Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Back in T-town

Hey Everyone,

All is well here in T-rog. Last night was our opening English night and it went really well. We introduced ourselves and then had three really funny skits-the funniest being two Elders acting as the head and Elders behind them as their arms feeding them breakfast etc. It doesn't really have anything to do with English other than they were speaking English but everyone was laughing and having a great time which=they'll come back which= possible future investigators which = 8)

Things are going pretty good with my companion. Right now her mom is apparently having heart problems though it's hard to say exactly with what even if the doctors say because's Russia. So she has been thinking of home a lot so I'm trying to stay positive and help us get lost in the work. Um...she isn't very big on contacting but the AP's came and asked to do splits with us; two of us on each side of the street to show how to do contacting etc. My comp wasn't very happy at first but afterwards she seemed to have warmed a little to contacting-she just doesn't have a lot of self confidence, sometimes is too apologetic etc, so it's really good motivation for me to be confident and bold cause now I know how it looks...and I don't like it, haha. We're improving though 8)

Our apartment is fine (mom asked) though our water pressure is pretty much a spit shower, but it works so that's nice-man it will be really weird whenever I have a mounted shower head again, haha.

Dad, sorry to hear that you are just getting one thing after another-what is going on here?? I still remember when I came into ya'lls room one morning when I had broken my arm and showed you I had lil red dots and mom said: oh, she has chicken pox and dad said: just don't tell her. Hahahaha so...I wont' tell you you have chicken pox, though it would be really funny if you did.

That's really interesting about the satellite-was it just too old etc? or it had malfunctions etc...I don't know how long a life there are on those things 8) packages looked fine-not tampered with etc, thanks very much! It actually looks like Cectpa Malinina will come here for a couple of weeks (getting passed along the different companionships due to odd numbers) so I can give her the presents then.

As for my bday new mascara-always good to have a supply....batteries.....peanut butter?'s funny the things you miss. Maybe a new journal-real pretty/unique one (leather if possible?) I'm sure by some point I will need a new one by the way I'm writing 8)

I was way excited to hear about Robbie's mission call-so I'm guessing that's English speaking since it wasn't mentioned? cool.

Mom if you could send this to your Dutch relatives: Thanks so much for the nice card! It's so much fun to get mail from all around the world 8) I'm enjoying the work here. Sure, sometimes it is hard but I try to keep a positive attitude. Thanks for your support and well-wishes!
Cectpa Richards

Well I love you all and better go-still need to write President. Oh yea, Mike/Jess and Company-I would love an update, would also love one from Eric though, I understand he is super busy saving the world and all and without his computer hooked up etc, but send me a postcard or something 8)

I love you tons, o yea! Thanks Grandpa Adams and Richards for your continual emails etc. they always brighten my day with family news.

(And Grandpa A ...where have you been?? Those movies have been out for awhile and they are amazing! Enjoy 8) Think of me especially in the second one-it takes place in Russia a lot, just north of my mission in Moscow, though they do a terrible translating job 8)

Cectpa Richards

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

R 22 and F6

Hey you wonderful friends!!!!!!!

I got your package and it was SOOOOOOOOOOOO amazing!!! My companion thought it was sooo funny with the big table cloth, I have a picture laying on it holding all the cool pictures and letters etc. you sent 8)

It was so great to see and hear from everyone! And Sara, it made my heart happy to see you standing outside my temple and at Brazos Bend park-I've totally been there!! Yea! You guys are adorable and your dress is gorgeous!

Amanda, I am expecting another amazing, huge letter from you...just because I love your run down of everything, very accurate, informative, and should be a journalist or something!

Also, Heather I got your two letters! Thank you sooo much! I wish I could be there for you to talk to someone while the guys gab but don't worry I will find you wherever you are after the mish...o my...that sounded a wee bit creepy....but hey, it's true. One thing the mission teaches you is how to find people with very little information and getting information from people ex: how Kyle found that one girl, and prolly why the FBI wants to recruit mormons too 8) man....I really can't remember that girl's name...I know it was different...with a c....or something like....chazelle.....something like that....darn!

Anywho, I love you all and am so greatful for your support and love-I miss ya'll tons!

