Monday, September 8, 2014

9/8/14 Update From Lauren

Gah! Can you believe it! I have been here 6 months! (And now a little bit longer... almost 7!)

Time really flies in the field! The Lord has been so good and kind. I am learning everyday. It is such a blessing to be a part of the magnificent miracles everyday. Miracles are happening every minute of every day. The Lord really loves His people here.

So, I have left my first city! I got transfered to a new lovely (and much larger) city. It was hard to leave my first city, because I loved the people there so much. But, the Lord has shown me even more wonderful people here. The Lord has amazing children all over the world! I have a new companion as well! She is spunky and spirited and we work well together. There are lots of less actives that we work with here. They live in a cute little town just outside our city that is lined with tall trees and scattered with parks. It is lovely. 

In my Mission we have been focusing a great deal on opening our mouths and the blessings that come from it as stated in D&C 33: 8-10. It is so true. We have really been making an effort to open our mouths and speak to every single person, and the blessings have been remarkable. WE really have been "laden with sheaves" here. Sometimes it is hard, especially sicne I feel I cannot speak very well. But, the Lord ALWAYS fills my mouth to speak. The people understand, and they are willing to listen. And it is definitely NOT me. My Russian is sub sub par. It is the Spirit. But, as promised, miracles have been pouring out.

In short, we have been speaking A LOT. WE open our mouths all day. 

Sometimes with some funny results. 

Sometimes, though, my mouth is filled with some... not so spiritual things. For example, that awkward moment when you ask the Lord to bless you with "chastity" instead of "wisdom." Or another time when I asked a woman if she worked "often" but really ended up asking her if she worked "honsetly." She gave me the strangest look and told me she did. I just smiled and told her how great I was... well I am sure she thought I was the most self-righteous missionary she ever met! But oh well. WE were opening our mouths! And there were other people willing to listen. Then other times, opening our mouths gets some negative reactions - sometimes we are rejected. Or sometimes our messaged is ignored and instead the woman comments to me that "You could be pretty if you wore makeup." I was wearing makeup. Thank you. 

Then sometimes we open our mouths in other ways. Like to recieve food atop an already bursting stomach. They love to feed us here. There is one woman who feeds us every time we come. Last time she fed us a very interesting sadwhich like thing of a roll stuffed with ground meat. Well, this sounds appatizing and LOOKED appatizing, but then when we bit into it we found that half the meat was fat and the other half was crunchy burned bits of questionable substance. Luckily we had some searing hot tasteless tea to wash it all down. Nothing like liquid fire to wash down some slick, slimy, fat-laced sandwhich! But hey, we were opening our mouths. 

And that is the point. WE open our mouths. And there have been SO many miracles. The Lord has just been to kind to us. The greatest of Miracles of all was last Saturday we had a baptism for our Golden Investigator. This woman, with her kind brown eyes, walked into our church ond Sunday and was baptized 3 weeks later. She was prepared from the beginning. We opened our mouths to teach her, and they were filled, as promised. In addition to that, the Lord has blessed us with so many new investigators, all of whom are amazing. The promises from D&C really are coming true in this part of the world.

I am so honored to be a part of this mission. So honored that hte Lord gave me the opportunity to open my mouth and speak about this glorious gospel. Sometimes it is hard, sometimes we eat fat, sometimes we say strange things, but it does not matter because the Spirit is at work. This is the Lords work. He loves all of HIs children. And this part of the world is filled with some of His strongest, most special spirits. I love opening my mouth, I love this gospel, I love being in the field. Never miss the opportunity to share the gospel. Open your mouth, and it will be filled. I miss you all and I love you all! Thanks for your prayers and for your support!

Affectionately, SIster Poet

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Okay.....well.... sorry to start this email off so strange but the strangest thing just happened to me! A man just gave me a paper and asked me to go on a date. He knows I am American - that is the only reason why, but my oh my. That was an adventure.

