Sunday, January 31, 2010

One of two posts this week - From Sister Southam - a senior missionary in Russia

Hello, Family and Friends of Sister Reed and Sister Gorlova, 

We have some pictures to share with you from the Holidays. 

Aprons Sister Southam made the missionaries
New socks!
December zone conference

Both Sisters are wonderful.  Their teaching is amazing and the Spirit is very strong in this companionship.  We love and care for them both.  Russia is beautiful and the winter is passing by with not much snow, just some cold weather!  Living and working in the Gospel here is exciting.  Both of these sisters are hard workers and very dedicated to the Lord's work. 
Enjoy the pictures.
Sister Southam
Senior Sister from Colorado!

Sledding in Russia!

Hello!  It feels like a long time since I've talked to you!  How is everyone?  
I don't print out my e-mails, but I have enough time to read them all.  Please keep them the way they are!  :)
Russian country side

This week was pretty good- we're still teaching Жаргалтогтох, and it's been pretty great!  She's understanding everything with her lack of Russian speaking; Heavenly Father is really helping with that.  She will be ready to be baptized on Saturday and we're all really excited!  We had a great Zone Conference this week- President and Sister Trejo came and talked with us.  The missionaries from Улан-Удэ were there too so that was cool.  We talked a lot about planning in this last conference.  I really want to focus more on the spiritual side of planning, and really focus on the people and their needs.  We plan A LOT as any return missionary knows, so it's better to make it a pleasant experience.  On Sunday, Pres Trejo gave a really great talk in sacrament meeting to the members of our branch.  He told some prophesies about how in this area there will be a stake eventually and thousands of members.  But in order to accomplish that, the members need to give their part.  They need to really make an effort in missioanry work, and in helping inactive members and new converts.  It was very spiritual, and I hope the members really listened, I know that it inspired me!  I know that President Trejo is inspired and he knows what the people here need to hear.  And that night we had a fireside about missionary work and how the members can do it.  They practiced a little, and I think it helped them get a good idea of where to start in talking with their friends and family.  It was pretty cool!  I hope that we are all helping the missionaries in doing missionary work.  It's so super super great when the members refer their friends or acquaintances to the missionaries.  And it's like an insta-friend for the investigator!  It really helps with lessons.  :)  We all want our brothers and sisters to return to live with our Heavenly Father, right?  Heaven would sure be a lonely place without our friends and family there!  :)

Last P-Day we went sledding again, haha.  It was really fun, but we were seriously sore after wards.  There was this crazy tilt-a-whirl of death there.  It was pretty sweet.  Russians sure know how to have fun in the snow!  :)

Beautiful slides!

Someone sits in the sled and other people run and push!

That's cool about your Stake Conference!  That reminds me of the talk by Elder Scott about spiritual revelation.  You should read it.  :)  When Heavenly Father gives us precious truths, to write it down and ponder it, like you said you did, Dad.  Then God will give us more! I'll take your example and do that more, too.  :)  It sounded like an overall really good Stake Conference!!  How cool!
And Mom, keep being awesome with changing people's lives and bringing families together!  :)
Well I hope you all have a super great week!  Oh, that's exciting about Jared Jolstead!  When does he report to the MTC?  OH-- and I got a way sweet package from Jen Houser!  Thanks!!  And I got a letter from Lindsay and Blayre.  Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!  

I love you all!  Have a great week!  I pray for you every day!!  Thanks for your prayers and support!!  Oh p.s.- Transfers are this week.  I think I'll be staying but we'll see!!
С Любовю, 
Сестра Рид   :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Hey!!  Thanks so much for all the e-mails I got!!  It was great to hear from everyone!  Even the little, "Hey, I'm alive!" notes are super great!  And I got a way super great e-mail from Krystine... glad to hear you're doing well in Vegas!!  I can't wait to get your other letter too!

SO!  Life is good!  I'll tell you what.. we did a ton of service this past week again.  We've been doing a lot of physical labor lately- my arms are going to be so buff!  Last week we helped a girl Anna carry a ton of wood (like fire wood before it's chopped up).  And we have helped a couple бабушки clean their houses, carry and deliver groceries, pick up medicine for people, and so on.  It's always fun to do service.  I love it.  But one thing Sister Southam has been trying to do and I am destined to help her, is get VT set up.  People need to help each other out, and in turn it will help us do more missionary work during the day.  And it will create more friendships in the branch, which everyone says is a problem here.  It seems to be a never-ending battle, but we'll see if anything happens this week with that.  

