Monday, October 17, 2016

Lot's of Good Things Happening

Hey all! 

It has been a solid week, so many great things are starting to happen! 

We got to meet with a good amount of active members this week including the Letyagin family. Both Brother and Sister Letyagin work for the Rostov Mission, they do it all for us! We see them all the time but it was great to get in their home and get to know them on a personal level. I loved hearing Sister Letyagina's conversion story, she said the minute she learned about Joseph Smith, that was it. She knew this was the truth. Both her and Alexander (Brother Letyagin) were baptized in the farthest east area of Russia and both served on missions before getting married and ending up in Rostov! They have two kids that are so much fun and we had a great evening with them talking about joy before playing the game "spot it." (thanks Mom for sending that, thanks to the families in Florida, introducing it to my family).  The Letyagins live for some board games, they are regulars at our weekly game night. Bro. Letyagin is also in the District Presidency and they both are just as solid as it gets! 

Wednesday we  got some things done in preparation for our Zone Conference happening this Thursday, we are going to have a great conference! Also got my new name tags that day so now my last name only has one 'k' in it as it should. We met with our friend/investigator Sergei who is a self proclaimed atheist. We were showing him some of Conference and he said, "There is something different about all those guys (talking about the apostles and the prophet) and I see it in President Miner too." He concluded it was nothing spiritual, but that was a testimony builder for me. The light is visible! 
Wednesday night we got to meet the Lunds at the Rostov Train Station. The Lunds just arrived from Utah and are the new senior couple in Krasnodar. They were so friendly and are going to be incredible down there. It was fun to get to tell them how lucky they are to go down there before we ran to their train with all their bags- got them on safe and sound though. Their son went to Highland! 

Thursday we had a great discussion in preparation for Zone Conference. We talked about how we need to increase our faith and that the Lord is still preparing people to accept the gospel. We all came to that realization together and it was powerful. 
Later that day, Elder Shumway and I had some inspiration to sit down and get our member work organized. We have a mapped out area of members to work with but no records for them. So we made a new member book, each member with their own page and updated information. It is really going to help us right now and those who come in after us! 

Thursday night we went to English and all the workers wanted to see our pictures. They kept saying that the Tucker family looks like "a hollywood family." haha.  We love helping out there! 

So this week we have served in a tripanionship and then there was four of us for a minute. Friday we took one to the airport as he finally got to fly out to his new area. The other one also got a transfer so now we are back in just the good old Elder Tucker Shumway duo! It was great to have some other elders with us though! 

Friday night was game night and both Yura (potential investigator) and Dimi (from the English School) came! Dima is the one that challenged me to some ping pong. He was really good but still got him 3 games to 2. We are struggling to get members to game night and we need them there so we can teach people so we made a flyer and it got announced in sacrament that few are coming so hopefully they will start to show up! 

Saturday we got to help our Center Sisters move apartments, we were happy to help them get into a nicer apartment! We then had a solid coordination meeting where we came up with the idea for a "Borsh-off". We realized a lot of the activities we plan might be too much from our American culture and so we hope this will get everyone excited. The members seemed to really like it so that will be happening in a couple weeks. 
Saturday night we met with an inactive member named Andrei. It was a very interesting meeting as he was very open with his thoughts and opinions on why we are here. He is convinced that we are here purely for an adventure and that we come and will leave and forget the language and him.  He said we would be far better off staying at home and serving our friends and family. He did let us share a little bit of our spiritual thought before telling us more of why we are here. We were the opposite of discouraged after, in fact we really liked it. We love him and are going to show him that we won't forget about him and we are not just here for an adventure. After all, he is our brother and he is open to having us over again. 

Sunday was such a solid day in the Rostov Branch, great changes and improvements are being made! Before church we were at the Inkeles' to get the kids ready and they were all waiting for us this week in button up shirts and slacks! It is seriously so rewarding to walk with that whole family to church. At church, there were some new callings given, including a new 1st Counselor in the Branch Presidency. He knows the Church so well and has some fire in him for the gospel, he is going to be great in helping this branch take the next step forward. Getting that calling released him from his calling as Elders Quorom President and the new one is my best friend in the branch, Ilya- a young single adult. He will also be so great. Sustained them with all my heart! 
We got to fulfill our callings as Sunday School teachers and teach yesterday. It went so well! We did an activity where we broke up into two groups and had to come up with a parable - one group taught repentance using a pencil and the other prayer using a phone. They participated and told their parables very well. Elder Taylor-Sunday School President- was so thrilled because he wants them to start teaching as it should be. He danced when we told him how it went! Progress! 
We then got to be a part of a very powerful blessing as one sister prepares for a temple trip but is sick. The spirit was so strong and she popped up afterward and said she was ready for the temple! 

Last night we gained a testimony of the scripture saying, "the more you sow, the more you reap." We have been putting in a lot of time and effort to get the ball rolling for the work in this area under the new law. Last night we sat down for weekly planning and pretty much just had to squeeze everything into an already full week. We both agreed that such a week has never happened in our mission before. We have mission leadership council, zone conference, a family history training, and a baptism this week which already is full but we also have planned about 10-11 meetings with members and investigators that we love! It is going to be a jam packed week starting tonight with a split with Elder Martino- 1st counselor in the Area Presidency and member of the seventy- and President Miner. The nerves and stress are real but what a blessing to have so much of the Lord's work ahead of us.  Thanks for all the love, support and prayers!!  Keep those prayers coming!!

Much love,
-Elder Tucker//Старейшина Таккер
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Pictures -  My new identity, sunset, sunrise, saw the world cup stadium again today

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