Monday, September 30, 2013


Turns out my passion for fall may be more of a distraction than I thought. While working with Sister Platt, we were heading up the gloriously scenic hills of Ylianovsk while she was taking a phone call. The sun shower had just recently passed, and I'd yet neglected to close my umbrella. I walked up the hill, no Russians around to be seen/talked with, with my head turned over my shoulder to stare at the golden meadow and blue sky in the distance behind us. Just long enough to bump in to something I must not have seen 12 feet in advance? Probably too long to walk without watching where you're going anyway. Which explains why I was fortunate enough to I walk right in to an authentic Russian dumpster!! Sister Platt had fun relaying on the phone call. Can we stick to the task at hand, Sister Platt. Where's the charity.
The baptism was incredible. Bogdon was so excited. Mackim, the man who baptized him, was too. So much so, that he neglected to bring a second pair or changing clothes. That was some fun stalling. Haha--at the last semi stressful second, Sister Young and I wondered whether he even knew the words for the baptismal prayer--as they simulatenously entered the font. haha, when are refreshments so we can stop worrying? It was beautiful. Got the words, and then Bogdon was immeresed and brought back up, wet and smiling. So much joy. 

We were able to bear our testimonies to this little boy, who has such a sound understanding. A lot of people came, and many gave him chocolate bars, and shampoo. Lingering chlorine worries? haha. He even wore his new white shirt and tie to church on sunday!! He's looking forward to passing the sacrament in just 2 weeks.

It was amazing me last night to reflect on how sacred an opportunity it is to work hand in hand with the Lord. To set things forth, fulfill your promises to Him, and then watch Him fulfill His part back to you. To a tee. And even if that weren't the case, it's because there are things for each of us to learn, we just might not recognize what those are yet.

Amazing guy Anton came to church yesterday. Has been studying, avidly, the Quraan and Torah. Heard about us, and wanted to check it out. Very eager to start reading the Book of Mormon. So exciting, and I was so grateful for those neat experiences with dad of attending Presbyterian and Catholic mass back in our home town., To be able to tell him detailed experiences, and then of the knowledge of what we have, here. We're meeting again with him in a week--and he said he would be baptized, if this is what "his heart has been crying for." Wow. 

Last night, I don't know what was up, but there was a cinnamon raisin bagel aroma everywhere in the dark Russian air as we finished off the last night of the cycle. Enjoyed it, and didn't mind if I did.

Mosiah 23:21-22. Mosiah 24: 14 . 2 Nephi 10:23.
Love you so much, thanks for continuing support,
Sister Clyde
WWII Museum!


Monday, September 23, 2013

Dancin in September

Hey! The other day we were heading home on a bus-I was chatting with a cute girl on her way to a birthday party, and was able to toss her a dacha apple incase she'd neglected to purchase a birthday gift. Sister Young and woman were on seats in front of us--and across was the opposing bench, where a mother and daughter were placed. During our conversations, we were slightly caught off guard after hearing some bizarre noise from the front of the bus. It lost the focus of both women we were engaged with--not to mention ours. I look up to the front, where my eyes come across this small blonde girl who for some reason is cry-meowing aloud for all to enjoy. hahah, it was the strangest thing in the world, and I couldn't figure out for a solid 20 seconds of staring as to whether she was laughing or sobbing as tears streamed down her cheeks and confused giggle meows continued to sound. Russians don't think cats say "mee-yoww," but that didn't make it any more normal that that was exactly what she was screetching on repeat. Hahaha. 

How's life? On Friday is poured like never before. We walked around with our umbrellas after a lesson fell through--and were able to conversate with a few gems. We saw a woman waiting alone under a streetlight with her umbrella and approached her. She thought we were other people who she was expecting, but didn't actually know. We started chatting, when during our gospel thoughts, a Russian mother and son come up from behind us in the dark, looking worried and eager. All details on the situation became clear, as this sweet woman we were talking with handed them a very high-tec white cellphone that the son readily and gratefully grabbed, and then handed over to her a fancy wrapped sheet of Russian chocolate. Smiles of relief on the mother and son's faces, as they expressed their gratitude to this stranger who had so diligently sought the phone's owner. Really a touching moment to see small acts of kindness like that all over the world. I love things that make you reflect about mankind's goodness-- and that every seed of that is solely because in each of us is the light of Christ. Every inclination to serve, help, love. 

