Monday, April 25, 2016


Дорогие Мои,

This week was kind of crazy, but also really fun. Being a trainer is always an adventure.

I forgot that being a missionary is really weird at first and that trainees have all these awesome new ideas. Sister Lindquist is such a hard worker. She's quiet; in fact, she may be the first quiet companion I've ever had, but that's actually a good thing. She's so far been instrumental in helping me realize that I just need to calm down sometimes and breath. We both have taken the Meyers-briggs personality test, and we're almost exact opposites as far as our personalities go, so I think we'll compliment each other nicely. She has a very strong testimony. On Sunday, she was asked to speak to the congregation, and after doing so, Janna turned to me and said, "That new sister is just blessed with the Holy Ghost".  We got lost while trying to find our investigator's house (and we actually have a question about that), met this adorable babushka who became our newest investigator, and have street taught quite a bit so far. We're kind of lacking in the investigator area, but it's a nice change from last transfer which involved A  LOT of running around.
We had quite a lot of strange things that happened to us. One of them being that we got lost in the Russian countryside a few days ago trying to find an investigator's house. It was beautiful where they lived; we both felt like woodland fairy princesses in the middle of some Tchaikovsky ballet. It was awesome. Unfortunately, we did not get to see the family we were trying to visit because the parents didn't end up being home, but one of the little girls answered the door covered from head to toe in green marker dots. I asked her what happened to her and with a completely straight face, she answered, "Chicken-pocks.  I'm going to the doctor soon." It was fantastic.

Yesterday, we were out trying to find some less active members of the church basically in the boonies of Volgograd, and we ended up meeting this awesome babushka. We were having a good conversation with her when this old dedushka (grandpa) came up and started talking with our babushka. I had no idea what was happening after that. The dedushka had no teeth, so I caught the gist of what was going on, but not much else. Somehow they ended up talking about Putin and smoking, but I really couldn't tell you much else. It was pretty funny. After he left, our babushka, Antonina, asked if we could come by again, so looks like we're going back out to the boonies this week. Which is fine with me because it's way pretty out there.
This week, I've been studying a lot about what it really means to lose yourself. And, I think it comes down to how willing you are to think more of others than of oneself. Missionary work is hard, really hard, and a lot of life is not pleasant or easy, but the good news is, when you are really trying to love the people who surround you, all of the worry and the hurt and the discomfort become unimportant because you get to see someone who needs it smile. Christ did a lot of little things in His life to help those around Him smile. Whether that was to play with children or raise a beloved brother from the dead. Christ's life shines with examples of showing love in big ways and small through service. So, if you are ever feeling unhappy, turn out! The person next to you probably needs your smile.

I love you all! And I hope this week is full of joy for you!


Sister Jarvis

Sister Lindquist and I pointing to the beloved Volgograd

Monday, April 18, 2016

Life in Pictures

This week, I don't have a ton of time to email, but I thought I would catch you all up with some pictures!

On a visa trip with the lovely Sister Jameson. We decided to model for a lemonade ad.

I met up with my first companion from the MTC, Sister Sommers! We haven't seen each other in like 8 months! That's the benefit of those pesky visa trips. You get to see all the people you haven't seen because they live like 20 hours away by bus.

The huge pumpkin this family with 8 kids gave to us. These are his new born baby pictures and those are my companions (Sister Montierth on the left and Sister Nelson on the right) 

​We played an april fools joke on our English class that was to die for. We just spoke nonsense in English and they all believed they just weren't understanding us. It was hilarious. They tried to draw out what we were saying, but it didn't make any sense.

Sister Nelson's birthday was the same day as Dad's birthday. We dressed up like Miranda Sings because Sister Nelson loves Miranda. 

Also, transfers are happening this week and I have some news!
I'll be training again! Her name is Sister Lindquist from AZ! She also did theater, so it should be an awesome transfer coming up here.

And I'm lucky enough to continue my stay in Volgograd. Honestly, if I stayed here my whole mission, I would be one blessed missionary. It's a beautiful city with so many wonderful people (Shoutout to Freesia, a member here). I love it here.
Well, with that, I'm signing out! Sorry it was a short one this week!
Sister Jarvis

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Plague, Janna, and the 8 Kid Family

Дорогие Мои,
This week started off with me getting THE PLAGUE!
Okay, I didn't get the plague, but I did get pretty sick. Not to worry, though. It didn't last for very long. Being sick was kind of an adventure. When Janna found out I was sick, she was adament that I not use any of that "chemistry" stuff they sell in pharmacies (Don't worry friends, I did anyway) and instead just drink some tea (I also did that). The one day I spent in was awful. I just wanted to go out and teach some people! Luckily, it was only one day and then I got right back into the swing of things. We all woke up sick yesterday with sore throats, though. Hopefully, they don't last for very long.
This week, we were able to meet with a family that has 8 KIDS! Which is TOTALLY unheard of in Russia. Everyone has like 2 kids TOPS! It was CRAZZY! Unfortunely, the day we taught them was also the day I was in sick. So, I'll have to give more information about their awesomeness in next week's email.

