Saturday, March 14, 2015

Final MTC Letter

She didn't write much last week and she is getting ready to go to Russia on Monday so here's the last letters from the MTC:

Subject: Leviosa." "No it's LeviosAW!"

That's how I feel Russian is! The accents are so specific! and important! I can barely say the word, much less get the accents right! haah!

So Leda got "baptized" this week!! We had a baptisimal service and it was so great! Sister Brown and I planned it and got the whole districit involved! It was great practice for all of us and it was such a cool experience!  The Spirit was so strong and I am soooo excited for how it will feel to really change someone's life!! 

Watch the Ukraine temple dedication video on the youth Mormon messages! Everytime I get scared about leavving in TWELVE DAYS! AHHHH! I watch that video and it reminds me how much I love those people and can't wait to help them!!

I'm getting my travel plans Friday!!! I will get to call! But I think  it will be the 16th.
Life is pretty much the same! I 'm getting really good at SYL!! It helps so much!

Love you all!! Share the Gospel everyone needs to hear the "good news"!

Dear Family,

Soooo TRAVEL PLANS! We got them Friday and we just screamed for a good while.. haha! 9 weeks here will do that to you! 

We depart from SLC Monday at 8:30 AM and fly straight to Moscow!  We are reporting to the Travel Office here at the MTC at 3:35 AM, so I should have time to call before I get on the plane! All 4 sisters are traveling together which is really exciting since Sister Brown is going to Novosibirsk. It looks like we switch planes in NY- so I might be able to call again then, but I wouldn't count on it. 
Then we continue on to Moscow. All in all our travel time is 15:35! We land at 9 AM Tuesday Moscow time. Talk about jet lag! I'll forward you what the Mission Pres. said about what we will be doing after that!

I'm way excited, but so terrified! I don't feel like I know enough Russian! And I'm doing the thing where I wake up every morning panicked that in 5 days I will be waking up in Russia!  But I got a blessing last night and I'm doing better. It's like leaving home all over again, because Provo is my second home. But I'm way excited to call you!! We get to Russia 2 Sundays before General Conference! and Easter!! How great is that?!?! I will probably be showing people the Easter video!!! AHHH! :D

Packing commences today! I'll let you know how things go..

So this week was hard. I have been feeling like I haven't been teaching by the Spirit as well as I had been. And so we had a lesson that just crashed and burned. That was a good eye opener for me. And after a lot of study and pondering and praying I learned a lot. Every talk this week seemed to be 100% directed at me. I learned that we need to have faith. God has inifinite power, but He also respects our agency. So we have to ask for the blessings that He is already willing to give us. But we have to ask in faith. I was thinking about the story in the Bible where Christ asks the man if he has faith that His son will be healed. The man says "help Thou my unbelief".  I feel very much like him.  I finally understood why the Savior always asks the people before He healed them if they had enough faith, and how He says the same thing to me.

Elder Cook spoke yesterday and you cannot deny the testimony of living prophets and apostles when they are in the room with you. He quoted Pres. Hinkely who said "If they have more faith they will have more success!" I pray for the faith to have more success and the faith to not be afraid of moving to Russia for 16 months! 

I said  I received a blessing- it was such a touching experience. It was his first time giving a blessing and so it was really powerful to see the Spirit working through Him like that, but he also said things that Dad always says, so it  was really comforting. Heavenly Father knows us personally and Christ has been through it all before! I know that He lives and that He really appeared to the people in the Americas and Joseph Smith! I love the Book of Mormon and I know it is the word of God!

Inivte someone to do something this week that will bring them closer to Christ! It will bring you closer to Christ as well!

Oh! I have the First Vision, My Purpose, James 1:5 and Moroni 10:5 memorized in Russian! I'm working on the Baptisimal commitments!

Love you all! Have a great week! Pray for me in Russia!!!! :D I will miss you all!!

