a specific purpose.

I'll be sure to send home all of the letters I've received. Oh yea! and if you're sending that package to my friends, please write them and tell them that I would love to hear from them as well as maybe receive some pictures from the weddings or something to let me know how it went etc. since I couldn't be there.

O yea! There's an elder in my district-Elder Doorman who has noticed my singing voice (we sing a lot here, at the beginning and end of every class, devotional etc, and he was a MDT (music, dance,and theatre) major so he wants to do a special number for sacrament meeting which should be nice since I haven't been able to really sing a proper duet with a guy (erm, elder) before, so I'll let you know what we decide to do. My comp keeps telling me to try out to do a musical number for the big devotionals/fireside, so we'll see.

I love you all and love you and your support. Keep me in touch with what's going on in the family and try to share the gospel-as simply as stating what you believe to those around you, they'll feel your sincerity and it will impress them if nothing else.

I would write in Russian, but I don't know the characters on this keyboard so i'll do it phonetically:

Ya lueblue vas E ya znie-oo shtow boge sheev E shtow own luebeet vas. Yeslee mwee slue-shaem proprokee, boge boodee-et blagaslaveet hac.

I love you and I know that God lives and I know that He loves you. If we listen to the prophets God will bless us.



Kodak Moment

I wanted to share a picture of Whitney and our family on the day she gave her talk at church just before begining her mission to Russia.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


August 14, 2007

Well hello everyone!

Sorry it's taken me so long to write an email, but it's always a zoo here on p-day and last week it was just easier to skip it and send some snail mail. How has everyone been doing? I'm sure life is going on as normal, but if there's any exciting or interesting news-be sure to let me know (especially how the nieces and nephew are growing!) The temple was beautiful today and it is definitely THE highlight of my week. Everyone tells the newbies to just hold on til Sunday and p-day the first week and it's true.

Class is going well. I love my district-we're getting more comfortable with each other and people are coming out of their shells which is fun to see. It's just me and my comp (Sister Kelemen) and five sets of elders but we have fun with them and I think they're feeling more comfortable around us. My teacher’s Br. Wilson and Br. Avryl are wonderful-so spiritual and both have a love for Russian and its people which helps us stay motivated. The language is beautiful but complex and it's easy to become humbled daily but I've learned if you set small realistic and doable goals and only worry about that goal and not the rest of the language you can find joy in the little accomplishments of the day which helps.

I went to choir practice for the first time on Sunday and it was great-I chose to sing Alto cause it seems they have enough sopranos (cough, cough) and don't need any of my help or added volume 8) We're singing come thou fount tonight at the devotional and we're excited to see who comes. Last week was elder L. Tom Perry along with on Sunday for RS we had the general primary president speak to us, so not bad so far 8)

It was very sad to hear about President Faust. We were sitting in class and we heard his name and thought they were announcing he was coming for a surprise visit or something, but then heard he had died that morning. We were silent for a good five minutes, no one knowing what to say and our teacher was able to voice what we were all thinking-that's really sad, I loved him, I'm gonna miss his talks. Pretty shocking, especially knowing that so many in the church didn't know yet and wanted to talk to our families.

We'll see if there's anything special tonight in the way of speakers or anything, I’m assuming that there has already been a funeral? I thought we'd hear or get to watch some sort of broadcast of something but maybe not.

Thank you all soooo much for your letters-you have no idea (those of you who have served missions know) how much it brightens my day and I can't wait to get home at 9:30 and read them. I love the pictures I got from Benson and Gracie-they're hilarious and decorate my room nicely. Hey Steve-drop a line once in awhile ok? We can have our own lil' conversations etc on the side if you want.

Eric, thanks so much for the letter! that's so exciting that you're almost done-I guess I can always remember that though Russian is hard, it could be worse- at least I have the spirit with me to hopefully testify of what I’m trying to say 8) and I canNOT believe that the third bourne ultimatum movie was bad-did you mean the ending just wasn't satisfying? cause I can't believe it was all bad-had to have some good action in it....o well, I guess after 18 months I’ll be happy with anything 8) thanks for the news from the outside.

Mike, Jess, and kids: thanks for the letters, I love hearing about the kids and how the transition is going in Ok-I keep forgetting that you had moved there! Benson and Gracie-your pictures were beautiful, thanks so much-and keep em' coming. I hope you guys are doing well and make sure to be a good boy and girl- listen to your mom and dad (believe me, your dad is really good at tickling into submission). Keep me informed of how everyone is doing and the new job is going.

Steve, how is band doing? I bet you guys are working hard for the upcoming season-def keep me updated on competitions and the other competition out there and school/life etc.

Grandpa and Grandma thanks so much for taking me to the MTC- I appreciate your support and your loving words. The scriptures you give are great as well and just what I need. Thank you Grandpa Adams for your surprise visit! It was great to see you at the MTC before begining my mission. I love it here and love the spirit that I feel here-it's something I want to strive for the rest of my life. I'm excited to serve and love the Russian people and to learn the language which I know is possible and only because of the Lord and my faith in him.