Janna's baptism went off without a hitch last weekend. Her smile was so bright, and she just glowed as she came out of the water. When I came on my mission, I wasn't sure that the Gospel could really do anything. I wasn't convinced that people could change. I just believed it because I had always been told that. But watching the way that the Gospel has changed so many people's lives has changed me. The thing is, just like President Uchtdorf talked about in Conference, we can all change and become like Jesus Christ; we're hard wired to change. And Janna's example to me has shown me that the message we share is one of joy. That what we, as missionaries, share with people really does bring happiness into people's lives. She is one of a kind, and she's really going to make a difference here in Volgograd.

Funny story about Janna. Actually a few. She started reading the Book of Mormon about a month ago, and she finished it the Thursdaybefore her baptism (she also read the entire book of Alma 3 times within that time as well). She's about 4'11" and when we were taking pictures for her baptism she made us all stand on the stairs so she could stand a few steps above to be our same height... she was still shorter. When she recieved the gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday, she said she could feel a warmth spreading from the top of her head down through her body, but the blessing ended before the feeling reached her feet. She hates pharmacies with all her little heart and will make disgusted faces and say the Russian equivelent of "ew" every time she sees one. I love Janna. She's my little Russian babushka.
Unfortunately, Galia didn't end up being baptized this week. She kind of disappeared, so we're trying to find her. Shouldn't be hard, though, because she studies across the street from the branch building.
I just want to say that Conference was awesome and that the messages the prophet, the apostles, and other leaders of the Church gave were beautiful. I'm so grateful that I can say I know that there's a living prophet today and that I know that Jesus Christ is the living Son of a living God. I hope you all have a week filled with rainbows and spring!

Sister Jarvis

The Volgograd Zone

Monday, April 4, 2016

Break Through to the SUNLIGHT

The title of this email is attributed to my long time desire to start a band and the fact that spring has officially made its way to the streets of Volgograd (for good).

This week was a lot better than the previous week (remember when I wrote about how all the bad weeks have to end sometime). We still lost investigators instead of gained them, but the investigators we have left are amazing. Janna and Galia are getting baptized on Saturday; Andrei, who has been investigating the church for 18 years, is beginning to make some real progress towards baptism; and we tried calling some people who used to be investigators yesterday with a lot of success. We're meeting with one of them today and a whole family tomorrow.

Funny story time! Our branch mission leader had planned out this activity for last Saturday and was super excited about it; however, he did not tell any of us what we needed to buy or how to organize it, and then he disappeared for about a week. So, on the Friday night before the activity, Sisters Montierth, Nelson, and I started planning when we realized that no one had done anything for this activity and that no one knew what was going on. We then delegated tasks to the two companionships of elders and scrambled all Saturday morning to get some games put together for this activity. We boiled eggs for egg dying, cut up fruit for refreshments, and we even forced our zone leaders to draw us a bunny so that we could play "pin-the-tail-on-the-bunny". The time came for the activity to start and our investigator Janna showed up, the branch mission leader came, and one of the young men... and that was it. We waited for like 30 minutes, and about 10 other people made their way to the activity, so we just started and had a cute little party of 15 people. Janna liked it, and everyone there had fun; it's just funny that we worried so much and then had such a small turn out.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to translate Janna's baptismal interview (people are interviewed for baptism into our church because we want to make sure that being baptized is something they actually want and are ready for). It was an amazing experience being able to translate for President Miner (our mission president) and Janna. I understood and could translate everything they said, which I was amazed that I could do. Janna uses a lot of big words, and it's often difficult to understand her because she's quiet and lisps a little due to some missing teeth. Plus President Miner also tends to use some pretty big words in English that are difficult to translate into Russian. Right after the interview, Janna and I talked for a little bit, and immediately, I was no longer able to understand everything she said. It was really strange, and I can only explain that I was spirit-led in that moment. I was able to remember words I had only heard others use or seen a few times. It was really an amazing experience. It gives me hope that one day I'll actually be pretty fluent in Russian.

We haven't yet had a chance to view conference out here, but we'll be doing that this weekend right before Janna and Galia's baptism. It's going to be pretty awesome.

Also, if you were wondering why I haven't written the custumary missionary email about Easter yet, it's because Easter isn't until May 1st out here in Russia! So just you wait, it's coming.

Hope your week is going great!

Sister Jarvis