Tuesday, May 3, 2016

One week down!

Hi family :) 

I kind of feel like I'm back on my mission but I guess this is the best way to keep you all informed on what I'm doing over here.

First off, it's not neeeearly as cold as everyone said it was going to be. I brought a ton of sweaters with me but it's been like sixty degrees outside!! I'm not really complaining, though, since I am very grateful the sun has been shining. 

I got here late Wednesday night. I was exhausted and hardly slept at all on the plane since there was a little kid behind me who absolutely refused to sleep! Anyways, I got to walk around Stockholm for about five hours with my trainer's little sister, Anna. It was lovely! But I hardly remember it! Here are some pictures though! 

 This is Anna :) 

My apartment is nice. I live in a little place called Espoo. It's small and quaint. Remember how I was so excited about having a dog? Well, she's a tad bit obnoxious. She wouldn't stop barking at me for the longest time... but I think she likes me now? I never know how she's gonna act. One day, she's super loving and then the next, she's barking and growling again. It's quite the love/hate relationship. 

But my roommates are all pretty great! There's Anastasia from Russia, Jenna from Missouri, Kaidi from Estonia, and Kadri, another Estonian, stays here only for a couple of days each week. They're all incredibly nice and have been a great help in getting me well situated here. 

The library is goooood. It's quite modern, situated behind a huge shopping mall, and very busy. There's always some kind of activity going on. I'm only there for about five hours every day. So far, I've helped out with Finnish and English classes. Today, I just got the assignment to decorate and make a meeting room all nice and pretty so we'll see how that goes... Tomorrow, I'm headed to a different library with a sassy old woman named Leena. We'll be helping refugees there for a few hours. So far, I'm really liking it! Anu, my boss, expects me to be very proactive so I honestly get to do/learn anything I want while I'm there. 

Going to church and the temple were wonderful experiences, as well! I already told mom, dad, and Beth, but the temple, although it was absolutely wonderful, it was also quite terrifying. I've been doing rather well with adapting to being a foreign place but for some reason, it was at the temple when the old temple workers and I couldn't communicate very well, that I got really overwhelmed. Finally, one temple worker just told me to sit down in a chair and soon after, an American senior missionary sat down, took my hand, and I just started sobbing. All the Finns walking by looked super uncomfortable and didn't know what to do. It was quite the strange experience, feeling disconnected and out of place while also feeling like I was at home since the temple has always been a place of peace and comfort. But the temple was absolutely gorgeous. It's super small so I honestly expected it to be quite plain, but it was so grand and elegant, but in a simple sort of way. I hope to go every week while I'm here. 

Best thing about church on Sunday.... an old woman got up to share her testimony in Relief Society and it started out with her describing, in great detail, the unearthed bones she found at her husband's grave... and she somehow tied it back to her testimony? It was the strangest thing to listen to this sweet woman share such a morbid experience but so so funny. 

Anyways! I Hope that was not too boring! I hope to perhaps write more about specific things rather than give such a general report. Love you all!

 "Speak Finnish to me" -- I'm learning Finnish ever so slowly...

Dock/beach at Kaivopuisto, Helsinki

p.s. We're watching While You Were Sleeping. "You jumped on the tracks?!"

"I'm so glad he found you!"

"Nice.... sweater."

"Would you like to see Dustin Hoffman save the Alamo?"


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dear Family,

The entire time we've been here, Sister Holdaway has been hoping that we would hear from an apostle at devotional. Our last week here, it finally happened! Elder Richard G. Scott came to the MTC on Tuesday and we had a wonderful devotional with him. He gave a talk focusing on prayer and how precious our communication with Heavenly Father really is. One of the things I remember that he said was to pray even when we don't feel like praying. That's the time when we are in most need of prayer. When he was walking out, we were all silent and then he turns to us and yells, "Be good!" He's so great. The spirit was so strong in that room. 

Anyway, it's my last week!! And I can hardly describe how wonderful these past few days have been. First, Richard G. Scott. Yesterday, we finally had our culture day and it was great to hear from all of our teachers what they love about Estonia. It was a little sad, though, because we said goodbye to two of our teachers. But one of them is going to Estonia soon so hopefully we'll see her there! And this morning, we were able to go to the temple one last time before we leave! I love the temple. 

