Sunday, August 18, 2013


привет мормоны! (My favorite thing to hear walking around town.)
Language update:
I include this because people keep asking me about it. I will use the immortal catch phrase of Sister Helsten here (which happens to be one of my new favorite things to say): It's fine! I'm not fluent, and I probably will never be. I hardly understand when people are talking to me, but I'm about to pull out the main idea enough to respond. I'm struggling at it more than some, and less than others, and all together I really have no idea how to better describe my progress. I know everyone is curious and that's why you ask, but it's funny how it becomes one of the less important things after actually living here for a little bit. So if I don't talk about it much,that's why. It's fine.

Tamara got her calling! She is playing the piano for the branch, and my very favorite part of the week is our Friday mornings when we go over to her house and sing so she can practice playing. She also has been teaching me some classic Russian "romances", and she started calling me her little bird. (Reminders of home everywhere :) ) Then we always go home with several bags full of apples. Yes, apples. Lets go into that. Remember Cherry season? Apple season is even crazier. People give us HUNDREDS of apples in a week, and I swear we have enough to live off of for months, if they lasted that long. Anyone have any creative ideas of what to do with some apples? Tamara is going to teach us how to make some sort of sweet rice thing with them. Her apples are the best I've seen or had here. It's like walking outside and pulling an apple off you tree that they could sell at Costco in America. Her garden is one of the most magical places, I swear.

This has also been a super cool week, because the Patriarch was in town! He travels for the whole East Europe area, but this week he was in the Donetsk mission and so many of our members here were able to get blessings after being members for 16 years and OVER. Such a cool experience for them. And it really helps me gain a greater appreciation of how well developed the church is in America and how many resources we have so close and available to us. USE THEM, PEOPLE!

Now let me tell you about the featured word of the week. We were talking to this lady outside and a man came up, getting defensive because we're Americans and why are we in their country and the usual, and the lady  kept pointing at our shoes and saying something. Later I asked, " Sister Helsten, what does бедные mean?" "Oh, she was saying we were poor." ha ha well, people don't appreciate our style here I guess. That's one piece of advice I have for sisters - if you're serving anywhere but America, the style is different! There's no point in getting trendy clothes, because after a few months, or weeks, even you will be sick of them and then no one will think you're "cute." Only poor. So get over it while you're ahead. It's fine :) I kind of like being considered poor though. The mentality here is so much different than America - people don't really like wealthy people, or those who have earned more money and put themselves ahead of everyone else. The more signs of poverty you display, the nicer people are to you (in my experience so far). It's been kind of cool.
Oh, and I was proposed to this week! The guy was hardly even drunk. I don't think he took rejection too well though, because a few days later, he and a friend of his found out where we lived and came knocking on our door. Luckily I've broken my bad habit of never locking the door. But I am still grateful I was raised not to be scared of really anyone. I think experience like this tend to freak some of the sisters out, but I'm lucky - I can walk away unfazed. I ain't never scur'd!

Well I hope everything is going great and that you are living up your last few weeks of summer. Try a new food this week! Also, write a missionary ;)
I love you!
Sister Willerth

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