Sunday, March 27, 2011

Important Mail Information!!

Kylie sent me this information about sending mail and packages to the Ukraine. There are some pretty specific directions about all of that, so I just scanned the entire packet into the blog. The images will enlarge if you click on them, but if you're having trouble reading it, feel free to leave a comment with your question and I can answer it for you! Now, start writing!

Last Pictures from the MTC

All the Sisters in Kylie's Zone.

Kylie's newest companion, Sister Frolova, from Latvia!

Some things never change =)

Week 10 -- Last Email from the MTC!

Best St Patrick's day ever!!! (even compared to those days in Boston...but probably because I never actually went to the St Patrick's day parades while I was there...I'm a horrible Bostonian)

Yes! Thursday we received our travel plans!!!!!!!!! Sister Frolova doesn't understand why this is the most amazing thing ever and why everyone was running up and down the halls celebrating...Sister, we've been here since the beginning of January and this is our ticket out of here!!!! (well, we won't get our tickets till the morning we leave, but still, it was a sheet with our flights, general instructions for flying and weight restrictions on pretty general things but we all spent like 2 hours reading the same 3 paragraphs over and over and over)!
Tuesday March 29, 2011:
Delta airlines flight 94 from SLC to NYC (jfk) depart 8:30am, arrive 2:59 PM
Austrian Airlines flight 88 from NYC to Vienna, Austria depart 5:40 PM, arrive 8:15 AM(3/30)
Austrian Airlines flight 661 from Vienna to Kiev, depart 9:45 AM, arrive 12:40 PM(3/30)
So I'll fly to New York with like a whole plane of missionaries, including Sister Frolova, then we split from there...I'll fly with about 6 other missionaries going to Ukraine to Vienna, then I'll fly alone to Kiev. yay. In a week. YAYAYYAYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So since this is my last email from the MTC, I thought I'd recap a few of the maybe missed details from the past two months....
1. The strangest cafeteria concoction that I have yet to see and actual been eaten on a regular basis is this: in a bowl, you mix a scoop of peanut butter, some granola, and chocolate milk, stir it all up and enjoy. I have yet to try this and honestly think I'll survive leaving this place having not tried it...(I don't know if I will survive if I try it is what I am saying...)
2. My Russian mishaps....I am constantly mixing the words "to try" and "to suffer" up all the time....Sister Frolova gets a kick out of it...I'll try to tell her "im trying!" and she'll just start laughing and say, "I am sorry I am always making you suffer!". The words are pretty similar... also, during one of our language evaluation tasks on wed nights, it was in a restaurant setting and I meant to ask for a roll, but instead asked for a kidney. Once again, the words are pretty similar. And then the most recent one...I was acting as an investigator for Sister Frolova yesterday and she asked me what I felt when I prayed, "I felt......cancer" I meant to say peace. One letter off. She couldn't finish the lesson she was laughing so hard...oh well. Better to make these mistakes now instead of in the field, although I know there are many more to come...At this point in my language study one of my teachers has advised me to learn to roll my 'R's...I didn't think Russians rolled their r's but they I've been driving Sister Frolova crazy with my failed attempts to roll my R's but she's given me some Russian tongue twisters to work but embarrassing. That's the beauty of having a native companion. They think its the funniest thing when you screw up, but they know how to help :)
3. Best devotional...they all have been awesome, but the most memorable quote from one that has stuck with me and really changed my behavior is his opening remarks the speaker said something like, "I am going to be up here giving my talk on a few topics, but the Holy Ghost has the ability to teach 2000 different lessons very specific one for each of you in the audience, if you are worthy and spiritually prepared to be taught. And it may not have anything to do with what I am going to speak on..." I love this because it has really motivated me to be worthy and ready to be taught by the Holy Ghost at any time a very specific lesson I need to learn not matter what meeting I am in.
4. I didn't really anticipate running into people I knew here at the MTC, but here are the few random acquaintances that I did run into:
-a girl who lived down the hall from me the first two weeks said she knew me...ok? from where....Sunset Squids swim team....crazy! I barely remembered her when I asked her what color cap she wore. Sister um. Sister Thomas maybe...yeah, serving stateside, Colorado I think
-Ben's friend teaches Ukrainian down the hall so he'll stop by and wave sometimes
-Matt Pace from LVA, we had German class together then I remember him going to Germany on his mission. he teaches here now one floor above me (German). When I saw him for the first time last week I stopped him and said, "Hey I know you!" he looked at me kinda funny then said, "Oh, yeah, you're Ben Little's sister!" can't escape it....
-and then one time I was in the waiting area while Sister West was meeting with a District President here and the secretary comes in talking about her lovely weekend in California seeing her grandson get married. she pulls out a picture to show all of us waiting there and I look at it and say, "Hey, I know that kid!!" he went to Berkeley School of Music and was in my ward in Boston...crazy!