Tomorrow is in-field orientation and then Saturday is our last day of class. Then on Sunday, we'll have a departure meeting, we'll probably watch The Character of Christ again by David A. Bednar. We've watched that thing four times now. Not only is it so good, but it's also only been the only other option than the Legacy... I did that once while I was here and I'm not doing that again. 

So, remember how we all watched the Called To Serve video the night before I left? Well, I told the sisters about it and they have never seen it. It's a shame, really. I'm starting to feel like I've already told you all this before... but anyway. I told them about the hand-waving montage. Then, one night, during devotional, Sister Nally played a video. It was different music, but it had the same hand-waving montage at the end! Oh the happiness. Then when we walk to and from devotional, people always like to honk and wave at us, and when we wave back, I feel like I'm in that movie.

Quick funny story. There is a lot of construction going on here at the West Campus. One morning, the four of us sisters were walking to breakfast, and there were a few constructions works near us, one of them in some kind of construction vehicle. Something went wrong, and the driver yelled out a very bad word. Ha. Very quickly, he apologized! He felt so bad, but really, it just made us laugh. We're so sheltered here.

Last thing, I finished the Book of Mormon last night! I think it was maybe my third time reading it all of the way through. I love that book. When I was done, I hugged it and held it close to me. It is so very precious and I've appreciated it much more this time than I ever have before. In Moroni, there's that chapter that talks about children and baptism. When I was reading it, I was overwhelmed with the thought and feeling that God loves us perfectly. On Tuesday, Elder Scott said, "He loves us perfectly and He is determined to help."  And as I was in the temple, I thought a lot about what it means to be a child of God. I want you all to know that I do know that God is our Father. We are His children and He loves us perfectly. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. And I know that by reading it with sincerity, we will come closer to Christ.

I love you all. I'm not sure when my P-days will be once I'm in Estonia, but you'll hear from me next from Estonia!!!