Okay, so things here are going GREAT! We have three progressing investigators - The woman and the two little girls that we are teaching. I just love them all so much and we are making great headway! The woman I met on the bus is a seamstress. She told us that she felt that we were destined to meet! She is so lovely and charming and very fun too. We gave her the Plan of Salvation Lesson and she LOVED it. She has a young apprentice of sorts who also occasionally graces us with his presence in the lesson. I must admit, I LOVE her apprentice. He is a young many maybe 20 years old and has magic hands. He is bigger, and stocky and buff, very trendy with perfectly styled hair. He has a very manly Russian name and a deep voice.... then he creates little dresses with frills, and lace, and thin straps that are the essence of femininity. He is great, and we love when he sits in on the lessons. He is someone who is probably a little bit too cool for school, but he likes us. For the purpose of this email we shall dub him The Apprentice. I think he could become interested. Well, we gave him a Book of Mormon and are excited about that too!

Then there are the two girls. They are very interested. I will have to tell you about them. So, for the first girl, the girl I met on the bus, she is darling. She has a hard time understanding everything that we teach her but she has a great desire to learn and she says that she knows it is true! Now we are a bit worried because we may have to get a permission slip to teach her! But I am not too worried since she says she lives with просте ъаъушка, or simply her grandmother. And the other girl is also progressing. She is VERY intelligent. She speaks so fast and uses large vocabulary words (our member present told us that even SHE had a hard time understanding her sometimes). But she is great. She read the entire Book of Mormon in ONE night. ONE night! She says that she knows it is true and wants to learn more. She is having trouble lettering go of her former religion though (don't quite understand, since she talks so fast, we are working on getting it figured out.) But they are great girls. The latter girl, the very intelligent one, draws. She has very... uh.... interesting drawings. She creates horses with fire wings that have bird legs.... they are unique to say the least and go so well with her Japanese name that she insists we call her. I wish I could tell you what it was, but alas alack, I lack the ability to do so. Well, anyways, she always gives us pictures. One picture she gave us was of an elegant elk perched upon a grassy knoll with a pastel sunset caressing its golden fur. It looks majestically into the sky. On the back was her name and number so we could contact her. Gotta love the elk. We dubbed it the "reindeer," graciously accepted it, as it had her number on the back, and quickly shoved it in our extra copy of our Book of Mormon so no one could see us have it in public. Well, the next day, we were updating our Area Book and needed to put the new number into the Area Book, so we grabbed the Book of Mormon and opened it and.... the picture was gone. Well, that was fine, we have MANY Book of Mormons, it must have been the wrong one. So we opened the next one. No reindeer. And the next. Nope. And the next one.... uh oh. Soon, we had gone through the 7 copies of the Book of Mormon that we had and discovered the picture was no where to be found. We paused for a moment... thinking of who we had given a Book of Mormon to as of late... when it hit us....

The Apprentice

The Apprentice had the Reindeer.

The Elegant Elk.

With a Sunset

In the Book of Mormon

With a number on the back

Which he probably thought was OUR number.

So, we gave a big, burley, trendy man our number on the back of a majestic reindeer.... in a Book of Mormon

We died. We began to laugh, laugh so hard. I don't know if it was out of the humor or the dread at our recent accidental actions. We then realized there was no way we could ask for it back - but if we didn't he would think we gave our number to him... with a reindeer... and we could never go back to teach our investigator out of shame. But, if we did ask for it back it would be a little strange to say "Hey... could we possibly have our water colored elk back:? You know.... the one with the sunset and grassy plain? It had our friends number on it..." Well... what kind of friends do you have? Please, don't come back. So, we lay, on the floor, tears erupting from our eyes caused by both laughter and distress. Yes. The Reindeer was now in the hands of The Apprentice.

Well, sorry to make this somewhat anti climatic, but alls ell that ends well, we had one FINAL Book of Mormon at our door and we checked it and the Elk was inside. WE starting laughing and crying again, this time out of relief. Thank GOODNESS the Reindeer was safe in our possession. WE took it out, and will never put it near a Book of Mormon again. Now the Reindeer travels though our home. Sometimes I find it in my bed. Then Sister Brown will find it our sole picture frame, then again it is on the fridge. We have fun with our majestic reindeer. Oh, but it was almost a disaster.