5. Hymn that has brought me the most comfort..."I know That My Redeemer Lives" especially the line "he lives, my mansion to prepare...he lives to bring me safely there" I know I am being blessed with safety, health, and comfort from my Heavenly Father.
Well, today was an amazing last P- day, after our session this morning at the temple we were able to do sealing's with our branch president and his so so beautiful to be part of that and hear that.
I love you all!!! Thank you for your love and support while I have been so close yet so far away at the MTC!!! the next email will be from Ukraine!!!!
Sister Kylie Little

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Week 9

Two more weeks!!!!! I'm soooo excited!!!! We attended a 'speak your language' meeting yesterday since the next two weeks are supposed to be 100% all the time speaking Russian. It was pretty interesting, not necessarily over the top motivating, but inspiring. Apparently at one time all the languages stayed the same amount of time at the MTC, but once an apostle came and said missionaries learning Russian, Japanese, Chinese, etc...need two weeks of 'extended training' where we perform all of our tasks in the language we are learning to help us be more prepared for the field. so at this point, we have learned basically all the grammar we are supposed to learn and the next two weeks are for us to speak Russian 100 % of the time to get used to it. and if we don't try to speak it 100%, we are really just wasting our time. So everything is in Russian the next two weeks...all our lessons, progress interviews, conversations, in the laundry room, everywhere! I had to get special permission to email in English, so feel privileged :)

This week was awesome! Sister Frolova and I are quite the duo. If you remember and if I explained correctly in past emails...Wednesday nights are our "trc" lesson where we teach a lesson in Russian to someone, a native or rm who speaks Russian or whatever. well the natives who are only here three weeks have this teaching opportunity/evaluation twice a week, so I taught twice with Sister Frolova this night and sat night... so I just want to tell you about those interesting events...

Wed night. so I'm super nervous. Its one thing to teach with someone who knows about the same amount of Russian as you and you know the same gospel related words and your investigator knows you're not fluent. and then its a completely different experience when your investigator realizes your companion speaks amazing Russian and just starts spewing off Russian like no ones business.....I have never been so deep in the pits of humility as during the thirty minutes of this lesson. I wasn't on the verge of tears or anything...I just wanted to know what the heck they were saying so I could jump in to the conversation too! My only cue was when both Sister Frolova and the investigator turned and looked at me and we sat in silence until I took my best guess at what they were talking about and began to testify. I probably carried 15% of that lesson. fun stuff. ugh.

Then Saturday night came. I was humble, I was scared to death. but the work must carry on! so Sister Frolova and I began our lesson with this investigator and this was honestly the first time I have said a silent prayer in my heart as my companion talked (this is something missionaries should do for each other, but im not perfect). I prayed that I might understand what they were saying and be able to contribute my testimony, at least, to the lesson. well the lesson went on and kid you not, I understood 95% of what was said! and I said a lot. I don't remember what I said but I did some of the teaching and a lot of the testifying. The scenario was to teach the spouse of a member who was not a member. so we talked about prayer. the power of prayer. how I know through prayer that I can ask heavenly father to bless me here and my family all the way back in Las Vegas (we were pretending we were in Moscow), and that through prayer my family has grown closer, we have grown spiritually together and strengthened our love for each other as we pray together. We shared alma 5:47ish where Alma says he gained his testimony through prayer and fasting. We even got this investigator to pray in the lesson! which is like the biggest hurdle ever that should try to be met within the first lesson (it just sets up a comfortable atmosphere for the rest of the lessons and their own personal attitude towards prayer)...anyway it felt awesome. all in Russian. all with fluent Russian speakers. fun. after the lesson we were waiting out in the hallway and a teacher of another Russian class came up to us and said she was watching and listening to our lesson on the TV and said we did an amazing job together! yay! then she turned to me and asked me in Russian "where did you learn your Russian before the mtc?" Uuuuuhhhhhhhhhhh. I gave the most taken back look of my life. She thought I didn't understand her so she repeated the question again in Russian but slower....I stopped her mid sentence and in Russian "no, I understood, only at the MTC..." She was surprised and said I did a great job. I share this with you with all the humility of my heart. Like really. I am learning early that when you pray to the lord for help when you really know you cannot do it on your own He will bless you :)

