Wednesday, October 28, 2015

In Russia

Hi All,
  Elder Zach Tucker has made it to Russia, after two very,very long days.  He is
staying the night in the mission home.  Tomorrow, he will have orientation and
will meet his trainer.  Then he will be off to his new area.  He was happy, excited,
and a little nervous.  Thanks for all the love, support and prayers.  More details
to come....

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Goodbye Provo

This will probably be the last you here from me as far as my MTC stay goes! It has flown by down here, however these last days have been dragging a little.

Last Friday we got our flight plans! SLC to JFK to Moscow to Rostov! We have like a 9 hour layover in New York and 10 hours in Moscow or something like that. Should be fun! 

I'm mostly going to write about this past Sunday, it was an incredible day. In the morning we had a great Sacrament meeting where our Branch President Heaps talked to us, he is incredible. I am sure going to miss our Branch Presidency, my district has gotten real close with them. My district sang in Sacrament on Sunday. We sang Be Still My Soul. First verse, was the 4 good singers in the district, then second verse was just the elders, and third verse was all of us in Russian. It was awesome.

Sunday after dinner I had a life altering experience. A Sister in my district asked me to give her a Priesthood Blessing for comfort. I had never given a blessing before, I never realized how special blessings are. Anyways, I was pretty nervous but prayed before and when the blessing started I have never felt more peace and comfort in my life. I don't even know what I said, I just hope I was able to help her! Pretty incredible to experience first hand, the power of the Priesthood, something I had not fully appreciated or understood until Sunday night. 

Sunday Night Devotional we had BYU's own Chad Lewis and the one and only Taysom Hill. I know what you are all thinking and yes it was kind of painful to hear from the rivals themselves. However, they both had strong testimonies and awesome experiences. Taysom said something along the lines of, "I have played in front of countless fans in some of the biggest stadiums in the country, but nothing has ever compared to the experience of serving a mission." Pretty cool to hear. 

Language Update:
I've been focusing all on grammar with Sister Warnick and we have made a lot of progress. My teacher complimented mine and Elder David's grammar after the last lesson which always feels great because his Russian is flawless. I've accepted the fact that getting to Russia will be a huge slap in the fact as far as the language goes. But I am so excited to hear from and talk to real Russians and try to immerse myself into their culture and language! 

I can't believe it is time for me to actually get into the mission field. I have had D&C 4 memorized for many years now,  because we recite it, every Sunday at my home ward, but it has never meant more to me than it does now! Brother Allen from our Branch Presidency read it last night and it hit me hard.

I'm going to Russia with two 50 pound bags and very minimal Russian. However, I do have a testimony of this Gospel and that is just about all I ever need.  Thanks for all the prayers, love and support!!

Next stop: Russia!

-Elder Tucker

On a side note earlier today-in his email - "You are not going to believe the hour we all just had. Rumors were
flying,  that all Rostov missionaries were getting reassigned for 6 weeks, I was way bummed,  I said a prayer,
then went to the travel office and right as they told me that I was reassigned to the Virginia, Chesapeake mission, a lady in the back said "all the Rostov visas came" so wow, what a miracle!!"  Leaving to Rostov as planned.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

50 !!

Today is my 50 day mark! Only 12 days till I'm Rostov bound! 

It has been another good week in Provo. Here is why:

Let me tell you there is no bigger testimony builder for me than seeing my best friends leave Provo going all over the world. I've even had the chance to hear them speak their new languages and it just gives me chills. The Gift of Tongues is real! I've said it before and I'll say it again, I have the best friends in the world and they are going to be responsible for so much good in their new states/countries. All the places my friends are serving, don't know how lucky they are to have such studs preaching them the truth they need to hear! But having such good examples makes it real hard to say bye! Love you all! 

So this week all the older Russians left and all the ones that left to the Spain MTC so now my district is next to leave. The fact that we go to Russia so soon is pretty intimidating,  but I am so excited. Last night we heard from a member of the Presidency of the Seventy and he talked about how all of this is just the beginning for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. How we started with one named Joseph Smith and now there are 15 million of us. He promised that we would tell our kids that we remember when there  was ONLY 15 million members. I of course thought of how I hope to tell my kids that when I served in Rostov there were only 14 branches and 0 temples in the whole country. I'm truly honored to go to Russia at such a special time when there is much work to be done. I know when I'm older Russia will be home to temples and more stakes, wards, branches, and members than we can imagine! 