Bogdan, or more properly named by yours truly, Bogdonneth, will be baptized and confirmed this saturday. Sister Young and I nervously awaited the call on Thursday for final permission clarification from his mom. Phone rings. Normal catch up--so Bogdan, what did you call about.. waiting, waiting waiting---"Onni razresheeli" --My parents allowed it," his high voice told me on the phone. ---"They said yes" I relayed to Sister Young, before we embraced eachother in the cold dark field where society was scarce. AHH!!! haha, sorry if it's repeat news for you, but it had been on the line one last time. They announced it in sacrament meeting yesterday, as he stood up right next to me, nervous and all smiling eyes on hij. I promised him a batch of his favorite snickerdoodles for refreshments--but he's clearly more interested in the recipe. Haha, give a man a fish-feed him for a day-teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime. Bogdonner understands this well.  

Olga's dad passed away!!! We had been there, that day , to teach her. Wow. Anaitt came, and gave tired Olga a back massage while Sister Kiestler and I, on exchanges, sang primary songs to her. Her father fell swiftly asleep, softly snoring in the background so she could relax. Such a good man--painfully thin--and I was able to say goodbye to him. Very interesting to see the plan of salvation in action out here in the field. She called us, crying that night. We plan to visit her soon, and hope that this will allow her to attend church and learn about temple work. 

It's fall it's really fall. I can't take my eyes off the yellow trees out here. While searching for a less active woman on Saturday, we somehow wound up in an almost forest. I was taken off guard by the whiff of autumn, sweet sweet autumn. Crisp, cool, deep. Drink it in--and remember the Salt Brook Ultimate frisbee field on an early saturday morning, the chilly air- the fresh dew wetting our running cleats- and the golden maple-framed field. 

Amazing district meeting, practiced conversations chalked with questions, when it can be so easy to do majority of talking as missionaries. I was paired with Elder Traitor, again. haha. It was so eye-opening. This one was in English, giving us more freedom to go for it. We got to talking about the nature and existence of things--and he asked, saying, "out of all the things on earth, don't you kind of see a gap when it comes to us as humans, and everything else?" Thoughts immediately stirred about God and his existence, and our never ending ability to learn grow, invent, love, and overcome. I was gushing with excitement over it--especially as I filled my role as passerby off the street. "Yeah, I guess I have..." Cue Mosiah 4:9 and everything else good in the world, namely, scriptures. 

Haha. What a great life we live. Miss you all,
Sister Clyde

Monday, September 16, 2013


It's fall here in Russia! It came like a thief in the night. And I also accidentally thought I'd broken my phone, after accidentally dumping sugar on it instead of the teaspoon intended for my nearby bowl of oatmeal. But I just hadn't charged it! When one door closes, another one always opens. 

haha-- ever wonder why the world is so scared to continue using an open umbrella when it isn't raining?? I don't care how out of style it is, if I want to keep using my umbrella throughout the 10 second underground metro walk, I just might do it. And I did. Sister Young laughed at me. 

You don't even know what happened this week. And it's a good think email exists so that something like that can be fixed. Let me start off with the best news. 
Bogdan, the pride and joy of my life--well, we met with him yesterday. After his late entrance to sacrament meeting served as the answer to pleading prayers that he'd make church. He sat down in front of me next to SIster Young, and I just gushed with joy and relief in my chair after patting him on the back. He participated in Sunday school by saying, "there was a famine of the word of the Lord!!" when the teacher cued a question about missing truth.
Hahaha. We had a lesson on the plan of Salvation on Thursday, and Bogdan brought his buddy Ilya, who also took of Book of Mormon. He told us his mom told him that it was his choice if he wanted to baptized. And that he wants to, but was still feeling it was too early. 

