Thursday, April 25, 2013

Week 4

Hope you all don't mind that I am posting Dianas email verbatim.  She says things perfectly the first time without any editing.  I would only gum it up!
I'm "ochin" sad that I still haven't been able to figure out how to change the computer keyboard to Russian letters. Instead, I'll just have to type out phonetically the words that are now incorporated into my every day speech. Maybe you can use context to figure them out?
First and foremost I have a very important announcement to make. The rules of emailing are officially changed. I can email friends and family and basically everyone. Because of this they've increased our time emailing. So let everyone know that my email address is I still have a limited time, but if nothing else I'll respond to your email with a letter. Hopefully this will make it easier for those of you who haven't been able to write me for one reason or another.
Also while I'm begging for mail, I'll throw out a friendly reminder that my birthday is next week. Allow me to introduce you to a fun little site called which I see people getting stuff from every day. Donuts and Oreos are always appreciated ;) haha just kidding. Sort of. But here's something cool! All of you out there in Provo - were you aware that in the basement of the Wilk they have a service that delivers packages to the MTC for $1?? Once again just throwing that out there ;) Okay I'm done! Sorry for being a mooch.

Not much to say about this week, other than that it has been SOOOO much better. Ever since last week's devotional things have been "ochin harasho." I feel like the Russian is finally starting to click. The learning curve is starting to turn up a little now that the words are more familiar to me, so I have started kind of retaining things. We've been making companionship goals of how to step up our game and be better missionaries, and one of them - get ready - is no singing anything but Hymns.
I live to sing!!! Seriously, every time someone says anything, I relate it to a song and then I have it in my head forever. Or I learn a Russian word, stick it into a song I know with that word in it, and I never forget the word. BUT it's a good goal to have. They're really big on obedience here, and one thing you'll hear a lot is "when obedience is no longer a list of do's and don'ts, but a quest to do what's right - that is when you will start to experience the blessings." I guess the rules here have just been to obvious and easy to follow up to this point (besides the dancing thing - that's "neldzya" and pretty hard for me to follow sometimes, haha). I'm excited though for the chance I this gives me to really discipline myself and do something that's hard for me.
Also, we get new Russian speakers in today! We won't be the babies of our district anymore - so weird! I still feel like a baby! I've been here a month and I can hardly speak sentences! But God is with me every day - I know it! He's the only reason I've learned as much as I have by now.
Thank you to those of you who have written me - dear elders, letters, or otherwise. It's the best feeling coming back after a morning of SYL (speak your language - nothing but Russian) to a letter on your desk with news from home.
I love you all!
Sister Willerth

PS to Week Three

Okay now I'm going to give an anti-shoutout to those of you who said you'd write me, who I KNOW are following the blog (cough Michael cough), who I can't write because I don't have your address... WRITE ME! Or I will never be able to write you! That's how it works! Okay that's all  :) LOVE YOU EVERYONE!

Week 3

I'm a little late but better late than never!
Hi Family!
After an uneventful week, I was fully prepared with a series of pictures Sister Walker (my companion on splits sometimes) and I had taken of ourselves to send home. Don't worry, I'll still send them (there are some real gems) but now I have an AMAZING experience to share too.
Because this happened, I'm going to admit how discouraged I was feeling. I seriously had this thought last week "What am I doing here? Honestly, it would just be easier in almost every way to just come home." And it's not easy to go home. Anyway, I've been having some super intense prayers (if you didn't anticipate this with "amazing experience" here;s your disclaimer that this email will be extremely preachy). And I kept having experiences like the one I told you about last week that would lift me up temporarily and then I would get down again. Anyway.
Last night Richard G. Scott came to the MTC and spoke to us. He kept talking about the sisters, how this was the greatest thing we could do for our future families. He talked to those learning a language and promised us that we would receive the Lord's help with it. So here's your context - he's basically talking directly to me. Then, he says, "I've had a feeling to place and Apostalic Blessing on you." WHAT! I didn't think I'd ever see one of those in my life - I don't think I've ever even heard of one before! But he blessed us that we'd receive help in mastering the language, comfort, strength, patience to deal with companions (not that I need that yet, but I probably will someday in the near future!) and so much more. Total answer to prayer, even though I didn't recognize it yet. Then he closed, we sang the closing Hymn, and he got up AGAIN, stopped the girl that was about to say the prayer, and said "Remember, the Lord has called you to succeed, not to fail. Sometimes it may seem terribly hard, but he wants you to grow. He will not abandon you - he has inspired your call. This is an opportunity to develop strengths and gifts you didn't even know you had... This will enrich your life forever."
I have never heard of someone doing this. This is the second time God has spoken to me in such a big way (the first being the mission change.) The point of this story is - He answers prayers!! Sometimes he makes you wait for it! Sometimes you will pray over and over again and think, why do I keep having this struggle? What am I doing wrong? Why can't I get an answer? When will it get easier? But it is worth the wait! And usually the answers are small, but sometimes, the earth moves for you! And that is what I've been blessed to experience this week. I keep thinking:
Two roads, diverged by woods and I took the one less traveled by... "AND IT HURT!! Rocks! Thorns! ... NOT COOL ROBERT FROST!!" (If you've never seen pep talk from Kid President, you need to watch it for me. I'd watch it every day here if I could.) This is my space jam! It's the hardest thing I've ever done, but it's the one thing I can do to make the world a little more awesome. And I'm not good a lot of things - I'm realizing this here more than ever before. But here, I'm ALSO realizing all the things that I CAN do, and will be able to do eventually.
Sorry - I warned you it would get preachy. But I had to let you all know that someone's been taking good care of me!! And I hope that someone maybe needed to hear this. This is my pep talk! Go be awesome!!
As always, thank you for all your support and love. I really do need it here, and I feel it all the time.

