Monday, May 27, 2013

Leaving town

maybe you'll get this tonight, maybe you won't. buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut i guess you'll get it eventually. i'm off to ukraine TOMORROWWWWWWWW if you didn't know. like....aren't you excited for me?! i'm not even having panic attacks or anything hahahah. i'm only moving to's fine, i guess. like...yeah. soooooooooooooooo i'm soooooooooooooooooooooo excited to talk to you. just thought i'd send off some pictures from this last week. not sure when i'll get to email you again.....or when i'll be able to send pictures. i've never been on a mission to ukraine i don't really have it all down yet ;) i love you lots. see you soon....and talk to you sooner :)
the map picture is the map of ukraine. the yellow stickers are the areas that are open......and the pink ones are areas that have missionaries....but aren't open or something like that.
the awkward pictures with that guy are hilarious. he's my teacher. and it's awkward taking pictures with we decided to embrace the awkward. i'd say we achieved that.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Last email from America

happy Tuesday!!!!!! happy P-day!!!!! annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd..........................happy "ONE- WEEK -FROM- TODAY- I'LL- BE- IN -UKRAINE" DAY!!!!! isn't that so great!!!???? yup, I’m leaving the country on TUESDAY of next week!!! and I’m so so so so sooooooooooo excited about it!!!! which also means....I’ll be calling you! and you are in luck, my friends....because I’ve got a pretty decent layover in DC....and I’m going to be racing to the phones. I’m so excited to talk to you! you better all be off work. Mom.....let the kids stay home from school. siblings.......I don't care what kind of lame school activities are going will be home to talk to your sister. because the next call will be on Christmas. SO BE THERE. ahhhhhh I’m so excited!!! we got our travel plans on Friday (or Thursday), and I was jumping up and down (being a girl) because I’m so excited! I fly from here to DC, and then from DC to Vienna, Austria, and then to Ukraine! I’m pretty sure I’m going to look real bad, but I’ll be there! it will take us a day and a half to get there. isn't that crazy to think that this time next week I’ll be en route to another country? I still can't get over it. not just any other country, but the country that will forever change my life. I’m so excited. I know it will be such a huge culture shock, and I know I won't understand what people are saying to me for a really long time.......but I’m still really excited. oh....also, as we were looking through our travel plans, and packing instructions.....I was reading the weight restrictions for suitcases. we're flying Austrian air, but there is this airline called like muffasa or something hilarious like that...and it said, "your carry on may only be 18 pounds for this airline." so I was going on and on and on about how bad that would be, and how glad I am that we don't have that restriction...because I’m shoving ALL my heavy things into my carry-on, so I can make the other weight restrictions. and then one of the elders goes, " hate to be the one to tell you this...but...umm.................we have the same weight restriction....and pounds." sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo I’m freaking out a teeeeeeny, tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiny bit. I pretty much decided I’m going to make a coat out of all my heavy blankets, books, and random clothes....and wear it...because if I’m wearing technically doesn't count. so, if you have any advice on the best way to do that, just let me know. oh, and I’m attaching a picture of my travel plans, the time that I’m in DC for my layover is DC time, so know that I’ll be calling sometime in that time frame. I’m not sure the time difference, but just plan accordingly.