Needless to say, things are going very well here. We are loving our area and I just love the people here. We have SO much fun. We are just living the dream as missionaries. I do miss you all so! I do know I am where I need to be though. And the work is really picking up. It is so great to be a part of miracles every day! The end of this week was a little... slow... but we realized somethings we could improve on and are working on straightening them out right away! We will keep working hard.

Okay, I am off now, but I love you! Be good, be safe! LOVE YOU!!

Love Lolo

Sunday, July 20, 2014


This is Annaliesa

I apologize for not keeping Lauren's blog updated. It is now current. She is not allowed to share names of her companions or anyone she meets in Russia or the places of where she is.  Due to Lauren's time limit on the computer, she sometimes writes things too personal to share and doesn't have time for a mass message. I apologize for the gaps in the letters, I'll post what I can.
We should be hearing from her again tomorrow and I will be happy to share her new adventures if things are sharable.

PLEASE feel free to contact her via email:
or snail mail:
Sister Lauren Julia Case Poet
Russia Yekaterinburg MIssion
620131 Yekaterinburg
ul. Rabochikh 9 Offic 1
Sverdlovsk Oblast

Thank you for supporting and loving Lauren during this important time in her life! If you can believe it she is almost a third of the way done!


Hello All!

So, on Saturday we had our first baptism! The girl that got baptized was golden. She was committed before I came to this area, but we still got to teach her quite a few lessons. She accepted everything that we taught her. She was already deeply religious and studied the Bible a great deal and was so excited to learn about the gospel. It was miraculous to see how God prepares His children! He is so aware of each of us individually and is so loving. Everyone is different, so He prepares us all differently, yet He is in each of our lives. I love it.

The ceremony was lovely. Quite a lot of people came! We have great support in our branch. It is small, but powerful. I just love everyone it it. Everyone worked really hard to make the ceremony lovely. We all sang, had two amazing talks (that I couldn't understand ;0p) that you could feel the spirit so strong. Our investigator was baptized in a beautiful white dress and she just radiated with the Spirit. It was a miracle. I felt so blessed. How great God is to allow us to be a part of this work!

And now, a funny story that happened the other day. My companion and I had planned to meet with a member family. We love this family. They were expecting us, and so they were going to leave the door unlocked for us to walk in. We found the apartment and walked in but no one was home! We walked around a bit, knocked on some of the doors in the apartment to see if anyone was home but they weren't. So naturally we called them and asked where they were! "We are at home!" they said.... we said "really?" and the replied that they were! We then realized that we were in the wrong apartment! Gah! It was hilarious. We got out of there as fast as we could and laughed all the way until we made it to the RIGHT apartment.

Russia is amazing. I LOVE it. The people, the food, the smells... but mostly the people. The people here are really special. I am honored to serve among them. I can't really speak very well, but I never feel discouraged because I know it will come! What is more is I get to to witness God in my life every day. When I show faith and open my mouth, he fills it,. It can be scary talking to people, but God helps me immensely, I love being able to witness that miracle every day and I am humbled by it!

Work here is great. Russia is beautiful and wonderful. I am so happy to be here! Sometiems I wonder, "why did I not want to go on a mission before? What took me so long to come?" I know that God knows each of us - I know that He knows what is best for us. The greatest honor we can have in this life is to submit our will to Him! He will bless us more than we can ever imagine! How great the gospel is! How great out God! How great our Savior!

I miss you and love you all! :0D May God bless you as He has blessed me!

Love Sister Poet


Hello My Dear Family! :0D

This is a group email about my Investigators some. I can't give you names or too many details about them, but I want to talk a bit about them because I love them!

