Monday, August 29, 2016

Hump Day!!

Hey everyone!

It has been a monumental week on the mission!

Started the week by getting to spend some time with Elder David as he was coming through for a transfer. We were able to meet with his former investigator that lives here in Rostov. Always so good to see him, to get caught up on things.

We went back to the animal shelter and had quite the miracle this week! Usually we go there and talk with the workers and do whatever they need done and usually we are the only ones there with the workers. This time, though, there was another 20 year old guy volunteering there so we were with him the whole time. His name is Vlad and we became good friends with him, in little time. He came up to the statue with us after to eat and chat. It was quite the miracle because we cannot actively seek out people like that and even with him we could not share the gospel but we were able to invite him to the talent show that I will write more about later. Unfortunately, he studies in Moscow and just left today to go back but he says he will for sure call us and come back to the Church when he is in town, in a couple months. It was great to see that as we serve others, we are indeed sharing the gospel, just not verbally. As President Uchtdorf once said, "Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words." That is what we do now- preach by our example and relying on the Lord to put prepared people in our paths! 

Thursday I got to spend the whole day with my Russian brothers Elders Belan and Tolokonnikov. They came in from Crimea for our Leadership Council and Elder Shumway was on a visa trip so I got to be with them the whole day. We were able to go to a District Meeting in the Zapadny District where we have four great volunteers. We have a new District Leader out there and he did a great job- he did the whole meeting in Russian to accommodate to one of our Russian volunteers, which is pretty impressive! Overall, it was a great day with some of my favorite people, it will be sad to see those two Elders head home next month! 

Friday was my Hump Day on the mission and it was a busy day! Started the day at the Mission Home for Leadership Conference. It was so great to be back in the beautiful mission home- I had not been there since the day I got here last October (first time feeling carpet in 10 months!) We had a good discussion and looked at some different stats and just where to go next in the mission and how to get there. We will be discussing all that we covered at our Zone Conference in a couple weeks which is led by us with Sister Jameson- our Sister Training Leader.

Right after VLC we headed to the branch for District Meeting. It was different to just be a part of the district rather than leading the meeting. Elder Macabee did a great job for his first time and we have another solid group here in the Rostov District. As I mentioned last week, we got both new volunteers in our district, Sister Domnikova and Elder Clement, who are both doing so well already! 

Friday night we had our first weekly sports/game night. We as volunteers are doing that weekly because we can invite people to activities like that but that is about all we can do. Sports Night helps get people we taught in the past or are currently teaching to the branch and interacting with us and members and it is a ton of fun. We had only four this week because we threw it together last minute but they were all non members and had a great time. Played lots of ping pong and some charades.

Friday being my one year mark really caused me to reflect on the past and look ahead to the future. I came to the conclusion that it was my time to recommit to everything- to my purpose, to the Lord, to the language, and to giving it my all for this last year. This first year flew by and although I have grown and improved, there is still a lot of work to still be done! As of now, even the thought of returning home in a year is very frightening. I am eternally grateful for the past 365 days and I am beyond ecstatic that I have a whole year to improve myself and help others find the truth and happiness that comes from the Gospel of Jesus Christ! 

Saturday night was our branch talent show! All of us volunteers, but especially the sisters, did a lot to put together that activity. We had about 40 people show up and there was some great performances. As I mentioned, Vlad came and absolutely loved it! He even cried a little while the young women sang a song about the Savior. It was great to have him come and talk with him and get him to make friends with the members, everyone loved him and asked him to come to church! It was a really successful activity! 

Sunday was a great day at Church! We were not in Primary because our callings should be changing soon. After Church we went to Sister Ludmila and listened to the talk "A Summer with Great Aunt Rose" by President Uchtdorf and she loved it. If you want to understand what Sister Ludmila is like, read that talk, she is just like Great Aunt Rose. Sunday she even got up and started tap dancing for us in her slippers, keep in mind she is pretty old and blind. We love her so much! 

Today we got to go play some futbol, frisbee, and football all together then went to some service for a member. One of our tasks at service was to move a washing machine and it was not fitting through the door so the member said, Let's stop and pray!" And literally right after, it went through. She has so much faith and such a strong testimony! She and her son heard that I am from Salt Lake and it was like I became a celebrity after that. They were asking me how many times I have been to the temple and they explained how bad they want to go there. Always feeling grateful for the blessed life I have! Thanks for all the support, love and prayers!!

Love you all! Till next week! 

-Elder Tucker//Старейшина Таккер
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Pictures: Hump Day, popsicle on the Don, staircase in the Zapadny Branch, Our new Elder Clement (Elder Clement and his family read my blog, after he got his call, shout out to them, pictures taken at district meeting.

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