moving along. this week was great. Elder Holland didn't end up coming on Tuesday (I still have hope), but we did get to hear from another apostle. Elder Nelson came, and we got to sing "Come Thou Fount" as a choir for it....and I loved every second. it's been a really good week, and I’ve learned so much. I seriously cannot believe how much every day teaches me. this week I’ve really been thinking a lot about so many different things, but one of them is that all my characteristics and qualities are so real, raw, and apparent here. like.....I’m so aware of myself. I’m so aware of all my areas of weakness...I’ve recognized weaknesses I didn't even know that I had. and along with that, my strengths and talents are so apparent. I’ve found out way more about myself in these last eight weeks, than I think I could have ever figured out. I’ve been able to see the areas that I’d like to improve on in my life. Although it may seem hard (and sometimes it is) to have my weaknesses just displayed for me (and let's be honest...everyone around me), it's also incredible, and amazing. It's amazing because I can work on strengthening my weaknesses! While I was studying, I read Ether 12:27 (just look it up). It's so perfect- the Lord gives me weaknesses so I will humble myself, and as I humble myself, He will make my weaknesses strong. I LOVE THAT! Also Jacob 4:27 - I am given weaknesses so I can recognize that it is by HIS power that I can be made strong. oh, it's so wonderful. and let me tell you.......I feel it. I feel myself becoming better every day. I feel my weaknesses becoming strong. I love recognizing how I can be better, and improve, because who doesn't want to be even better than they are RIGHT NOW?! it's amazing. I know that through the Lord, I can do all things. and without Him, I am nothing. absolutely nothing. through him, I am everything.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd I am really recognizing so many talents that I have, that I didn't even realize! and also, how so many things about myself that just seemed normal....really are talents! I’ve realized that I have many more talents than I ever gave myself credit for.

I decided this past week that I wanted to make a list of everything I wanted to accomplish on my mission. it's really long. but pretty much, I thought about everything I’ve ever wanted to be. I’ve thought of everything I have ever admired in other people. I thought of things I’ve always thought about one day learning how to do. I’ve thought about things I’ve wanted to change about myself. and I wrote them all down....and I decided that I’m going to do them. I’m going to become that person. I’m going to have those talents. for instance (on the superficial side of things)...I’ve always wanted to know how to harmonize songs. so, I decided I’m really going to LEARN, and PRACTICE. my district hates me for that one, because I literally sound awful with every song that I sing...but I know by the end of my mission I’ll have it figured out. I’ve always wanted to have really long I decided I’m going to. I’m going to do something different than I’ve ever done...and only air dry my hair for pretty much my entire mission. those are just two silly examples...but the rest I don't really need to write out for you all to see. but I know that I can do everything I’ve ever wanted to do, and be. and I will.

okay, so some of my: "is that really necessary moments" are comin' your way:

1. I taught a lesson this week. we were talking about Christ, and being why we need to be baptized. she said, "I was baptized when I was a baby, why do I need to be baptized again?" it was actually a really crazy moment, and I just thought of the Moroni 8:8 scripture, how it says that little babies don't need to be baptized, because they don't sin. and how the point of being baptized is being cleansed from sin, being cleansed through Christ. so....I was like...let's read that scripture. and I actually, accidentally had her read Mormon 8:8 (because Mormon and Moroni look almost identical in Ukrainian). at the end, she just looked horrified. and I was really confused...because that's a good scripture! well, come to find out.....Mormon 8:8 just talks all about war and bloodshed on the face of the that's awkward. and I just thought to myself, "jas....was that really necessary? of all the scriptures to show her????"

2. last night I was taking a shower (my favorite part of the day), and I just hear someone coming into the common area screaming....everyone turn off your showers!!!! there is a flood in the other bathroom! the pipes are flooding! hurry! turn off your water! (just complete panic and chaos). so I’m like covered in shampoo, and I turn my water off. as I got out, and looked at the "flood" in the bathroom..........there really aren't even words. there was no flood. there was like water on the floor, because someone forgot to put the shower curtain in the tub. sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo I think you know what I was thinking. "really.........really..........was that really necessary?"

I have so much to write, and soooooooooooooooo not a lot of time to write it. but as you know, I’ll send a letter. annnnnnnnnnnnnd I’ll talk to you for a very long time on Tuesday!!!!! ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! I’m so excited. happy birthday to Bradley, congrats on varsity cheer, bean! and congrats to mom for being a consignment store shop-a-holic and getting some great finds! make my room nice and pretty ;)

I am sending pictures from the day you sent those DELICOUS cookies, the day we got our flight plans; I got to HOST last I sent a picture of my sticker with a cookie, and some temple pictures. I think that's all. xoxo