We have an investigator getting baptized soon. She will get baptized with another little girl in the ward who will turn 8 that day! We are SO excited! This girl is GOLDEN! My companion found her with her companion before me; she was already very religious and when she got the Book of Mormon and started reading, she knew it was true. She had been wondering why she had not had this her whole life! This is great because she is willing to accept all the commandments, even though they are hard. She stopped drinking Coffee and tea - she didn't drink alcohol before. She was already living the Law of Chastity because she felt like those things should be saved more marriage! She is just great. We love her. She had some complex questions about the Plan of Salvation, and I was very happy that I was able to answer them! It was a little miracle for me that God allowed me participate. She speaks great English, so that is nice because I am able to teach more in the lessons - with other people I do not teach so much because I cannot speak. But it is great. I just LOVE her. I think my companion loves her even more than I do though! We got to clean out the baptismal font for her... it was REALLY dirty because the church has been remodeled. It was covered with paint and dirt. Now, when I say font, it is really more like a big, white plastic swimming pool with strange blue tarp lining the inside. We spent two hours cleaning it. It was REALLy fun and we sang while we worked. I loved it. My companion and I have lots of fun. She is a very loving person. She makes fun of me for saying sorry. If I say sorry, she says it too, and then will say it like 40 more times and then say "I am sorry that you are sorry because I am sorry that you are sorry." So, she has been helping me with that... though sometimes it is taken too far ;0p Still, she is so great, I love her. She has also started using "Llamas" or the "kitsune" as well. We have fun with that. It was fun to clean the tub - I felt like Sen from Spirited Away.

Our other investigators are not progressing, so we spend a great amount of time with our less-actives. I LOVE ALL the less-actives. Each one is amazing. They are all so special and loved. There are two I love in particular. One is a very kind woman who takes in stray animals. She has a very hard life though - she is estranged from her neighbors because she is a member and because she takes in animals... so, she is very lonely. She lives with her mother, and her 20 year old son, but her son ignores her. Still, she is so kind and loving. She is learning English so she asks me for help a great deal - I love to help her just because she is such a tender person. You can see in her eyes she is just full of love. We have been encouraging her to read the Book of Mormon again and she has been reading it in both Russian and English. We love her. Another less-active I love is also very kind. She, too, has a very hard life and has a few mental problems. She stopped going to church, but has been coming back recently. She told us she did not realize how serious the commitments she made were, but now she understands and that is why she is coming back. She yearns for peace, so we always try to teach her uplifting things - she is marvelous. She and I have a very special connection and she always gives me great smiles.

There is a member in our ward who is deaf and I also love. She is ALWAYS doing service - putting way chairs, organizing the hymns, just always serving. So, I help her. She cannot talk, and I cannot sign, but we can point and smile and so we work together. Sometimes we write things to each other - it is HARD to spell in Russian, but she is patient with me. There are only about 25 people in our branch, but many of them know how to sign, I love to see them sign with her. And it is great when she signs the hymns!! I just love this woman.

I get to conduct the music every Sunday. I can't conduct... at all... but it is okay because most of the time everyone is looking down at the words of the Hymns... so it works out! Haha! Still, I am grateful I can serve. I bore my testimony in Russian this past Sunday. It was choppy, and very short... but they said my pronunciation was great even though my grammar was a bit off, My companion told me I did very well, and she was very proud, and many people complimented me. so i felt good about that. Russian is REALLY hard... and I know I am not speaking very well, but I am not discouraged because I know the Lord is helping me learn.