Saturday was our lesson on the word of wisdom with him in the park. Member friend Olya was there, too. Sister Young and I knew the task at hand. But how to get something like the Word of Wisdom across to a 12 year old boy in a way that will make him eager to abandon the world's ways? Analogies are great things, when thought up with caution, but even better when musterd up with creativity. I recall laughing as I confessed my idea to my companion, and her laughter reciprocated in return- a preview for the actual lesson. Turns out it got approved.
So, I painted the picture in Russian for Bogdan, that involved something like an exotic excursion through the Russian jungle with a challenge to make it out alive, and a tour-guide named Captain Joe. Long story short- Captain Joe knew more than all of them--especially when warning them of Lions and tigers and hampsters-don't touch. To show that although they appear cute at first, yielding to the temptation might result in something really really bad. Hahah, he was smiling, and then Sister Young said that one friend on the trip gave in and lost an arm. Consequences can't be ignored. hahah. Anyway-- successfully tied it in to the fact that although we don't understand eveyrhting, we can trust in our tour-guide. Who in real life, happens to be the prophet. All because Bogdan has expressed attachment to green and black tea. So, it was successful, and he said he would really try to live the W of W!! WE bought him some herbal camomille tea and nesquick to tie him over.

Lesson after church--we brought up baptism. We bore our testimonies what baptism really means--and asked him how he'd been feeling since he'd been so much more involved in the church over the past month. "Happier?" "Da." That's yes. He then told us that he'd been thinking....and decided, "Yes." What does yes mean Bog? "Ya hochu krestitcya." I want to be baptized. We smiled. "When?" ..."September 28th." That was the date we'd proposed to him a week prior. I don't know how else to express how happy I am. We are so so happy.

He's getting baptized!!!! He will get the priesthood. He may serve a mission, and have a family forever. He will serve Sister young the sacrament before she heads home. I am so happy.
I know the gospel is true!! So does Bogdan. Whose name literally comes from Bohg Danni--Which means "God Given" in Russian. I love that little guy. Anyway. Stay tuned.

Another miracle with Vika last night in the park, who wants to be baptized. First lesson, so cute, and is from Uzbekistan. 

I forget what else happened. EXchanges in Bezi!!! I served with Sister Hancock for the day, just like old times!!! So so good to go back to my best friend. She's golden, and we laughed and had some amazing experiences in the rain. 
Heavenly Father is there, cares, I know it. 

Sister CLYDE

Monday, September 9, 2013


Ugh, my heart sank when I had one less gmail address to put in the recipient box for this.
BUT, when one address closes, another one OPENS--hello Samantha Clyde?? Is that right?
I can't believe she's wearing a name badge right now!!! I thought of her all day on Wednesday, and just kept reliving day number one there for me too to be there in spirit. haha, how incredible. I prayed that her thoughts would be "calm," as she fell asleep after her first day. Haha, something probably tying in with the 100mph ones I remember experiencing when my head hit the pillow last October 10th.  Something like; "MTC food is incredbile, never seen so many cookies in my life- who are my MTC teachers and what are they doing to us- how am I ever gonna get down what was on the board- can't believe I have a nametag and I actually have chosen to part with it for the next 8 hours- hope the fam's ok- this is my MISSION- Russia is real- and you three in the surrounding bunks, could you keep your thoughts down? I know we're all experiencing the same thing, and the energy from your thinking waves are borderline audible, too. Shh."

Whoo. Where does the time go. This past week flew- and there aren't a whole lot of spare moments. Ever. Had a cold this week and have discovered what it means to be tended to. Against one's will. haha-just inklings as to what kind of companion I have, making me cups of hot honey tea, corn chowder, and forcing me in to taking a back massage. She is so wonderful and I'm so grateful to have a friend like her. Last night we had a really neat lesson with three men from a different country who are here on business. We brought Mackim and Liodmilla with us, wonderful members from our ward. We talked about God-- after knocking randomly on their door earlier that day and getting an invitation back. They had smiled, revelaed they were Muslim, so Sister Young and I weren't expecting anything big to happen. Because they're usually so devout, they never get past a few lessons. 

But, we went back--and we talked about God. And we read in Alma about Ammon and Aaron's experiences with the king. We talked about what faith in Him means to us in our lives. They responded so well when we asked them if they believe in anything more. Wow, and Mackim bore wonderful testimony. He used to be less-active, and his story is so neat for others to hear. Anyway-- it was clear that they weren't as religious as we'd expected- but were totally game to hear more and welcomed us back for Friday!!! Plus, one of the three totally looks like a darker version of the main singer of Rascall Flatts, just sayin.