I love you all. Find your space jam!!
Sister Willerth

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Week Two

Our second email from Sister Willerth.  Don't know if we will keep posting all the letters but these just seem so right.
Hi Family!
Still lovin it here at the MTC. My district is just awesome and my companions and I have so much fun. We've decided that of the 3, Sister S. has the sense of direction, Sister R. has the good memory, and I'm the one with the good attitude! Actually none of those are really true. But between the three of us, we do find our way around and manage to remember things most of the time. Troika power! (That's what the 3-some companionships are called in Russian. I still haven't figured out yet how to change the keyboard to Russian, so that's it in English, spelled phonetically.) It's really awesome having the 3 of us. We always say that it takes all 3 of us to gather 40% of what our investigators say during lessons haha. (Obviously, the Russian is still slow coming). But I love our dynamic too - never a dull moment with these crazy sisters!!
Somehow, I've been named the crazy one of our district. I don't know how, but I'm the one that gets blamed for all our rowdiness. Just because I'm make strange/creepy faces and eat 5 bowls of ice cream a day, doesn't make me crazy!! Some people just can't get that through their heads. But I guess the family/childhood stories I tell don't really help. At least I'm "known for" something though. Thanks for giving me lots of comic material, fam :)

Good news! We got a Russian teacher. I feel kind of bad about my rant last week - turns out we were supposed to have a teacher all along, but because of all the numbers, they just aren't equipped to accommodate all the incoming Russian missionaries. Anyway, Sister Vaslevskaya is a native Russian speaker! Her English is really good, but it's still hard for her to speak it so she mostly speaks Russian and I'm confident that we'll learn so much from her. I'm so excited! Bring it on, Russian!
Honestly, it's been a super hard week. Two days ago or so, I was SO discouraged. Then in class we read Ether 12. Everyone knows the scripture mastery verse, but have you all read the chapter? It's a good one! Anyway, it's all about our weaknesses, and having humility but also hope. I thought I'd been humble, but really I had only been discouraged. I was so frustrated with myself that I couldn't see the hand of God in all the things I WAS learning. I wasn't being humble because I couldn't learn - I was being proud because I couldn't learn fast enough. Anyway, so I've learned lots about the necessity of hope as a companion to humility. And I've never prayed so hard in my life.
Also, did everyone watch conference? This has been my first year ever watching all the sessions! It's amazing how what once seemed like SO much church to me is now the best, easiest part of my week. This places has changed my perspective on so many things. Also there are tons of great devotionals that I've learned a lot from. But if you want to hear about those, you'll have to write me about them ;)

Well I think that's it. I didn't really have any questions to answer because no one has really asked me any... cough cough. Does everyone know about It's super easy - you just go on and type me a message, and they print it off and hand it to me. Totally free, and easy as pie. No excuses!
Okay I love you all! Thanks for your support, and please keep praying for me, my companions, and our district! We can use all we can get here!
Love Always,
Sister Willerth