Sorry I forgot to respond to the food question.  Food here is super good!  I actually really enjoy beets and potatoes.  Beets just boiled for a while and eaten are super tasty.  (and really beneficial for the body, haha.)  And I enjoy a lot гречка.  It's like a substitute for rice... really good.  And of course, пелмены.  It's like bread with either meat or potatoes or something else on the inside.  It's really common here, and you can buy a bag with a bunch of them frozen.  I haven't eaten anything really weird yet..... but I've heard of weird things.  Usually if we go to a member's house for any reason, they generally feed us a dessert.  The cakes here are super good.  And the juice is SO good.  And the ice cream.... way amazing.  But yeah, generally at home, we just eat meat and rice or something, or soup.  Nothing too weird.  :)

Things have pretty much stopped with Nastya for now.  It is really sad, but some times, people give in to temptation and find a reason to stop meeting with us.  Often it is... "no time"... or they just don't show up to appointments... or something.  It's really hard, but it's often.  But we haven't given up on her, we still call her and keep up on her.  Thanks for your prayers and everything!!  Maybe she won't get baptized when she's with us, but I feel like she will sometime in her life.  The good news is.... our Mongolian friends are back in town from the holiday!  And one of them... Жаргалтогтох (I have no idea how to spell that in english) wants to get baptized!  This girl knew nothing about Jesus Christ before she started meeting with us.  And the thing is, she still doesn't really because she speaks less Russian than I do!  But she recognizes the Spirit and has those good feelings, and has a desire to be baptized!  So we're working with her right now.  It's super slow, but she has a date for Jan 30th.  Hooray!  We just love our Mongolian girls!  And it's super cool because they brought back with them 4 Books of Mormon in Mongolian as well as a bunch of brochures in Mongolian!  And before that we had 1 Book of Mormon.  So that's super great!  

No, I haven't bought anything yet for Christmas.  I will for sure send pictures though when I do!!  :)  Time.... it's an interesting thing....  :)

Tell Pres Pitcher Hi for me, ok?  :)  Thanks!  

And sounds like a cool thing to be studying the Sermon on the Mount again.  I should do that too!  I also want to read all of Joseph Smith History again.  But Mom, you're right, you can pick something up each time you read the scriptures!  I can testify of that!  Aren't the scriptures great?!?!  You should keep me updated on what you learn from the Sermon on the Mount.  I'd be interested to hear!  And yes, I'm super excited to have the BEST Visiting Teachers EVER!!  :)  

My Russian... is coming.  I hope.  It's hard for me to tell.  I think it would be easier for someone on the outside to tell me how I'm doing, because sometimes it feels like I'm at the same level.  But I'm still working on it!!  :) 

Well, I do love you all and I hope you have a super great week!!  I hope I answered all of your questions!  

Don't worry about your letters, they are great.  I always love getting them!  And thanks again for the pictures, Dad!!    
I love you!!
Love, Sister Reed :) 

For Ashley  :)

One of my favs!  HAHAHA

Irkutsk, Angara River

Angara River

Angara River

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Heal the world...make it a better place...

Yes, I heard that song today in the store. Good times.

Hello everyone!! How goes it? Good, I hope!!

Dayton- HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Yay!!! I hope it's super great! P.s.- There's something coming for you.... ;)

Well here I am living the life in Russia. I still can't believe I'm here. Crazy. But it's super great!! This week we talked to this girl from English Club.. her name is Hastya. She is about 21 ish I think. We gave her the first lesson a couple days later and it was so great. The things that she said just brought me to the true realization that Heavenly Father prepares people to hear the gospel. Throughout her life, she has had experiences where it was one step closer for her heart to be open to God. Or where she just thought of those questions in her life that can be answered with the gospel. On Sunday we watched the Restoration video (love it! Yes, it is in another language, but I feel the spirit every time. :) ) And she really enjoyed it. Later she got to talking and said that she cries every time someone prays. And she began to cry. You can tell she had a special connection with our Heavenly Father. And at that moment I saw the love Heavenly Father has for her. However, she was frightened to pray herself because she'd never done it before. As you know, Satan is really mean sometimes and likes to attack good people who try to make good choices. So we're praying for her that she will stay strong in this time that she is investigating the church.

I do feel blessed to have a Russian companion. It does help for sure! I know Heavenly Father knew what he was doing when he put us together! :)

Thanks so much for your e-mails. And I really appreciate your words of encouragement and your prayers. It's always so helpful. Mom, thanks for everything. You really are the best of the best. Dad, thanks for the pictures and everything!

And Grandma-- thanks for the e-mail!!! It was super great to hear from you! Yes, I LOVED the pants! They are so super warm and comfy! I love you! Keep being wonderful!! :)

Well I hope you all have the best week ever!!! I love you all so much! Keep being happy and healthy and everything! I'm so grateful for you all!!


Sister Reed :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

This Christmas I gave you my heart

Last Christmas I gave you my heart, but the very next day you gave it away. This year to save me from tears, I'll give it to someone speeeeeecial... Would you believe that I heard that song recently?  And my favorite version too..... hahaha

Hello all!  THANKS THANKS THANKS for your e-mails and pictures and all that fun stuff!  It was really super awesome!  Hey Dad, I thought of some pictures I would like.  Would you mind sending me some of the pictures I've taken for photography?  I'm really not sure, since there's nothing too interesting... eh.  My most intersting ones are not on the computer.  Maybe if it's possible to scan, one or two from my room?  And maybe a wedding one if you can?  Thanks!!  