Now for a huge miracle that happened this week. Like I said, I am really awful at Russian... but it is okay. I made the goal to talk to at least one person on every bus we ride. We ride buses to get around the city. Well, we got onto one bus that was more of a really large van. it was white and only had a few seats. Well, we got on and it was dead quiet. It is really hard to talk on buses because Russians do not talk when they ride the buses. They all sit and contemplate with stony faces. I have told you that they really only smile to people they know and if they genuinely mean it... well anyways, it is always a little tricky to start conversations on buses because of this. So we sat down and I just felt very uncomfortable - the silence was oppressing! It felt awkward, I felt like I needed to speak. I was scared, but knew I had to. A woman sat next to me and I smiled as big as I could to her - this is a tactic I use - I smile at people, and if they smile back, or look somewhat amused, I talk to them.... she smiled back and asked me "do I know you?" I get asked this a lot when I smile at people. I told her know, explained I was a missionary and what I was doing here. She was delighted that I was learning Russian! I could not understand her very well, but I somehow was always able to respond. I invited her to English group - A group we have every Thursday where we practice English. She was thrilled and told me that she would not go, but she would send her children! I was very happy! Then, the Lady sitting in front of us turned around and asked if she could have a card too! I was elated! Then, as we were leaving, the bust Driver asked for a card too and didn't charge us for the ride! So it was free!!! Then, when we got off the bus, one more lady followed us, told us we were doing a good thing and we got to talk to her a bit about the Book of Mormon. She wasn't too interested, but she did compliment us and told us we had a very special spirit about us. WOW!! It was a miracle. I felt so blessed. I know that this was not me, this was God. All "Success if given, not earned". It was a message to me from God that he can use any tool he needs to share the gospel. He can even use strange, lerpy, dorky me with my poor Russian. This is the true Church, and God wants all his children to have it. Those people may but they now know a little about the gospel! And what is more is it was a miracle for me to know that God will always help me if I am trying my best - it was scary to talk to those people - but God helped me do it. We are so blessed to have the gospel!! I am so blessed to be a  missionary! I cannot thank God enough for allowing me to have this opportunity!! God really does love His children. I see it everyday. There are miracles here everyday, sometimes they just come in the form of a smile, sometimes they come in an attempted Russian phrase by me, sometimes it is chocolate. But, there are miracles here everyday, and I am so grateful to be a part of them!

Well, family, I love you very very much! I hope that you are doing well! I think of you often and pray for you each by name every night - Ella too. I know that we will be a faily forever and I know it is though the Grace of Jesus Christ and our merciful Father in Heaven that we will be a family forever. I am so blessed to have you. I miss you! I love you! I pray for you!

Love Lolo 


Little children are the funniest. Russian children are so funny because they are even more blunt! Children are already so honest, but Russian children, wow! They just say it how it is! And they are not afraid to tell you if they like you or not! We have some children in our branch and two of them, sisters, are little fireballs! So funny. Everyone loves them and they are always hanging on a ward member like little monkeys. Oh it is so cute. The branch is very small, but very close. I love going there, even though I can't really understand. I know I don't understand, but I am never discouraged about it because I know eventually it will come!!

Yes, I missed the Easter Traditions too. One of our less actives asked me to write some American Easter Traditions for her in English (she is studying English). She is one of my favourite people here; she is so kind and so sweet.. She is one of the naturally kind people I know; she takes in stray animals, washes them, feeds them, then tries to find good comes for them. I love it. 

Everyone here has CATS! They are big and furry and always looked slightly peeved. It makes me miss home! Haha, but they are cute. And the Russians, they just LOVE their cats. They are always petting them, fawning over them, making art of them (no joke). I love to see them with their cats because it just shows how tender-hearted they really are. Yes, on the outside, they wear dark clothes and don't really smile, but on the inside, they are warm and kind! I love these little glimpses into them! I love when the smile. When you get them home, and when they open up, it is just WONDERFUL. I love the people here; especially the less actives in the branch. Each one of them is so wonderful! They are my favourite to visit and when they come to church, it fills my heart with joy! 

Everyone rollerskates here. It is cute.

Well, I love you so much, Please continue to tell me how you are doing. Keep me posted!!! MUCH LOVE



Happy birthday, my dear brother and I hope you are doing well! I miss you!

So, here I am in Russia and I LOVE IT!! When we came out of the airport we got into the car and started driving to the City. On our way we passed by the most lovely trees. They are all skinny and white and strectch their limbs up towards the melancholy grey sky. Russia is SO melancholy, but in a beautiful way: it is a well written tragedy that brings catharsis. Everywhere is the reminder of lost potential... their are tall buildings with fading paint that are just slightly dilapidated; the streets are all slightly dirty, and there is dust everywhere.... but it is SO beautiful! Everyone walks around with big coats and muted colors and set jaws. It is quite and gloomy and lovely, like a sad poem. I can't explain it except that I love it despite its sad feel to it... but then, there are times when the smoky clouds dissipate for a moment and the sun peaks through the grey, lighting the buildings washing the streets with a warm yellow and it speaks of hope. So much hope here! I know this because sometimes when I smile at a |Russian, they smile back. Not always, and if they do smile, it is small, brief, and tight... but I can tell they like it when I smile at them. The people here are hard on the outside, but on the inside they are like warm gooey soft bread. If you can get them to start talking, they just open up.

