Don’t Take Breaks, Just Break Records.

This week was absolutely nuts. I have a lot of stuff I want to talk about, so don’t expect proper spelling, I won’t have time if I go back and fix typos!

Me and my companion broke TWO MTC records this week! The first, was with our entire district, we memorized the 1st Vision (JSH 1:15-16) in Russian in 2 and a half days. Our whole district did it, it was freaking awesome. We are the earliest to do it, and did it in the least time. We are absolutely flying through learning the language. We are where the older districts were during their 4th week, so we are way ahead of schedule.

The biggest news though, is that we are the earliest companionship to have a progressing investigator in the history of the MTC, that anyone knows of (including the MTC Presidency) at least. They are doing some construction, and in a few buildings they were replacing the sinks in the bathrooms. My friend, Tanner Maddux, was studying with his comp outside one of the buildings, and two of the workers came up and started talking to them. They were nonmembers from Ukraine, and Elder Maddux set up an appointment to meet with them after they got off! He found me at dinner, and Elder Rhodes and Myself went and helped them teach. We said the opening prayer in Russian, and taught as much as we could. We asked them to read Alma 40, because they had a lot of questions about what happens after we die. That was on Tuesday. The next day, we checked in with them and they had read and wanted to talk to us again!

We met on Thursday night again, with Sergei and Peoter, and we watched the Joseph Smith video in Russian. The two times we taught them, I have never felt the spirit so strongly in my life. It was phenomenal. I really don’t know how to describe it. They both came from really devout Russian Orthodox families, so they were hesitant to commit to serious, but we did the best we could, and you could tell by their body language that they felt it. They are from Seattle, and were only here for a week, it isn’t a coincidence that it happened that way. We put in a referral, so we will see what happens with that. It was the greatest experience ever. I honestly can’t think of a better first two weeks of the mission. It made me super excited to get to Ukraine and start teaching people.

At one point during the lesson, Sergei was trying to explain a question he had about Prophets in the Book of Mormon, and I was having trouble following his English (I couldn’t tell if he was saying "words" or "wars"), when I realized he might be saying words, I said "slav?" which is Russian for word. He then explained his entire question in Russian, and I couldn’t tell what the words were, but I knew how to answer it perfectly, I had randomly decided to study the exact vocabulary that I needed earlier that day. The gift of tongues is real, I have already witnessed it in an immaculate way, and everyday with how fast we are learning the language. Right now, I am probably at the same understanding I had of Spanish at the end of my freshman year of high school.

We got a district of native Russian speakers last Tuesday. They are all great. Most of them speak pretty good English, and help us a lot with our Russian, so it’s working out pretty well. One of them is a genius, he speaks Finnish and English perfectly, because he went to college in Helsinki after he did his year in the army and growing up in St. Petersburg. Teppo, he said that Finnish is his least favorite of the three, because you have to either find a Finn or a Mormon to use it, haha. They are all super nice though. In fact, we are leaving to walk to the temple in 20 minutes, 7 of the 9 haven’t been yet, so we are doing a Russian session. It’ll be different having the head phones on, but I’m super excited! Our entire zone is going together, so there should be like 60 of us including the Branch Presidency and their wives.

Thank you everyone who sent me letters this week! They mean a lot, we have a branch rule that we don’t open letters until 9:30 after we are done working for the day, so I get really excited to see what they say. Thanks especially to Suzette and Nicole for the cookies, and Jen for the shoe horn. The shoe horn is perfect. BTW, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I know it’s not for another 4 days, but I won’t get to talk to you, so there it is. I’m mailing you a present ๐Ÿ™‚

Carly and Carrie: The swedish fish were marvelous. That is like the one candy they never have at the bookstore here. The Eastern European natives have never tried them, and they thought they were the best candy they had ever eaten. I let them eat most of them, because they thought they were so good.

I love our temple walks on Sundays after church. It’s so great to see everybody I know, and just relax and talk for an hour or so, because I go back to study before dinner starts. Haha, we have Priesthood, then our District meeting, which is our Sunday school, then lunch, and then Sacrament meeting. I am a big fan of that system, y’all should start pushing for that in regular chapels! ha.

Oh, and Mom and Dad, please tell Bro. Garner I’m sorry for always saying diagramming sentences was the stupidest thing ever. Doing that everyday in 8th grade is really helping me understand Russian grammer and how it works. So I guess he knew more than I did after all ๐Ÿ˜‰

On Sunday night, during devotional, we sang "We’ll Bring the World His Truth" (Children’s Songbook, pg 172…I think it’s 172). Anyways, while we were singing, and they had the words on the bottom of the screen, they had changed everything that was in the future tense, to the present. So when we got to the chorus (which, btw, in Russian, chorus, or choir, is "xop" pronounce like an English word for a lady of the night, that starts with a W…hahahah) it said "We are now the Lord’s missionaries" and there were a few other parts of the song they changed too. It was a sight to see, I wish you all could’ve been there. Seeing 2,000+ of the Lord’s cream of the crop belt it out was simply put, Amazing. It set in really, that I am finally here and doing this. I love it.

I am running out of time, but I love you all, thank you for the prayers and the support. Elder Rhodes and I are getting along better and better every day. He is getting a lot more confident in himself, and we are teaching really well. Our Teachers told us that at the TRC (we go teach a roleplay contact, appointment, and lesson) we were the best first week teachers they had ever had in their districts, so that was way good to hear. I love my zone and my district. We all get along really well, and life is just a party!

Mom, I would love a bathrobe. Haha, we should’ve got one before, but we aren’t allowed to lounge around, we always have to have at least a bathrobe on, so that’d be awesome. If you made me a Ukraine Flag one, I’d love it even more! ๐Ÿ™‚

I love you all,

Ya Nah Lowshahdyay:
(I’m on a Horse)

Ct. M

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    • Romy Greenwood
    • August 10th, 2010

    Hey Garrett,

    I can tell you are having amazing experiences. That is in part to your enthusiasm and willingness to serve. Thank you for serving. I owe my membership to a few good high school friends and 2 missionaries that knocked on my door on day.

    Love, Romy

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