P.S. Funny story: I said "why" in Russian in my sleep Thursday night. Then Friday night I wake up to Sis. Emmons laughing hysterically- she reminds me a lot of Camiel if that gives you any idea of what this sounded like. And I'm so confused, I think we have overslept or something, but then I check the clock and it's only 12.. So I ask her what happped and she finally chokes out that I had just said "Do you want the meat or the potatoes?" clear as day in my sleep! We laugh! But Sister Decker is  grumpy about being woken up so we try to quiet down, when Sis. Brown- who has remained alseep through all of this says, in her sleep "Oh Da, Oh DAA" (da- yes) It was hilarious!! 

I thought you might be interested in the following letter from Natalia's mission president outlining how things will go when she gets to Russia:
28 February 27, 2015
Dear Sister Tolley
We are so excited for your arrival in the Russia Moscow Mission.  I look forward to meeting you at the airport.  When you arrive, put your luggage on a cart.  They are free.  Then look up to the second-level windows where I will be standing waiting for you until you go through Customs. 
You will be taken from the airport to the Mission Office to receive some instruction, have a nice meal, and completion of required visa and registration paperwork.  After the orientation, you will be taken to an apartment to sleep. 
On Wednesday morning you will come back to the Mission office where Sister Borders and I along with the Assistant to the President (AP’s) will spend some time with you.  After the training, you will have a chance to go into Moscow to do some street contacting on Red Square.  Thursday is transfer day.  You will attend transfer meeting, meet up with your trainer and go to your first area of assignment.  You will be off and running!
We know that the Lord has prepared you for this joyous assignment.  You will find service here to be meaningful and fulfilling.
We can’t wait to see you.  The Lord bless you always in your missionary service.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Leda is getting Baptized!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Funny stories:
I prayed at the devotional Tuesday and Elder Causse spoke! It was really cool! He and his wife Valarie are from Paris and lived there about the same time you served there mom, do you know them?  3 hrs.  before the devotional, at gym I got a volleyball kicked in my face.  I was like, of course this would happen to me, a black eye right before I have to pray in front of the entire MTC. So I iced it and thankfully I was fine! But... I couldn't hardly remember how to pray in English! My Russian prayers are soo fast now! I can hardly believe it! Oh and Sis. Brown go hit in the face three days before! What a companionship we make! haha!
I spilled a mop bucket of water all over myself and the carpeted hallway during service. The carpet smells really good now though!
One of our teachers challenged us to bear our testimonies in English one night to someone. I hadn't testified in English for a month! It was super weird, but it was a few minutes before lights out and I hadn't talked to anyone yet... so I called to a sister across the floor and asked if I could bear my testimony to her. She let me and it was so powerful! She was so touched that I would just share that with her! (I did think "I am a missionary.... It's what we do..." hahha) but we like became best friend's in that moment! We are challenged to testify more and more in our lessons, because that is really what brings the spirit! Even in lessons about the law of chastity! 

Testimonies are so powerful!! Pray for opportunities to share yours! I promise it will bless you and the lives of others! It will strengthen your testimony in huge ways!
Be bold!! You don't have to be on a mission to be a missionary. You promise to do that when you are baptized and take upon you the name of Christ. Share what makes you sooo happy! 
I love you all! I am really happy to be here ( but then it's just life and life is what you make it, so let's make it rock. ;)) 
Have a great week! Love Natalia!

The following is from a hand written letter, written the same day:

Dear Familia,

Time is flying by!  I leave for Russia in 2 1/2 weeks!!  Holy cow!  I'm really nervous but so ready to get out and teach!

I speak Russian at about the level of a 3 yr. old.  So that's cool!  Actually a 3 yr. old has me beat in the areas of colors and shapes and things, but I cant talk about the Restoration for days!  haha!

I'm meeting a ton of people who have siblings serving in Moscow right now, so that's way fun!

That's cool that Lecia Hinkson is thinking about going on a mission!  A lot of sisters here are 20.  But my companion is 21 and the old Sister Training Leader's was 21, and another sister is 23!  They are the best missionaries!  She is definitely no too old!

Sister King is finally here today!  I haven't met her yet but there are at least 5 sisters coming in today going there!  That makes 8 of us total!  Wahoo!  We got a district of 6 sisters, 0 Elders today!

Best part about praying at the devotional was that they said I was from Moses Lake!  Represent! 

