To answer some of your questions, the night trains were so fun! we had roommates both time, but just nice old ladies. I slept like a baby on the train there and on the train back but poor sister carver didn’t sleep at all!!!! so she stayed away in a crammed little room all night–we left at midnight and arrived at 6:30 AM and i was feeling sorry for myself because i was tired just from staying up until midnight but then i asked sister carver how she slept and she said she didn’t and she is just a champion because i don’t know how she even surivived! we arrived at 6:30 took a taxi to the sisters’ apt and then did our studies and then contacted allllllll day and alllll evening. But the Lord blessed us with energy and joy and Smolensk is SO beautiful and just an old, historical city with so much character and so much green! We met such interesting, incredible people and I was on splits with sister chantry who is  still in her training and we had a great time together and was a lot of just me building her up about her russian…a lot of missionaries are just so hard on themselves and think that perfect russian is the most important thing but it reallly reallllly realllly isn’t and usually their russian is way better than they even give themselves credit for anyways ((which was the case with sister chantry). But it was wonderful and splits always provide us with so many miracles–we always have way more succes than we do in our own area.

so to answer your other question, yes–we have our own area and we’re working reallllllllly hard to stay on top of things and we’ve seen so many miracles in our own area, too–just showing us that the Lord is aware of us and knows how bad we want this—how badly we want all people to know what we know and feel what we feel. another question you asked was about mission leadership council and yes–we participate so on thursday we were at that all afternoon and it was so inspiring–just discussing the progress of the mission and sharing ideas and testimonies. I just started crying as we sang the closing hymn, “I Know that My Redeemer Lives!” and looking around at all of the misisonaries i really respect and admire and realizing how much it means to us to sing, (I forget how it is in English), but basically–I’ll go and tell everyone that I know that My Redeemer Lives. and that’s what we’re doing. as we bowed our heads and closed the meeting in prayer, I was just filled with the Spirit–especially the spirit of gratitude. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the depth of the magnitiude of God’s trust in me and I’m just so humbled and honored.

So we spent most of Thursday at the leadership conference in the misison home eating such delicious food and being so inspired and humbled and then we took a night train that night to smolensk, hit the streets hard all day, then took a night train back (poor sister carver didn’t sleep on the way back either, and obviously i was unconscious), and then got in to moscow at 6:30 and showered and baked delicious treats and went hurried off to a baptism! there’s this incredible family in our ward–the Potters. The dad’s from engliand and the mom’s from sweden and the dad works for the British embassy and they have the three cutest kids in the whole world who have british accents but randomly start speaking swedish (which im determined to learn after my mission) and they’ve lived all over the world and are my role models. i’m obsessed with them and on saturday they younger son Zack was baptized and the parents are such goof missionaries and invited pretty much the entire british embassy to come and zack’s school friends were there–there were so many nonmembers and the Spirit was so strong and the talks were so perfect and simple and easy to unerstand for everyone. It was such a perfect day and somehow we managed to funciton and talk to as many people as possible and get their numbers, etc. and see if they’re interested in learning more. the Lord is with us, I tell ya because there’s no way we can do this alone…we were falling asleep on the metro on the way over there and almost dropped our cakes and lemon bars!! would have been a tragedy!!! but we are still going strong and we’re so grateful for our safety and health and for our families and your prayers–they mean so much to me. i truly truly feel them and whenever the old ladies on the street say, “what are you crazy?? you’re so far from home!! why did your mama let you go??” i just tell them that you guys understand how much this means to me and that you’re proud of me and I tell them how much closer we’ve all grown from just being apart—my perspective and my graittude have just grown exponentially and i truly feel so close to you. because of your prayers. and because i know that we are bound by covenants and we will ALWAYS be together!!! so keep those promises you’ve made to the Lord because i want to be with your forever.
i love you.