Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Russian to a Finish

Friends and Family!

Today marks 1/3 of my MTC experience. It simultaneously feels like I've never been anywhere else but here for all of my life and that so far it has gone by like a rocket.

Before I start my letter, I want to congratulate my sister, Hillary! She got 3rd place in her category for a TRIATHLON! She's an inspiration to me!  Maybe I should make it my goal for the last 2/3 of my MTC experience to try and beat the wall sit record in the gym here. It's at 43 min, but I bet I could make it an hour... after taking a break every 5 minutes. Kind of like a lazy iron man.

The mission president conference starts today, which means that my mission president is here! It also means that I will get to meet him and his wife! I cannot wait! I'm so excited! Not to mention the fact that members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will be here during next week's Tuesday, and maybe even Sunday, Devotional.

We had two amazing devotionals this week. Our devotional on Sunday was like it had been written for the sisters of Rostov. We talked to a returned sister missionary from Rostov earlier this week, and she had said some very discouraging things about being a missionary in Rostov. She said it was bleak, almost impossible, and that we should expect to teach very few people. But this devotional speaker was just the answer to every prayer I've ever had about Rostov. He said that we need to focus on the WHOLE of the "Your Purpose" statement. 

"Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel through Repentance, Baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end."

Just as it says in 1 Nephi 3:7, "the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he  shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which  he commandeth them."

Heavenly Father isn't going to ask you to do something that is impossible. It is only impossible when you allow it to be by not trusting and relying on Him. I know that Heavenly Father loves every person in the Rostov Russian Mission and that He has not forgotten them. Likewise, He has not forgotten you. 


Cectpa Jarvis

Elder Palmer.  We aren't really sure why he tied a paper towel around his head, but you know.  He kind of reminds me of Josh actually.  A certain left shoe stealing pirate comes to mind.

The Rostov sisters practicing our future modeling careers--(from left to right Sister Sommers, Me, and Sister Grant)

Me, Sister Johnson (in the back), and Sister Grant on our Sunday walk

Sister Grant and Me doing what we do

Sister Grant, Me, Sister Sommers, and Sister Beach.  We're acting out our favorite Russian words.

The Super Model Sister Sommers

We're pointing to Rostov

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Drinking from the Fire Hydrant

Hello All!  

This week I heard a great analogy about the MTC. Essentially, the MTC is like a fire hydrant of knowledge that we're supposed to drink from. We get some water in our mouth, but mostly it just hurts our face.

Don't get me wrong, though, I really actually love it here. I'm learning more and growing more than I ever have in my life.

This week we gained two new "investigators". (They're our teachers acting as people they met on their missions.) Both have accepted the invitation to be baptized, so I guess Sister Sommers and I are doing something right! I can't wait to be actually teaching in Russia.

Last Sunday I saw Meet the Mormons during our movie time. It was a fantastic movie and I would invite you all to go see it if you haven't yet.  One of the most beautiful messages I received from the movie was that one person can impact so many other people's lives for good. That's the beauty of the love of Christ. The closer you come to Him, the greater desire you have to serve others. It motivates you to see others as the children of God that they are: your equals. 

At times I can become lost in the little things. The seemingly stupid rules and the people that grate my nerves, but if I focus on my ultimate goal--to bring people joy that can only be given through the Gospel of Christ--I remember why I'm here and all the work I have yet to accomplish.

I want to leave you all with a (paraphrased) quote and a scripture.

Elder Bednar once gave a talk about going forward in faith and he said something along the lines of this: "We have to take a step into the darkness in order to receive greater light." When I'm worried I won't be understood because I know so little Russian, I think of this quote. I can only become better when I trust that God will help me learn this language.

And the scripture! 2 Nephi 1:15 "I am encircled about eternally in the arms of His love."

From Russia with Love,

Сестра Jarvis

Also, don't be afraid to write me! It gets a little monotonous here at the MTC, so every letter I get is a great addition to my day!

2009 N 900 East
Unit 114
Provo, UT 84602

All of the Sisters in my District

Flowers and the Rain

The Companionship

Post-Temple Visit

 Sister Grant and Me

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Don't Forget to Write!

Dearest Friends and Family,

Please don't forget to write!

Sis. Margaret Jarvis
2009 North 900 East
Unit 114
Provo UT 84602


I can't wait to hear from you!


