Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sister Lubov's amazing story of love

Sister Cameron and her husband work in the mission office in Rostov, Russia. They sent this beautiful story to us this morning about a member of the church who lived in their branch in Sochi.

Sister Love

When we lived in Sochi (claim to fame: home of the winter Olympics 2014, and favorite vacation spot for many Russians), we became acquainted with an angel by the name of Sister Lubov (or, Sister Love). She was 90 years old at the time. She was probably the sweetest lady in Russia; always had a smile, never a complaint, and carried the spirit of the gospel with her. Even though walking was not easy for her and she could only take small steps, she walked to church.

Born in 1916, she grew up in an LDS family in Siberia. However, before she was old enough to be baptized, the communists took over government, banned all religion, and her family had to worship in secret. Her family's farm and property were confiscated, and they eventually had to move. After her parents died, she continued her search to find the true church, but to no avail. With the fall of communism around 1989, churches were eventually allowed to function again in the country and LDS missionaries came in the early 1990's. Sister Lubov found the true church again through a friend, and after waiting her whole life to be baptized, was finally able to do this on November 24, 1996 at the age of 80 in Krasnodar, Russia. Later, for health reasons, she moved to the more temperate climate of Sochi to live out the final days of her life.

This is where we met her, in October 2006, while we served in Sochi for the first 7 months of our mission. While there, we heard that Sister Lubov had dictated her story to a friend several years previous. We asked around and found someone who had a worn out copy of the original. Sister Cameron then painstakingly typed this Russian document into our computer and started translating it into English. One of our Russian tutors, Elena, was also very helpful. We then had Sister Lubov proofread the (Russian) account and give her approval.

Her story, in her own words, is included below, and attached as a word doc. If you know anyone who would like it in Russian, let us know. We thought you might find it interesting, as it portrays what it was like to have a religious conviction during the communist era. We have submitted it to the Liahona magazine, Russian version, and have heard that they are waiting for an appropriate issue, and to verify the account.

Sister Lubov died in Sochi on November 21, 2007 at the age of 91. She was greatly loved by the local members of the branch, the missionaries, and all who became acquainted with her. She will live in our hearts forever, as someone who had the true light of Christ with her. I am sure she is enjoying a wonderful reunion with her parents and other family members who have preceded her to the spirit world.

The attached pictures were taken in Sochi, Russia.

Elder Cameron

"Early Siberian Mormons"
by Lubov Sergeevna Korol (Любовь Сергеевна Король)
(as told to Zina Popova, October 2002)

