Sunday, March 31, 2013

March 25, 2013

Hello family!!

Well, this Thursday I will have been on a mission for a year. Can you believe it? I can't. And sadly that means I only have 6 months left...we will probably do something to celebrate. I don't know what yet. I don't remember what happened this week before Friday...maybe by the end of the email it will come to me.

Friday we had district meeting and the zone leaders were there, that was cool. And then after district meeting there was going to be and activity for the youth. In our branch there is one active young man. He is the elder's quorum president. So we went to work inviting all the youth we saw and knew already. Anyway, it turned out to be a way effective activity. There were 7 investigators there. We played some games ate shashlik (shish-kobobs of delicious meat) and by the time we left they were still hanging out and playing together. Most of them didn't know each other before the activity. Cool.

Saturday we worked with the zone leaders and had sister's interviews. I don't know if I explained what they are before. Once a cycle we work with our zone leaders and once with our district leader. It is a good opportunity to receive training and just figure out how we could be working better. I think they are great because for the first 6-8 months of my mission I just had to figure it out. During the exchange we can ask questions or express concerns and receive feedback.

Sunday was normal...I can't remember. Oh! I spoke. This is only my second time speaking in Russia. Orenburg is a pretty small branch and usually one missionary speaks every Sunday so this week it was my turn. I spoke on baptism. I played the piano for part of primary to help them learn a song.

I still don't really know what happened earlier in the week. A lot of our investigators were sick or out of town so we were contacting and tracting a lot but we found some sweet potentials. We will see what happens.

Story for the week. Anatoly was studying to be a Russian Orthodox priest when he got beat up. There was some brain damage done and so know he just repeats scriptures and Russian Orthodox teaching. Last week when we went to see baba lida he said we were going to hell because we aren't Russian orthodox. This week when we went back he says he thinks we will go to heaven because we are nice people. Score. He’s awesome.

Well that's all folks. see ya' next week!

Cectpa Pearce

March 18, 2013

Hello family!!

This has been a good week. Tuesday this week no one wanted to talk to us. Or if they did they didn't say very nice things...days like that happen but by the end of the day it is usually just funny. We did meet with a couple of our investigators.  Wednesday we had cultural day which actually turned out really cool. There is a place here that built historical houses from different countries like Ukraine, Russia, and Armenia, Georgia...I don't remember all of them but there was like 8-9. Each one is a separate museum but you can walk through and there is someone there to tell you about them. Ukraine was the best. The lady that showed us around was able to practice her English version of the tour and did a great job. She also had a beautiful voice and sang for us. And then sold us her CD. It was so worth it. She also gave us her number and told us to come back anytime for free.  She wanted to know more about why we are here. So pretty effective culture day too. In Ukraine they believe a home is like a living man. It laughs and cries according to the people that live there. It shows it's personality through the things in it, like the things on the wall, pictures etc. Fridays were holy days because that is when they would bake bread. You weren't allowed to argue on Friday’s they have a bed directly on top of the oven where 5-6 people would sleep. I don't remember what else but it was way cool.

Thursday was crazy. We have been finding a lot of potentials lately from calling off old lists; tracting, contacting and we met with 4 of them on Thursday. Artak believes in god but not eternal life. He brought his friend Misha who is an atheist and came to show us that we were not living correctly...that was an interesting meeting. Then Aleksey (I can't spell in English) who we found while he was playing the guitar. And then some other guy named Aleksey (shoot, I have no idea...) we knocked on his door and gave him and invitation to church. He called us and showed up while we were at the church building. That was sweet. Friday we had district meeting and then we met with our branch president. He was inactive when he received the calling and recently divorced but has two sons who are way cool. A break dancer and a weightlifter. Saturday we talked to a Russian Orthodox priest who tried to call us to repentance and got frustrated when it didn't work. And then yesterday we met with a way cool potential. We knocked his door probably my 2nd day here. He immediately knew who we were and told us he had been to Utah and saw the Salt Lake Temple. He couldn't meet with us then but gave us his number to meet later. Yesterday it finally worked out. He is 65 and takes care of his 90 year old parents. His dad fought on the front of the war and his mom was a nurse. They are both deaf but told some way cool stories. He is currently writing a book about them. He knows the history of our church but has never talked with missionaries before. So...we don't know what will happen but we are excited to find out. He directed a musical group for 35 years in Siberia that did a couple tours in America. He lived with a Mormon family in St. George for a couple weeks and they gave him a Book of Mormon and went to church with them.

