Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Life as a Trainer

Greetings to all,
Thanks for all the great emails. Mom, the pictures didn't show up so I needed to click on the attachments but only two showed up-the slide show thing was weird, lots of random cartoony pictures and then one of Mike and Sabrina at the water park (shrug) but then again I am in a different internet cafe than normal today and am surrounded with little kids playing computer games so maybe it will work better in our regular place.

Well like you saw from our picture, zone conference was on Monday. It was a really great conference and I am renewed to the work as always. In my interview with President he said that I prolly won't be in Tagonrog much longer- either Rostov or Krasnodar which would be interesting since I've already been there, but we'll see-I don't especially want to leave.

Some other interesting news that I received is that Estonia is tired of doing all of our paper work etc-understandable, all missionaries in Russia are going there every three months, so now next trip looks like it will be Prague (sp?) and it will be flying all the way-woohoo! ( the way...which country is that? Chek?) The train was fun but after the first two times it kinda lost its luster. Apparently Moscow and St. Petersburg are going to Madrid for their visa trip and in a few months we will switch and we will get to go to Madrid so we can go to the temple there-isn't that amazing?!!! I was sooo excited when I heard that-it feels like sooo long ago when I was in the temple. So apparently I'm making up for the lack of world traveling pretty quickly.

Well the work has been pretty slow lately. I've decided that the only thing worse than little to no success on the mission is little to no success when you are the senior companion and you are trying to help your comp have a desire to serve their own mission someday and you feel 100% responsible. You begin to wonder if you are doing something wrong (of course no one is perfect) and so then your weaknesses and inadequacies jump out at you and the guilt/frustration grows. Needless to say I was a little down the past little while but after talking with President at Zone Conference on Monday I feel a lot better and am returning to my positive-I don't care, I'm gonna do my best, attitude.

In fact when we were walking home from the train station on Monday I was really tired and in the middle of telling a story to my comp I saw a girl coming our way. Nothing special but as always I felt like I needed to talk to her so we stopped her and explained who we were and why we were here. She was interested and when we tried to get her number to call her sometime she said, "Let's meet right now"....k....never happens. So we found a somewhat secluded park area with benches and sat, got to know each other a little bit and then taught her a first lesson and gave her a book of Mormon. She is a music student here (piano) and really sweet and open. I can't describe how greatful and happy I was that I decided to talk to her and was so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows how to motivate me to keep on working when its hard and you see no results-it seems that He always knows exactly when I reach the edge of my breaking point and then picks me up again and helps me to keep going. And yesterday we found some potential investigators so we'll see if any of them pan out.
Things are looking up and today we will watch the best two years with our district as our pday activity. I'm grateful for your love and support and mom, let them know that I got the letters from dearelder-(not sure how many 2-3?) something like that so no worries. I just realized I forgot to look if I had mail at conference but I will be in Rostov next Wednesday to switch up companions.
I think this is a good experience for me because....well, now if I ever train a real greenie it will seem easier because at least they will know the rules and the lessons-sort of so it will be that much easier to help them adjust to missionary work.

I love you all,
Cectpa Richards

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Na ostanoevkee-eh

Hello one and all!

Seriously where did the last week go?! I honestly had to sit for a second and wonder if I had already written about my birthday and what happened-was sooo long ago already!

Well you are prolly wondering about my companion. Her name is Cectpa "Razoomnaya" and she is from Rostov. On Wednesday we took an electreechka up to Rostov to drop off Cectpa G who is now serving in Krasnodar (my good ol' birth place) and there I got to say goodbye to Cectpa Malinina one last time 8(

As it turned out the new sister coming in was delayed in Germany for a few days so I worked with Cectpa Hesteranka (from Ukraine) for a few days in Rostov center. It was interesting experience and definitely made me happy for the slightly slower pace here in T-rog but at the same time people were still out on the streets etc. in the evening and about after 8 it's a ghost town here, so I guess there's perks on both sides.

