Monday, June 6, 2016

Sun, Sweat, Stairs, Sochi !!

Greetings from Sochi!! 

So beginning of last week was a lot of packing and goodbyes in Krasnodar.. But nothing too sad because I will be up there often. 

Wednesday morning, said bye to Elder T and reunited with Elder David after 7 months of not seeing each other. We were so happy and excited to get to caught up. We have both grown and improved a lot, yet our friendship is still as great as it was in the MTC. 
Wednesday night we headed to the train station in Krasnodar where Mihael met us. He helped us get our bags on the train and waited right outside the window until the train took off for Sochi, it was a tender moment. I will never forget Mihael or my time in Krasnodar! 

Arrived in Sochi Wednesday night just after 11 PM. We hauled my heavy suitcases up the 314 (counted last night) stairs up to our apartment on a large hill. Lots and lots of stairs here in the hills and mountains! Feels like I am always hiking. 

So let me try to explain Sochi. For one, I honestly feel like I am in a whole new country. Sochi is so green and tropical like Hawaii but has hills and mountains like California/Utah. It is very hot and humid- I have been sweating since I got here (because our apartment only has a/c in the bedroom and no where else). When it is not sunny outside it pours rain, harder than I have ever seen rain fall. I am still adjusting to this beautiful place with palm trees everywhere and just in general to the new climate and new area of streets and everything! I never thought just a few hours on a train would make me feel like I am in a whole new world! 

This week was my first District Meeting as District Leader! It went well, I really love the Sochi District, me and three other Elders. This week we just covered lots of material from the Zone Leaders, in preparation for this week's Zone Conference.  As a mission, are bringing back some former tools to help us teach and all be unified in how we teach. We are all looking forward to this upcoming Zone Conference! 

Right now Elder Vonn and I have an investigator pool of 6! We are teaching Vladimir, Amil, Mihael, Alexander, and two named Sergei. I have only met a few of them and they are great. None are progressing quite yet but we will be working hard with them to get them to keep their commitments and come closer to Christ! Also have some sweet potential investigators that we will meet with soon! 

Speaking of Elder Vonn, I love him! He is such a great person and missionary. He is a hard worker and is a happy man. It would be impossible to not get along with him. We are working well together and have some awesome companionship studies. Our very first lesson together with an investigator was more unified and smooth than any I have had in the past, a lot of that is thanks to the unified teaching we are seeking throughout the mission. Elder Vonn is still showing me all the ropes of Sochi and I am just loving serving with him! We are going to see lots of miracles together! 

Yesterday was my first Sunday in the Sochi branch! The branch here is on the 4th floor of a business center called "Sochi Center" so I am still getting used to that. But, the members are awesome. We had about 35 here yesterday- most the members are older or really young (like primary), we also had members from around Russia who are vacationing here. There was an awesome connection made between me and a couple members from my first area Volzhiky! One family here, who I remember seeing pictures of in Volzhiky, had just moved out before I got to Volzhiky. They brought with them another member from Volzhiky who lives here now and I actually saw here one Sunday in Volzhiky. She thought it was quite the miracle that I was up there the one Sunday she was and the fact that I know her daughter Lily who served in Salt Lake if you remember me talking about her way back, when I was in Volzhiky. It was just crazy to have that connection all from the little town of Volzhiky! 
Mom! Your friend was in K Dar yesterday and that was crazy too. Everyone loved her and even crazier, her husband apparently helped reactivate my former companion Elder T when he was inactive for a bit, many years ago. Lots of connections!!

Well that is about all. I cannot describe Sochi very well but I love it here. Such an awesome place and the people and members I have met so far have been very welcoming, warm, and loving.  

We will be heading up to Krasnodar in two days to do splits with the Zone Leaders and then we will have Zone Conference up there so we will be up there from Wednesday to Saturday! I will try to get some good pictures of Sochi to send next week! 

Pray that our fridge will start working! We have spoiled milk, mold and etc. We are a little hungry!!

Hope you all have a great week!!  Thanks for all the updates, love, prayers and support!!

pic - Elder David and I reunited! 

-Elder Tucker//Старейшина Таккер
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