FAMILY!!!

First item of business: I have the best news ever but I hope you will see it as such. I know you are overwhelmed and constantly the house of company/Hawkins Hotel BUT if this all works out, it will truly mean the WORLD to me!
there is a man in my branch named Vladimir, and he is honestly my favorite human (I know I say that a lot, but I mean it this time). He is in his 50s/60s I think and looks like the man from Up! and is HYSTERICAL!! and he asked a favor of me, but really it’s for you. if his visa comes through this week, he will be going to the US to visit the old mission president here. he will be flying into salt lake with another family from our branch who are visiting their children who live in UT, then he will be traveling through las vegas and then to California. He will be there just for a few days and needs a place to stay. I was ECSTATIC when he told me these things because nothing could make me happier than for you to meet Vladimir–it’s like sending a piece of my heart to come stay with you. And he does so much for the branch and for us missionaries, I would be thrilled for the chance to serve him in whatever way possible. So. It’s spontaneous and nothing is planned concretely but it would be sometime the last week of October/the first week of November. He speaks a little bit of English so it would be an adventure but maybe you could invite the Jessees over for dinner or they could show him around or something–that would be so fun for him to get to speak Russian. Or maybe Chris Kneipp? Anyways, I hate to ask this of you but let me know if you’d be willing/if it is an option and hopefully next week I’ll give you an update on dates/etc. I can’t thank you enough, really.
but now that the business is over: BLAAAAKE!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you have received my birthday card I made you. I sent it in the middle of August so it should be there? who knows. I am so proud of you for being worthy to receive the priesthood–never forget this day!! make sure to write in your journal on Sunday how you feel and your testimony–unfortunately my journal entry from the day of my baptism is actually just an account of everything i ate that day (reveals where my priorities were at the time–yikes). I also am so proud that you are eating at souplantation tonight to celebrate. there are no such things here in Russia obviously. Cherish those blueberry muffins and mom–let him eat at least 12 in my honor. I am so grateful for you blake and can’t believe how grown up you are. hope you don’t mind that you will always be my baby….just now you are my baby/best friend. I can’t wait for you to hang out with Vladimir and I can’t wait for you to move in with me with I go back to BYU…that’s the plan…right? we must never be separated.
Tell the Kelly’s I say hello and send them my love!
Wells family, I am so sorry you have the stomach flu! that’s the pits!! I hope you all get well soon.
This week was a little crazy and actual missionary work has been delayed because of the big service project but it’s all the same work I guess! I personally was not that helpful I don’t think, because most of the help they needed from the missionaries was translation. And I am not near that level yet–I can get by a little if I’m translating about the Gospel but I definitely don’t have the skills to translate for physical therapists from salt lake who are talking about the mechanics of wheel chairs. nope, that ain’t me. But it was a wonderful experience being apart of it nonetheless, and the wife of the physical therapist and I bonded because she was telling me about their son who has a mental disability. It brought back so many memories from helping out in the classroom mama and form working with Rise, etc. And this lady told me to thank you, mom. She said it takes a special kind of person to do what you do, and she could have never survived if it wasn’t for the dedicated special education teachers. I obviously bragged about how my mother is the most incredible teacher in the world and changes lives everyday. So “thank you” from Sister Thalman, and from me!! I love you.
I woke up the other day with a sense of longing for the temple. It made me sad to think I won’t be able to go for over another year, but SO grateful that I had the opportunity to go as often as I did before I came, and even more so to realize that I will be able to go as often as I want when I get back. I hope I never take that for granted and I hope when you feel to tired or inconvenienced to go to the temple, you remember the people here who save their money for years sometimes and make huge sacrifices to go to the temple in Ukraine. And they’re so lucky to have a temple so close! I think about people all over the world who never have the chance, or who maybe only get to go once. The temple is such an incredible blessing–in Psalms it refers to it as a sanctuary and I think that’s the best word for it sometimes: a place to escape and receive revelation and learn…and the covenants we make there can give us the peace we need when we’re not in the temple. I feel so blessed…
The fall leaves are in full swing here and it is magical! the weather is crisp and off and on rainy but it’s perfect. And Ryazan is doing well and I’m looking forward to next week when we’ll have more time to teach because this week has been kinda crazy.
I love you!!
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