Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Priviet! I know last week's e-mail was kind of short and lame, but I figure most of you don't want to read super long e-mails anyway. Besides you, Ma.  A month of my mission is officially GONE. It's a bitter sweet feeling.  I have less than five weeks left to learn as much of the gospel and Russian as humanly (and spiritually) possible bfore I get thrown out into the wilderness.  Ah!  I don't know how anyone ever wanted to leave sooner than their departure date, I need as much time as I can get!  And the MTC is so great, honestly.  Hard, but great.  The speaker at our devotional last night shared a really cool quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "You want something from life? Pay the price and get it." He changed that for us and asked us "You want something from your mission? Pay the price (follow the Spirit), and GET it." It's so true. You can see it with the different levels of commitment amongst all the missionaries. You get out of this what you put in, and if you are willing to give everything that you are, everything that you THINK you are, the Lord makes you into something you could never see for yourself. I'm seeing myself and others in such a new perspective these days.  I already feel years wiser.  I'll probably change my mind once I re-enter the real world ha. 
My district continues to grow closer and closer. We're really working on being unified in obedience to everything that we're asked to do.  On time to study hours, on time to devotionals, meetings, etc.  Studying when we're supposed to be studying, studying WHAT we're supposed to be studying, and doing our best to be more and more Christlike.  We've struggled with our focus a bit, just because we all love having fun and enjoy each other so much, but there is a time and season for everything. And here in the MTC, it's the season for preparation. I think now that we're practically halfway through, we're all starting to feel the heat a little more.  There are some of us who are more advanced in the language, but I've seen more and more that those who don't struggle with certain things struggle with others.  For example, the language is coming so fast for me, but I struggle with lotsss of other things. Like focusing outside of myself, trusting the Lord and my companion, the list goes on.  I am extremely imperfect.  Unbelievably flawed. And I'm servin with such amazing examples.  The Lord knows WHO and what we need in our lives.
So today, we officially become the "old" Russians.  We're getting a group of newbies, two FULL districts (of 11 and 12).  Only four sisters, though. And none of them going to the Baltics.  I guess the Baltics is one of the smallest out of all the Russian speaking missions.  There were only two older sisters speaking Russian going to the Baltics that left last week (so sad), and there's actually a really good chance that one of them will be training me once I go out to the field. Which is terrifying, because apparently Baltic sisters have been training by their third (sometimes second) transfer, apparently.  WHAT!  Sister Stone is one of the older sisters that could be training me, and I sure hope that happens. She's awesome and her Russian was already amazing here in the MTC.  ANYWAY. Back to the newbies.  Our district got pretty serious in our weekly meeting on Sunday, and last night at our devotional review. We really want to be the best examples possible, and help them all feel welcome, but also inspire them to be the best missionaries they can be.  The Russian districts here are really focused on EXACT obedience, staying a bar above the rest, and working the hardest.  We have some crazy Italian elders down the hall from our classrooms that just make us roll our eyes.  And don't even get me started on the Spanski (Spanish) Elders.  Eye roll. 
To get things started, we're doing three days in a row of what we call Gah-Sa-Ya (гся) which stands for (phonetically) gavarit c yazuik, or speak your language.  All day, all Russian, OH DA. We've already done about four days so far. Today we're taking a break since it's preparation day, but it's back to business tomorrow.  It's seriously the biggest miracle for progressing with the language. The missionaries who don't commit to гся are the ones that fall behind, and the gap continues to grow.  It's SO HARD, but I've learned SO MUCH. Wish me luck!  I love hearing from all of you! and thanks for all the e-mails of support and love, I DO read them I'm just not the best at responding.  I only get about an hour on the computers so it's actually easier for me to write handwritten letters.  ask my mom for my address if you don't have it and want to hear back from me about all my sweet stories and experiences :))
Love you all!  бог жив!
сестра  макдёрмид 

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