I was born on the 15th of August 1916 in Siberia, in the village of Korbushkino, in the region of Omsk, into the family of Sergei Markelovich Azaripin. My father, Sergei Markelovich, got married in 1904 to a Mormon, Anna Ivanovna, from the Mormon family of Dmitrievs. Soon he joined the Mormon church. My recollections begin at the age of eight. My family lived in the city of Omsk and was very prosperous. My father had a large expensive house, a large cattle stockyard, a poultry yard and a grocery store. We also had property in the taiga with a house and stockyard. My father worked very hard. The people he worked with, who he had hired, respected and loved him.
We had five children in our family. We all went to middle school and then continued our education in other academic institutions. Before 1924, I knew my parents believed in God and called themselves Mormons. They cared about us and watched over our spiritual upbringing. As an eight year old girl in the second grade, I loved to read the Bible. I loved this book immediately. I did not understand much, but I liked to read it as the story of Christianity and the ancient world. We did not have the Book of Mormon, but my parents knew about the dream of Lehi, the tree of life and about the rod leading to it. The Book of Mormon was translated into the Russian language in 1930, but at that time all religions were forbidden in Russia. Papa and Mama sang hymns and prayed together with us. Papa always prayed and blessed the food before meals. My parents often drove to the chapel in the village from where we had moved. My grandfather who lived in that village, also joined the church.
But in 1924, all religious communities were closed and forbidden and the members were persecuted by the authorities. Our chapel in the village was closed. My parents had a large house and a very large yard where we could put people and horse wagons. A very tall fence was around the house. On Sundays, members of the church came to our place in order to hold their meetings. This was a great secret. We closed the windows and doors tightly, and we watched that our neighbors did not suspect that we were holding meetings in our house. Christians were deprived of freedom, sent to camps and prisons, and their property was taken away by the authorities. I was present at these meetings which took place at our home, as were all the children. I remember these meetings well. Before starting a meeting, members of the church sang hymns, knelt in prayer, and asked forgiveness of each other. Even though much time has past, I still remember many members of the Church who came to us often. Many of them were our relatives. I can name some of the family names: the Lyubushkins, the Bodrovs, the Kudrins, the Sayapins, the Aistovs, the Kondrashovs, the Dmitrievs, the Chistyakovs, the Samoylovs, the Lonshakovs, the Mamontovs, the Bocharovs, and the Santalovs.
Mormons were friendly families with many children, hard-working and rich, strong in health and material well-being. They and their children received the best education.
After the chapel in the village was closed, persecution of the members continued. Many were arrested and they disappeared to unknown places. At best, they were sent to an unsettled place in another part of the country, but all their property was taken away from them. My Papa had told me that earlier 300 Siberian Mormon families had migrated to Canada with their Bishop, Ivan Philippovich, as Papa called him.
One night, someone knocked at the gate. This was one of my parents' acquaintances. He came secretly to warn us that Papa was to be arrested as a member of the Church. It was necessary for Papa to leave the city immediately that night.
After Papa left the city of Omsk secretly at night, he went to Kazakhstan, to the city of Semipalatinsk. Members of the Church who had been evicted earlier were living there. In this city, they began the construction project of the Turkestan-Siberian railroad. My father had to change his last name to Abramov in order to avoid arrest. After some time, Mama received a message from him, that she must immediately gather the children and prepare to go to him. She grabbed the children, a bucket of eggs, and a bag of dry bread, and that night we left the city. Most of all, we regretted not being able to take our large library. With difficulty we reached the place where Papa was. For our family's residence we were given a freight train wagon. In these freight train wagons, all the people who built the railroad, lived and moved on the laid tracks. This was only the prairie, so there was no school and we did not have the opportunity to continue our education during this time. Papa worked on constructing the railroad. Mama cared for us and was expecting a baby. And we, the children, also worked, laundering clothes for the workers.
After a year of living in this way, we reached the city of Alma-Ata, the capital of Kazakhstan. Papa worked there as a railroad switch man. Mama and the children earned money washing linens. We also continued our education. Papa worried very much about his friends who had stayed behind in the city of Omsk, but it was dangerous to go there.
I went to Omsk in order to study in the medical department at college. I worried very much. I was very afraid that I would be expelled from the college, because I bore my father's real last name. The whole time that I spent there, my stomach was clenched in fear that they would find out that my parents were Mormons. In this country, children of Mormons did not have the right to receive an education and all academic institutions were run by the government.
One time, a man I did not know came to me and gave me a passport for Papa in his real name. Papa wanted very much to have spiritual association and he wanted very much to return to his friends in Siberia. I put this passport in a wooden box, spread cedar nuts over it, nailed it shut, wrapped it with cloth, and mailed it to Papa. Soon Papa returned to Omsk with all the family. He was very happy to meet with his spiritual brothers and sisters. But we didn't live in Siberia long, because we had to escape. Now we moved further to the south of Russia, to Krasnodar. Papa was a farmer. He raised cattle and chickens, because it was dangerous for him to apply for government work. I entered the medical university, graduated from it, and found work as a doctor.
All this time, Papa didn't stop looking for the Mormon Church. He went to different villages and cities in Southern Russia in the hope of finding his favorite community, but he didn't find it. He tried to join another church which proclaimed Jesus Christ as their God and Savior, but he wasn't able to feel the Holy Spirit there. He tried to tell about the true and complete Gospel, but it didn't give any results. At home, Papa and Mama sang hymns, read the scriptures and prayed.
Years passed, but my loving parents did not join any Church. My friends asked me what was the name of my church, and I answered that it has the name of one of the ancient prophets – Mormon. I didn't know any other name of the church.
My parents died, but there are some of my father's words in my memory: "The Mormon Church is the only true Church of God on the earth. Only this Church has the fullness of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit." All his life he was trying to find a similar church, but he didn't find it.
One warm October day, I came back from the market and I saw my friend Irina, the daughter of a deceased friend. Irina told me that she needed my family's help. She had got acquainted with American missionaries and had a desire to listen to the discussions. But she could only listen to them in a family where there was a man, since she was a single woman. Then I wondered which church these missionaries represented. Irina said that they were Mormons. At that moment my legs got weak and I saw a bright light like lightning before my eyes. A great joy filled my whole mind. I thought about my parents who had not lived to be with me this happy day. On the next Sunday I was in the church meeting. The church was situated across the street near my home. I was very sick but I wanted to be baptized as soon as possible. In a month, I was baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost.
I am very grateful to God for his mercy to me. It is a great joy to be a member of the true church of God on the earth. I can't express it with words. Finally I am in the place I belong in the house of God. I still cannot believe that it happened in my life. I pray in the morning, in the afternoon and evening, and I thank God for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and for his Church. Jesus Christ is my older brother. Now I am 86 years old and I feel happiness, joy and hope, that I will have an opportunity to meet Him soon. The support of God and a loving church help me to live here on the earth.
I have been to the temple in far away Sweden twice. God blessed me with health, so that I could go this difficult way to do the necessary ordinances for myself and my parents and other relatives. It took me 2 nights and a day by train, then 2 days and a night by bus, then one night by ferry and several hours by bus to Stockholm. I am planning to go there for the third time and now I am praying about this blessing. And all this I say in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Editors note: On November 21, 2007, at the age of 91, Sister Lubov (translated literally "Sister Love") passed away in Sochi, Russia, where she had been living for the last several years of her life. She is fondly remembered by all who knew her or met her.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gas Water