I love and miss you all.  Thanks for all the letters!

CecTpa Tolley

P.S. I'm so fat. :(  But we started going to the 6 am workout class (are you amazed?)  the Gospel truly does change us! haha  Yoga tomorrow!  I'm excited!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Week Piat! (Five)

Feb. 18, 2015
Dearest CemR (pretend that R is backwards, then it's Russki)
Where does the time go?! It's so crazy!!
This week was great! Thank you for all your Valentine's packages! The Valentine's and chocolate Costco almonds were THE BEST! Thanks Grandma and Robyn for the Cookies! They were sooo good!! And Megan: The Pictures of McCall are hanging on our room door! They are soooo adorable!!!! She is getting so big! The 4 sisters in my district had a party on Valentine’s Day! (aka, we ate a ton of junk and played go fish - in Russian ) hahaha! 
If I take one Russian class when I get back I can test out of 16 other credits and get As for those! Huge boost in my GPA! And there's a Russian Choir at BYU! I so want to do that! I love singing Called to Serve in Russian!!!
Our investigators, our Russian, and my own conversion is really progressing.
Funny story: Leda- who we are preparing for baptism, has a serious boyfriend. So we decided we needed to teach her the Law of Chastity. We taught the lesson and thought it went pretty well (it’s not very awkward, when you don't understand what you are reading! Haha! ) She comitted to live it, but we forgot to ask her if she was living with her boyfriend. Next lesson we did. She said she was but that she was moving out! Or that's what we understood. She actually said the opposite, she was moving in with him soon! Noooo! We had told her "oh that's so great!!" hahahahah! Whoops! We had to go over it again, and by the 3rd lesson of the Law of Chastity Leda was like "I get it!" hahaha!!! 2nd language probs.....
I'm praying at Tuesday's devotional! In front of a seventy or an apostle and the whole MTC AHH! Talk about Pressure! At least it's not in Russian...  Do I even remember how to pray in English? haha
Also I am the new Technology Coordinator of the zone- I give the new missionaries an orientation of how to use the language programs and stuff and tell them everything they can't do... haha! I'm happy to serve! The Lord gives us as much as we are willing to do!
I'm going to cut my hair shorter, like to my collarbone this week! I not ready for it to be long again!
I love this Gospel and the peace and joy it brings! Through Christ all things are possible. I truly believe that! For example, I can speak Russian!
I'm terrified of going to Russia in less than a month, but excited to get out into the field! Get people to read the BoM! It has all the answers!
Share the BoM with someone this week! Or your testimony of Christ! Thanks for being such a great example always of Christ like love!
Love Sister Tolley

