Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25, 2012

Howdy Family,

This week has been weird. I don't really have anything to write you about. Thanks for the pictures Dad! The trip looked fun. Also, I am glad you and Mom had fun on your anniversary.

So, yesterday was somewhat stressful. Sacrament was great as always but Sunday is just so contentious that I just feel gross. Hopefully that will get better.  After church this guy dressed all in black came in and just said he had an appointment with the missionaries. We had never seen him before. As we got talking we realized he lived in a different area and just came to ours. He is studying to become a preacher or something and really just wanted to bicker with us. The member we had on the lesson took the bait and so it was just arguing about the Book of Mormon for like a half hour. We had another lesson that evening with a less active member that struggles with the word of wisdom and that didn't go well either. Mostly him just complaining about his wife.

Saturday was interviews and training with the zone leaders. It was cool but it took all day. We had an appointment for that night but when they got there she just told us to wait outside she was almost ready. Half an hour later she finally came out and we found a bench to sit on. We began talking about why we are here and the parts of the Book of Mormon she had read when her boyfriend showed up and they just got up and left..., I guess that is just how our week was.  

The only big new is that next Monday we will be moving apartments. We will be moving into the Elders apartment and they will be moving into a members while they serve a mission.  The move also means that our area will be getting a lot bigger. Not quite double but almost. I will get to know our new area mostly by myself because we only have a week before Sister Braginets and Sister Callister go home. The good news is that instead of having a 40 minute trip to get to church we will only have to walk for 5-10 minutes. I feel kind of bad for the Elders because we will be taking most of their area and investigators and they will be basically opening a new one out in the boonies. Oh well I guess. So much for learning how to work the doors...,I did learn how to open the doors at the church. Trust me it was an ordeal.

Well, sorry this is short, nothing really happened. The next couple weeks will bring with them lots of changes. It should be fun.

Well, I love you all!

Cectpa Pearce

Monday, June 18, 2012

June 18, 2012

Dearest Momsy and Popsicle,

Yes, mom you may have had a lengthy list but I love hearing about all you are doing so keep it coming.  All of your projects sound fun. Send pictures when you get finished. Dad, Thanks for the pictures of Todd. I enjoyed your commentary :) also, Dad I forgot last week, HAPPY father’s Day!!!!!! Also Happy ANNIVERSARY!!! Also, the picture they sent was me singing at Zone conference. I sang sweet hour of prayer and Elder Stoddard accompanied me. I knew him from SUU.

I'll start with your questions. The branch here is pretty great I don't know numbers but probably at least 50-60 people every week at church. It is pretty normal; really the only excitement comes from Sunday School. Mostly it's like they pick a topic and argue about it for an hour. The concept of only one person talking at one time doesn't exist. I played the piano last week in sacrament. The piano is so out of tune that I didn't know if I was hitting the wrong notes or it was just out of tune. It was rough. I just laughed. 

So I didn't know sister Braginets name for the first week but I got that down. It probably took me another week to figure out the situation with Russian doors. The first door you need a magnetic thing. Then the elevator. Then the door to get to our hallway. That one’s rough. The key slot is broken so you just have to know where to out the key and when to turn, turn twice. And then the door to our apartment, it requires 4 turns. Anyway, it was a process. Next I need to learn the public transport system.

Last Tuesday the branch had a picnic. We met at a bus stop and then walked for what seemed like forever into the woods. I had no idea where we were going and then all of the sudden there was a soccer field and a volleyball court in the middle of nowhere. Anyway, it was fun. We had an investigator come that was previously uninterested, but after being around some members she was willing to begin reading the Book of Mormon. It was a great opportunity to spend time with members and talk to them. I was actually able to translate for the senior couple here while they were talking to a member. That was cool. I didn’t think I could do that.

Also, this week has been really HOT. It is only going to get worse, and then it will get really cold...I just decided I am not going to be comfortable for a while.

On Thursday we were contacting on our way home and began talking to a lady and right off the back she was asking really great questions. We talked for about a 1/2 hour and then asked if we could meet to talk more and she said no. But we offered to help her in any way that we could so she suggested we could come help her in her house outside of the city. On Saturday we took an hour bus ride outside the city. We picked strawberries, and then weeded mostly. After we picked strawberries she gave us some of them and we all just sat around talking. The strawberries were delicious.  It was so beautiful! Everything was so green and just...I don't know. I loved it. I even loved weeding; I know you are probably shocked. It was nice just to be outside working. We also gave her a Book of Mormon and she said she would read it so we will see where things go.

There is an older lady in our branch who we go teach and serve once a week. This week I stumbled through the lesson and then we helped her clean her rugs. It was a lot of fun. We took the rugs outside and then just wacked up with these things that looked like large fly swatters. She is really great.

Well, I think that is all.  I love you all so much and pray for you often.
Cectpa Pearce

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 11,2012


Boy, I feel like I have so much to tell you...I probably won't get to most of it. Oh well. So this week has been kind of rough. I mean, I just realized how little I know, and that I will need to know in 4 weeks.  Since both of my companions are going home at the end of this cycle Pres. Sartori told me I would be in Saratov for a while and that if I’m not training next cycle I will be the one after that. Our mission only has like 8 sisters I think. And by August it will double. Anyway, since they will be leaving I need to be pretty familiar with the area. I already know general areas but to find specific addresses in Russia is going to be hard. I guess I will get really good at reading a map. Also, Russian. I can understand Sister Braginets and other missionaries but any one on the street I have no idea what they are saying. I know I will learn but...sometimes it is so painful. Oh well. Mostly I just want to learn when they are angry or not. I never know if they are mad or not so I just smile and nod. 

