Monday, April 4, 2011

Oh My Goodness! I'm in Russia! - April 4,2011

Moa Cemya!! Xello!! :)

Wow!! THis has been quite the adventure already! My first impression and experience seeing President Nechiporov are kind of funny... So I walked down this platform with my luggage and he comes up to me and says, "Sister Cunningham," with his Russian accent, "You don't look anything like your picture, but that's good, you look much better!!" haha! It made me laugh! They are so great! I had a wonderful first nights sleep in an extremely comfortable bed and then the next morning all of the new missionaries and the Assistants to the President gathered for breakfast. They eat a TON of "cmatana" it's sour cream here. But their sour cream is SO VERY different from what we have in America. IT's like a sweet yogurt yumminess!! We ate it on pancakes, which was heavenly! Sister Nechiporov is a FABULOUS cook! I was the first to go in an interview with PResident Nechiporov. He asked me to tell me about myself, why I came on a mission, etc. He then told me that I had 2 questions that I could ask him.... me... of course, being the over thinker that I am, I was trying to think of these really deep quesions, wondering what he was looking for. He kept saying, "Sister Cunningham, that was a really good question, but you still have 2 questions left." haha :) Kind of embarrassing. I finally realized that I needed to ask who my companion would be and where I was going to serve!

Well..... drumrollllll............. I am serving in Rostov in an are called Oktoverski. My companions name is Cectrpa Undejzorova. She is from Estonia, aka SHE SPEAKS FLUENT RUSSIAN!!! President said that this would be my first challenge. He said that she is kind of quiet and does not speak very good english. Well, this was it!! My Russian would HAVE to improve! It turns out though that she actually is very fun and her english is EXCELLENT! haha She has only been out in the field for 3 months and so is still kind of a greenie too. We are kind of doing a pilot program I think. The goal of the program, excepting my language skills of course, is so that I will be ready to train after 2 transfers. After everyone was interviewed and we had a quick meeting about some details we headed off to the office to get our new companions and fill out paperwork. It was wierd to say goodbye to the Elders and Sisters that I had been with every single day for 3 months, but exciting and new! We headed home to our new apartment, which is pretty awesome... haha! It has some fun little quirks, but I don't mind! And our landlord is the CUTEST old man ever!!

We went out contacting that first night. I was SO scared to say anything, and really didn't understand anything anyone said... So, the next day I decided that I was actually going to open my mouth and speak. How can the Lord help me to learn Russian, and how can I help invite people to come unto Christ if I never talk? So, I did. I would at least usually do the introduction, but then my companion would take over the rest. Many times people just say net net net and keep walking. Or they ignore us (I remember Martin's stories about that, so I just say hello to my compaion! :) and one time this man said something. I didn't know what it meant, so I asked Cectpra Undejzorova what it meant. She didn't know what it meant in English, so she looked it up and it meant "heathen or pagan." haha! I couldn't help but laugh that someone had just called me that! oh well!

The other day on the way to the mission office I had my first fall in Russia. i know, I'm a klutz, I was just tripping over nothing on some steps! Thank goodness for nylons, so it only got a tiny scratch and then a scrape. And this of course happened right in front of the statue of lenin! The other day we went to a long sidewalk that is really pretty... kind of like a trail in the city. IT was near a library and many people just stroll along it. We met some elders and did a chalk drawing of the Savior on a cross and then a scripture from the Bible beneath it, and then a picture of the Savior appearing to the people on the American continent (i should be able to e-mail some pictures next week) with a scripture from the Book of Mormon. The elders were REALLY good at drawing and it was fun to have people stop and ask what we were doing and ask them if they had heard about the Book of Mormon.

One of my new favorite dishes is this crepe like thing adn they put chicken and a cheese sauce in it, or sweet sauce! SO DELICIOUS!! I don't know what's on this website, but maybe they'll have pictures of it, it's

It is really hard to contact ALL the time. We taught one lesson to a 9 year old this week who's grandmother is a member. I have to admit I didn't understand like ANYTHING that was said... :( We have to contact to find people to teach, but so many rejections occur. Every once in a while we are able to talk to someone for a couple minutes and bear testimony. I look into these people's eyes and see SO much light and potential! When these rare events occur, it makes it all worthwhile. I try to understand what my companion is saying, at least the topic, so that I can say something, but I ahve to admit that many times I don't say anything because I don't know what's going on. They talk SO fast! But sometimes I get a feeling to say a simple sentence, and I'm trying to be better at just interjecting and saying what I felt I should say, even though many times they look at me and say, "What did she say?" man....

We taught a new member lesson to cbetlana and biktor this week. They are really great and had me say the opening prayer and read some excerps from the Liahona with my very battered Russian! They were so nice and patient! In church I really didn't understand anything, but the members were all really nice. There were about 40 in attendance and about 4 men. Pray that the Lord will prepare strong and stalwart men for us to find and teach! We need leaders and good men in the church!

I'm actually in a new city right now with Cectpa LeBaron, Levit, and Kune. My companion had to go to Latvia to renew her visa, and so I am going to be in Tagenrog this week with the 3 some of sisters. It was SO strange as I arrived this morning. I am not trying to be disrespectful as I explain this, but Their next door neighbor had just died (this is just all so new and strange), and so their was the top of a casket just outside the apartment building leaning up by the door. Then, as we walk up the stairwell, they're filling it with flowers. When we get to the door of the ladies home, the door is wide open and we can see her laid out in a casket and family and friends are constantly coming and going! I didn't expect to see a dead Russian person my first week in the country! Wow! Super crazy to get to this new place and have a deceased person in the apartment next door!

I also had a fun surprise as Alicia's, Uncle Kerry's, Presiden Liou's, and Aunt Shirley's letters from Dear Elder weren't lost afterall! They had sent them to the mission office and so I had mail waiting for me when I got here!! Send all mail to the Mission office, the address is

Russia Rostov Mission
Bolshaya Sadovaya 39/4
Rostov-na-Donu, Russia

The sisters say it can be as fast as 1 month to recieve mail, and as slow as 3! Well, i'll send some letters out and hopefully they'll make the safe journey to America!

You can also write me by sending letters to Simply find my mission, write the letter and they will email it to my mission. I love letters!!!

I love you all!! And if anyone has good contacting ideas and what to say to grab peoples attention! Please pass them on!!

Cectpa Cunningham

My Russian name tag. Chalk drawings! We love RostovEveryone needs the Gospel! Rainy Day tracting!!


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