Week One

Our first email from Sister Willerth!
Family, loved ones, and all whom it may concern,
Woahhhhhhhh! WHAT! I'm here and it's been a week already! It's true what they say about the MTC - total time vortex. It feels like I've been here forever, but when I see the scared little Elders and Sisters coming in today, I feel like one of them, like I just came in this morning. Crazy. But they all say if you can get through Sunday, you can do it - and I've been here a whole week now! Boom! I can do anything!
Okay, in all seriousness though - this place is amazing. On my way in, I've got to be honest - I was ready to throw up. SO NERVOUS! What am I doing here? I don't know anyone! I can't even read my own name tag! What if I get bed bugs! (Stay tuned for a funny story). But as soon as I stepped in and they stuck that tag on me, I wasn't worried anymore. It really is like a forcefield that kind of keeps all your worries and self-concern away. (It also keeps you from hugging people and holding babies - gotta take what you can get.) It was such a miracle, I met my companions and my district and we got along so well, and I went to sleep feeling totally at peace. It just makes sense for me to be here. I know I'm where I should be.
Rewind - did she just say "companions"? Yes I did! I have two wonderful companions - Sister Schrecengost and Sister Rohrbaugh. Because this is my first email, and I do love them, I was willing to waste half my email time spelling out their names, but from this point on I think we shall call them Sis. S. and Sis. R. (No disrespect ladies - you know it's true.) Really though I love them SO MUCH. By some miracle we all have exactly the same sense of humor. I have not gone a single day without laughing til I cry. And our district doesn't exactly help that. I am CONVINCED I have the best district EVER! We are all like a tiny little family. We all joke and laugh a lot, (probably too much - I'm kind of worried that we'll never learn Russian) but everyone is here to work hard and I'm learning so much from them. I'm sure you'll hear much more about them in detail in letters to come.
Okay so remember how I decided to stop teaching myself because I figured they teach you here? JOKE'S ON ME. Put aside all your other lists people - the #1 thing they don't tell you before you go into the MTC - YOU WILL HAVE TO TEACH YOURSELF THE LANGUAGE! Well, I hear it changes a little bit after the first week, but for right now we're on our own, and it's HARD. You start teaching lessons your 2nd-3rd day, and you just have no idea what you'
re saying (and can hardly even read) but you say a prayer and go in and hope that they can even understand you when you say "Hello" (For some reason, Hello and Elders are the two very hardest words. Ha- those suckers.)
Really though, I've learned a lot from it. I still hardly know anything, but my reading is coming alone. Totally starting from scratch. It's so humbling, but eventually you learn that weakness is strength here. That's something we talked about at the Easter Devotional.
Yeah, Easter. SO GREAT. Apparently, 6+ hours of church doesn't seem so hard after spending 4 days trying to learn Russian. (Which reminds me. Linda always said the testing center was the greatest place because that's where the most prayers are said. FALSE. Everyone who wants to hear some VERY sincere and humble prayers should spend some time in the language wings of the MTC.) It was really a very spiritual day though. The devotionals here are awesome, and we spend all our time with our district so I'm constantly uplifted. I've been discouraged at times, but I've never felt alone. Thank you for all your prayers.
And thanks for the mail mom and Deana! It's the best getting real letters and packages here - and that's on top of how much you knew I already love mail. Seriously, thank you.
I keep wanting to type words in Russian, but I can't figure out how to change the alphabet yet, and I'm on an extra tight schedule because I have to go pick up a perscription.
Because you're worried now mom, I'll explain. When I got here, I started getting these weird red "lesions," as the doctor called them. Naturally, I was super freaked out - I jynxed myself when I said bed bugs would be the only thing I couldn't habdle. But never fear! They think it's just hives or some form of dermatitis. Anyway I'm getting some stuff for it today and it should clear up. Just a stress thing supposedly, but the sisters are starting to call me Job which is pretty cool I guess. Hopefully I don't get more of his lot though.
Also, Russians have the most awesome pride here. This is how it's Organized - The MTC is Hogwarts. Latin America/ Spanish speakers are Griffindor. Europeans are Hufflepuff. Asians are Ravenclaws. And Russians are Slytherin, because Russian is basically Parstle toungue. (Just kidding, I made that part up, but we really are the cream of the crop.) BOOM. Kiki would be so proud. Also English speakers are muggles. Sorry guys, but let's be real - you're hardly here two weeks, you don't really go to Hogwarts. Also, all the Russians eat together and call the little area the iron curtain. MTC/Russian humor. Once again, you take what you can get.
Okay I'll write more in my letters soon, but know that I love you all and I'm SO grateful for your love, support, and prayers. I really do feel them and I know that they are the reason why I've been so blessed with this awesome district and amazing experience.
I love you all so much.
Sister Willerth.