Well, anyway. something exciting happened yesterday. a big milestone to me with the Russian language. I made a joke all in Russian and the Russian natives understood it and laughed. yay. big deal to me :)

I love you all and thank you for all your love and support for getting me here!! this is truly amazing!!
Sister Kylie Little

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Week 8

Another week...down to three weeks...and I'm so excited!! My departure date is March 29 I think and I'll get my official travel plans the end of next week (which is the best day ever, because not only is it more real than ever that we're leaving, but it means all of our visas went through) The days and weeks all mush together at this point, but I will try my hardest to pull together a cohesive email from" life on the inside":

MTC edition

This week has been quite slow, but with plenty of things to adjust to: new companion, we moved to a new building yesterday morning, and a new calling...

New Companion: Sister Frolova is AMAZING!! and she definitely has more friends than me here (okay, maybe everyone does)...but within the family of Mormons with a connection to eastern Europe...she knows a lot of people. Her best best friend served in Novosibiersk when the first counselor of our branch presidency was there with his wife serving...and I think this one is really cool, she received her patriarchal blessing Sunday morning from Patriarch Browning who lives just down the street from the MTC, and Patriarch Browning is the assigned Patriarch of eastern Europe, so travels there once or twice a year for a few days and gives Patriarchal Blessings all day to the saints there (I believe its organized this way because they are all branches and organized by districts...not enough people for their own patriarch maybe... I don't know), anyway, the last time he was there his schedule was too full for her to receive hers, so she received it perfect Russian. I went with her to the house and walked back to the MTC with her and it was truly an amazing experience. our 'companionship' is quite complicated...we're supposed to be studying everyday together but her teachers are always here when mine aren't and vice versa, but we're working on it. She is just so cool to have around. I bought a special notebook to write down all the little things she teaches me. Yes I look like/act like"Elder Oklahoma" from the "best two years" "im going to write that down"...but I don't care... I'm learning beyond MTC Russian. its so cool. We both bore our testimonies on Sunday in Russian and it was excited to be doing this the next year!

New building...actually nothing that exciting about it...just that it is a change and we say to ourselves "we only have to live with this change for three more weeks---s that not long..." then it sets in "Oh my goodness! (yes that is missionary appropriate language) we're only going to be here three more weeks!! then its like the biggest change ever!!!" really its not a big change, its still the four of us in a room. oh, except the bunk beds don't have ladders, so its quite the adventure climbing in and out of bed especially in the mornings when my muscles aren't awake (I hope you all assumed im in the top bunk-coolest spot)

and new at the mtc they have what are called the "coordinating sisters" they might have them in the field too, I don't know, but they work with the zone leaders and they are kind like....YCLs? yeah. and its been kindof the running joke in my district that Sister Little shakes her head at the way the "coordinating sisters" act and how they are the cheerleaders of the zone....well I testify to you that karma is true and we cannot escape it in our lives :) mostly because heavenly father has a sense of humor. But Sister Frolova and I were called to be the coordinating sisters. yay. She is super excited though, not just about this calling but missionary work in general, so she's my epinephrine I need to get through the next few weeks. At this point, we don't have to welcome any new missionaries in (which is when the real "ycl" action happens) but we'll be responsible for coordinating departures/room checks and welfare of the 8 sisters in our zone. I can handle that. as all the elders my district laugh. its all good though, no complaints :)

I have really gotten to know our branch presidency well this week with interviews and meetings and such and I feel so blessed to be under the wing of some amazing priesthood leaders in the church who really care about and admire my efforts even though I will only be under their wings for 10 weeks.