It sounds like your weekend together was way fun. The backpacks look way good! Well done mom!

Now that all the good news is out of the way. On Saturday I looked at my camera and all of my pictures were gone. I don't know when or how really but...I don't have a single picture of the first year of my mission. My companions will have some but...all the same I am mourning a little bit. I’ll try not to think about it. I am sending the memory card home with an elder that is going home in 4 weeks he says he might be able to look at the deep file of the card and they might be there. I feel like I am mourning but I can't do anything so...there yam go. Shoot. I will try to document the last 6 months as well as I can.

Well, love you all!!! Mom, Dad, thanks for writing me every week!!

Cectpa Pearce

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 11, 2013

Well family,

I just typed a bomb letter. And then mid-send the internet stopped working and the letter is nowhere to be found. I am a little annoyed right now but I will try to quickly give you a nice review of what "the best letter I have ever typed to send home" had in it. It really is too bad you can't read it. Grrr.........

Anyway, so I said some stuff about how your weekend together sounded like a blast and I wanted to eat some of John's ribs. I made some comments about all the babies your wives are growing. They will probably be adorable. I also said thanks to Mom for pulling on all of your ears and toes to force you to write me. I appreciate it. She should do it more often.

This week we saw a lot of miracles and really noticed the lord guide us to where we needed to go. Tuesday we got and a bus to contact and I sat down next to a young woman but she was talking on her phone forever. Usually I would have moved but I just sat there. When she got off the phone I finally was able to talk to her. After I explained what I was doing there she asked "How did you decide to do that?" Great question right? It gave me a sweet opportunity to testify. She turned in her seat and just faced me squarely and listened. When I asked for her number she helped me save it and made sure that I would be calling. That was sweet. After we got off the bus we began walking (We got off because I asked Kristina where a store was and our stop came up so she forced us to get off. we didn't really know where we were...) and ran into a potential investigator that Sister Upshaw had met with once. We went to a cafĂ©, met and gave him the Book of Mormon and invited him to church and the activity on Saturday. He came to both and then we met with him after church. He said he would be baptized if he receives and answer to prayer. then on Wednesday as we were on the street there was a girl that was walking quickly towards us and was way smiley I asked her why and she explained that a year ago and Elder gave her a Book of Mormon and she really liked it. We got her number but haven't met with her yet.

On Thursday we met with Kristina and gave her the Book of Mormon. She is a little hesitant but at the end of the meeting she said "You are unusual. Very open." I think it was a compliment so I said thank you. I think she felt the spirit. And then on Saturday as we were tracting we both felt that we were in the wrong spot so we prayed decided where to go and then set off. We didn't really know what was waiting for us but when we got to the building we picked we were stopped by a security babushka. I.e. and old lady that sits by the door all day so that people like us don't bug the people that live there. They are really effective at what they do. This one however, was way nice and interested in our message. We gave her the Book of Mormon and we will be going back to meet tomorrow. Anyway those are some of our miracles.

My hands hurt from typing. I love you all. Prayer is real. 

Cectpa Pearce

Monday, March 4, 2013

March 4, 2013

Sister Pearce in Tolyatt

Sister Pearce with Tanya at her baptism

March 4, 2013

Hello Family!

Orenburg is pretty cool. It is a good thing Sister Upshaw knows where to go because I have been pretty disoriented. I forgot what it is like to be in a new place. Also, I can't believe it is March either. At the end of March I will have been on my mission for a year...that is
really crazy.