Hello everyone,

Another week has flown by in good ol' Rostov and as always I'm enjoying the sometimes hectic, roller coaster type ride, that is the mission. Last Monday one girl that we had been working with for awhile -just hard to pin her down because of work told us she wanted to be baptized. But we just heard from her yesterday that she prolly can't make it to church for the next few Sundays because of a girl at work being out of town. Which means we have to push her date back -sigh.....up and down, up and down. But anyway, everything is fine.

We talked with a less active girl who got baptized three years ago but has been in Moscow studying and living with grandparents that don't like the church so she hasn't gone. She was so cute and still had a testimony etc. and she brought her two younger sisters with her. So we talked about the church and showed the restoration video and gave them books of Mormon. They're way excited to come to church on Sunday and we're meeting with them tonight. So yea, the work is moving forward either way.

The weather has gotten a lil better yesterday and today -not as hot with less humidity so that has been very helpful seeing is all we do is knocking/contacting on the street which = very hot! The best is when we're knocking and we ask if someone could give us water to drink. They always do by the way, way nice - and they bring back room temperature, gas water.....yuck! But you take what you can get. I still don't love it (carbonated water that is) but I can drink it now.

We had Cectpa King (she was with me in the MTC) come and work with us for a few days cause they couldn't find a mini-missionary for her. It was fun but hard to orchestrate. Working effectively in a 3-some isn't exactly the easiest, but it was fine and we learned from each other. Today sisters from Taganrog are coming to stay with us til tomorrow to do splits with us so that will be interesting to learn from them etc.

The other thing of note I guess is this Friday we are planning on having our monthly culture night (by the way I've only done 2 of these while being here for almost 11 months, haha) and we're gonna get a bunch of us together from ours and the north zone to see a football (I mean soccer) match here in Rostov. This means we get to wear regular clothes (prolly what I'm most excited about) and it will be way fun since it's always a big deal here. Hopefully it happens 'cause we'll get to see the other sisters and Kristina (a girl from Taganrog -where I served last who is a mini-missionary right now).

Well I better close but I want all of you to know that I love you and that I'm so grateful for all your prayers and well wishes/happy thoughts. No matter if the work is going easy, or if it seems we've hit a wall -either way I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that he saw God and His son Jesus Christ on that Spring day and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. The only thing that can get in our way of knowing this, is our own selves/pride/lack of faith etc. I guess the one comforting thought is that God knows our hearts and our desires etc. He knows what we want to do and will always understand us.

I just remembered a joke/quote from someone that I heard while on the mission. It's something to the effect of: Missionaries who serve in the states/in their own languages come home really spiritual, etc. Those who serve in places that speak: Spanish, French, Italian etc. come back spiritual, and knowing their languages really well. Those who serve in Russia ...come back humbled. Hahaha, well, something like that. I love this work and in a way am thankful for the trying times because I know that a good time is just around the corner.

I love you all.
Cectpa Rchards

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Letter from the Rostov Mission office

Dear parents of the greatest missionaries in the world,

Some of you have asked about how the Russia/Georgia war has affected us. As you know, we are in the Russian mission closest to Georgia, but generally there has been very little disruption to missionary work in our mission. However, in the neighboring mission of Armenia which takes in Georgia, the missionaries were evacuated to Yerevan, Armenia. They may be returning within several weeks if things stabilize. This includes a missionary couple who were in our mission for about one year before being re-assigned to Georgia before the war broke out.

