Mom and Dad,
First off....Happy Birthday Mom! I hope you're having a really good day and Dad isn't making you work too hard ;) j/k! I love you and wish I was there but I asked Brandi to give you a hug for me! :) Ok, so first off...last Tuesday, at the devotional the security guy stood up and told all of the Elders to put their suit coats on and reminded us that if we were to see one of the brethen (first pres or the twelve) during our stay at the MTC that we should stand. Ok way to get people excited! About two minutes later we were all singing, 2500 missionaries, and in walks Elder Russell M Nelson! Everyone stood and kept singing but it was amazing! The minute he walked in the room you knew something changed! Thanks to singing in the choir, I was about the length of your new living room from him! It was amazing! He didn't talk very long, about 20 minutes, and then sat down but what he talked about was the basics. It was so good to hear a general authority talk directly to us! And at the end of his talk he gave us an apostletic(spelling?) blessing. He told us we would all be safe through the duration of our missions and come home in better health than we left. He assured us all again that we would be safe (as long as we were obedient...so no trying to out run trains I guess). It was so great! So not that you were worried, but now you really don't have to be worried! :) Ok so...thank you so much for the packages! My shoes work perfectly and the district loved the chex mix and jerky...they were gone in two days! Not kidding...those Elders are pigs, and I say that with the most loving voice I can of course! ;) But seriously they downed the stuff. I told them I was trying to figure out if I was more impressed or disgusted. They said impressed works better for them, so I was impressed! But they sent out a thank you card so you should get it soon! Thank you for the stamps and labels! They save so much time! About 15 minutes worth of writing my address on envelopes! Ok so to answer some of your questions
cause I don't have all of the dearelders with me now...I'll answer the other ones in the letter I send out...and I'll also be sending pictures either Thursday or Friday! There are good ones again! Me, Sis. Margolies, Sis. Whitney, and Sis.Kakaoha did a scavenger hunt for the elders of our zone the week before the new missionaires came in and we have pictures of that! So that was a lot of fun! It was to congratulate them on making it through the first half of the MTC! Anyways...questions...Travel plans for the zone...we don't know the specifics yet, we should get them in about two weeks, but we don't all leave at the same time. It depends on the connecting flights. The last district that left, all of them went out at different times, some went a day before others. But for our district, we'll all probably go to the airport together about 4-5 in the morning, and leave separately from there. Sis. Margolies will probably be leaving a day before us cause she is going to the other side of Russia. I'll be a solo sister for a day! Maybe not sure yet! Ok so I did forget to tell you that half of the distict is going to Ukraine: Elders Noren, Bangerter, Smith and Young. Russian speaking though so thats why they're in our district! I don't have cups for hot water but I can check today at the store to see if I can buy some! Dad, the picture of the bikes in mid air was actually a one shot thing! It just happened to turn out really good but it wasn't my picture. Elder Windham took it and made copies for everyone who wanted one cause it was so cool! We had FHE again last night. Elders Noren and Bangerter were in charge and they did a direction activity around the MTC. It was fun but so cold! It started to snow yesterday for like 10 minutes. Nothing stuck but the mountains have some now! It's definitely feeling like winter! Me and Sis. Margolies are in charge of the game for FHE next week and the spiritual thought! Ok, so E. Bangerter is the funniest person ever! And he says some of the most random things. This one I had to tell you. He walked into the room the other day and just stood there looking perplexed. We asked what was wrong and he said, "I was just thinking about western movies. I think they should make one where they say, 'actually the town is big enough for the both of us. Let's be friends.'" It was hilarious! So random but even had the teacher laughing! It's hard to get down when you have people like that around! Ok, so I'm so excited to be an aunt again! I was so happy to get Brandi's letter/package! It made my day and week for sure! I can't believe he's really here! Can you send a picture if you have one?! You said you were going to the bank to takl about me going to Russia but I just wanted to make sure, my debit card will still work here right? So I'm trying to remember some of the fun things that happened this week! The new missionaries came in which is a lot of fun! We now realize how far we've come in the language. :) So on Sunday, we had a fireside and I forgot the name of who spoke but he's the administrated director of the MTC. And he said something that really caught my attention. He said that as missionaries we're literally fighting the war against evil everyday and because of that the Lord has put us on the front lines. He said that since we're on the front lines, we're taking the blows that Satan is throwing and that Satan is so mad that we won't fall. I thought a lot about that and it's so true. I love being a missionary. It's the best thing that's ever happened to me! But there are blows, ones I've not seen coming and that knock me down for a little while. This isn't easy, it's hard. It wasn't meant to be easy. No one fighting a war on the front lines comes back and says it was a piece of cake. This is hard! But the thing he said after...we're taking the blows, and we won't fall. We won't fall because of Jesus Christ. Even if we come close to falling down, He's right next to me waiting to pick me back up. He said as missionaries we feel that power everyday of our lives. That through Jesus Christ, we're winning. this is hard, but it's the best thing ever! I love ever minute of it, even the times that I hate! It doesn't make sense I know, but being Christ's representative, to wear His name on my badge, it's the best thing I could be doing! I didn't want to leave the RS girls, or my family or firends, but I've been able to get to know my Savior more in the last 7 weeks than I have my whole life! As much as I miss everything else I wouldn't trade this experience for anything! Don't ever worry about me! Even if I get knocked off balance, Christ will never let me fall! I love both of you so much! Thank you for everything! I miss you and love hearing from you! Take care and I'll write soon!