So as far as a Christmas gift, I think I've decided on something!  A Bible!  And maybe a scarf- like a fancy one, not really one for warmth... or maybe one for warmth... or maybe one that does both!  But probably just a bible for now.  And yes, I did buy a new pair of gloves (hooray!)  and I got a new BoM. Ура!!!  

So New Years was super crazy.  Well for everyone else except us, haha.  We went home and cleaned all night.  And then we woke up around 12 when all the fireworks went off like crazy!  EVERYWHERE.  And it probably went until 3 am. New Years is CRAZY.  It's like their Christmas here where they give gifts and all that stuff.  So it was really cool to see that.  Yes, we went over to the Southams again.  :)  Did they send you pictures, by the way?  And it was pretty fun there like always.  :)  

Thanks for your concern and love for me.  I do feel your prayers.  I'm so grateful for my wonderful family!  And friends!  

It has been so COLD here this past week!  Sometimes I wonder why my eyeballs don't turn into ice.  We talk about that sometimes.  Kinda gruesome, huh?

So our goal as a mission is to have 20 meetings every week.  Hard.  So we have been planning like crazy to meet with more people, and have quality meetings.  Sadly, our Mongolian girls are home for the holidays (yeah Mom, lots of people travel for the holiday season, which is Jan 1-10th and Christmas is Jan 7th :) ) and we really only have 2 people we're meeting with.  That one guy that sounded really interested in the church never came and won't answer our phone calls.  Sadly, that's typical.  So we are trying to have lots of meetings, but also have time to find people to meet with.  It'll be a tricky week.  But lately, I've had a strong resolution to try my hardest to talk with everyone.  It's hard and scary because I don't know what to say, or how to say it in Russian, or what to say if they answer me.. haha!  But I know that if I show God that I am willing to try, He will put more people in our path.  So that's my goal!

Wow Krystal's already married?  Cool!  And no, I didn't know that Marissa was engaged.  Хулигантга! 

Well, I better get going, but I love you all very much and Have a happy week!  You're all the best!  Here are some pictures- 

we walk by these buildings every day almost on our way to the branch building.  It's so pretty.  

And I feel like I'm in Charlie and The Chocolate factory with that church.  It was a particularly smokey day that day.  

                            And that's us in the back of the bus.  :)
С Любовью, 
Сестра Рид  :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

с новом годом! (Happy New Year!)

Happy New Year!!

Hello everyone!  It was super great to talk to you all on Christmas!  Thanks so much for all of your support and happiness.  I needed it!  I hope all of your Christmases were super great!  Thanks for the pictures!!  It was like I was there!  Okay... maybe not quite, but still it was super cool.

And it was super great to receive lots of mail on Christmas eve after a long, lonely transfer... :)  Lindsay, Krystine, Blayre, Brianne, Aunt Barbara, Heather, Steve, Kurtis, Zeke, Jennifer... Thank you!!!!  Gosh, you're all the best.

Well Christmas was great!  We went over to the Southams and had roast for dinner (yes, I enjoyed it :) ) and had a little gift exchange like at home!  I got a cool flashlight that's all camoflaugey.  Then we watched Pete's Dragon... first time I ever watched it, and I gotta say, probably the last.  Hahaha!

The coolest part of Christmas though, was the little service we did.  There are these people that live by the dumpster that Pres and Sis Southam use.  They have no home, just 3 brick walls and they have a little fire going.  The Southams think that they might use this abandoned place nearby for more shelter.  I hope so.  But we went there and gave them the extra food we had from Christmas dinner.  The woman's hands were black from filth and cold.  Then we sang them a hymn.  It was so sad to see.  More and more I am becoming more and more grateful for what I have.

Last night on the tramvai there was this man sleeping on the floor, passed out from drunkeness.  It is not uncommon to see people on the tramvai sleeping, and when people try to wake them they won't because they're so out of it from being drunk.  It's becoming more apparent how much people here need the gospel in their lives.

On a happier note, CONGRATULATIONS Shon and Kimberlee!  Wow, I want details!  And pictures!  I am so happy for you- you deserve the most happiness- you're such a great brother!

Things this week were pretty good!  Here are some pictures for y'all....

                                Happy New Year!

                                   This is in the renok

                         Yay!  I love the pants Grandma gave me!

These are sweet camoflauge aprons Sis Southam made for all of us- watch out! :)

               It's pretty cold here-- frost on the eyelashes

                     It's true- I love Russia!

English club is good- little people there because of the holiday- hopefully after it will pick up!  But besides that, just working!  We haven't tracted much; it feels like an odd week because of all the holidays.  Sometimes I don't feel like a missionary because we're at the Southams often lately eating and celebrating.  I think after the New Year I will feel better about that.  And on Monday we planned our whole transfer which takes a big chunk of the day... I dunno.. just a weird week.  We helped this old lady clean her house yesterday, tho.  That was pretty fun!  :)

Oh dad remember those pictures you asked about?  One is of a skunk and armadillo together... what the heck?  And the one for Dayton.. spell it out.  :)

Well I hope you all have a WONDERFUL week and I'll be looking forward to talking to you next week!
с любвю,
Сестра Рид  :)