Sister Chestnut
Dearest family,
In three weeks, I will be IN Estonia! Crazy, crazy, crazy. We've started receiving e-mails from our mission president already and it's crazy to read about all of the goals that are being met and the miracles people are seeing in the mission. This is real life for me... and my life until November 2014. Just so you all know, I think my mission is ending right about then. November 28th. I think it has something to do with transfer dates, but it's just a few weeks earlier than I had expecteed.
Anyway, this week has been good. The Hungarians in our zone left us earlier this week. We're next!! Us and the Finns. We have a NEW cafeteria. Woot woot. Yesterday was Harry Potter's birthday so last night, we all drew scars on our foreheads and had Martinelli's and cookie dough and surprised out sister training leaders.
The language is getting better and better. We've gone over all of the concepts and we are just practicing for the next few weeks! Surprsingly, the fourteen cases haven't been as hard as I would have thought... it's just the partitive case that kicks my butt every single time.
I feel like I don't have too much to say this week! It has bee a really hard week. There's a quote by C.S. Lewis that tells us to imagine we're living houses. God comes in and fixes the pipes and broken windows and we know what he's doing because we knew those jobs needed to be done. But then he starts knocking things about and building new staircases and what not and it hurts abominable. Then we realize that all we watned to be was a cute little cottage. But God is making us into palaces. Hands down, I would say the hardest thing about being a missionary is trying to be selfless. There are some days when I feel like I'm really getting it, but then again, I'm just giving myself the credit, and I get tore down again and have to start learning all over again. Ha. I hope that made sense. Anyway... it's tough, but it's good.
I'll just end with my testimony, because that's what missionaries do, right? But I also want all of you to know of my testimony and how much it's grown since I've been here. This past week, I have studied the Atonement a lot. And also the character of Christ. Elder Bednar said in a talk that "with the character of Christ, there wouldn't have been an Atonement". How true. Life is tough. We all have trials. I know that I will come to know and love many people in Estonia who have gone through similar things that I have and that our family has gone through, and I can help them come closer to Christ to receive the comfort, peace, and the healing power that the Atonement offers. Ma tean et Jeesuse Kristuse on meie Päästja. Tema elab. Ma tean et Jumal saatis oma Poja oma peale lepitama meie pattude eest. Lepituse kaudu, meie saame trööst ja rahu. Ma tean et Jumal on meie Taevane isa. Meie on tema lapsed. Taevane Isa armastab meid palju! Ma tean et Mormoni Raamat on Jumala sõna. Ma armastab teid minu terve südamega.
I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He lives. I know that God sent his Son to Earth to atone for our sins. Through the Atonement, we can receive comfort and peace. I know that God is our Heavenly Father. We are His children. Heavenly Father loves us so much! I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I love you all with my whole heart.
I'm not totally sure if that's all right, but there you go! One last thought. My favorite scripture is Alma 32 verse 27. It tells us to awake and arouse our faculties and to exercise just a particle of faith. Even if can't do more than desire to believe, let that desire work inside of us until we give place for the word fo God. I love that scripture so much. It assures me that with everything I'm trying to do, it all starts with a particle of faith, or even just a desire to believe.
Sorry if that was a bit solemn. I kind of got lost in my thoughts. I love you all. I hope all is well! THank you for your prayers. I pray for you all every day.
Well, I had my first semi-breakdown this week. It all started Monday morning. There is this mormon message that everyone in my district has watched. I have deliberately not watched it because it's called Enduring Love and shows an old couple taking care of each other when they both have physical challenges. I knew it would just make me cry. But then I walk into the classroom and Vanem peterson is watching it... so I watched it... and then I cried... and then for the rest of the day, I was very emotional. I even cried when talking with one of my teachers. Goodness. But I'm doing much better now!! I think it was just feeling the time crunch of now being on the downhill of my MTC experience. Estonian is harrrrrrrrdddddddd. I love the language and by some miracle, I'm able to communicate with our investigators, but before every single sentence, you have to think of what case and whether or not it's a partial object or if it's a positive verb or if it's genitive. It's a lot to think about, but I've made a  goal to read from Mormoni Raamat every night before bed without a dictionary sitting by my side and try to understand as much as possible from context and the cases. It's hard, but I've been surprised by how much I do understand after one month!
So, the guy who is over the cafeteria is the husband of my boss at the bookstore. He watches out for me. Last night, he came up to me and Sis. Holdaway and solemnly asked if we liked nutella. Of course we said yes, and he told us that he had a jar of it stowed away in his office, so we both grabbed rolls and stuffed them with nutella goodness. Later, at dinner, we're sitting with Sis. jarvis and Sis. Farnsworth and he comes over with two giant pieces of apple pie. We almost cried. yesterday was an overwhelming day and there wasn't any mail because of Pioneer so it made up for everything. He's so good to us!
Today, we went to the main campus. Sis. Holdaway and I had breakfast there. We were waiting in line and then someone yells, "SHAYYYY!!" So weird. I turn around and it's Sis. McDiarmid, a sister who is going to the Baltic Mission, Russian speaking!! We had connected on facebook and we had met her once before entering the MTC. We had breakfast with them and it was so much fun. I'll include a picture of all of us. We then ran into the Lithuanian and Latvian sisters. Good times.
We got a letter from Pres. Boswell this week telling us the schedule of the few first days we'll be in Latvia! We'll get there on a Tuesday, we'll immediately start street contacting after the aiport, and then we'll go to their house and get situated. We'll do training and more preaching the gospel the next day on Wednesday. On Thursday, we'll be introduced to our companions and will head up to Estonia!! I can't believe it's finally happening! 
