It was a good week, went by pretty quick! Last Monday, I had a nightmare of a haircut and I am practically bald. It has become a big joke but it is pretty bad. Already growing back though! (thank goodness my hair grows fast, and no I will not be posting a picture).
In District Meeting this week we discussed commitments. We focused a lot on two of our most common commitments- praying and reading the Book of Mormon. President Miner has taught that giving that as a commitment without proper explanation or introduction is like asking all of us missionaries to go outside the branch and play a game of cricket. The way we pray and the Book of Mormon are foreign to most people here so as a district we came up with simple, clear ways to introduce these vital commitments for conversion/progression. Also discussed the importance of following up because even if you commit someone to read or pray and it is explained well, it will not mean anything without following up! We are all trying different approaches to see what really works and then we will discuss it this week!
It has been a good week with our investigators. Both Alexander and Nikolai came to church! We had a good lesson with Alexander just sticking to the fundamentals of reading, praying, and coming to church. He informed us that his Book of Mormon is down in Adler (outer city of Sochi) and that he is not there often so he humbly asked us for another so that he can read every night!
Nikolai had surgery this week and he asked us to visit him at the hospital and then we helped him get all his stuff out when he got released.
We met with our new investigator Samuel twice. He has tons of awesome questions and he loves that we embrace his questions and try to answer them rather than fear them. We are still in the very early stages of teaching him but there is a lot of potential!
The other Elders were forced out of their apartment a little earlier than expected and long story short, they moved into our apartmentnight. So we now have all four of us Elders living in one apartment which has its pros and cons. Love the other Elders, our apartment is just not made for 4 haha. Just hoping and praying we will find somewhere for them to move into soon.
Fast Sundays are always special and yesterday was no exception. We had our two investigators come and I am glad they did because it was a powerful meeting! Also had members from Volgograd and an awesome family from Moscow- dad of the family was a bishop up there and served his mission in New York. One testimony was so powerful and it was actually one of the shortest from a recent convert of less than two years. He is a quiet man but he boldly testified that he knows this Church is true. He shared his gratitude for the missionaries that found him two years ago and how he could not quit smoking for 40 years but thanks to the Gospel, he is about to mark 2 years without smoking! Made me tear up!
We had choir practice after Church which was great as always. It has helped us build relationships with some members and who doesn't love to sing in Russian? We prepared for our big Talent Night activitynight! Should be a good one. I will attach the translated "Song for Missionaries"- we actually had a member from St. Petersburg tell us the story behind it, it was written by the first converts in Russia to their missionaries.
Elder David and I will be heading up to Krasnodar this week and then off to Armenia for visa trip #3 so pray for our safety! Thanks for all your prayers, love and support!!
Till next week!
-Elder Tucker//Старейшина Таккер
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Picture of the song, and a picture of a typical with heat and humidity(haha)
Message from President and Sister Miner:
Parable of the Sunflower:
Our first few weeks in Russia were similar to many of yours. We were overwhelmed, jet lagged, hot and not used to the humidity and we really had not idea what people were saying (since we did not get 9 weeks in the MTC for language training). Our first two weeks were spent traveling the whole mission so we could quickly meet you wonderful missionaries. We quickly realized that there was no fast way to get around since there are only two lane roads between cities. Our backs began to hurt with all the swerving to miss the potholes that seemed to cover most of the roads. We decided our back pain was from PES pothole evasion syndrome. I was tired and discouraged and felt like I could not do this for three years. I was having a prayerful moment in the car when I looked up and saw these beautiful fields of giant sunflowers. It was as if God was telling me that I could see the potholes in the road during this mission or I could look up and see the beautiful sunflowers. This was God's way of helping me see the beauty around me. This is the season for sunflowers and I was reminded of this experience this weekend as we came upon the sunflowers!! I hope we can all see the sunflowers around us!!
I hope all of us, like Pres, and Sister Miner can look up and see the beauty around us, instead of the potholes.