Well I will start with the big news in regards to transfers!we had to be in most of the day, without water as a repair took place and we were just anxiously awaiting our call from President. It felt like waiting for a mission call again! President got on the phone and told us he was making some changes and said, "Elder Tucker, you won the lottery." So my new area is Krasnodar and the biggest news is my new companion is a native Russian and one of the Zone Leaders there! Krasnodar is on the complete opposite side of the mission, down south and I have heard nothing but good things. Having a Russian companion is the biggest blessing in the world, it is like everyone's dream. It is really rare because most of our Russians serve in an area where Americans are not allowed right now so I did indeed win the lottery!
It was a way good, busy week!
Spent a couple days here in Volzhky on splits with one Zone Leader, Elder Barlocker who is such a stud! Learned a lot from him and we had a good time together! He is from Enterprise, Utah and is known for breaking horses. He is such a hard worker and he has served as District Leader, Assistant to the President, Counselor in Branch Presidency and Zone Leader. He is the best!
Got to visit Fergie a couple times this week as well as our most recent convert Andre. She made me my first Borsch and then we made it with her the second time- it was so good! We had some good lessons with them and Fergie was at church once again this week! Wahoo!!
We had President and Sister Miner with us the other night in Volzhky so that we could have interviews and Sister Miner could check our apartment. It was so great to have them over, they are simply the best ever!!
Yesterday was a big, sad day. First of all the District Presidency was in Volzhky to make some callings! We got us a Russian Branch President and 1st Counselor and Financial Secretary! It was so awesome, some members were raising both hands to sustain them and before it was even asked for. The branch was so excited and we finally had 20 in attendance!
I was able to give a short talk/testimony and announce my departure. I shared Mosiah 4:3 and related it to how I have felt every week at church here in Volzhky. Then it was time for goodbyes. Everyone was so sweet to me wishing me the best of luck and happiness. They all told me I have to come back and I can only hope and pray that I will be able to. They all told me how nice and warm Krasnodar is and they were just giving me so many compliments and it was too nice of them! Had some hard goodbyes and a few tears shed. I never thought I would fall in love with a place this quickly but this branch will always have a piece of my heart! I have learned and grown so much here and will never forget these people! (hard to say goodbye)
Last night we went into Volgograd and I got to participate in the setting apart of our new Branch President and he told President Miner how special Elder Barnes and I have been, unlike any missionaries before he said. It was really nice of him. Then we had a great fireside and I got to say goodbye to the missionaries and the members in Volgograd who I also have so much love for.
It has been hard to say bye but I am really excited for a new area and companion. I hear the Krasnodar branch is big and really well established with some incredible members so that will be awesome. I am leaving behind my big winter coat and many memories but looking forward to the future!
This week I have learned that I know from the bottom of my heart that I am supposed to be in this exact mission at this exact time. I just simply know it. How great is my calling! Love to you all!!