Today we went to the Renok!! That means market-- basically an outlet mall for Russia, where you bargain and there are sections everywhere with foreigners hoping to get a little somethign out of anyone, especially smiling--but trying ever so hard NOT TO, Americans. Our best friend Anaitt came with us. She helped sister young find a coat-- and me find what I've wanted since day one--a Russian Athletic Jacket!!!! Except I got the full out suit, because I had no choice-- and am basically ready to compete in Sochi in a few short months. hahaah. The thing is, Anaitt warned us that we needed to hide our reactions and all else, let her do the talking, in order to get the best deal. (Turns out they like to take advantage of Americans looking for souvenirs.) So--I made the mistake of smile laughing when I was led finally to what I wanted--and sister young shook her head, and thus begun the self psychology--smiling is prohibitied-thought process. But you know me. I can't not smile to save my pet's life. Thankfully, it wasn't QUITe what we were looking for, so we moved on. Lesson learned, too. Finally came to a lady-- and tried it on, and was shown reflection in mirror--and immediately threw my hands over my face to cover up the euphoric excitement. THIS WAS IT. EXcept the Russian woman took it as shame-- and said "no, no no, you look great, don't be shy......." even though I and sister young knew very well Sister Clyde was completely giggling with joys of approval, and hiding it so very adaptly. Hahaha, so finally to relive it together afterwards. 

A few times on the mission, my companion adn I have had a hankering to play some good old-fashioned hide and seek, but the rule of sight and sound presents severe complications. But, when there's a will, there's a way. We'll finish a conversation with someone, then start off again on our path. Usually the sister to have the last word/hand the person some kind of pass-along will be a quick step behind the other, until she can shuffle back up to companion to synchronize again. This time it was me. When Sister Young can't see me in her periferal, her head will turn to the side to find me just a few inches back, and all is good again. Sometimes I'm just in the process of edging around another pedestrian, and happen to switch to the other side of her, for convenience. On Saturday I decided to capitalize more for fun. Her head began to turn--no SIster Clyde in sight. Instant reaction, flip around to the other side, as I slyly stayed my ground--crouched directly behind her back. No Sister Clyde again. 
The nervous gasp as her head whips around again, just before she turns her entire person to locate missing noparneetsa. ...Priviet, it's me.  haha, a funny good laugh as she knew exactly the mischief I'd been up to. And then I took off running anyway. Just when she thought she was safe. 

Do you understand how much we love our investigator, Bogdan?? The 12 year old in the picture sent last week. His mom is less active, and revealed to someone somewhere that she wants her son to be baptized. He, this little guy, as shown up TWICE, on his own, to sacrament meeting. In an outfit strongly resembling that of little Henry's, who I miss so much. Bogdan sat square between me and Sister Young. She jokes she wants to marry him. I just want adoption papers. He sat right next to me, singing the hymns, and giving the most spirited "Ameens!!" at the end of each Russian's testimony. Ugh, my heart. 
We had a lesson during third hour--and talked about the Restoration- how he, too, is like Joseph Smith, as he tries to find this out for himself. We asked him if he would be baptized---and he answered in his sweet little voice, "boodoo." That means, "I will." Hahah. We set the date for the end of September-- because we know he'll be ready as past weeks have shown--he just wants to talk to his parents," --which is already what his shy kind mom Yulia wants. He just called me to ask how I was doing and where I was. And he really wants the cookie recipe for the snickerdoodles we made and brought to our missionary activity. What a champ.
SIster Young and I realized while falling asleep last night-- that little Bogdan will one day be able to pass us the sacrament. That will be my happy thought for the next couple weeks. 

Other amazing windows are opening, as we continue to talk with everyone. The gospel really is a way of life. Sharing it is too. 
I love this gospel, it's done everything for me.
Sister Clyde

Monday, September 2, 2013

First Day of the Rest of Your Mission

I don't really know how one would go about composing this week's email after last week's zone conference.

In short, my mission and therefore life has been changed.
It was incredible. President Bennet is our area 70. He lives in Moscow with his wife. They are the big dogs. They are the mission president couple who took a struggling mission and turned it around. Rules strict, obedience enforced, missionaries loving their missions, baptisms doubling by the end of their time here. 