My companion is a native Russian. I just love her. She is so great. When she talks in Russian, I can't really understand her but that is okay because I know the language will come. She is so fun and very kind and patient. Though she doesn't understand why I say "thank you" so much. I told her it was because my mother always taught me to say it at least 3 times to someone when they give you something or they feed you or you go to their house... she said "well, you have said it many more time than three times." Haha.... she does not understand. Of course she commented that I also say "sorry" often, but I have been working on that. We get along very well. Sometimes I feel sad that I cannot understand, but it never lasts long because I just remind myself I just have to continue working hard...

I realized that I am the loudest typer here in the libary we are at,... woops. Those Americans...

Anyways, the food is delicious. I haven't not liked anything yet. I love it here, love the cold, the hats, the streets, the people, my companion. It is great. I don't really know what I am doing but that is okay because it will come. Sometimes I feel useless - I follow my companion around like a lost puppy! But I am still very happy. Very happy to be here. I just need to be patient.

We have not gone tracting or street teaching yet - we have had appointments! It is wonderful. The people here are so great. We have one investigator with a baptimsimal date. She was already sechedules for baptism before I came, and my companion told me she was golden and SHE IS! Oh she is wonderful. She runs with us in the morning. Yes, my companion and I run every morning in the chilly wind - it is refreshing. At first, I was slightly dissapointed because i felt I was not working because we were not out braving the cold and throwing Book of Mromons at everyoe; we just bounced from appointment to appointment then it was time to go home! I had so much fun I thought "is this really missionary work? Am I doing all I can?" but i guess teaching people is more important that teaching!" still, I feel like I am having more fun than I am working and THAT has me really worried! I want to do all that I can! What if I am slacking off? I don't want to do that in my first area. So then I think "Gah! I got to be doing more! I need to talk to more people on the buses!" Which is very hard to do when I can barely say "my name is" in Russian, let alone start a conversation with someone who has a set jaw and won't look at you! NO ONE speaks on the bus. They all look out the window or straight ahead... unless y ou are in love, if you are in love you stand in the corner of the bust with your arms wrapped around each other whispering sweet nothings as the bus jostles you about. I glance around, try to speak, and then find I have nothing to say because I don't KNOW HOW to say anything. Hahaha! And that is how it is for everything, not just the language, but with traveling, appointments, calling... everything! I think "I have to do more! I need to be more involved!" Then I realize... "oh, i have no  idea what Iam doing... so I start to follow my companion again, who pats me on the head and says something Russian that I can't understand.... but I think means something like "good dog." Just kidding, she does not pat me on the head. We walk arm in arm and talk and laugh as I attempt to speak Russian. I am really bad at Russian. And I mean, REALLY bad. But it is okay, it will come. I love it here!!

Okay, Now some slightly sad news: one of my bags got lost. Yes! I am so sad, but really it was a HUGE blessing because the bag that made it had my most handy and favourite clothes and all my books and most of my essentials. But, I lost many things in the other bag too and I was so sad! First, all my contacts, yes ALL of them, were in my other bag. So, good thing I have three very trendy pairs glasses I can sport. Second, I lost all my tolietries. I had my toothbrush, some eyeliner and mascara with me, but all of my makeup, deoderant, hair supplies, make up remover - gone. Lucikly I still have my oil of olay in my other bag, so I have that still! Then, I also lost some clothes and , the thing I am most sad about, the beautiful blue leather gloves that Dad bought me for my mission! I have been waiting all of the MTC to wear them and the day I could I realized they were in my other suitcase, lost somewhere in Russia... and I lost my green bag... SO SAD!!!! But, ti is okay, because everything I NEEDED made it to Russia... still, others were kind enough to donate bobbypins to me, so now I have four. I pin my bangs back everyday. It is easier that way.

So that is Russia. Now I will try to write small emails to you all. HOpe to hear from you soon!!!