Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Apple Seeds

Здравствуйте! (Hello!),

In 4 weeks time I will be in Russia!

To start completely off topic, how about them Utes! When I heard the score of that game (and about BYU getting beat) I went to our residence, put on my Ute apparel, and celebrated. I am so proud of them. The blessings of missionary work are clearly already working, you are welcome Ute Nation! All jokes aside, I am the proudest Ute fan Provo has ever had haha. GO UTES! Sunday night, our devotional speaker made all the Ute fans stand and informed us we were ranked 10th. He then said "BYU fans, you just remain seated." He was so funny about that and about missionaries getting written off from girlfriends and other stuff.

It has been a great week! Some cool experiences this week:

Sunday was thankfully my second and final fast Sunday in Provo. But we had a huge surprise. Elder/President Kacher was in town for conference, he is in the area presidency over all the Russian and Ukraine missions. So we had a spur of the moment meeting with just us Russian speakers and the General Authority himself. It was so awesome, he answered our questions and he is a great guy. Coolest part is his next mission tour is in Rostov just 2 days after I get there! So he told me to find him when him and his wife get there. His best line was, "We got to our home in Midway the other night. We have a beautiful home up there. But I walked in and said to my wife, "This is not home, Russia is our home now."" Gave me chills because Russia will be my home so soon! 

Monday we got to watch Elder Scott's funeral which was a nice break from the routine schedule. What a life that man lived! Powerful messages were given and it is always a delight to hear from our incredible Prophet Thomas S. Monson. Speaking of that, the MTC is buzzing with General Conference being this weekend. Everyone, including myself, is pumped! Going to be the best weekend! It is not everyday you get to watch conference as a missionary,  surrounded by 2,000+ missionaries. Going to enjoy it! 

Last night we heard from Elder Costa who is in the Presidency of the Seventy, over Brazil and that area. This week I have heard a couple times that Brazil used to be like Russia - hard people and few baptisms. Brazil now has over 30 missions I believe, and they baptize like crazy. Got me excited! Anyways he was awesome and his best line was, "You can always count how many seeds are in an apple, but it is impossible to know how many apples come from the seeds." His point was we will never know the effect of our mission, whether we have high numbers or not, until the next life. He is a convert and is now a General Authority and all of his kids have been married in the temple and his grand kids are being born into the gospel. All it takes is one baptism to change generations!

Russian is going well. I have 5/6 of the Russian grammar cases memorized so I'll have them all memorized by tomorrow

Love all of you more than you know. The packages, mail, and emails go a long way for us missionaries! I am so lucky to have the people I have in my life and to be able to be a servant of the Lord for the next two years!
Till next week,

-Elder Tucker

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Zdrastvooy family and friends!

I am almost at my halfway mark here at the MTC! Time is going pretty fast and every day down is another day closer to Russia! We are anxiously awaiting the new Russian speakers coming today, our zone is getting 33 newbies! 

This week has been pretty solid.  Sunday night we had Lloyd Newell with us and we did the MTC and the Spoken Word. I was in the choir with about 1,000 other Elders and Sisters. Some pretty powerful hymns! 

The biggest thing I have learned this week is faith. I have had lots of questions this week and even some doubts about certain topics discussed in class. But, I realized that faith is exactly what I was lacking. Faith means to not have a perfect knowledge, to not see, but to believe. So although I do not know everything about this gospel and I am far from knowing Russian, I do have faith. Faith is so key, it is the first principle of this Gospel. Hopefully I can remember that throughout the next two years and throughout my life!

My companion and I had a big milestone this week. We committed our "investigator" to baptism! We had to memorize the baptismal comittment our first week here in Russian and I was so pumped to finally use it. Luckily he said yes and it was awesome. Although it is just our teacher pretending to be a man named Oleg, the Spirit is still felt and we are still preaching the word of God in a new language. Pretty incredible if you ask me! 

Big shoutout to one of my greatest friends Molly Vroom, Happy Birthday! 

