Monday, June 13, 2016

Return to Krasnodar

Hey everyone! Hope all is well with you! It is blue skies and a very hot day,  here in Sochi! But as the title says, most this week was spent in Krasnodar! 

Wednesday night we left Sochi and took the train up to Krasnodar.  We arrived late in the evening, just in to to go to bed, so that we were rested up for splits with the Zone Leaders on Thursday.

Thursday I was on splits with Elder Barlocker, who was one of my Zone Leaders back in Volgograd. He is about two months from going home and is someone I look up to! The biggest thing I learned from him is a new approach, to working with members. They have been asking members to help them improve our teaching so that it is more relatable and powerful to the Russian people. I learned a lot from our meeting, we got a lot of helpful feedback from the members we met with! 

Thursday night was awesome because we got to attend the final activity for the youth, before they leave for their highly anticipated temple trip! I got to reunite with all of my dear brothers and sisters in Krasnodar. It was really funny because no one knew I was coming and most would  just wave to me after I waved to them and then they would do a double take and realize it was me. Yegor was so shocked and the rest of the night was just hugging me and sitting with me. One younger member, Dima, had a full conversation with me but did not realize who I was until Yegor told him. Then he was just staring at me saying "Enormous person (my nickname up there), is it really you?" It felt so good to be back with all of them! 

After the activity, Elder Barlocker translated for President Miner and I translated for Elder Johnstun as all the youth got their Temple Recommends. I wish you all could have seen how happy and excited they were just to hold that piece of paper in their hands! It was powerful. They all got on a train Saturday morning and probably are just getting there today or even tomorrow- multiple days on the train! All for the temple!  That is dedication!!

Friday we had an incredible Zone Conference. The Krasnodar Zone is full of incredible missionaries and it was great to be able to learn and grow with some of my best missionary friends. The main focus was going in depth into our new teaching approach. It is really all the fundamentals of missionary teaching but we just have more structure now and everyone is on the same page. It is a new thing and will require work and practice but it is going to strengthen our mission and our teaching! Also had a cool spiritual experience. Last Sunday, part of my fast was to learn how to be humble in myself, yet confident in God and my calling as a missionary. President Miner talked all about humility in our Zone Conference and I received more guidance than I thought I ever would. I did not tell anyone that I fasted for that, yet the Lord knew and he delivered. Fasting works, I know it! 

Friday night after Conference ended, we met up with Vitya and his mom! It was so great to be back with them! I never thought I would miss Krasnodar so much, especially after just one week! 

Saturday we got up at 5 AM and headed to the train station. On the train ride home we had our own little room with just the four of us Sochi Elders and beds for each of us. It was a longer ride, but  the last few hours were on the coast of the Black Sea, fun to see!!

Yesterday was a great Sabbath. Last Monday on our way to write home, a lady stopped us and asked if we were the Mormon missionaries. She then introduced herself as an in-active member who had just arrived to Sochi. We got her our information and she came to church yesterday! Seemed like she had a great experience, so that was an awesome tender mercy - it is not every day we get stopped by members of the Church on the street. Also our new investigator Nikolai,  came to church! He was with us for all three hours but then did not have time to meet afterwards so we will see him later this week.  Wahoo!!

Last night and tonight we are in early due to "Russia Day" celebrations. So happy Russia Day!!  Until next week! 

Much love!

-Elder Tucker//Старейшина Таккер
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Pictures - Black Sea,  Streets of Sochi, Palm Trees, Me and the Olympic Rings, Zone Conference, Missionaries waiting to get their mail.  (a little overload on the pics - but I knew my mom would love them!!).

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