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Extra Letter

This a handwritten bonus letter we received this week.  Her handwriting is difficult to read and she shares some Russian words in Russian alphabet which I cannot type.  This is my translation. (?) means I couldn't make out the word she wrote.  
Feb. 4, 2015
So this week flew by!  I can't believe it's already Wednesday again!  The days have become Preparation Day, Post-Preparation Day,  Super Long Day, Pre-SundaySunday, Post-Sunday, Pre-Preparation Day.  Days of a week mean nothing anymore.  What is a weekend?  Haha!  But it's great!  And I'm getting into the habit of getting up and going to bed on time.  Let's hope I can keep that post-mission!
I was a bit homesick this week, at one point I just wanted a hug from Paige!  But it wasn't too bad and I'm good again, although I still miss you all and pray for you every day!
Sis. Brown's (Natalia's companion) mom had a heart attack Monday and it was pretty scary, but she got to talk to her and she's fine and out of the hospital today!  There were so many miracles throughout that whole experience!  Her mom just happened to be near a hospital where the head cardiac doctor was on call.  And her sister was in town to help with her family, and we didn't have a teacher (?) (?) like we were supposed to, and Sister Brown was able to get a blessing right away.  Sister Brown was pretty shaken for a bit, but we got back to work, and had some awesome lessons,  and she's totally at peace now!  It was a good learning experience for me.  The Elders said, "I'm so glad you're her companion, she's in good hands."  I guess they think I'm more caring than I do.
I've been learning lots about Russia.  Almost all women have had a few abortions when they are baptized.  It's a big problem there, and Russian Orthodox--they don't understand why they should be baptized again, which is hard.  We are working with a woman who has been going to church for 20 years and has this problem! (more in my e-mail)  This is a whole floor of people learning Russian!  2 zones!  It's so awesome!
Look up "earnest" in the Bible Dictionary. It's so cool!
So I guess I should say something about Russian…haha!!  I only spend 8 hours + a day doing it.
It's going well!  I can get a basic idea of what my investigators are telling me with some gestures and a lot of "repeat please" (in Russian); and I can get at what I want to say, well the basic gist.  Sometimes I get full sentences, a lot of it is phrases strung together or just verbs and nouns if I really don't know what I am trying to say.  We taught a real Russian in TRC last week and he talked a mile a minute, Slow!  I'm terrified of Russia!  I  know that it will come if I keep working hard!  I only pray in Russian!
Fun Facts:  There aren't articles, so everything, pronouns, adjectives, nouns, verbs are all conjugated to take the place of articles.  That's the hardest part.  There are 6 cases and so far I only know 2 but there are way less tenses than English so that's good. 
Oh! And I get a new name tag when I go to Russia!  Tolley will be in Russian letters!  The Elders names (?), because they're are like an adjective!  So crazy!  People's names aren't even untouchable by the powers of conjugation.:(  haha!  Also Russian is really hard to say sometimes because it's all consonants!  Like priesthood sounds like this:  tsvfchenstva!  The longest word I know is apostasy.  say it: ostoopkneechestva or to testify,  say it: sveedetelstovevot.
Thank you for all your letters! I want to hear all about how you are doing!!  
Love you all,      Sister Tolley

Week 4

Only 5 more weeks till I get out of here! I love the MTC, it's a needed refuge, but I am getting a bit of cabin fever... I can't wait to get out and teach people! My Russian needs me to stay here though. haha!
The Church is true! This week Leda said she wanted to be baptized!  It was so awesome!! So then we had to teach her the law of chastity because she's living with her boy friend, but we forgot to tell her she can't live with him anymore... whoops! But she agreed to live the law of chastity... haha! I asked another investigator how his Restoration was instead of how his Sunday was... (Russian translation problems). The Russian is really coming though! There are 6 cases and every word has to be in a case. So that's hard changing them all the time but I'm starting to get it, And just my lack of vocabulary is hard, but it's coming! Through God all things are possible! I'm just glad I don't have to learn Tongan too (I had a dream the prophet asked me to learn both languages and it felt really real, I was soo stressed when I woke up!) 
There is an Elder here from Syria! His story is amazing, his parents have endured a lot of persecution.  There are also missionaries in Pakistan! (I'm pretty sure they are Pakistani..)But still! Can you believe that?!
This adorable temple worker who is like 80 or 90 saw on my names that I was from Moses Lake and she was from Walla Walla, and she gave me a big hug and now we are friends and she winks at me! It's so cute!
The church is true! I love all of you and this Gospel! I miss you all, but I think about my mission as the same as leaving my heavenly home to complete my mission on earth. It is a nice way to think about it! 
We had a super awesome Tuesday devotional and the speaker talked about how only 1/20 investigators/new converts had a meaningful experience with the Book of Mormon. Maybe you all already know this, but I thought it was awesome... They don't have meaningful experiences with the Book of Mormon because they don't understand what they are reading or how to apply it. Think about it, not many people read scriptures anymore or try to apply them to their lives! The speaker said missionaries should read the first 15 chapters with the investigators and explain hard words or concepts and show them how to apply the doctrines to their lives. Then we should have members help them read the rest of it! He suggested Book of Mormon reading classes if that would work better. Also the first chapter of 1 Nephi contains all the principles we teach in the first lesson! What a great review!  Christ is truly the foundation of the Gospel but the Book of Mormon is the Keystone. I know that the power that comes through reading and applying what is taught is what will change lives.  I challenge you to read the BOM together at home more or reach out and read it with someone, member or not, that has a hard time with it! It will bless both of your lives!
Have an awesome week! 
Christ is truly our Redeemer.
I'm working on not being selfish this week
Love Cectpa Natalia Tolley

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Week 3!