Right now, the only negatives for our missionaries are a few things President Bush said in support of Georgia that don't sit too well with some of the Russians. So far none or our missionaries have been harassed very much, except for a few isolated verbal threats. As a precaution, and at the advice of the US Embassy in Russia and our Area Presidency, we are temporarily pulling missionaries out of a city that is close to the conflict (Stavropol), even though they were not in any immediate danger, and there were no reported threats upon our missionaries working in that city. The missionaries serving there will be re-assigned to other areas in the mission.

It is different watching the news on TV here (the new stations are owned by the government). It is very one sided, and makes Georgia look like the total bad guy. Watching bits and pieces of the Olympics is also interesting. Russia is understandably highlighted, and there is very little coverage of any person or team unless they are in an event with Russia. We have seen several events that we didn't even know existed in the Olympics.

Speaking of Olympics, it will be interesting to see how this conflict will affect the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi.

Thank you for your continued support of your missionary.

Elder & Sister Cameron

PS, we will go home on Sept 2nd, and report to our home ward in Las Vegas on Sept 14th. We are going to miss working with these excellent missionaries, but look forward to seeing our family again, especially our granddaughter (only grandchild so far) who was born the day we got out of the MTC. (We got special permission to visit with her for a few days before we boarded the plane to Russia.)

I'm melting ...

Hello everyone!
Sorry for the lateness in my writing but the Internet cafe crashed earlier -only had time to read but not write and now with less than an hour to be home and starting our comp study I'm here writing this to you. See how much I love ya! It is soooo hot here!!! I'm melting -the humidity etc. and we're always outside contacting or knocking.

Well this week started off great. We contacted two girls on the street who we invited on the spot to come look at the church and explain about it and they said yea (crazy huh?). So that was way cool and we taught one of the better lessons on the mission and all because we asked a lot of questions, really involving them and they seemed to really like it. So we'll see what happens 8) Then we met up with Nastia -we knocked into her family awhile ago and we thought we would have to drop her soon cause she wasn't progressing. But she said that she read in the book of Mormon at work and prayed to understand it better and that it worked and that she wants to be baptized! We were shocked of course but so happy so we will have to teach her everything and will hopefully be meeting with her as much as her work allows. She even said she knows that if she prays the Lord will help her.

I've really learned a lot about the importance of goals and planning this week. We've really taken a long look at how we plan our days and have really broken it down to every hour with goals and activities and it's amazing how much faster the day goes and how much easier it is to focus on the work rather than one big lump goal for the day. I know I know, duh! But I just figured this out. So yea, everything is going great with the work.

It was great to get all of your letters and pictures. It was fun to look down memory lane a little. Oh yea, and mom: of course I would love to watch the different football games! What else will I have to do when I'm home?! Haha, of course I don't know if I'll wanna watch the ones the ones we lost but we'll see 8) Steve- keep me updated with what's new etc, and how band is going etc.

Um ...Amanda and Devin -you are both putting up a very weak fight for most letters sent to me, the judges are not impressed 8) Write with any cool news! Carrie and Brett: Congratulations!!!! It was so great to see your pictures 8) Sara, I'm very proud to think that you are in Texas and going to honky tonks ....I can honestly say I've never been ....and I've lived there 10 years .....ahem!

I'm loving this work more and more and am so grateful to see the Lord's hand helping me become a better missionary. He has a lot to help me with 8) but I know it would be impossible without Him. It's crazy to think that Andrea is going home at Thanksgiving ....that's sooooo soon! I'm grateful that I will have a little longer out here, but seriously the time is flying and I'm not sure what to do about it except to not think about it and work. I love you all.

Cectpa Richards

P.S. No mom, I'm not too thin. I'm eating plenty and if anything I could stand to be a little thinner 8)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


For those of you who might be concerned with the recent fighting in Georgia, I am posting the email I received this morning from the couple serving in the Rostov mission office.

Our mission and our missionaries are fine and safe. Our mission has not been affected by the fighting at this point. The missionaries from the Armenian mission who were serving in Georgia were all evacuated safely last Saturday evening and are currently serving in Armenia. None of our missionaries have been moved, nor is it felt that we are in any danger. We will certainly let you know if the situation changes. Our office processes visas on a weekly basis. There is always some group which is coming or going. We have not heard that Russia is refusing visas, so any rumors to the contrary are not true. If there comes a time when our missionaries must leave, they will finish their missions in another mission. Thank you for letting your wonderful daughter serve with us. She's a great missionary.

sister Cameron

I love mail!