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lots of LOVE

may 14, 2013
hello!!!!!!! i have an overload of pictures to send home to this email may not be as long...but i'll make up for it in the letter i send home. CAN I SAY THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR MAKING MY BIRTHDAY INCREDIBLE?!?!?!!?!? oh my goodness...i about died when i opened your explains itself in the play-by-play of pictures coming your way ;) i was ecstatic. you guys really outdid yourselves this time. i opened my presents with my district....and i'm pretty sure the elders were thinking, "who is this girl.....and who let her into our district..." hahahahahahhah like i'm such a girl. i was squeeling and screaming and like jumping around. and then i'd cry. and then i'd ramble about how great you are. and then i sat and explained every picture in that book (THAT I LOVE AND CAN'T STOP LOOKING AT). In one of the pictures i'm sending home, it's me pointing to the picture of bradley and i's my favorite one. and it's so perfect that my companion got a picture of me pointing to it. thank you times a million. i can't get over how great you all are. trust me when i say that.
my birthday was wonderful. i'm 20 now. blow up some balloons for me. i am a reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal woman, now. that's what i've been saying to everyone that asks how old i am. teen no longer. this morning at breakfast, i was like hmmmmmmm what do twenty year old women eat. hahahaha i'm just loving it. my day was great. it was just like any other day (until package time). i forgot to put on my name tag in the morning, and didn't realize for a while (awkward). and i taught a couple lessons later in the day under the scorching sun (only a half-complaint there). and then the mail came, and the packages came, and my joy was FULL. i hope you can get that from my pictures. let's just talk about how obsessed i am with my new shoes. ohhhhhhhhhhh that was the best. thank you thank you thank you thank you. i saw those "Born" boxes, and literally screamed...i think there's a picture of it. anyways. then we went to gym out at the field by the temple. on the walk back, i was reading all my letters, and all the sudden, my entire zone started singing. there are like fifty people in our zone. and i realized they were all singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY in russian to me. it was so cutie. they were like harmonizing and yelling it at the top of their lungs. it was so great. i was just jumping up and down with the biggest smile on my face. it was great. my birthday was great. so great. and it's the only time i'll ever have a birthday in the MTC! monumental.
okay, so i'll ramble on for twelve more pages in the letter i send home. be expecting it. i am still so happy about every, single item in that package. meanwhile, this clock is ticking, and i still have so much to write, and so many pictures to attach (three at a time -_- )
this week was incredible. i am telling you, every single day since i left has been LIFE CHANGING. seriously. i can't get over it. Let me tell you, every day i feel like i'm a better person than the day before. a mission is sanctifying. it really is. if anyone is even considering a mission......i am screaming at you to GO! my life is forever changed, and will be forever and ever and ever. it's unreal. okay, so on sunday for our MTC relief society with everyone......janice kapp perry came--she was the one who wrote literally all of the GOOD primary songs. no offence to all the other writers, but she wrote the real gems. like "child's prayer," and "i love to see the temple," and all of them, pretty much. she also wrote "as sisters in zion." trust me when i say that there was not a dry eye in the entire auditorium as she spoke to us. she literally just had us sing all of her songs, and she'd kind of talk about the meaning behind them, and there are some amazing stories behind every one. and then......she told us that she had re-written "as sisters in zion" and she wanted us to be the first ones to sing it. so it comes on, and it was all about sister missionaries. it was like talking about how this is a new time, and we are at the front line of it all. the lord needs us, and we're here. and it was UNREAL. you could just hear like sobs and sniffles throughout the whole thing. she said it would be released soon, but it was so amazing to sing it here with HER, and all the other sister missionaries. it was incredible.