Probably one of the hardest things about the MTC is getting up at 6:30 every morning. You all know me. Of course that's a challenge for me. So.... Sis. Holdaway and I came up with a brilliant plan. She hides the alarm clock every single night. So every morning, at 6:30, I have to get up and search for the obnoxious alarm clock. Sometimes it's under my bed, sometimes it's in the pocket of my coat, and sometimes it's on top of the closet door. I don't know how she balanced that. But it works!! We've been doing much better. I remember the first week being here, there was one morning that I was having a very difficult time getting up. I was having this self-motivating discussion with myself. I finally told myself, You are a missionary. Youhave to get up. Oh the joys.
Last night, my companion needed a blessing so we asked our dear vanemad. It was truly amazing to see two young men exercise the priesthood they hold to give her a blessing of comfort. I am very, very grateful for the priesthood. I'm grateful that dad was always available to give me blessings and that my friends and home teachers at BYU were always willing to give me blessings. I am very grateful for this gospel. I'm changing a lot and sometimes, I really have to swallow my pride and learn the things that the Lord wants me to learn. I think that's what has stood out to me the most this week. Everything here at the MTC, during personal study, or church, or devotional, or comopanionship inventory with Sis. Holdaway, have something to teach me. I am learning so much! My love for the scriptures has grown a ton. I live for Personal Study every day. I love being here and I love being a missionary. I love all of you! Thank you for your prayers and for the letters. :)
Õde Chestnut
Oh dear family,
I'm HALFWAY through!!! As of tomorrow, I will have one more month till I'll be on a plane to Latvia, and then to Estonia!!
Best part of the week: seeing my seester!! It was such a lovely "You've made it through a whole month" kind of present. It made me very happy and it definitely gave me an extra boost to make through the next month!
So, last week was our first TRC experience. Sis. Holdaway and I were super nervous and then to top that off, our teacher tells us right before we go that one of the volunteers is a non-member and from Estonia! Nothing like reality hitting us in the face. But TRC is great. It was so much fun. Two of the volunteers were return missionaries so they know exactly what we're going through and we had lots of fun talking with them and had some good spiritual times too! Sis. Holdaway and I did not have the opportunity to teach Tolores. She is so stinkin' cute. She is here in Utah selling books (like that girl that's in Payson from Latvia). We weren't able to teach her but afterwards, we got to meet her! And she talked to us all about Estonia. She was very excited to meet us all. She said it was by far, the best part of her visit to America. She gave us all her number and wants to see us when we get to Estonia. I hope she knows that we'll want to teach her...
Sis. Holdaway and I received an assignment this week. We're the new music coordinators for our zone. I played the organ for sacrament meeting this past Sunday. It was lots of fun to try out a different organ. Our whole district has been participating in choir. We sing in the choir for the devotionals every Tuesday. It's lots of fun.. The choir director is very energetic and he tells us lots of stories that make some kind of connection with the song we're singing. This past Tuesday, he was saying something random and then says, "Yo, Adrian....." Oh it made me happy. Then later, he started talkinga bout Rocky again. He talked about the Italian Stallion fighting Mr. T and then Apollo Creed training him and the lovely montage of them running on the beach. Ah. It was good.
Question. Is it just me or has it been raining a lot? I feel like it never rains this much in Utah in July. We love it very much. The word for rain is vihm. And for the life of me, it is the most difficult thing for me to make the h sound followed by an m. I'm working on it.
Sundays are absolutely fabulous here at the MTC. This Sunday, the Relief Society heard from Carol Mikita, the news reporter from KSL! It was a bizarre experience. I had grown up watching her on TV and thinking she wore way too much make-up and then here she was, pouring out her heart to us and sharing her conversion story. It was really good. She gave a little shout out to Estonia! (so obviously it was good, right) Anyway, she was sharing a story of when she was in Estonia. She was in the town of Nirva (I think that's right--I don't think I'll be serving there). A Russian police officer was getting baptized in a sauna that was in the basement of an apartment complex. She had she had a handlebar mustache and everything! She asked him if his family understood why he was getting baptized. He said no. She asked about his friends and colleagues. Again, he said no. Then she asked him he wanted to be baptized. He answered with one word, Peace. I have come to love that word very, very much. In Estonian, it's rahu. Every time one of our investigators says that word, even if I don't understand anything else they're saying, I know they're saying they're feeling peace and I know they're feeling the Spirit.
We watch a movie every Sunday night. This time, it was The Testaments. I'm pretty sure I've never watched that all of the way through... so being the emotional being that I am, I cried. I know that movie is so cheesy, but oh my goodness, the part when Christ calls that man by his first name. So good. But I was emotional because of a story that I heard from Carol Mikita earlier that day. She was at the Kyev Ukraine temple dedication. She was at an open house, and she noticed that many of the people there would walk up to the paintings and start crying. She had no idea what she was saying but through interpreters, she realized that the people were crying because of the depiction of Christ. In the Russian orthodox church, there are many beautiful Christ icons, but they had never ever seen Christ depicted as a resurrected being.
Anywho. The Estonian is coming. I read Pres. Uchtdorf's talk on patience the other day. My favorite quote from that is "Patience isn't only enduring. It's enduring well." Or something like that. I'm doing well! I'm happy. I'm tired all of the time and I miss my naps so very much, but things are good here. I love you all! Sorry for the forever long e-mail.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