This is a picture of Whitney and her companion Cepta Fourtina taken at a zone conference held on Monday August 11th. (Interesting food!)

Hello everyone!

Sorry to say this week prolly won't be as eventful but maybe that's a good thing seeing as the events last week weren't the most uplifting. So my companion left yesterday early (5:30 a.m.) for Prague and the temple visit in Germany (so jealous!) and won't be back til Friday at 3 a.m. I saw her off and was there for my package that was brought in right then. I was so happy! But...just one question....what was with the pink hat Steve???? I's cool and all but when in the world would I wear it?? It's not warm and it's not "missionary" but thanks for the thought-haha everyone was perplexed by it but elder Mendenhall tried it on and it looked alright so it was appreciated 8)

Um, yea, so I waited for a mini missionary that didn't come so I slept on the president's comfy couch in his office for an hour and then the office elders called Lena (a girl from Taganrog branch) to come be with me which was great because we know each other well and she always helped us missionaries on meetings so she has experience. Today we are prolly gonna get together with the sisters in the north zone and do something.

Yes of course I heard about the war that started in Georgia -always sad to hear about man's reasoning and ways of settling problems -and I mean that in a mankind sense and not a sexist sense 8) As you all know we are not receiving anymore missionaries from America which so far we haven't felt much impact from it but soon prolly will -every transfer when more and more come home but in October we are receiving two missionaries (one being a sister from Ukraine) so they are finding and trickling in for sure. I think it's actually great for the church in Russia because it's demanding more of the members to step it up on the missionary front and helping which is just what they need to gain strong testimonies and will lay a strong foundation for the church in the future here in raising great families etc. and really understand the doctrine and how to LIVE the gospel.
Anywho, thanks soooo much for all the great letters this week! I got emails from Eric and through mom -lots of great news. I'm so excited for Carrie and Brett!!!!!! congrats!!!!!! and happy birthday to Sara!!!!!! and hi to everyone else! (I have also received letters through dear elder from Sara, Amanda, Devin, Jacob, Russ, etc ) They're coming so keep em' coming -thanks so much! Sorry if I don't write much snail mail to you all but I don't have American stamps and no time too so it's hard but it really makes my day when I can hear how all my friends are doing and all is well with you!

There's been a lull in new investigators lately but that's prolly cause we're really trying to focus on the elect. I want those who are ready now and I'm tired of waisting time meeting with people and trying to convince them -if they're not ready, they will be later. I need those who have been prepared by the Lord so hopefully if we show our faith enough and determination he will choose to bless us. I love you all and thank you so much for all your support! I know I am who I am because of each of my friendships with you and the things I've learned from you all!

Cectpa Richards

Monday, August 4, 2008

What's important life

Well hello to everyone!

This letter is guaranteed to be a great tear-jerker, gut buster, and head scratcher because I owe you all that much from the embarrassment of last weeks letter 8) AND I'm on a well greased key board (no, it's really greasy) so no sticky keys to hold me up from my amazing blur of 65 words per minute. of last weeks experience....So we knocked into this girl who was about our age- she was way sweet and invited us in to chat and her mom was sitting at a table outside under the shade of their patio and we just chatted, explained who we were what we were doing and taught the restoration and gave her a book of Mormon. This girl who was 21 like us had been investigating different churches off and on but had seemed to grow tired of the different weird things in each of them etc. So she was interested to see if this church was different (cue the choir!) So yea, we had a return appointment set-up but because of a conflict with work it didn't pull through so a little time passed by. This girl was really cool and funny -she taught us Russian slang that's popular right now: ice= cool, and jest (with a soft j)= bad. Anyway, we really liked her and were excited for her to come and see all the cool young members etc here.

Finally we called her and set up an appointment for the next day to stop by. We stopped by after finally remembering where she lived and her younger brother answered the door and said come on in, why are you knocking?! Then we came in and sat down with her mom. Right away I knew something was off cause her mom seemed really out of it/upset. She said that her daughter wasn't there -had gone into work. It seemed like there had to be something more wrong if she was so sad so I asked what happened. She said that her daughter had gathered all her money and things and left the day before. Apparently this had happened periodically as she was growing up -would leave and live on the streets/be with friends and just recently her mom found out that she had been a prostitute and had prolly returned to this lifestyle. Needless to say we were stunned (well ...I was, my comp didn't catch the part about prostitution). It was as if I had heard she had died in some tragic accident. I could only think about how cool she was, how sweet and how much potential she had and STILL has. So yea....pretty solemn visit with the mom.