My family, I love you I love you I love you and I am soooo grateful to be a part of the little family.

Cectpa Kylie Little

Friday, March 4, 2011

Week 7

Hello all my dear friends and family!!

Another week has passed and with it came some very exciting things. We did get our new missionaries last Wednesday-I can't believe they have been here a week already...I think they are handling things way better than I did. Our zone received 18 elders, no sisters, which makes things feel really different because before we were used to our zone being half boys and half girls (for those of you who haven't caught on our zone is comprised of four "districts," 2 new, 2 old) the other Russian zone received 15 elders and 3 sisters. and 1 elder who is the other zone is going to Kiev- Russian speaking (there are 4 going there in the other zone, Ukrainian speaking) and I have yet to find him...goes to show how much we interact with the other zone. And the next cycle of natives arrived last night-just one elder and one sister.

So Monday ended my two week sugar high with Sister West, who finally got to leave after 14 weeks at the MTC recovering from knee surgery. I mean sugar high in the most literal and figurative ways possible :) we got along so great, and I learned so much from was just like having the ideal senior companion who knows the ropes, knows how to teach, and wants to help you. And we actually communicated really well together in Russian even though she's six weeks "older" than me in Russian. We taught a lesson in Russian together last Wednesday that went sooo felt so great. I think it is so much easier teaching in Russian than in English because in English the discussion can become so deep and there are just so many directions you can go, but in Russian, due to our limited vocabulary, we have to ask extremely direct questions and testify of only relative things. It’s so much fun. Yae! Russian.

Anyway, so Monday morning I had to see her off at 5 am as she began her journey to Novosibirsk all by herself, but she was ready...but as she boarded the bus I couldn't help but be hit with feelings of what it must have felt like in the pre-mortal existence as we sent our friends down to earth before us..."Don't forget about me!" "Good luck out there" "I'll be out there soon enough doing the Lords work with you! We'll just be in different parts of the world!" "Until we meet again! Whenever that is...But we know we WILL see each other again" armed with the same armor of testimony... we each have our own battles to fight out there. It was a very tender moment. But it kinda woke me up and made me realize that I am going to be boarding that bus in four weeks....oh my. So I received a second wind of motivation to learn as much Russian as I can in the next month. For the past few weeks I have been standing at a brick wall with the language because I have learned like the ten most important gospel related phrases and the ten most important greetings/salutations and I really wasn't feeling a need to push myself to learn more. But being with Sister West and seeing her off has changed that.
As I knew sister west would be leaving on Monday, I was kinda preparing myself to go back to life in the threesome and was so grateful for the things I learned from Sister West. On Sunday, however, something happened that still blows my mind and am so excited Branch Presidency asked me if I would be willing to be the companion of the solo native sister that would be arriving on Monday? Wait. What? Really?!!! And everyone thought I would react negatively and not want to be thrown in with another different companion. UuUMMM, SERIOUSLY?!! Can I like do a victory dance right now?? OF COURSE!!!! Do you know what an amazing opportunity this is?! I asked my Branch President, "President Harrison, are you trying to make mine the coolest MTC experience ever? because that is pretty much what is happening..." he replied with a smile on his face, "Well, Sister Little, we were a little worried about you so we've been trying" :) so the past two weeks I've been companions with someone who knows 6 weeks more Russian than me (that’s a lot in the MTC) which has already helped me so much and motivated me, and now for the next three to four weeks I will have a native speaker as a companion!!! Amazing opportunities.

May I remind you that pretty much 99% of missionaries here will have the same companion their whole time at the MTC and I just received my 4th. So cool. So I met Sister Folova last night... She is from Latvia actually (Sister Kehler, be proud!) and will be serving in Moscow. She speaks Latvian, English, and Russian, and some Hebrew, and she already corrects me on my Russian. which is awesome that she is comfortable enough to do that...I've already learned like 5 things from her about the language that I am doing wrong in the 20 minutes I have spent with her (I know that is not saying a lot about my Russian, but I’m working on it). So she's doing international orientation the next two days, so I won't see her much, but starting Wed/Thurs we'll be legit companions. She will not be in my district, but anytime we are not in class we are to be together and do companionship study together and plan, etc
Out of time!
I love you all and check back next week for the update.