I know this church is true, that we have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth today and that this fullness is the only way to make it back to live with him and heavenly father again and that it is such a source of joy that we should be happy to share it with all around us not scared-it's a good thing 8) I know that Gordon B. Hinckley is a prophet of God and that through him the Lord runs his church on this earth. Always strive to be worthy of the temple because there we are able to continue our tutorial with God and be close to him. I have faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and its real power in our lives and am grateful for the strength and comfort it gives me. The book of Mormon is the word of God and by studying the principles in it we are able to make it back to our heavenly father who loves us.

I love you all and encourage you to share the gospel and befriend everyone you meet-use me as a scapegoat if you want 8)

I love you all and hope that you will remember that we are all instruments and the choices we make in this life are hopefully making us into instruments that the Lord can use and come to trust in his need of instruments.

Keep in touch!
I encourage you to read in Alma 26-7 and 32 (heck, all of these chapters are great in getting you into the missionary spirit 8)


Cectpa Whitney Richards

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Tuesday is Preparation Day

It's hard to believe that I have been here for one week (it feels like a month!) Today (Tuesday) is my P-day. I would have written an email but there was confusion about a registration password so I'll figure it out & write next week. If you could write this letter in an email & send it to the family and my blog that would be great. Thank you all so much for the letters - it's been a great support for me & I'm quickly becoming known as "the Loved one" in our district. I feel bad though because there are some elders that haven't gotten a letter yet.

The spirit here is amazing and I can tell how coming home will be an adjustment. My teachers are ("brot=brother) Wilson/Avryl. Our time is spent between our classroom-learning gospel/teaching concets & the language with our district=me and my companion (Sis. Keleman) & 5 sets of elders. I think about half of us are going to Rostov (me & elders), with the rest split between "Novazabeersk" & "Ycokaterinburg". My two other roommates are going to Rostov as well so it's going to be us three.

I went to the temple this morning and am already wishing for next Tuesday. It's such a wonderful feeling of peace & comfort in there. You can just feel strength & determination flowing back into you. On Sunday I bore my very short testimony in Russian. Now we can basically do a few conversational things, but mainly can bare testimony & pray in Russian. We're getting into verbs now (present, past, future). It can be easy to feel swamped or overwhelmed but you just have to keep a positive attitude, keep practicing & pray with faith for the gift of tongues which is real. I figure at least I can bare a simple testimony - bare minimum of what you need to invite others to Christ.

Tomorrow is our first TRC where we'll practice speaking conversational Russian for 15 min w/ "investigators in a park" & then actually sit down & teach the first lesson for 35 min. I'm excited & nervous but mostly excited. Tonight is the GA Fireside so we'll see who comes. :) I'll be sure to email next week. I love you & thank you for your prayers, and support. (Next follows about 31 words that Whitney wrote in Russian. Unfortunately I can't type it because my key board doesn't have all of the same symbols.) It looks very impressive though!

I love you all!
CECTPA Richards

Monday, August 6, 2007

First Letter Home

Well my first day has been amazing, a bit overwhelming but in a good way. We had orientation meeting where we learned 459 of us came in today from 18 countries. Tomorrow's our first real day so we'll see how Russian treats me. My companion is Sister (Cectpa) Kemelen and is from Provo - so cute & sweet! I can tell we're gonna have some fun. I'm in a room with three other girls (Cectpa King & Taylor) who are equally sweet. They're from Chicago & Kentucky. In our district it's me & Cectpa Kemelen & the rest are elders - prolly ...16 of us or so. Our district is our class that we learn Russian in so we'll really get to know each other. There's a girl here who's five weeks in that was in my freshman ward - small world.

My branch president is pres. Madsen & is wonderful, he said that in 2 weeks we'll all be given a topic to prepare & after sacrament 2 would be chosen to give their talks - in Russian! That's kinda scary but we'll see how that goes. :) Well I better go, but I love all of you & am grateful for your prayers.

Cectpa Richards

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

And she's off!

Hello everyone,

I'm afraid that I will be a poor substitute for Whitney for the next 18 months but for the most part I will just post the emails she sends to us. Not to worry ...eventually you will get the real thing! As you know Whitney has been very excited to start her mission and can't wait to get to Russia. Thanks for giving her such a nice send off this morning.

She mentioned during her last night at home that she will miss her family but not as much as her friends. She figures it's a given that she will see us again but you all are a question mark. You could graduate, get married, start new careers, move out/move on etc. before she gets back. Hopefully this will give her a way to keep track of all of you so you don't lose touch. Plus she can't wait to share her exciting adventures with you!

Now on to the important info. According to Whitney's Grandpa Adams who came to say good bye at the MTC: "She looked very professional ...just like she knew what she was doing!" Ok, so far so good! Sounds like she is off to a great start.

Here is Whitney's address:

Sister Whitney Richards
MTC #187
RUS-ROS 1015
2005 N 900 East
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Her projected exit date is October 15.

I know she would appreciate letters, packages, etc. As you probably already know you can email letters free of charge through Dear Elder.com. She would get them the same day you send them.

Thanks again for the fun time we had when we visited in July. It was great to be able to meet all of you and we had a great time playing werewolf. It's a new family favorite! Take care and have a great rest of the summer.


Mom Richards