My dearest family!! it was so fun to read emails from family and friends–thank you SO much for the birthday wishes! I wish i could have heard my best friend/little sister give her farewell talk.

it’s been snowing a lot this week which i actually don’t mind one bit–it’s so beautiful. but sometimes it turns to rain and that makes contacting a little extra tricky. but i wanted to share an experience about contacting inside–on friday we had to go up to moscow to meet our landlord to pay rent and to pick up some materials and so i was on the metro standing up in front of this girl around my age who was just so radiantly beautiful, i couldn’t help but stare. oops. and i was just dying to talk to her and trying to think of what to say but then i observed (nice way of saying i creeped on her) that she was reading a piece of paper with french written on it. the thought crossed my mind, “it’ll still be awkward because she’ll know you were reading over her shoulder…” but i quickly brushed that away, reminding myself about the connection between charity and fearlessness and said opened my mouth and it was filled with the words, “Do you know french?!” she looked up with a genuine smile on her face and we started chatting…she’s studying french and i told her i studied french but forgot everything when i started learning russian which of course led her to ask where i’m from and what i’m doing her etc. etc. etc. and it was just all so natural and then i told her about the church and a little about what we believe and she asked where we meet and i pointed to the stop on the metro map because i don’t know the adress of the moscow building off the top of my head and i gave her an “invitation” to the podolsk branch and told her i could find out the information about moscow and let her know so she gave me her number and then it was her stop. i was so grateful for that wonderful experience and for dianna and how nice she was and easy to talk to but little did i know that was just the beginning! i called her last night to give her the address and she didn’t answer so i thought, “rats i hate when this happens” and figured that was the “end” of it but i texted her the address and told her it was nice meeting her and just said i hope she gets the chance to go because the gospel truly brings so much joy to my life and it turned out to be a 6 page long text because as you all know from reading my emails, i’m no good at being concise. oops. so i felt like a creeper but then she texted back!! and thanked me and asked if i’m ever at that branch (because she knows i live in podolsk) and i replied that unfortunately i’m not but i am going to be in moscow again tomorrow for a district meeting at our senior couple’s apt. and she wants to meet!!! ahhhhh i’m so beyond excited! i’m a little sad because she doesn’t live in my boundaries so i’ll have to “pass her off” but i’m so grateful that i get to meet with her before i do so and that tomorrow i’ll have yet another precious chance to bare my testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! i can’t wait.
on another note, yesterday i was asked to teach the relief society lesson and it was from the “teachings of Lorenzo Snow” and it was on the commandment to be perfect even as the Lord is perfect and about how that often discourages us because we think, “well that will never happen!” and it’s easy to give up or to feel like we’re under too much pressure, etc. but i taught about how perfection means being better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we were today. and how incredible it is that the Lord believes in us enough to think we can do it. we are strong enough. and He never gives a commandment that we can’t keep and He always provides a way–I know that God will help us and heal us as we strive to be a little better every day.
I’m really excited for my Birthday on thursday–sister parry and i made sticker charts to motivate us to give up treats and we have been successful for about a month now but we’re taking a day off on my birthday. other than that, it will be like any other day and i can’t wait to spend the day “all about me” focusing on everything and everyone besides me. it will be the best birthday ever.

i love you all and you are constantly on my mind and in my prayers! have a great week!