i've been thinking about how i want to go through every day of my mission, and how i want to be at the end of my mission when i get off the plane. i read a quote by elder holland (who BY THE WAY is coming tonight for my birthday. just kidding, we never know who is coming, but i've been praying every second that it will be him that comes. keep your fingers crossed). but this quote says something like, "give your mission all you have. be like a runner at the end of the marathon finish line....with nothing else to give. now, don't be tired and exhausted, and gasping for air.....but give it your all." i literally want nothing more than to go through every day like that. and i feel that i do, every day. i want to exert everything i have, everything i possess, into my mission. i want to look back at the end of each day, and at the end of it all....and think.....i did it. i did it. i gave it my all. i know that there are angels walking right beside me, helping me, lifting me. i am so not alone in this. i just feel so incredibly blessed to be here, you literally have no idea. my mission president was at some sort of meeting thing with elder ballard, and at the end, my mission president (the mtc one) said: "elder holland, i'm supposed to be addressing the missionaries going to ukraine and russia tomorrow, what would you have me say to them? what would you have me teach them?" he said that elder ballard just sat with his head down, thinking, praying, and just soaking up the Spirit....until he looked up and said, "teach them to always teach by the Spirit." i thought that was amazing that we, not the missionaries as a whole, but OUR mission was told that we needed to do that. so i am always keeping that in mind, and striving for that every day.
i have so many "is that really necessary" experiences this week.
my first: i was asked to be the chorister in church on sunday, and it was a big sunday.....because we had the whole MTC presidency with us for our meeting, and lots of other people. it was a big crowd. and if you don't know, my zone is combined with all the russian, ukrainian, and baltic states missions. so there are lots of peeps. well......pretty much everyone sings in russian, because there are only six of us in the mtc learning ukrainian. and the hymns are completely different translations, so the words are like not even the same. anyways, i was standing up there leading the music, and everyone is singing in russian, so i can't even hear myself to even know where we are in the song. so i was doing the whole "peas and carrots" thing again. just smiling, and waving ahhahahaaha. mind you, i didn't think people even watched the chorister before this event. so i get to the end of the song, and do the pretty little "...and....CUT" sing that choristers are really good at. and then i did the classic, slowly close your eyes and nod as if saying, "beautiful. that was beautiful." and i hear like two people awkwardly singing like two words. and the pianist kind of like hits a few keys. and i look up and EVERYONE is staring at me, so confused. and the pianist is like glaring at me, wide eyed, and i realized i cut the song off like in the middle of the song. ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh it was bad. so then i awkwardly kind of shout, "oooooooooooops, carry on." i'm certain i will never lead the music again. FINE. BY. ME. but i mean, is that really necessary to glare at me?!
2nd: last night i was walking back from the field, and this elder stops four of us and asks if he can bare his testimony to us. (super common as people are practicing their mission language, and contacting people). so of course we say yes. so he starts going off in spanish, and his eyes are literally LASER BEAMS piercing my eyes. like he did not drop eye-contact. not only that, but it was INTENSE. and his testimony kept going, and going, and going, and going.....and i was like soooooooooooo uncomfortable. finally, this girl in my district that was standing by me just burts out laughing, so i burst out laughing,and he is still staring at me. i'm peeing my pants, literally....and i'm like i can't do this. he was like scaring me. so he keeps going for like another ten minutes. first of all, is it really necessary to stare into my eyes for ten minutes? second, are you bearing your testimony, or giving a conference talk? super awkard.
and the third one on my mind at the moment was from this morning. i'm in the bathroom getting ready, and i hear like little splashes coming from the shower. they just kept going, and going, and going. and i realized that there was someone taking a freaking bath in the bathtub shower. likeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.......let me give you an idea on how disgusting that is. so many girls shower in there. and to lay on that gross tile/bath material. ohhhh i was like....girlfriend.....we don't do that. and IS IT REALLY NECESSARY TO SPLASH LIKE THAT? you aren't two.
well....i'm going to end this so i can send 456 pictures. i can't ever see what i'm sending, so sorry if they are akward. my closing thought is that i am so grateful for life. take a deep breath, like a really deep breath. do you realize that it is God allowing us this breath? he is sustaining our lives right now. he is allowing us to be alive, and to keep the oxygen levels and everything in nature at a that we can breathe and just LIVE. He created everything, so I could feel secure. He is in the air i breathe, supporting me, and you. isn't that incredible? we are alive and thriving because of HIM. i love life. how grateful i am to be living. i love you all. and think of you every second. xoxoxxoxo jas

