Monday, July 11, 2016

One Crazy Week!!

Hello everyone! Well as the title says, it really was a crazy week with a lot of news. 

First off, last Tuesday was full of miracles. We had no appointments scheduled so we were just going to be on the streets the whole day. In the morning, however, our phone would not stop ringing with people calling us to meet! We ended up having 4 lessons in one day which is probably common in other missions but I think it was the first time for me! That is more lessons than we had all of last week! And all of our meetings went super well and we have seen huge progress in our investigators. 

Wednesday night, Elder David and I left Sochi for Krasnodar on a way nice train. Got up at about 4 AM on Thursday morning to get to the airport. Flew to Moscow, then Armenia, and then directly back to Krasnodar which was so nice! We got back by like 6 PM- way earlier than usual. Unfortunately, I had a pretty sick stomach on the trip which made for some long flights but turned out fine. We had a smooth trip and it was fun to see all the missionaries in the Krasnodar Zone. In Krasnodar we had to wait a while to finally get through passport control but the guards were being so nice and they were just laughing with us. We were the very last people in the whole airport then someone finally yelled "OK!" and they let us through.

Thursday as we were getting back into Russia, President Miner called with transfers. It was earlier than usually to get transfer calls and I assumed there would be no change on my end, boy was I wrong. "Hello Elder Tucker, this is President calling with transfers. I had you staying in Sochi for a while but I was wrong. I need you to come up to Rostov and be a Zone Leader, can you do that for me?" I was pretty shocked, honestly, just because I was sure that I would be in Sochi for a long time. My new companion will be Elder Schumway and I will be up in Rostov- the biggest zone of missionaries and the biggest branch in the mission. Lots of change coming my way and I feel pretty unqualified, but I have found great comfort studying one of my Book of Mormon heroes, Captain Moroni. He became leader over all the armies of the Nephites at age 25 and has incredible leadership attributes. Grateful for the scriptures! 

Thursday night in Krasnodar,  I got to see the Johnstuns and tell them that I am leaving. Might not see them until they head home in September, sure love those two! Thursday night our train left at midnight back to Sochi and we arrived at 6 AM in Sochi Friday morning. 

Friday we got our second wave of mission changing news. The Anti-Missionary bill has passed and will become law on July 20. Starting July 20th, we will not be allowed to share the gospel outside of our church building. All of the details are unclear for now, but it was pretty devastating to hear. We have been asked to spend as much time as possible on the streets until then and all the missionaries are boldly following that guidance. We are working our hearts out and expecting miracles. We know God has a plan and although we might not know how this will all work out, it will. Just need to press forward with faith, through this trial! 

Yesterday was my last Sunday in Sochi! I was able to testify in sacrament meeting and most the members were shocked that I am already leaving. They expressed their gratitude for my service and told me how they already love me and don't want me to go. Elder Vonn and I unexpectedly taught Gospel Principles in the second hour and then after church the Relief Society Sisters came and got me. They all sang the Missionary Song I sent home last week to me. They even put my name in at the end. It was pretty special, I am going to miss the great people here! 

Unfortunately, as Church went on, I kept getting sicker and sicker. Had a temperature and body aches so we went home right after. I spent the rest of Sunday, resting, drinking a lot of fluids, and packing as Sister Miner directed. Last night Elder David gave me an amazing blessing and I am so thankful for the Priesthood. I am feeling so much better today it is like a complete turnaround.

Well today we are going down to the Olympic Park where all the stadiums and stuff are from the Olympics. Tonight at 8 PM we will board a train and I will be off to Rostov with Elder Vonn- we arrive in Rostov early Tuesday morning. It was a solid transfer here in Sochi. Both Elder Vonn and I feel like we got a lot done and improved the area. I am sure going to miss this beautiful place and my great companion and district. But, like Nephi, I will go and do the things the Lord commands!  Thanks for all the love, prayers and support!!

Till Rostov-na-Donu!
-Elder Tucker//Старейшина Таккер
Строка за строкой

Pictures of train ride to Krasnodar, last picture of our district together in Sochi (yes my hair is short/dark-but it will grow).  Picture of the black sea from the train.

This is not from Zach- this is from his mom.  Elder Zach Tucker has a birthday on July 20th.  If you would like to send a birthday wish to him, he would love to hear from you.  Send it by Sunday, July 17th.  His email is:    Love to all of you!!   

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