President Bennet is a mixture of three men in my life. Tell ya later. But he is incredible. He's not afraid. He is such an incredible teacher. ANd he's not afraid to let out passion every now and then-- NEEDED passion, to kick some of it in to the future of the Samara RUssian mission. The conference was incredible. We in Russia-- are reminded of our call. WE are directly north of Jerusalem. THIS is where a large large majority of tribes escaped as prophesied in the scriptures. Don't trust me, check the map. THIS PLACE is what was going on with the early saints in the east. Before things take off. 
We were told all weekend of the duty that rests upon us and these precious Russian they are literally numbers of Melchezideck priesthood holders away from finally qualifying for a stake in Saratov. 

THe first presidency and the 12 know it, and don't shy away from letting Presdient Bennett know. He told us stories, examples, with the most intense eye contact-- and then would break it and say, "I love you." Heh heh, and we'd all be kind of hiding behind our chairs, and then nervously laugh as if we had actually forgotten for a second. (We had.) Hahah, but I dont' care-- because this conference changed. my. mission. We know who we are--and we all know teh potential that we can reach-- the same potential that we see in our minds on a daily basis, knowing it's available, but our reluctance to take the steps up to it allows us to shrug it off for another day. Talking with EVERYONE. Asking EVERYONE if they know ANYONE who might be benefited from this incredible message. CALLING all Contacts, wihtout fail, back wihtin 24 hour time. Meal Times are not our time. LESSONS with members are VITAL to baptism. Contacts on street who they, themselves, write their own phone number and date of our appointment in OUR planners are 400% more likely to not blow us off. 
The image of President Bennett, pouding on the table-- saying A Minute late is NOT A MINUTE LATE---with regard to getting out the door on time, just before someone ready to accept the plan of salvation just walked past the stairwell and therefore just lost his chance forever. "We are at war. We are at WAR." He warned us of teh adversary who allows all to justify the seemingly smallest of things. Ugh. It was incredible, invigorating, and inspiring. 

SIster Henrickesen and I went out on an exchange the other day. Met a woman named Ballia. I whispered in her shy ear to give her a book of mormon when her head was down--and instead of doubting, she acted out of faith and WENT FOR IT. She opened her mouth and it came, the spirit gave it to her. She has so much more than she gives herself credit for!!! PRetty soon this woman took it, agreed to read, and gave us an address. We walked up in the street in excitment, and then stumbled upon this same Ballia from a distance, BOM in hand and pouring over the pages in front of her grandon's stroller. "What is happening. What is happening. Is she reading it. Oh my, she's reading the Book of Mormon. In the park." describe a few of our thoughts. Hahahahaha, hook and sink-- President Bennet's counsel kicked in--if that pole is pulling, you REEL IT IN. hahaha, Sister Henrickensen and I proceed to casually stroll back over, stumbling upon our 5-minute-long-lost friend, "on accident." Oscar award for most pleasantly oblivious reaction goes to us. hahah. We sat her down on a bench, proposed that we pray, and had a lesson from start to finish. It was incredible. 

We have seen so many miracles as ALL of us have been going to new lengths since the conference. I can't explain it, forgive me if these paragraphs didn't do it justice. 

BOGDAN!!!! The best littel boy in the world. Ugh, he's our investigator, about 12 years old--with the cutest little voice. His mom is baptized and less active, and gave sisters permission to teach him. He came to church, and then our YOUTH ACTIVITY on FRIDAY!! WE did a huge missionary night for the youth, giving them the chance to participate in member missionary work-- it was a surprise- they all came, received mission calls and badges, and were assigned to different countries with companions. Hahah, we all decorate our respective rooms and had refreshments prepared, as we were to be the non-member hosts, and the teaching was left up to the kids. So incredible. The girls in our room, SIster Young and I hosted America-- were giggly at first, struggling to get a hold on it. But, it was so neat--to be acting as people who had no idea what prayer was, and to see Katya, an 18 year old girl get a hold of herself, and bear testimony in Russia about what it has done for her family and her grandmother who was diagnosed with Leukemia. Wow, it was so incredible. 

There was a wrap up together at the end, where a few bore testimonies, and we committed the kids to each think and talk to someone at school, since it starts this week--who would be interested in meeting with the missinoaries. I was then able to share Samantha's experience about Dana, how it was scary---but how Dana is now on a full-time mission, and revelaed in her last letter, "you doing this has changed me and my life, and my family's life forever." Not to many pairs of dry eyes. It was incredbile.

Have a great week,
Sister CLYDE