Monday, October 31, 2016

Cook Off

Hey everyone! It has been a cold week on the Don and it is just getting colder and darker earlier and earlier. Supposed to be getting some snow soon.. Russian Winter #2 here I go! 

Last Monday we had a solid Family Home Evening with the Matakini Family. They are a solid family and are so nice to me always telling me they love me and that I am the closest one to heaven in the branch because I am the tallest. Haha.  We discussed their missionary work and just how reliant we are on the members right now. They all had people they were sharing the gospel with or talked to them about it so that was awesome to hear. They are great! 

Tuesday I got to be on a split with our Center District Leader, Elder Kempton. Elder Kempton and I came to Rostov the same day a few months ago and we have gotten pretty close since then. He is a solid volunteer and has been doing great things in the Selmash Area. It was a great day with him, we got to do some service and visit with a less active.

Wednesday we met with Ilya, our new Elder's Quorum President, and finished watching the General Priesthood Session and talking to him about different people he would like us to work with. Later on Wednesday we had some white knuckle time. We had just finished dinner when someone started pounding on our door and trying to get in while yelling to open the door. Then our house phone started ringing and we were pretty scared at this point. We followed our protocol and called up to Moscow and then waited for 30 minutes with all the lights off until Alexander came. After talking to our neighbor, she told us it was just the main guy over the whole apartment building who came to turn our heaters on... When we asked why he had to pound the door like that, she said he is just that way. It was a big relief! 
Also Wednesday I got my new debit card and I am confident that set a new record for fastest ever card replacement from America to Russia. I was without a card for like 6 days and thats it, mom you are one in a million! I love you! 

Thursday we went to the Severy District Meeting and got to meet one of our brand new volunteers which is always fun. We had a great meeting up there discussing all the different take aways from zone conference. Common comments included, "the fire is back in the mission" "we can actually do this" "Zone Conference increased my faith" and "miracles." We then discussed how we can better 'walk the walk' and become living testimonies. I love that topic, it is so important to always be living in a way that is in accordance with what we preach, and that goes for all members not just for us! 
Thursday night we went to our less active Andrei who is slowly but surely progressing. During this meeting he gave us ideas for branch activities that would get people interested in the gospel. He let us pray at the end which was a big step forward! 

Friday night was game night as usual but we spent most of it meeting with Yura! It was an up and down lesson with him. At the beginning, he drew on the chalkboard the whole plan of salvation and explained it extremely well after hearing it only one time. We were pretty blown away. When we started the lesson though, he told us that he has felt awkward this whole time because his main reason for meeting with us was for English help. That was a little bit of a let down, but we still taught him in Russian and he still participated and asked great questions. We got him a new Book of Mormon with our testimonies in it because he cannot find his from four years ago. We focused on just getting him reading and praying, we even read a chapter with him. He has great questions but before we move on and complicate things, the basics need to be done. I was reminded that night of the hardest thing on a mission for me,  is when I love and care about someone and we teach and testify and they just aren't feeling it quite yet. The Spirit is getting brought to his heart, he just won't let it in. I always want every person we teach to know what I know and to feel what I feel! Just need to be patient and keep working with him! 

Saturday was very busy! It was the day of our "I love to cook" activity that we volunteers put together. We all made food and many members made food and we all ate and voted on our favorites. We have an electric griddle in our apartment so we had a little grilled cheese station and it was a big hit. Had a pretty good turnout and some really good food. I am always happy when I get some Borscht! 
Yura came to the activity and we met with him again after. Sister Inkeles wants to start the Book of Mormon from the beginning with him and then they will read the same chapters and can talk about it, he loved the idea! He also wants to talk more about the commandments so we will teach him that next week. 
Saturday night we got to teach our two little golden investigators Bogdan and Nikita. I love those two so much. They have become like our little brothers. They are so well behaved when we go over and they kept bringing us out these homemade pies. We talked about the Plan of Salvation which they already had a good understanding of and they ended up telling us all about it. They forgot to pray last week when they went home to their parents so they said we need to call them at nights to remind them! We are all still praying for their parents to give them permission to get baptized, they are so ready! We, as well as some branch members, will fast for it on Sunday as well. We fasted for it one day this week also. Doing all we can, we need another miracle! 
Sunday we had a little less in attendance at church because lots of members are on a temple trip, so jealous of them! I got to sit with Bogdan and Nikita after they asked their grandma if they could sit with me. Bogdan told me once again that they read a whole chapter of the Book of Mormon after we left! 
We got to teach Sunday School and it went alright. In our branch callings, it is always pretty hard because we don't know how to discipline/get attention in Russian and sometimes they take advantage of that. But on Sunday we learned that candy does the trick wherever you are in the world. They all wanted to participate and be good after that! We talked about experiencing joy from our spiritual learning and about daily scriptural study, something I have grown to love so much!  Thank you all for the love, support and prayers!!

I think that is all from me this week! Love you all!
-Elder Tucker//Старейшина Такер
Строка за строкой

Pictures - Tables at our Cook Off Activity, me at the grilled cheese station, me and some other volunteers, and some fireworks that we see every so often

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