I met up with Cectpa R. on Friday and we took a marshootka back here after she got set apart. We'll be together for about 2 weeks-til the end of May and then I will be with someone else. It has been good so far together. It's definitely made me grow in every way. I've had to really learn the city now and how to read our map and crazy marshootka/bus/tramvi map but now I feel confident in those abilities. I've had to even more so be an example in general-in the little things that I don't consider as especially missionary-like, but am reminded that she is more than just greenie, but in general doesn't know what to do-hasn't been in the MTC etc. so it's really teaching me patience and I've been trying to lead by example and encourage and compliment her for her efforts. She has a real desire for the work but it's cute cause sometimes she just doesn't know how to channel it but I feel like I will learn a lot from her energy and desire to be bold.

On the other hand I feel like I'll be really tired after this transfer cause just when I start to feel at home with someone and get in a groove with someone I'll be with someone else and have to re-tackle and relearn how to work with someone else cause really you can't teach different people in the same way....well, at least through example is always universal.

Mom and Grandparents and Eric, thank you so much for your birthday gifts/constant financial support and love. It's just further testimony to me that the Lord blesses us through one another which is just a further blessing because we learn in the process and continue to grow. Also thank you all for your well wishes etc. on my birthday and in general- I can't wait to get your letters etc and hear what is new with you.

Mom, I just realized that I didn't get an email from you listing what you got me and then I looked back and went further and saw the hiding P.S. (so sneaky) thanks so much they sound great. I'll prolly go to a second hand here sometime and find a new skirt or something-my grey one has a hole around where the zipper is and it's hard to zip it up which makes me very sad cause it's my favorite skirt but what can you do? It definitely won't last my mission that's for sure.

Anywho, I've had many humorous experiences so far in being the experienced one. For example, we were on a marshootka and I said: "on the stop" (na ostanoevkee-eh) and the driver said, what? I didn't hear and I repeated myself and then he said I didn't understand and then all the girls in the marshootka (maybe 5) all yelled "ON THE STOP!" at exactly the same time and I started to laugh and they did too. See? Lots of help all around 8) Today I asked a lady where a certain store was cause I forgot and right at that moment I found the store but the woman started talking to us because she heard my accent and she was an English teacher and gave us her address and told us to come over some time. Lots of little blessings that just make me so grateful for the Lord's help and support-It's amazing how much closer I feel to Him now that I'm in a leading role. Prolly because I'm praying every other minute in my head for help or guidance. I'm grateful for this opportunity and know it will help me become that much more of a tool in the Lord's hands.

I love you all and hope all is well with you! (ahem Steve, Eric, Mike)

Cectpa Richards

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Senior companion!

Well hello everyone from Rostov!

I love the computers here-faster, even though every word I write has a little red line under it as if I spelled it wrong-grr.

But everything is going great so far here 8) I'm here to either pick up my mini-missionary or to stay here in Rostov for a couple of days with Cectpa Malinina's companion that she's leaving. (Apparently they don’t know if the new sister will be here or not). Always a surprise on the Rostov mission -I really think all missionaries should have a pack of clothes for two days on them at all times, haha just kidding....but seriously.

Well the past few days have been really hard to feel like a missionary because in preparation for transfers it was kinda hard for my comp to focus on the work and she had to do things that took more time than I would have liked. Sigh, but the next transfer-our complete effectiveness and obedience is mainly dependent on me which I think will be a good thing -I'll just leave it as no question. I'm hoping that those I'll be with can understand basic English-always comforting to know that if I absolutely need to we can communicate fast, but we'll see. I have a feeling that I'll prolly be in T-rog for only one more transfer or maybe two. If it's only one than they are basically white-washing the area = sending two new sisters into the area since I'll be with non- missionaries this transfer, so it should be interesting to see what happens.

My birthday was great! For being on a mission I'd say it was up to R22 and F6 standards 8) So it was on a Monday so we went to district meeting at the branch and when we got there a little late and the door was locked I thought it a little strange and when we opened the door the lights were off and the elders were sitting in a semi circle around the door and sang happy birthday and gave me a candy bar that's called: NestlĂ©’s Just for Men but they scratched out men and wrote sisters. It was cute and nice that they remembered. Then later when we came home to eat something the apartment was completely toilet-papered, every room and on my bed were chocolates, a rose, and random stuff and a sign saying happy birthday. I videoed it so don't worry-you'll see it all eventually. Apparently my comp gave them access some how-tricky tricky. The cake was of course great and it was a great day.

