I will try to make as much sense as possible. First I must establish several facts.
1. I'm Mormon.
2. I'm taking 2 years away from the United States Naval Academy to serve an 18 month mission trip in the Russia Rostov-na-Donu mission. If you look at the background of the blog, the region I'll be in is essentially right in the middle. Between Ukraine and Kazakhstan, as far southwest as you can go in Russia.
3. I won't have access to the Facebook, phones, or many other modern forms of communication for that time. I will be able to write emails to friends and family once a week. This blog was created to be a home for the emails and pictures I send for those of you who don't really want to get 78 emails from me, because that's how many weeks are in 18 months.
4. I will miss you, probably, unless I don't know you!
This type of mission trip is common for Mormons, and since the age requirements changed, it has exploded. When I was a plebe (freshman) at Navy, I didn't think it would be possible for me to take time off of school and serve the Lord (not to mention have a fantastic adventure) due to the Academy's own requirements. But now it is possible, and I'm doing it.
An LDS mission is a little different from what a typical non-LDS (Mormon) person thinks a mission is. You can read a little bit about it here, also here, (one of the chicks there was in the same place I'm going to) but I'll give my own version.
I'll be issued a best friend. She'll probably be from Utah. No matter what, I'll have to call her Sister Whatever-her-last-name-is. We will have to LITERALLY be with each other 24/7. The only time we can be out of each other's sight is when we're showering, going to the bathroom, or something like that. Together, Sister Someone and I will wake up early, put on Russian nametags, and go out into the world to talk to anyone who will listen to us about the Gospel. Whenever we find an opportunity to help someone, we will help them. I imagine I'm going to be shoveling a lot of Russian snow. We'll teach English classes. We'll do a lot of our own personal scripture study, and we'll do companion study together. And then, every 2 months, I get a different best friend.
I hope this cleared up some confusion. Oorah.