Cectpa Richards

P.S. No I haven't seen Jason Bourne lately (not that I'd be able to say if I had) and thanks for the lil leftovers on the tablecloth mmmm...."ffkoosnee" (tasty in russian)!

"Vote, eta ya"

Hey everyone!!

Yes, yes, I am finally back in Russia 8) We all traveled back together (ten of us) and it was a lot funner than the trip out there. Yes, haha I had two packages waiting for me at the office and also the sweet package from all my friends at BYU!!! And also a VERY nice package from Diane and her family with some nice mint chocolates and a scarf (mom you'll have to pass along my thanks, it was sooo sweet and it's a nice scarf 8) Also I got some mail from Heather and some people from Holland....or...somewhere like that?? It was way nice. I also got a letter from an investigator back in Krasnodar-the one who was soo nice and gave me a Russian doll. Anywho everything was great with her and she invited me to her baptism that should have already happened by now which I was so excited for but then I heard that it might not have gone through...not sure what happened. It's sad though cause she was sooo amazing, so strong, so much faith (was already a very active Baptist).
Anywho, also I got my camera back-oorraaah! Though I should be getting lots of pictures from my companions in Tallin and Cectpa King who is in V-grod now.

So anyway, we were only in the mission office for a couple of hours an then we (being Cectpa. Miller and Goodfellow, me, Cectpa "Gracheeshneekofa") had to catch a marshootka to Taganrog. Yes, that means that the threesome we would have been in with me, Cectpa Burnett and Cectpa G. won't be since Cectpa Burnett got transferred to Rostov so it's just the two of us now. At first I was a little nervous I won't lie just because I had heard she had trouble really getting into the work, plus she doesn't speak English really but it has actually been real good. We've only been together for a couple of days but I can already tell a difference in my Russian, I'm automatically speaking Russian all the time (practically 100%) because well...there's no other choice, haha and it has helped so I'm excited to be serving with her. Her name is: Bepa ("vyera" -means faith) "Gracheeshneekova" with the emphasis on the first "ee". She is from the Novasobeersk mission and has a cool story-her mom was the first member in their branch and she was the first youth that grew up in the church in their branch-was prolly 10ish so it was them and the missionaries for awhile, haha. She is really sweet and funny. She doesn't have the most confidence in the world and is prolly too apologetic when we knock/talk to people but I think through time she will learn how to be confident and show a smile even when she doesn't feel confident.

I definitely need to lead more than I ever have before but she follows without a problem so far, so it has really been helping me to grow and take more control of situations which feels good. (don't worry mom, I'll send your lil christmas packages to Cectpa Malinina next zone conference 8)

So on the way back to Tagonrog all the elders were helping with my many packages and I had my duffle bag which was throwing off my weight/balance and I slipped and fell....of course I think I fell in the most muddy place possible and got mud all over my coat, skirt, bruised my knee a little etc. The elders looked back and quickly came to the rescue and of course i couldn't wipe off till we got home because...well...this is Russia, you have to A.) pay to go into a bathroom and they don't have paper towels/ tp etc. It was pretty comical though and I learned the word for dirt and dirty from it so that was good.

Lately while we've been knocking I've noticed we've been able to talk to people more rather than just getting the door slammed on us which has been interesting. Today a woman almost let us in, man she was sooo close I could feel it-something was holding her back from saying no but then a door before her's finally opened and she finally said no-darn! so close...would have been my first lesson in the door on my own.

Anywho, Taganrog's weather has been pretty snowy lately-last night it snowed pretty good and today there is prolly eh, 6 inches of snow on the ground. We had an activity with the branch where we ice skated in a lil rink that was right by the sea which was actually frozen for a good ways and people were skating there for free-too bad we didn't have our own skates etc. And no, I did not fall 8)

President Harrison is excited to hear how they do the work in Estonia and get ideas on how we can improve here so I'm happy to help. Well I still need to write the President so I better go. O yea! Steve tell me your cheesy joke you told in your talk 8)

Thanks for all your love and support-you're so great! Keep me updated on things!

Cectpa Richards

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Greetings from Estonia

Happy Valentine's Day

Hey everyone!