This week I had a goal that I wanted to receive a contact on the street to be a new investigator. I talked to everyone and were interested but mostly not. On Tuesday no one wanted anything to do with us. Seriously. I would say hello and not only would they reject us, but violently so. One heavily clothed babushka walked by us yelling sect! sect! and then spitting on us. Only in Russia, I guess. Wednesday was about the same. There was one lady that was interested and I talked to her about the Book of Mormon and offered her one. She said her hands were dirty so she opened her shirt and gestured for me to put it there. Ha! It was strange. On Wednesdays we have sport night at a school where we invite investigators to come in a less churchy atmosphere. There is a black top and a place for volleyball net. It was fun. Also, on Mondays we have FHE over at the Senior couples home. That is another place we can invite members and investigators. Anyway after 2 days of nothing I wondered if anyone would talk to us. Thursday would be a full week in Saratov so I was hoping we would find someone. All day nothing. We were heading back home and we decided to talk to one more person (why is it always the last person?) she was sitting on a bench and she invited us to sit with her. We began talking and instantly she was interested. Anyway, it was cool. Also, 3 of the people we are meeting with are named Tatiana. I already don't really know what is going on and on top of that, I never know which Tatiana we are talking about.

Friday was zone conference. It was really great to get a feel for the mission and what is expected of me. This week I have attempted some phone calls but mostly it is just a joke. I can't understand them, and my Russian is so bad they can't understand me. It's great.

Let’s for the food. Sister Braginets has made borscht and it was good. She said it was Ukrainian borscht not Russian but I still really liked it. Russian salads are kind of interesting. Cabbage and whatever vegetables and then they just plop some mayonnaise on there. I have kasha or oatmeal at least once a day it seems. Oh! And our apartment. We live on the 8th floor of our Dom and we have one big living room where we study. our bedroom is small, we don't have beds so we sleep on foam pads. There is just enough room for all of our foam pads to tetris in there. In the kitchen all of the appliances are pretty small. We have 2 small refrigerators and a stove. Again small. What else...the view out our window is pretty. I will take a picture and sent it home at some point.

It sounds like your vacation was a lot of fun! Even if the weather didn't cooperate. Also sorry for all the typing mistakes. I can't go back and fix any of it because the overwrite is on. Well, I love you all so much!!!

Cectpa Pearce

June 4,2012


How was the trip? I hope it was fun!! I’ll be honest, I was a little jealous...or a lot.  Well, I loved talking to you! Sorry I cried through the whole thing. I just love you so much. 

A lot happened this week.  So flying was fine. I mean it was long but I slept and read scriptures. Actually it wasn't great. The landing into New York was awful. I felt so sick and actually threw up. After that we had 40 minutes to get to our next flight and we made that. Although, we were the only English speakers on that flight. I had a couple conversations with them though. One was with a Ukrainian pastor who studied the Book of Mormon in school. Anyway it was kind of cool. The flight to Moscow was 9 hours and it was alright. I didn't sleep much. And then we got to Moscow and everything began going wrong. In our flight plans they didn't say anything about a 2nd passport but apparently we were supposed to meet people there and then go to the US embassy.  We went to start checking our bags and then there were these crazy ladies yelling and waving at us. Anyway after much confusion they told us that we needed to go with them.  We went and got our 2nd passports and then they took us to lunch at McDonalds. So, yes my first meal in Russia was McDonalds. Then they took us back to the airport and we still had like 6 hours until our flight but we went to check our bags and boarding passes. And they told us our tickets were reserved but no one had bought them. Of course they did it in Russian and we didn't understand so it was quite and ordeal to even find out what was going on.  Once we did they then sent us to all sorts of places to get it figured out. They all told us the same thing, that they were reserved and not bought. Anyway, after 2-3 hours of me attempting to speak Russian and understand they told us someone needs to buy them, I found out how much and then we were going to try and call the travel service because that is what our papers said. Only problem we had to figure out how to use the phone...that took us another hour or so and it was like 10 dollars for 100 seconds.  We got ahold of them but they put us on hold to figure things out and we ran out of time.  I was really happy with them at this point, if you can imagine. After that I just decided to buy them get on the plane and worry about it once I got to samara. 

It was awful. I have never felt that stressed before. I couldn't speak the language and we couldn't get anyone to tell us what to do. Anyway, let us forget that nightmare. I am here and it is great.

SO, I have 2 trainers. We are in a 3-some.  Their names are Sister Callister from California and Sister Braginets from Ukraine. I have it pretty great. A native speaker and when I can't understand someone to translate for me. Pretty sweet deal. We are in Saratov, to get here we took an overnight train from Samara which was cool. After being on an airplane the train was awesome because you could lie down and sleep. This week has been crazy. Full of Russian...I can understand Sister Braginets pretty much all of the time but I can't understand the people on the street yet. It will come. Yesterday church was cool.  They have such a great spirit here. It was a little different but it was cool.  They asked me to bear my testimony because I was new I just didn't know it until the lady next to me elbowed me to go up. I stumbled through it hopefully I said something worthwhile. Also yesterday on a transport I sat down next to a woman who happened to have already talked to the missionaries before. But the man across from me took priglasheny or invitation out of my hand and began talking to me. We aren't allowed to talk to men unless they talk to us first. Anyway, I began talking to him and noticed he was holding a pigeon...I have no idea why but I thought it was interesting. Any who, they guy next to us joined in the conversation and then another guy in the aisle as well. So now I had a crowd. I was nervous. But that is when Sister Callister stepped in and helped answer some questions. 

What else...I just barely gave away my first Book of Mormon!

Well I have to go; I love you all so much!

Cectpa Pearce