Sister Jarvis


Dearest Friends and Family,

The word in the subject line is an expression of exhaustion in Russian. It's pronounced [oo-zh-uh-s]. It is also a very accurate description of my week.

This week has been a CRAZY one. Let me tell you. From making my bed to teaching a lesson entirely in Russian to playing some game called Ladder Golf.

First off, let me explain how missions are organized. Missions are made up of smaller areas called zones which are in turn made of districts and then as the smallest unit, there are companions.

So my zone is pretty great. During meals, we sit in this little alcove with pillars in front of it. We call it the Iron Curtain. I love it.

I also really love my district. There are three other sisters going to the Rostov mission with me, two elders heading to Ukraine, and three sisters also heading to Ukraine. We get along so well. Some times a little too well, but I couldn't have asked for a better group to be absolutely puzzled by Russian with. Including my lovely companion, Cectpa (Sister) Sommers. She's a southern bell from beautiful South Carolina and a complete breath of fresh air. I love her!

Speaking of... we have already taught our first lesson in Russian. In fact, we've already taught four. They were to a convert to the church pretending to be an investigator, but that first lesson we had, I was so nervous I could hardly speak, let alone in Russian. Over half the time I have no idea what I'm saying, and 75% of the time I have no idea what the investigator is saying. The good news is, I'm starting to really rely on what the Spirit tells me because otherwise I would be completely lost.

In one lesson, we asked Oksana, our investigator, what she thought about there being a living prophet. I have never felt the Spirit quite like that. I could see that she was really thinking about her answer, and although I had no idea what she was saying, I knew that she had truly felt the Spirit and that her answer had been a result of that Spirit that she felt. Watching someone be influenced by the Spirit is one of the sweetest experiences I have ever witnessed. I am so excited to serve the people of Russia and help them to feel the influence of the Holy Ghost in their lives.

Although Russian is really hard, I'm loving it. I kind of want our lessons to go even faster. I can't believe how lucky I am to be here on a mission, learning how to teach about something so dear to my heart. 

I love you all, and I know that Heavenly Father loves you, too!

I'll leave you with my companion's favorite scripture (which is slowly becoming one of mine)

Isaiah 41:10
Fear thou not; for am with thee: be not dismayed; for am thy God: will strengthen thee; yea, will help thee; yeawill uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Сестра Jarvis

P.S. Сестра is pronounced (s-yeh-str-uh)

Day One with my companion, Sister Sommers

Day Two with the District
From Right to left
Elder Palmer, Elder White, Sister Sommers, Sister Jarvis, Sister Matthews, 
Sister Morris, Sister Johnson, Sister Beach, Sister Grant

My first lesson plan and prayer in Russian

The board on our first day

My desk

Utah scenery!  Pretty flowers at the temple...

And beautiful mountains!

Sister Sommers and I (She's also heading to Rostov!)

The district at the temple

Our Ukranian Sisters, Sisters Johnson, Morris, and Matthews

The Zone!  Look how many sisters there are!  Apparently Sisters outnumber Elders in the MTC for the FIRST TIME!

 Sister Grant in our room

 Sister Sommers in our room

 My CTR ring from my sister--I wear it faithfully!

Elder Vader

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Why I'm Serving a Mission

Well friends and family,

I'm serving an 18-month, LDS mission in the Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission.

It's going to be cold and difficult, but I'm pretty sure I know why I'm willingly leaving my family, friends, and opportunities for a year and a half.

I love the gospel and I love Jesus Christ. The happiness that His message of hope and salvation brings  to me is something that must be shared. I cannot express how important and sacred my faith in Jesus Christ is. I often wonder what my life would have been like had I not been a member all of my life and I think that I would be a very different, more spiteful person than I am now. The restoration of Christ's church on Earth has been one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me and I think that this is true of everyone who is willing to let Jesus Christ into their lives.

Before I started the process of turning in my papers to become a missionary, I was really conflicted about whether I should go or not. Things were going really well in college and I was really enjoying life there. I prayed a lot about whether to go on a mission or not. I went to the temple to do baptisms for the dead and while there, I felt strongly that I should go on a mission. That I was meant to go on a mission. I still feel that way. I'm still excited to go.

I can't wait to learn Russian, serve the Russian people, and grow in ways I never imagined.

Well. A year and a half and I'll be back!

~ Sister Jarvis

Monday, June 1, 2015

Called to Serve

Dear Sister Jarvis,

You have been called to serve in the Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission.  You will report to the MTC June 3, 2015.