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


hey hey heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!! happy p-day! ahhhhhhh this is like the best day. it's a holiday.......for me and no one else in the world. and i just got done eating a SPICY BURGER. yes......i want you to know that it was glorious. all the elders gave me their jalepenios.....and it was just the best thing ever. so that's why i attached a picture of it for you. you're welcome, you're welcome. and yes....the gross thing in the corner of my plate is indeed a glob of tater tots doused in tabasco. life is good, let me tell ya'.

this week was another great one. like, so great. i always feel like i don't even know what to tell you, because i forget everything that happens, and i don't have time to sit and read my journal hahah. BUT. let's start off by saying, YOU'RE GETTING A NEW CAR?! of course. of course. excuse me while i cry. feel free to double up on those, so one can be waiting for me upon my arrival back into the united states. have i mentioned i'll be living in ukraine this month? adkljd;klfjd;fklajdfalsdjk let's just freak out together, shall we? we're taking our FAREWELL pictures as a zone THIS SUNDAY. fja;kdlfja;kdlfjads;fklajsd;kalf. hahahah i'm just freaking out. it's so exciting. and i get my travel plans this week, or next. word on the street is that we fly to new york, then amsterdam, then ukraine. how great is that?! and mom, to answer your i will not be calling you on mothers day. i just started laughing that you thought that was even an option. do you not remember how many sister missionaries i said were here?! PLUS elders. like hahahahaha where would they even find phones for us all hahahaha. but, fear not, i get to call you from the airport(s). so you'll be hearing from me super soon!!!!!!! i'm so excited to talk to you!!!!!! i'll keep you updated on the day and stuff. pretty much plan on staying hostage at home until i call you. i will be so mad if you aren't there.

i've been speaking ukrainian all day for like.......5/7 days this week. it's great.  all my thoughts are ukrainian thoughts....and today i'm speaking english and it's been so great. i'm thinking in english again!!!!!

on sunday, chad lewis came to talk to us for our MTC devotional. (if you don't know who that is, you're not alone. i was like, "who the heck is chad lewis...") but i'm sure bradley and dad know. he was a football player for byu and then the packers, or steelers, or some NFL team. he was great. and i thought of david, and bradley, and will be them here soon! he was really cool, and said some great stuff. he talked all about his career, and some funny stories, and how he is able to be the NFL representative for china because he spoke chinese on his mission. pretty neat stuff.

annnnnnnnnnd my weekly spiritual thought: i love my savior. like LOVE. on sunday we had a mission conference with the whole MTC and as all the speakers talked to us, i was just so full of gratitude for Christ. we went back and talked as a district about our favorite speakers, thoughts, etc. normally i'm the first one to start those conversations and get the conversation flowing. everyone was just staring at me waiting for me to go hahahahhaah and i just literally couldn't speak. i said one word and tears were just streaming down my face. i can't explain to you the gratitude and love that i have for my savior. i can't begin to explain to you how much i love Him. it is only through Him that we can be happy. the atonement is available to all. we can give our heartache, trials, disappointments, inadequacies, sorrow, sin, and all other negative things TO HIM. He has already paid the price. It's done. and now he just wants us to accept His great sacrifice. i need it every hour. i am a new person every day, because of the love my savior has for me. i hope you all realize how wonderful it is. i hope you know how much i love Him. i love Jesus Christ. all i want for my life is to be like Him. i want to love as he loves. serve, as he serves. teach, as He teaches. walk, as he walked. i want to turn out, instead of in....just like Him. i want to be selfless, instead of selfish. i know that through Him, and His strength, that can happen. i can be that. and he wants me to be that. he knows that i can.

my favorite song since being here, is "come thou fount." ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i love it. i love all the words. i love the tune. i love the power. it's all about how i have been rescued. i have been saved. every, single day. and i'll always remember and praise Him for it.

okayyyyyyyyyyy i know you're all interested in my IS THAT REALLY NECESSARY section ;)

1. this elder literally stopped me (he grabbed my arm) as i was walking down the stairs of the auditorium for a devotional. he was sitting down. and he goes, "i have seen you before." (i'll put his comments in CAPS, and mine in regular font).
really, oh, i'm sure i've seen you too.....?
(i'm dying. my district was dying). ohhhhhhhhhh wow, yeah, you really have seen me around.....
......yeah, i'm excited.......
oh.....good luck!

okay IS THAT REALLY NECESSARY?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!? so help me. so help me. help the world.

 like............we never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER do that.

