(Preev-yet, a very informal "hello")

I cannot believe I have been here for three weeks already! Time is really flying by! The first Elder to leave from the older district in our zone flies to Russia, a week from today. It’s weird, I’m almost to the halfway point of being at the MTC! I wrote a lot of notes down of things I liked/wanted to touch on this week, so this may seem scattered, but try to make sense of it all 🙂

On Sunday night, for the fireside, they had three people who had written hymns that are in the current hymnal speak about the power of music etc. The first and last talk were great, but the middle talk was obnoxiously boring. The man just sat there and talked about how he was a "4th generation hymn writer" and talked all about how his family wrote all this different songs, etc. I don’t think I will ever enjoy the hymn "With Humble Heart" again, it left a sour taste in my mouth, haha. Our Branch President said "Brethren, we can always learn something from a talk…I learned a lot about patience just now", it was really funny. I really enjoyed the last talk though, it was the guy who wrote "Lord, I would Follow Thee". Not only do I love that song, but he gave a great talk. He talked about how the spirit guided him to write it in a way that brought the focus to the words and not the flowery music, detracting the attention from himself. Then he applied it to being on a mission, and how that we can say our message in however exemplary rhetoric we can muster, but it doesn’t mean much. It was really good. He also noted a trick he did in the music, haha mom you may want to try this out. Play the 1st and 2nd measures, then play them in reverse order (2nd measure first, then the 1st measure). The entire song basically mirrors each other it’s pretty well done, I had never noticed it before.

On another hymn note, a lot of hymns in the gimnee (hymnal) are a lot better than the English versions, the translations left better words. My favorite, is in "I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go". In the chorus, instead of saying "I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord", in Russian it translates to: "Lord, I’ll walk with you where you need to walk". I really liked that, it’s not as poetic in English, but I feel like the message is stronger.

Jeff- I have never been so excited in my life as when I read your letter. You’ll be getting a written response, but it was one of the best parts of my mission so far. I was freaking out.

I got a really bad cold last week, I had a stuffed up head and sore throat all week, and when I woke up Saturday I was absolutely miserable. My head killed, I had no energy, I was just dead. Let me tell you this, being sick is terrible when you don’t get to sit on the couch and watch ESPN all day. I slept for most of the day, then woke up and did companionship study, and then study the language for 5 or so hours before going to bed for the night. I felt really bad for Elder Rhodes and Elder Mills, they switched off staying in the room with me, so Elder Rhodes wouldn’t miss all of class. It was no fun. I am doing a lot better now though!

A lot of my friends left this week, which is kind of sad (Corey James, Scotty Barton, Tanner Maddux, Austin Winfield, Austin Huntsman…), but I think I’ll be okay, Elder James blessed me with a shoe box full of dumdums his mom sent him 🙂
Trevor Casey gets here tomorrow though!!!!!!!!!! I’m going to hunt him down and make fun of his dork dot at dinner 🙂

Our teacher told us the story of Rapsutin (sp?). That guy was a freak, it was the scariest picture ever. I had a weird dream about it too, just an all around weird experience. Wikipedia it, if you must. Especially the way he died was the craziest.

We started SYLing (Speak Your Language) at lunch. So basically, we don’t speak English anymore at lunch, and will start adding more and more times of the day. This Friday and Saturday is vso parooski (all in Russian), I’m kinda nervous, not really, I’m just going to be annoyed by the total silence!

Lisa and Drew: I knew it, I feel like the baby boy will be another orange haired monster like Tate, haha. You just need to give him a solid name like Garrett, that works with Elvin so you can pass the family brand down to him. The consensus of our district is that Garrett Elvin Cutler is a marvelous name. I also want to hear all about your trip to Washington! And I also would like a bottle of cider to have a toast on the day the Kyiv Temple gets dedicated (A WEEK FROM SUNDAY!!!!!) if you could swing that, it would be the greatest thing ever. Y’all are number 1.

Speaking of the temple, Going on and go to the Newsroom, and look at the pictures, it is gorgeous. If one of you could print them out for me, and send that, that’d be sweet, we can’t print anything here, and I’m waiting to get a picture of the temple before I laminate my PMG so I can put it on the back cover.

I got called up to the travel office, they needed me to sign a form for my visa. When I came back to class, I told Elder Rigby that I got reassigned to Rostov and would be going with him. He started freaking out, and then our teacher, Sister Pico, started freaking out, because that’s where she served (I forgot about that, haha). I felt bad because she was so excited, so I had to think of a good story. So I said that they called me back up during gym time and said that got me mixed up with somebody else and I’m still going to Dnepropetrovsk. So everybody but my companion thinks that I got reassigned and unreassigned in the space of 45 minutes. haha.

We had a sub, Brother Shelyakin, who is from Kyiv. He started going off about how Jeopardy is the dumbest gameshow ever (in a thick accent) : It’s such a dumb show! I don’t get it, why do you need to ask the question when you already know the answer! It makes no sense, like Spongebob having to drink water from a glass when he lives in THE OCEAN!" It was pretty funny, it made me think of you mom, haha.

The language is going good, except for the whole "Declination" thing. Basically, you have to conjugate nouns, adjectives, posessive nouns, and pronouns just like you do verbs. It’s stupid. Not really, just frustrating. Because there are roughly 35 ways to say a word, depending on if it’s being used as an adjective or noun, and after what preposition or verb, etc.

Oh well, I’ll get it eventually.

My time is up, I love you all. Thank you for the support,

Elder McClitnock

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