It's been three weeks!! Only six more to go. It's really weird to see so many people come and go. I know like two people who came here at the same time I did or later and they're already in the field! Like always, things are good. Being in the MTC though kind of makes me feel like I'm in elementary school all over again. We're in a classroom all day learning how to read and write. We have to stay within the school's boundaries. We eat at a cafeteria. But at least we get recess? We all feel like little kids. I think I also assume that everyone around me is older than me. Turns out I'm the oldest in my district aaaaaand generally older than a lot of other people here. I'm only 20! I found out yesterday that these two Hungarian elders who sometimes eat with us are eighteen years old! So crazy.
Well, the 4th of July was fun last week. We got out of class early. We had a small little devotional and then we watched 17 Miracles. It was my first time watching it all of the way through. Then we had ice cream and watched the fireworks!! Also, Deena, my boss from the bookstore was with her husband on campus so I went over and sat by her and watched the fireworks with her. It's always nice to see people I knew before the MTC.
Estonian... it's coming. Vend Strong has been able to teach us much more lately and it's been lots of fun. Mine and Sister Holdaway's lessons are improving. It's crazy what one can understand if the Spirit is present. Last week, Sis. Holdaway tried to tell our investigator that the gospel brings you peace and happiness but said, the gospel brings you peace and apples. Oh the joy. I haven't said a lot of crazy things. But earlier this week, I asked if the investigator created the Book of Mormon rather than read... But anyway. I like Estonian a lot. It's tough, and the partitive and genitive cases are hard to get used to.
There are some really random words. In one of our grammar books, there are a list of phrases and words to help us practice pronunciation. There's one word that means "at the endge of the ice": jäääär. Jõeäärne õueaiamaa means a garden by the river. And then this one is my favorite. It's the word for at the edge of the outside garden: õueaiaääres. Eight vowels in a row. Whooo.
Tonight will be our first experience with TRC. Volunteers come in who know Estonian and we just have a brief lesson for about twenty minutes. I've heard it's a lot of fun, because they're themselves and not pretending to be investigators like our teachers. It's much more chill and most of them are returned missionaries so they know exactly what you're going through. Vend Strong also said that sometimes, we might even skype with people from Estonia!! It'd be so much fun, but very, väga intimdating!
I was practicing the piano today and when I was done, a lady asked me if I was auditioning for a musical number. I told her no and then Sis. Nally walks in (she's the wife of the MTC president) and tells me I should audition. Eeeeeeek. I don't know yet. We shall see. But it was lots of fun to talk with her and she absolutely loves our last name.
I've had a couple of interesting dreams lately. One night, I had a dream that Estonia got a full hymn book! Their current hymnbook only has 27 hymns in it and about five of those are sacrament hymns so we have 22 hymns for the rest of the week... and we sing at least three times a day... not a whole lot of variety. But I was so excited in my dream! The other one also has to deal with Estonia. In my dream, a sister missionary in the field had some sort of emergency that she had to go home. Pres. was frantic and told the MTC that he absolutely had to have another missionary. He didn't care if she didn't know Estonian and said she would learn everything once she got there! So I got sent there. It was an odd half nightmare half ecstatic happiness kind of dream.
On Sunday, a Bro. Durrant spoke to us at our devotional. He talked about boldness. He talked about how when we think of bold, we think of loudness and strength. But he explained that bold is quiet. Bold is sincere. We should act boldly with love. I was so excited cause my whole district is quiet and introverted and I felt like it was exactly what we all needed to hear. Being quietly bold is something I can do. :)
Ma armastan teie! I love you all!
Õde Chestnut
P.s. no photos today. Vabandust. I can't find the charger to my camera so.... next week. Hopefully. :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Tere hommikust!

And happy Fourth of July! I'll be going around yelling "Vabadus!" (freedom) all day now. I finally figured out the photo thing so enjoy! This week has been good. We taught our first lessons in Estonian. ahhhhhh. It wasn't pretty. However, it's really emphasized the importance of having the spirit in the lesson. Without it, I would be way too occupied and worried about what/how I was saying something. But when I take the time to pay attentiont to the spirit and the investigator, it's amazing how much I can actually understand. We're teaching three investigators right now: Hilja, Liina, and Siim. They're our three teachers and they're hilarious when they're in character. Since we've been here, we've mostly been taught by Õde Christopher. Last week, we got a new teacher! Her name is Õde Robinson. She's really great. Then there's Vend Strong who has taught here for a long time. He's really good and he's lots of fun. He laughs at our Estonian a lot, but it reminds me not to take myself so seriously.