Monday, May 30, 2016

Til' We Meet Again, Krasnodar

Well as you can tell from the title, I have been transferred! I will now be serving in Sochi! Although I am pretty heart broken about leaving Krasnodar, Sochi is the one place I have really wanted to serve in my whole mission. My new companion will be the one and only Elder Von Neidherhausern from Elder Riley Tucker's mission! I am pretty sure  my family was at his home ward just a couple weeks ago in Florida - crazy connections.(small world).  I will also be serving as the District Leader down there which will be an awesome opportunity, although I feel pretty unqualified. It will be a great experience. My district will be Elder Vonn and I, Elder Labizev who is Russian and the current Branch President, and his companion will be Elder David,  who was my companion in the MTC! Elder David and I got really close in the MTC and we have not seen each other, since the day we got to Russia! President knew how excited we would be to reunite, basically the whole mission knows that we miss each other,  so that will be awesome! That is all the big transfer news, here is more on my week! 

One awesome experience this week with our Recent Convert Yegor. When I asked him if he prayed about the Book of Mormon after we finished it, he just lit up. He told me that he cannot explain what he felt in words. He just kept saying how cool it was and he had these undeniable feelings. It was a pretty powerful testimony! He is getting ready to go to the temple with all the youth next Saturday! Sad I won't be here to hear about their temple experiences but I know they will love the Finland Temple! 

This week all of us missionaries worked on our Member Book- just a book with all the member info that helps us work with them. Between the 8 of us there was only one outdated book and so we worked long and hard to update it and get it copied into 4 books so now each companionship has one! It is going to help everyone who serves here to better help and strengthen this branch! 

Had a few service opportunities this week! Got to serve Andrei who I mentioned last week and it was great. We also served a member on Saturday and once we all started getting to work it just started pouring rain! We have had some crazy thunder and rain this week- harder than I have ever seen. So we all crowded into her house and sang some Russian hymns using one hymn book. 

We threw together another Meet the Mormons night this week instead of English Group and it was a success. We had active and less active members, investigators, and potential investigators. I think most people came for Sister Johnstun's fresh popped popcorn but they got to see the movie and learn more about who we are- normal people! 
Saturday night we had our final district meeting all together. Elder Johnstun gave a great spiritual thought about the difference between a testimony and a conversion! After that, we all went around and bore our testimonies, it got very emotional. I even teared up a little which is rare these days. I really love this district of missionaries, we have a family like bond and I will miss them dearly! 

Yesterday was my last Sunday in Krasnodar. I got to testify in Sacrament meeting along with Elder T and Sister Moore. I testified about love because that word just about sums up my 4 months in K-Dar. The branch is so loving and so many people thanked me for my service, wished me the best, and told me how beautiful Sochi is right on the Black Sea with palm trees and all that good stuff.  Looking forward to seeing it!!

Sunday night I went on a mini-split with Elder T,  to go to Vitya and his mom's home. After getting my documents checked for the first time by the police (grateful that I was with Elder T) we had a great visit with them. We discussed personal revelation and how to get it. I love what Vitya said - we must first have a desire to receive revelation before we pray to get it! I am sure going to miss Vitya and his mom, they have treated me like a member of their family. They do so much for the branch and are just incredible people. 

Well that is about all. I will be on a train with Elder David on Wednesday night to Sochi so I have a couple more days to work in Krasnodar and say goodbye. Krasnodar will always have a very, very special place in my heart. I can only pray that I will return to the K-Dar branch some day.  Hope you all have a great week and Memorial Day!!
Great day to remember those that have gone before us and for those that do so much for our country.  Thanks for all the love, and support!!  All my love,

-Elder Tucker//Старейшина Таккер
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Pictures - Service Crew, saying goodbye to the Johnstuns

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