Yesterday at church there were 11 members and 6 missionaries when the meeting started and then throughout it one family showed up and doubled that number. Basically all 11 were babushka the Branch President and his son the Elders Quorum President. I am excited to get to know the people in this branch. It is pretty small but there are some really strong members.  Also that family I talked about...I don't know how to describe it. There is a very intricate diagram of the family tree in our area book about who is related to who and I still don't understand. All I know is the grandma is the driving force behind their membership in the church she is way nice though.

An 8 year old in that family was baptized on Saturday so that was cool. Elder Cowley (I don't know how to spell that) baptized her. They didn't want to fill the font up all the way so it was about up to his knees and the
little girl’s waist. In short, by the time the girl came up out of the water Elder Cowley was under the water having fallen over. He had to explain to his investigator that that isn't usually part of baptism...ha-ha. By the way, Elder Cowley is from Wellsville, Utah. He said he knows Marylynn. Small world, huh? he is a way sweet Elder.

I have met some of our investigators (there is a break out of swine flu here so a lot have been sick). Marina is an older woman really quiet but likes to listen to us. As I figured out how to teach in Tolyatti I always focused on asking questions doesn't work as well with her. We’ll see what we can do. And Tatiana. She said she doesn't feel the love of God but wants to. We have been focusing on finding this week. We have a couple potentials from contacting on the bus. We’ll see how things go next week.

There is a senior couple here who are from Saratov. They are from the branch from my first area. I was actually there when they opened their calls and spoke in church. They are such a blessing for this branch. Anywho, it is fun to serve with them again now that I can speak Russian.

Oh! On Saturday I was in Asia. There is a part of Orenburg that is on the border of Asia so there is a monument that is Asia on one side and Europe on the other. That was cool.

And 2 weeks ago I don't think I said anything but I fell for the first time in Russia. It wasn't even that cool but I have a sweet bruise on my knee. Falling only once is quite an accomplishment, I’ll have you know. I don't really know how it didn't happen earlier I am usually
pretty klutzy.

I feel like this week we worked and laughed and it felt good. I am still WAY tired and I don't really know why. Oh well, I guess life goes on.

Well, I hope everything works out with everyone visiting you. If so, say hello, take some pictures and then send them to me:) love you lot's and talk to you next week.

Sister Pearce

February 25, 2013

Dear Family

This week has been crazy. I feel like the only thing I have said lately is "crazy" and "I don't know". I am no longer in Tolyatti and my heart is a little bit broken but all will be well. I am currently in a little place called Orenburg. It is 2 hours ahead of the rest of the mission and serving with Sister Upshaw again. As far as who we are teaching I don't know yet. I got here this morning on an overnight train. it has been 8 months since I have been on a train so that was kind of fun but I didn't sleep at all and I lost 2 hours because of the time change. I’m a little bit tired.  As far as what has happened, I don't know. Anyway, Thursday I was feeling a little down so I called Sister Sartori to just talk to her for a little while and when I got off the phone Sister Polyanskaya had packed her bags and decided she was going home. She called the assistants and was able to talk to an elder who is also from Ukraine who convinced her to stay so we tried to figure out what to do to make things better. Like I say tried. I called president and in response to everything in the past 10 weeks he just decided to transfer me. That’s the story in short. It all happened so fast. And now I am here. I am excited to get to work again.

On Saturday there was another picnic in the forest which was really fun. Marina came so I was able to say good bye to her. Tanya and Elena were also there. It was a good opportunity to see a lot of members before I left. I got on a bus yesterday right after church to Samara to meet up with Sister Upshaw and then onto a train. That is pretty much what happened this week. I honestly don't remember what happened before that.

It is colder in Orenburg than it was in Tolyatti, it is farther east and north maybe. I don't really know. Do you want to do some research for me? I’ll be asking people some questions but all the same it would be good to fill in the gaps. At the old computer club I couldn't send pictures but maybe here I can. I forgot my camera though so maybe I will try next week.

Also, dad, you can't start falling apart already. I hope everything goes well with the doctors this week. If you find any good options for hip replacements let me know. Mine pop really loudly several times a day. Usually by the end of the day I hobble around like a babushka.

Well, love you all lots. Wish me luck learning a new area!

Cectpa Pearce