Feb. 4, 2015

We get fed teenage boy food... everything is fried, and the lettuce at the salad bar is limp. There's good stuff about every other day. It's great. haha! 
Shoutout: Lesli and Hannah sent me the most awesome Valentines package with some normal food like applesauce and almonds! And everything had little notes! It was so cute!! 

Look up "earnest" in the Bible Dictionary best thing ever!! 

Sister Brown and I fasted for the Spirit this week and one lesson was just so awesome! I think I told you about Leudmela and she doesn't understand why she needs to be baptized.  She mentioned something last time about how she didn't know if God was telling her to be baptized or he was just happy she was praying when she prayed. So this lesson we asked her how she feels God speaking to her. She didn't know. After that our whole lesson plan went out the window! We didn't have it scripted in Russian so the Russian was a bit rough, but we did it! We followed the Spirit and made real progress! She will be baptized so soon! The whole thing stemed from one inspired question! Heavenly Father is really in the details our lives and if we care enough to listen He will tell us what we need to hear. 

Things are going great! It's beautiful here! I miss school, and all you, and my friends, and everything but it's super great! The Church is true! The more I learn about Russia I know how right it is that I'm going there!! And how much I'm needed there!

Pray He is there, Speak He is listening!
You have one of the greatest gifts, the Gift of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, don't take it for granted!
Love you all!
Love Sister Tolley

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Dear Family and friends!!!!!!

You made it! The next milestone of missing a missionary is the 2 month mark, then the 4 month mark, and by 6 months you wont even hardly miss me! I'm so proud of you all! 

My branch president said we arent allowed to send pictures, so no pictures till i get to the field i guess. :'( Sorry! But exact obedience!

My clothes and shoes and everything are great! You outfitted me well!! 

The MTC feels like its own little world its weird, but good cause I cant see BYU so I dont miss it too much! I'm staying in the same bulidngs as you did I think. Theyre a bit updated but im pretty sure the showers have been there for 30 years, they're 70s yellow! And we cleaned them, with foam guns just like dad said!

This week flew by!!! So crazy! Russian is coming! Im getting better at making my own sentences, I just need more vocab! My teachers are great and they are my investigators! (My investigator from last week ,suddenly dropped us, because SURPRISE hes actually my teacher! They play people they knew on their missions and I was teaching one who was a babushka this week and we weren't getting anywhere with her really ( she has been coming to church for 20 years but doesnt think she needs to be baptized again) but i let the spirit guide me and told her that God loved her and we loved her and it was completely true! I loved her so much! After just meeting her! My other teacher, her bro called her the day before and said he didnt know if the Book of Mormon  was true or if he wanted to go on a mission, so we took turns "teaching" him. This was real time, someone's salvation on the line and I was so desperate to help him to know! To be happy! To know that God loves him and the Church is true! I can't wait to be teaching real people! But I can cause I can't say a whole lot! Our lessons are funny, they are a few sentences with alot of phrases and words+hand gestures/pictures/having the investigator read. haha! But its coming crazy fast! And so is my spiritual knowledge!

Im getting pretty good at volley ball (gym time) 
As of Monday we will be the oldest (time wise ) sisters in the zone- at 3 weeks! The other sisters are leaving then

Sister brown is way fun and we get along so well! Her southern accent is rubbing off on me though! AH! Its way cool to be able to help and love her everyday

Funny story: I wore my downeast dress backwards all day saunday and i couldnt even tell nor could anyone else! Haha! Da is Russian for yes, so a non russian sister was asking me who I was and I said sister tolley and she said "sister tolley?" I said "da" she said "oh sister tolleyda?" "Neit Neit!" haha! 

I love you all!! LOVE everyone and you will want to share the Gospel with them!! 
I am so happy to be here serving called of God to be His representative! Think this week how you can be a better represenative of Christ. 3 Nephi 5:13 (i think)

I miss and love you all so much!
Love Sister NAtalia Tolley