Her mom talked about how she was soooo hurt by this and so embarrassed for her daughter and ashamed. She talked about how she had no hope for her daughter, no hope that she would ever straighten up and change. She talked about how after our first visit her daughter looked at her and said: "Oh mama, they are such good girls, so beautiful, and clean/modest and happy." and then said that she was going to read in the Book of Mormon. (Her mom encouraged her thinking she could start hoping her daughter would find something here in this church to change her.) And then this happened.

Honestly sitting here right now it's hard not to cry just thinking about it and the situation. Everything becomes more sharper when you're a missionary. Your joys, your pains and your sadness. I've never been so saddened because of sin in others -and not because I'm thinking: sad, they sinned; but because I'm thinking of how UNBELIEVABLY EASY it is for them to turn around and come back into their Father's arms. And the huge lie that Satan tells us -probably the biggest lie in all of history: that we can't repent. We can't change, it's too hard, just give up, just keep on going like you are -it's not bad, we're all doing it etc. I really realized my unshakable hope and faith in the atonement on this day. Listening to her mom talk about how there is no hope for her daughter. There was a voice inside that just sat up and said: NO. That's not true! There is ALWAYS hope -ALWAYS! And I told her that. I told her how we can always come back no matter how far we've strayed in life, no matter how old we are, tired we are, undeserving we are -we can ALWAYS come back and God and Jesus are ALWAYS waiting for us with open arms -it is never too late and it's always possible and there is always hope.

I just marveled at this hope that I felt within me for her - she's had a good experience with the church, she's seen the results that can be had: clean happiness and she has our information and the book of Mormon -I just hope she realizes sooner than later that she can leave this troubled life on the streets and find a building with that beautiful plaque on it and come home -she can always come home, it's waiting for her, she's just in her own way right now. I love her and I don't hardly know her and yet I have all the hope in the world for her -I try to pray for her every night where ever she is. So yea....that was my experience.

Also while walking on the streets last week there was a crowd of people and we didn't know why but as we worked our way through we saw a body of an older woman (50-60s) just laying spread eagle. It took a minute to realize that she had died -I'm not sure how, had to have been natural cause she was on the sidewalk but the sadness of it really hit me - as I took in her nice outfit, well done nails which were now being buzzed around by flies -but it was strange because the sadness I felt was for a different reason wasn't because she had died -of course I was sad for her family and the loss they would soon be experiencing but it was because she probably hadn't done everything she should have in life -prolly hadn't heard the restored gospel, been baptized, had that eternal vision of what was awaiting her, so that everything was in order.

I wanted so strongly to find her family and tell them where she was and how they could be together again. This life is so fleeting, so short, and so all important. Really understanding and seeing the eternal purposes behind everything is what gives it so much meaning -because, without it, without that understanding of who we are and why we are here, it's all really just....pointless....momentary pleasures and suffering, with empty fashions and just objects that we place all around us to make us feel like we did something, that we have purpose and meaning in our lives: No, life is great, I have a car ....I'm a car owner -like we use it all to give ourselves titles/identity but when you think of who we really are and how pale all of this stuff is in comparison it's pretty ridiculous.

That's what we're really doing here -just reminding people of who they are and why they're here, and how they can get back. Anywho ...sorry for the way long and deep stuff but just some stuff I've been coming to terms with and thinking about lately. We had transfers today-Monday, p-day and I'm hoping to get your package today mom! Um...we're still together which is great, still have so much to accomplish together. We have one girl who we want to help progress but her work schedule is always in the way -so hard to tell people to just have faith and find work that allows them to be there on Sunday, so hard ....but so worth it. The trick is helping them see that.

Well I love you all and sorry there wasn't as many laughs in this one -I forgot all the funny stuff that happened 8)

Luv ya,
Cectpa Richards

P.S. Steve- thanks for the mail! and don't worry -I'm always careful and nothing is going to happen, the Lord is looking out for us -luv ya! (I looked Russian in your dream? cool! What does that mean??)

P.S.S. O yea, and dad -I talked to president and he said that I'm prolly definitely staying an extra transfer so it will be around the middle of march when I'm done but if you REALLY need a date because you're using flyer miles or something and need to buy early let me know and I'll talk to him again but normally he said that if you wait a little longer the price always goes down before going back up right at the end. He also joked with me that I could go home with him and his wife in July -I was like: "Are you kidding me?!" with a big grin and then he said: "Yes, I am." I was so mad! I threatened to never bring him cookies again (Yea, I def learned the art of bribery while here in Russia 8) anywho, luv ya all!