Spiritual Thought: Sister Warnick shared with me Alma 31: 30-35 this week and called it A Missionary's Prayer- check it out. It is powerful!

Language Update: Yesterday when I was kinda down about friends leaving, Elder David and I taught our best lesson to our teacher/investigator Oleg. He even told us after that it felt different and that we did a good job. That always feels good, especially when it is all in Russian. Bringing people unto Christ makes me happier than anything, but it is quite hard to do in a new language! I'll get there with the language though!

In Skype this week with actual Russians we got complimented on our Russian which was also good to hear. We both know they are just being nice because our Russian is FAR from where it needs to be but I love Skyping the members!
I think that is all from me this week. 12 days cannot come soon enough!! 
GO UTES! Go Rams!
All my love,

-Elder Tucker

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Conference Christmas

привет! (Hi!)
Another week down and 19 days left in Provo!
Wow it has been quite the week. Mostly because of General Conference,  but I'll talk about that later on. 
HOW ABOUT THEM UTES!? Are you kidding me?? Ranked 5th and bringing Game Day to town. I am so proud of them and wearing my Ute socks right now. 
Let's talk conference aka the equivalent to Christmas for us missionaries.
Here's what I loved about conference:
1. I loved watching and thinking that my friends and family throughout the world,  were watching the same broadcast. I felt so connected to those I love and miss , and it made me so happy. 
2. Watching conference as a missionary is a whole new experience. It means so much more to me now as a representative of Jesus Christ and this Church, with his name always displayed on my chest. 
3. The talk about simplifying the gospel from President Uchtdorf- it was very applicable to me as a missionary! There were multiple talks I loved , that also mentioned callings and how the Lord will help us magnify our callings if we put in the effort. 
4. The whole talk from Larry R. Lawrence on Saturday morning was pure gold. 
5. Jeffrey R. Holland's talk on mothers. He stressed how the two most important people are our Savior and our moms. Cried the whole time thinking about my incredible mom watching the same thing undoubtedly thinking about her two missionaries. I am so blessed to call Pam Tucker my mom even though I take it for granted. I love you so much mom. 
6. Russell M. Nielsen's talk on women. It was incredible! I thought of all the incredible women in my life. Grandma, Mom, Megan, and Lexi- you mean the world to me. I would be no where without you four. Never forget how crucial you are to us men. 
7. Thomas S. Monson. It is always a pleasure to hear from our prophet that we all take for granted. I think it was a major wake up call of how much we take him for granted when he started leaning on the pulpit and struggled to finish his talk. Just about broke my heart. I absolutely adore that man! We are so lucky to have him at the head of the Church. His message on being a light to the world was inspiring. 

Sunday night I went to the talk "Recognizing the Spirit" given by Elder Bednar at the MTC a while ago. It was a game changer for me. It is about 45 mins long if any of you wanna look it up. There is one video I want you all to watch that is only about 15 minutes. It is about a kid who served in Latvia and it pretty accurately depicts all that I am going through and will go through. Elder Braxton Chipman suggested I watch it and it changed everything for me! Here is the link:

Language update:
So on Monday we got to do Skype TRC where we Skype a member in Russia and teach a lesson! We got a бабушка (grandma) which everyone wants. She lives in St. Petersburg and she was awesome. She said we spoke good Russian and just went on about how she loves missionaries. Got me soooo excited for the members in Rostov, I know I will love them so much! Speaking of Rostov, last week in normal TRC here at the MTC, we taught a kid and his mom and he got home from Rostov 4 weeks ago. But in TRC we cannot use English, we even asked можно по-английски (which means may we speak english) so we could talk about Rostov and he said no so we couldn't ask much about it and it was kind of awkward but cool. 

Huge shout out to loyal blog readers Emma and Sue Merrill. And big HBD to Emma! 

I love you all! Keep me and the people of Rostov in your prayers! Till next week!

старейшина Tucker