Monday, April 21, 2014


I don't know how to start this.

Good afternoon good evening and goodnight--not to you, but moreso these gaming boys whose cross-room shouts steeped with preteen voice malfunctions are preventing this experience from being as monumentally spiritual as it could be.  

I still don't know how to start this.

Hahahah-- this feels like nothing I've ever experienced.
I won't talk so much about past week experiences, as much as everything in a whole. Probably the single most unavoidablly difficult task on these week's to do list. (Getting to my gate not included.)

I know that Jesus Christ lives. 
I woke up this morning, naturally to the morning sunlight, and refused to check my phone, which usually speeds up the heartbeat until it rings. Instead--my mind just occupied itself with thoughts of what Christ did throughout the good majority of His life. Going here, going there, walking all around----the entire time choosing, moreso just naturally having compassion on others. 

He gave them everything. The least of least, captured His time, attention, will, and love. 
And it made me think about we 80,000 and counting, are called to do here as missionaries. 
To go and do what the Savior would. To live like Christ would. To find and help, reach out and serve the way He was so apt to do.

And how, for no reason at all, should this indescribable blessing and privilege be conditional with waxing on, waxing off of a black nametag.

A mission has let me know that this is life long. The gospel is eternity long. The relationships Heavenly Father gives us are eternal. Heavenly Father works with His children. In order to work effectively, any good manager or mentor would know his employees and coworkers to a good degree. Heavenly Father knows His children to a great one.

I tried to keep the signs down to a minimum, manifesting themselves against their will once upon a final weekly planning. Sister Hancock was my best friend to eventually hug me through the tears, as I told her I didn't want to set goals for the last week of my mission. Oh, to understand what is happening--only makes one push it aside to forget it and be where I know how to be best. 

I love you so much. Easter was amazing. Easter Russian cake incredible. Miracles are still happening. I am so grateful for the blessed support and influence you have all been to me on this mission, and in my life. Thank you for your incredible examples of Christlike service and love. 
See you on the other side,
Sister Clyde

Monday, April 14, 2014


So I got 27 minutes and waning.
Astronaut day was Saturday! Everyone loves Gegarina, however it's spelt in English for his space accomplishments--not to mention dashing billboard pearly whites.

Speaking of teeth.
Sister Henricksen and I were enjoying our last of 4 exchanges together, when we came comin' round the mountin' when we came--meaning up and over the beautiful bridge of the Balakovian canal. It stretches over the gorgeous Volga River, one of the few things I've been slighted on throughout my time here in the motherland. Anyway-- the sunshine dancing on the rolling blue waves, a view that stretched for miles, and the chilly breeze brushing our pony tails all over our faces. Not the best contacting strategy if you ask me. Haha-- so we're walking, when all of a sudden this Russian middle ager man leprechaun strides his way up to on the spot inform us that we are the world's most beautiful girls, and where in the world did we get those bright beautiful teeth, doggone it. Taken aback by the absolute lack of normalcy for how to greet 2 passing maidens, I couldn't get a word in--- before he asked more pressingly, "must've gotten them implanted in Germany---they got GREAT TEETH THERE!!!

Sir, don't put words in my mouth, (or for that matter, foreign teeth), in my mouth. Thank ya.
Hahah-- we were already on our busy way past him, distance now increasing, when he tipped it off with yet more detail, "I SERVED THERE IN THE ARMY!!!"  and at this point anything might pacify him/ deter him from booking it after us, so I called "ZDOORAVAH!!" meaning splendid, with a fitting over the shoulder doubled thumbs-up. Haha. I don't know why I did that. But, it got a laugh out of him so I guess that's all the world really needs.

Give or take the incredible light of restored gospel truth.
We loved loved loved conference. Loved. 
Boyd K. Packer's closing testimony anyone. Anyone.

A miracle on saturday, as we were finally abe to see dear dear friend Olevtina, who has been on her sick bed for so long.
And then, Remember how Natasha again came to church??? We joined her in her kitchen on thursday to hear the warmest, most wonderful review of her first-time experience at church. There was a tangible, contagious lightness in the way she gracefully smiled, thinking back on the light she felt. And then her thoughts that she didn't shy from sharing about wanting her daughter, Kasoosha, to also join in and see for herself. Oh. She will be baptized. And to see Rustam, basically silenced from the spirit and disbelief at someone so receptive to our sunday meeting. Rustam's silent mode happens rather rarely. Haha. 