I am doing just fine and loving being a missionary. Continue to pray for me and this language! Much love,

Elder Tucker

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Lead, Kindly Light

Zdrastvooytye everyone!
Another week down in Provo, and one week closer to Russia! I honestly can not explain how lucky I feel to be going to the Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission! It sounds crazy but I have a new, genuine appreciation for Russia- my home for the next two years!
This week I was asked to be the new District Leader and of course, I accepted. I am in thee greatest district of all time and getting to be there leader is such an honor. Seriously I have gotten so close with this group and we have so much love for each other and quite the bond! 
We said goodbye to 35 Elders and Sisters this week that are off to Russia and Ukraine! Thankfully we are getting tons of newbies next Wednesday which we are all pumped for! 
Yesterday we had a huge surprise for us- we got our Russian name tags! Usually those do not come until you are about a week or two from leaving. So we got ours way early. We cannot wear them here but they look sweet! 
Fun fact of the week, I am in love with hymns. That is something I never thought I would say but it is all we can listen to so I blast MoTab every day. The hymn Lead, Kindly Light has a special place in my heart. I have to hold back my tears when we sing it ,in Russian and English- it is my favorite.  Listen to it !!

I am so happy and loving being a missionary. You can feel the Spirit in our lessons (although they are purely in Russian). This gospel is and always will be true, it is my job and privilege to share it with the people of Rostov!
As always, thanks for the emails, Dear Elders, packages, love, and support. Truly keeps me going. 
-Elder Tucker

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Elder Fairbanks

Another week down in Provo! Things are going well minus the fact that everyone here including yours truly is sick. Also, Russian is still Russian and it can be quite discouraging at times. But I am having a good time, I have been blessed with the greatest district, but we had lots of tears shed this week saying goodbye to Elder Fairbanks.
Elder Fairbanks was actually born in Russia but was adopted at a young age and lives in Indiana. That kid knew how to brighten my day no matter what. He was so funny and I would take him to all my friends so he could do his unreal impersonation of Liam Neeson and the Joker! Seeing him go home was hard on us all but we know it was the right decision for him. We all love you Justin Fairbanks! 
Other than that, the week has been great. Last Wednesday I got to see Elder Hannes du Randt and Elder Braxton Chipman right as they got to the MTC. There is nothing like running up to some of my best friends for a big old hug. Honestly keeps me going. Took me a while to find Elder Ben Randle but I did and he is doing great! We said bye to Elder Calvin Cook last night as he left for Des Moines this morning. He will be great! 
I thank you all for the love and support. I got 5 Dear Elders the other day AND a package and the happiness that brings me is almost equivalent to hearing about my Utes! Already ranked only one week in? Yes I am reppin my Ute socks in Provo today. 
Everyone please continue to keep in touch and keep me in your prayers- especially for the gift of tongues. Russian has been quite the struggle for me.
Go Rams, Go Utes! 
Till next week,
PICS: My district at the temple
Me and Fairbanks 
-Elder Tucker

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

David & Goliath

I survived my first week in Provo! The first few days were really really tough. I missed the first lesson on the Russian alphabet and everything, so I was behind.  Since I arrived at the MTC at 1:45 and the class started at 1:00 pm. and everyone else either knew some Russian or even dedicated their whole summer to learning it,  so it was pretty discouraging for me,  to be the worst one. But it has gotten better. Russian is 100% jibberish and the alphabet looks like a dyslexic English speaker made it,  but it is also the coolest language here (not biased).
My companion is Elder David (pronounced Duh-vid) and he is a wrestler from West Jordan. He is quite small so we have received the nickname David and Goliath. I love him and my whole district, everyone is great. There are soo many Russian speaking missionaries so we all do everything together as we are encouraged to SYL (Speak Your Language) at every opportunity. We even have sacrament in Russian - Russian hymns are the coolest. 
I really have started to appreciate this place (even the gross food and cold drops of water, called showers) I really am happy!
We got to hear from Dallin H. Oaks last night which was a pretty big deal. I also got to watch "Character of Christ" last night and I highly recommend it,  although it is to missionaries. Also Preach My Gospel is so great. And the scriptures! Also look up Kiev UkraineTemple Celebration, there is a video that brought us all to tears but it is all in Russian and other languages. 
I love this gospel and the comfort it brings to me! I also love getting mail so please use if you can! I love you all, the support keeps me going!
-Elder Tucker