So my long email just got erased in my efforts to try and attach some pictures to send you guys so Im real sorry but you are gonna get a really short email now cause im frustrated 8)

Well I leave tomorrow morning with the rest of the rostovians and will be back in my mission on friday 8) I have loved my stay here in estonia and have learned lots regarding contacting and being bold which i will be forever greatful for but im still glad that i will get back to my mission where i should be 8)
Today we will be going to Old Town to take pictures and eat something. I want to wish everyone a happy Valentines Day! I hope cupid visits our house like always (it always makes me laugh to think of Dad leaving something on the porch and running around to the back after ringing the door bell trying not to seem out of breath)
Im including some pictures when we went to the castle a couple of weeks ago-and mom, i think it looks like a castle! there were only a few pictures of me in them, the rest are on cectpa kings camera so ill have her email them to me 8) There is also a picture of our branch building here in Tallin-there is a big and successful estonian branch and the russian branch which is quite a bit smaller but growing 8)

The castle was really cool but really um...not legit inside-they had sound effects and cheesy decorations etc up and we could put on armor and have fake sword fights, ride on a big fake horse with wheels with a lance etc. It was fun but cold.
Well anywho I love you all! and the next time I write it will be from Russia!

Cectpa Richards

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

How Firm A Foundation

Greetings to all!!!!

Wow, I had a LOT of emails today and they were full of good information,news,laughs,pictures, and warm-fuzzy feelings from home.
Well I am STILL in Tallin but it seems that I will be traveling back to Russia on the 15th. They had sent some elders to the Ukraine and they are now, spread out between the baltic states here also and I guess we will all go back together. I'm glad that I've been here the whole time and not traveling here and there like crazy so I've had the chance to really work like normal.

Well I think I wrote about the death of President Hinckley last week but we did get to watch the broadcast of his funeral. It was such a spritual boost and was wonderful to hear from the different leaders of the church and feel the spirit of President Hinckley's life. We will actually watch the biography that they showed after the funeral today for our P-day I think, so that should be really amazing to see all of his accomplishments. I was so excited to hear of our new first presidency and that I can testify that we have a prophet today to people on the street again. I have ALWAYS loved President Monson and his wonderful stories and his natural affinity for literature and poems etc, and I was SO excited to hear about President Uchtdorf!!! Ever since he came into the quorem of the apostles I have loved his talks which always seemed to hit me so strongly and resonate so well with me.

That reminds me, when I first got here I heard the following story from a missionary who was in the younger group after us in the MTC. There was an elder in our branch who had hurt his shoulder playing sports or something and it was lucky he did because through the process of the doctors checking it out they discovered a lump. There had been a history in this elders family of cancer and I think his mom and brother had died from it. So while we were there we knew that he was delayed from leaving until they took tests, cat scans, etc. and when we left he still hadn't heard. Well an elder here in Tallin told us what happened after we left. So it turns out that he got the results back and it was cancer-the same type as his mom and brother (can you imagine?!) so they gave him the option of staying one more night since Elder Uchtdorf was scheduled to speak in the fireside that night so of course he opted to stay.

During his opening remarks Elder Uchtdorf said something to the affect that, "I have a message for a young man here, know that you can do it, it will be hard but you can do it." Then towards the end of his talk he paused again and then looking right at this elder said, "You can do it, it will be hard but you will do this and you will serve russian speaking." (or something along those lines). When the elder told me about it I got goosebumps so bad and couldn't help but tear-up. It just hit me so hard that the Lord is aware of each and every one of us and what we need, when we need it.

Well anywho, the work is going well here. Cectpa Whitehead has been in Riga, Latvia (mission home) but will come back tomorrow and has been getting lots of R&R so hopefully she will be ready to get back in the swing of things. I have been continued to be blessed with good health and know the Lord is preserving me. The weather has been cloudy and raining-snowing off and on for the duration I have been here.

I can't wait to get back to where I was originally called to serve though I will be forever greatful for the experience and opportunity to come here and serve in Estonia-it really is what I needed 8) I'm excited to see if I will have any packages from home when I go back through the mission office-I should!

Well I love you all and I am so excited to hear from all of you! Keep looking for opportunities to share the gospel, in fact better yet-just create opportunities, that makes it much easier.

I love you thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much!
Cectpa Richards