Family, I just know the gospel is true. We had a kind of scary experience, heading in to a podezd, stairwell, on Saturday after watching conference and a baptism with our investigator, Daniel, who is soon set for baptism. It was finally time to confront his parents and hear their voiced permission for his decision--something we've been attempting for weeks. Daniel nervously dodged the task, turning down even hints of approval from his mom over the phone. We finally stopped on the dark staircase, and I offered a prayer so that we could have the spirit with us, and to calm Daniel's nerves. And then the miracle happened with them in the kitchen. 
More for next week. No, I can't say that or I'll burst in to tears because it will be my last email home.
I know the gospel is true, I know it I know it, it makes me cry, and I know it.
I love you all, pray to be kinder!!
Sister Clyde

Monday, April 7, 2014


An olden Russian man was sitting on a pipe--already step up from smoking one--that ran parallel to the apartment building we were passing. We asked him for some direction, so I righteously capitalized on the opportunity by initiating gospel conversation with a chap, rather than chick. A neighborhood babooshka overheard the raucous, who happened to be sporting a rather demographic-contradicting pair of silver moonboots, passing by and looking fly. It's safe to say that any perfect stranger who interrupts a moment with any other perfect Russian stranger with an arm raised, finger pointed in our faces, will not be blooming in to Progresso material at any point in the ensuing 24 hours or months.
Don't let that into deter you from the pearls of wisdom we happened to learn from our new-found friend, Viera. She went off on an anti-American rant, despite our pleas to disengage from the fact that it's our country of origin, and insisting on our love for the motherland. "You can only love Russia if you're born here," she chirped with inspiring accusation. I guess I missed that fairy easy to slip addendum of a guildeline on page 63 of the Russian rulebook. Continuing. Throughout the conversation, her armful of clothing continued to drop to the ground--I finally made the attempt to restore it, doing best to not invade personal space while tucking the shirt back in. My technique was deemed sub-par by the way she snatched it and rewrapped it herself, and added that my shirt-wrapping efforts were indicative of my non-Russian roots. Ahhh!!!! Smiles and curtains, keep it together.

She avoided well all jump-cuts to the topic of family, finally proclaiming "you're from America, you speak English!! Ya don't even have your own language," as if inhabiting and setting a virtually unmapped continent weren't challenge enough. Step it up forefathers?  Haha--needless to say, Viera had a good heart and some pretty pumped up kicks.

I think the highlight of the week may have been our district's rendition of "redeemer of Israel," for the opening hymn last Friday. It's been ages since I've heard a good baritone, giving an aspiring altos something to work with. Haha, thank you Elder Hansen. Haha, there's a reason they choose that one for the opening of general conference more often than not. HOW WAS CONFERENCE!? We only watched Elder Holland's talk, which will suffice for holding us over until next week for when translation comes in.

Natasha came to church. She came came came to church!!!!!!! Family, I could cry---I don't think I've ever been quite so excited about an investigator, who is so head-on solid. Vested. Wanting to know for her and her daughter, and the welfare of her family, if this church is what she needs. She came-- early, so she was greeted by the increasing flow of incoming members who would stop and introduce themselves. And, even though she'd just worked the night shift and was exhausted, not even being home yet-- she decided to stay for sacrament meeting. I'll never forget the mutual eye contact that Brother Andrei Markets and I made, me from the piano and him from the sacrament table--- that seemed to say, "SHE'S HEREEE." Hahaha, I couldn't believe it. And, I had the opportunity to climb up the stairs and share my testimony in the comfortable middle of my dearest Russian brothers and sisters. I looked out at the congregation, all 50 pairs of eyes on me--as I began to convey what our Savior means to me. It was not a dry 2 minutes, as I told them all how much I've come to love them--- and how I can't do anything to express how much life-touching good a mission, for Heavenly Father, has done, for me. How much indescribable, blessed joy. Oh, and the tears rolling down Anaitt's, Sister Hancock's, and other's faces--- a foretaste of what I hope forever will be. To understand my love for those people and the mutual conviction of the gospel. No greater gift.

I love you, share the gospel.
Sister Clyde