#2. this girl in line next to me when i was getting dinner a couple nights ago, was like asking me all about my life, and just talking up a storm, which was great...until she's like, "what kind of music do you like?" so i told her my great taste in tunes ahhahaah and how i LOVE music, and just like all music. i'm naming bands, blah blah blah. and then i ask her. and she's like, "oh i only listen to disney music, josh groban, and the mormon tabernacle choir." AWKWARD. and i wanted to say, "really..... but really..... is that REALLY necessary?" but i didn't.

i'm going to be writing my weekly letter home to you guys, and i'll address everything that you talked about in your letters, but let me just tell you, bradley, how proud i am that you are a workin' boy! it's about time!!!!!! i'm sure freddy is sure proud of you. good ole' car washing jobs. and mom and dad are volunteering at the graduation party hahahaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahhahahahaahahah i'm for reals laughing right out loud as i type this. i laughed so hard when mom said, "bradley isn't too thrilled about it, but i think it will be really fun." OF COURSE YOU THINK IT WILL BE FUN hahahahahahahaha ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh high school. and i can totally picture bradley's enthusiasm. congrats mom, on getting your eagle. i'm sure proud. and congrats bradley, on getting her to do it for you ;)

in case you weren't is my week.....on monday. so, i will be expecting letters from all of you. call me, beep me, if you wanna reach me.....or send me a dear best thing. that's what i want for ma birffday. thanks for everyone listening to my guilt trip this last week!!! i was so happy to get an overflow of love and letters!!! i knew you were all alive ;)

and now for my weekly "want" list:
-let me just talk about how much i LOVE my yummy-smelling things. i mean, everyone gives me so much grief for how much i love to smell things, but it makes me happy. sooooooooo i would love some more of those laundry pod things that you sent me for my laundry! they smell DELISH. and they are so easy and convenient. and i want to wash all my sheets, blankets, whites, darks, reds....and i'lll need some more pods for that hahahaha. also. mommy, remember when we bought that yummy body wash for me?!?!?! i think about you every time i smell it. i LOVE it. and i'd love some more. it's "burnt brown sugar somethin' somethin' somethin' and karite butter or somethin'" by caress. it's DIVINE. and a life-saver. ohhhhhhhh if you knew how much i love it. and maybe some yummy lotion. i would LOVE yummy lotion. and no, japanese cherry blossom does not smell yummy.

thanks for all your love. i hope you know how much i love you right back. so much. i think about you, pray for you, and send my love to you every day. thanks for being the best ever. thanks for keeping me in the loop....i love it more than you will ever know. send me pictures!!!!!! lots of pictures!!! of everything and everyone!!!

speaking of pictures.....have sean lowe and catherine been married yet??!?!?!?! i mean, i know they were anxious to tie the knot before i left! i realized i never told anyone to keep me updated on that?!?!!?!?!? soon as it happens, or if it already has.....send me quotes from magazines. pictures. etc. because YOU KOW I'M INVESTED. email me pictures of her dress and hair. ahhhhhhhhhhhh i love them and i'm so envious that she'll probably be on an elephant for her wedding. lucky, lucky girl.
lots of love. can't wait to hear from you again. xoxoxoxoxoox jas


this week we learned all about how to teach the word of wisdom. so of course, we had to learn all the words to teach it. i am pointing to "drugs" on the board in the picture. after i took this, all the sisters took pictures next to  it, and pointed to "healthy." AWKWARD. but, on the bright side, i know how to say all the drugs in ukrainian. so useful.
a picture of brooklin and me today. she was just coming back from service. we see each other a million times a day, and haven't even taken a picture, so of course we had to
my burger today