Now for my week, a pretty eventful one!
Service- This week we did some service with the sisters for Sister Ludmila. We did some cleaning at her apartment and helped her get some things organized. She is the best!
We went back to the English school, we helped out at and it has been a couple weeks since we had been there, so within about 30 seconds of us arriving, we had the whole staff huddled around us asking how we were doing and where we had been. It is so awesome to see how excited they get when we come, we have made some pretty good friendships there. The main guy told us to come back the next day to participate in an English discussion so we did and the teacher spoke really well in English and looked Indian but I started by asking him what his name was. When he said his last name was "Kumar" I knew immediately he was from India. I got super excited and it turns out he is from Northern India, one state away from where I have been. He was pretty shocked that I had been up there as was I to meet someone here in Russia from there. It was a sweet tender mercy that day to be reminded of my service in India. We hope to keep going to that same class!
We went back to the animal shelter for our weekly visit. Helped take down an old dog house and move some wood around. We also have some good friends there and they are always happy to see us and they tell us to come more often.
We have a friend named Alexander that we usually serve weekly as well. We just help in his garden with anything and he always gives us fresh fruits and vegetables in return. He speaks English but also always asks us to speak Russian so he can help us. This week we helped him set up his new camera that is like a GoPro for his upcoming diving trip. He has no idea how to work it and he was super grateful for our help.
Serving others is so rewarding!!
Serving others is so rewarding!!
Callings- This week we spent some time with our Sister Training Leader and the Zone Leaders in Crimea where the Russian volunteers are to coordinate our upcoming Zone Conference. We got an agenda put together and decided what each of us would talk about, under the direction of President Miner. We still have a lot of work to do but we hope to have a great Conference, it is always great to have the whole Zone gathered together- there is a special spirit in those meetings.
As I mentioned last week, we were called to be YouthSchool teachers. This week, Elder Taylor- School President- met with us to orient us and he gave us some helpful tips and resources. we had our first lesson and it went alright for the first time. There were a lot more kids than usual and we got them off their phones but struggled to keep them quiet. We are really trying to put effort into this calling and get involved in their lives and become their friends, and not just on Sundays. Overall, it is an awesome calling and we are excited about the future.
Splits- We went up to our Severny Districtnight to start splits with the Elders up there. we all went to the Severny District Meeting where Elder Nelson led a discussion on the Power of One and we just talked about how God loves all of his children so much that he would put us through extensive training and all that we do, just to help one. Elder Bednar recently said, "Would the Lord send one of his servants half way around the world to help just one person? Yes, he does it all the time." After the meeting, I was with Elder Isaev here in Rostov Center for the day. He is a very happy, great Russian volunteer of ours. We are going to miss him as he prepares to leave to Crimea to serve there.
Branch- This week we finally got our work with the members coordinated so we know who is working with who. We have about 400 members here in Rostov and about 80-100 come everyso we have tons and tons of people to reach out to and show some love to! We are planning to go to one a day this week!
In the morning we had the rare opportunity to meet with Elder Samaykin- a Area Seventy. He requested to meet with just the volunteers from the Rostov branch before church started. He was amazing! He spoke perfect English first of all but just talked and connected with us as we discussed what is going well in the branch and what could be improved. He also told us a little more about Russian culture so that we can better relate to the members. He is a happy man and a true example of the joy and guidance that comes from the Gospel. He spoke in Sacrament about finding a spot for the Savior in our hearts. He also taught the 3rd hour as a combined meeting with all the adults. He talked about the new law and how we (volunteers and members) need to be unified. We should know each other by name and be involved in each other's lives. He asked what prevents that from happening and members expressed their fears of neighbors or family members who are against the church. One member then stated, "The volunteers are literally representatives of Jesus Christ. If he himself were to come over, would you be ashamed or afraid?" It was a powerful, honest meeting and was exactly what the branch needed!
Love you all, till next week!