The boy we found that got baptized was very emotional when Cectpa G left today-he cried and cried. It makes me worry for next transfer because Cepta Mozley who taught him all the lessons is going home and I might be leaving too-it'll be water works for sure! Of course I’m nervous about finding my way where we need to be but who knows...maybe the Holy Ghost will help me get lost to somewhere where we need to be 8)

I'll just try my hardest and trust in the Lord and the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Seriously it feels like riding a bike without training wheels for the first time-awkward and you can just feel a fall coming, but I know everything will be fine. I think it mostly feels weird (more lonely) just because they're not actual missionaries, haven’t had the same training etc, but it'll be a learning experience that's for sure.

Well I'll be sure to check at the office-I’m sure I have mail there and will take my last picture with Cectpa Malinina 8( It's so crazy...I wrote to President how I want to extend: jokingly (sort of) saying ya know, I can stay till March...or May....or get the idea and he wrote back: June sounds good we'll talk later 8) So I think extending is definitely possible so I'd count on it (as far as getting visa stuff squared away) of course in this country-always good to get a start on this stuff early before another law changes or something 8)

Well I better go, but thank you all for the great phone call-these calls are always so weird for me cause I just want to be relaxed and chat=let the conversation flow naturally but everyone is trying to think of the important things that need to be said cause there is a time limit etc..."noo, shtoe dyelit?" that means, well what to do (phonetically spelled out for ya).

Well I love you all so much and will try extra hard this next transfer to do everything in my power to do what the Lord wants me to do and give all of my imperfect efforts and hope He makes something of them-it's prolly hard work for Him 8)

Love you all,
Cectpa Richards

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Half way point

Hello All!

Well today was a fun P-day. We met the Rostov missionaries in a town between Taganrog and Rostov where there are a bunch of ruins-basically holes in the ground with some stones layed on top of each other (and to think I wanted to be an archaeologist!) But it was fun to see how many of us could fit in one particular hole-pretty deep too. Cectpa Malinina is leaving next Wednesday and today she and her companion came back with us to T-rog to work with us tonight and tomorrow a bit as one last time together 8(

Um, hahaha it's funny cause I'm not sure who said I would be a trainer-if I mentioned anything it was prolly that it could happen but seriously no one knows anything yet-we'll hear on Saturday so you'll hear on Sunday I guess. To be honest I'd prolly welcome and dread the opportunity but we'll see. The work is going ok, we really need to find some solid new investigators though...right now there's just some semi-lukewarm people who have the habit of saying, "Um, call back after the 26th, I'm really busy." Not very promising, but as always I'm trying to keep my efforts concentrated and energized.

The weather is really nice here and lots of flowers are blooming-though it's almost ALWAYS windy which means dirt blowing around everywhere. Mom, the shoes were around 20 dollars (25ish rubles=1$ last time I heard). I just got letters from Sara and Heather today-it's always fun to hear from them and how they are doing. It seems the pouch gets here exactly one month later since they sent it on April 7th.

Steve-happy bday stud! Glad to hear you had a great day-as it should be. I still remember all the great bday fun we had with R22 and F6 -I must say we can throw a mean party. Send a picture of the cake in the face if you can 8)

It's so great to hear about all the different friends and cousins serving on missions-lots of them are going stateside I notice. I heard that because of all of the of the church publicity in the states right now more will be called stateside-cool huh?! Spread the good word one and all!

It's hard to believe that I'll be 22 soon-shrug, age really is meaning less and less to me-just seems like another day, and on the mission it will be except of course we'll have American cake 8)

Well I think I will still be here in Taganrog-I'll be really surprised if I move from here and I don't want to 8) The only other places that I'll most likely serve in will be the two areas in Rostov and Volgograd. Of course you never know it's always possible to return to Krasnodar or something which would be really interesting to see the difference time makes.

Speaking of time.....I can NOT believe how FAST it is going. I can't even explain how crazy it is that half of my mission is over especially when only now am I starting to feel really effective and fully functioning. It seemed that I was in culture shock/ survival mode-just trying to get through each day; and that it flew past. Now I'm trying to dig in my heals and slow it all down cause I feel like I haven't done anything yet. Time can't start counting yet but as always-it always counts whether we are using it or not. I DEF want to stay and leave in March rather than January-there's no choice about that one, I will!

Well I better go, thanks for your love and support as always and don't be offended if I'm really lethargic on the phone-I never was a morning person 8)

Cectpa Richards