Monday, November 21, 2016

New Comp and Happy Thanksgiving

Hey all!

Sorry to write so late, we did some service today! 

It has been a different week being without Elder Shumway for the first time in 4 1/2 months, but I am very thankful for my new companion, Elder Randall is great! He is from Gilbert, Arizona where he went to Highland High School just like me haha. He has spent the last ten months turning things around in a little area called Taganrog and is adjusting to life in the big city! We get along well and it is going to be a good transfer with him! 

Wednesday we got to take Sister Ludmila to an eye appointment, it is always a great time when we are taking her around. She is just constantly laughing and joking around, truly one of a kind. We have been trying to increase her faith as she prepares for the operation this Thursday, she is pretty nervous! At her appointment this week, I asked her what she is going to do when she sees me for the first time and she said she might just die. And I said, "yeah, out of fear" and she got quite the kick out of that. I am so excited for her to get her vision back! 
Wednesday night we had a District wide activity here in the Center Branch with Brother Ivan who is one of the head coaches of Rostov's soccer team. Russians love their 'futbol' and just about everyone in Rostov is a big fan of FK Rostov. He is a long time member, has kids that served on missions, etc. and he just led a discussion about a Liahona article. It was really good and there was a pretty good turnout. 

Thursday we met with Ilya, the Elder's Quorom President, to find some members on Social Media that we have lost contact information for and to help him get Home Teaching organized in the Center Branch. Him and I have gotten pretty close and we are glad to help him in any way we can! 
Later in the day on Thursday we went to our English School and helped on an advanced class. They were all excited to meet Elder Randall and it was good to see everyone. After that, we met with Lika, a member here who really wants to help bring others unto Christ!

On Friday we had District Meeting with lots of new faces in the Center District! We talked about having the faith to find and baptize and how the Lord is without a doubt preparing people in this area, but he will only lead them to his prepared servants. I know that there are prepared people in Rostov and that as we put in our efforts, we will see miracles! That evening we had weekly game night and some of our regulars did not come but we still had an alright crowd come for games and treats! 

Saturday we got to clean the bottom floor of the branch in the morning before going to see Bogdan and Nikita! We taught them the second half of the Restoration and they are understanding more and more about the Gospel! I have come to learn from teaching them that the Gospel, when kept in it's purest form, is so simple. Simple enough for a child, in this case quite literally. The Restored Gospel is such a beautiful, simple message that often times gets over complicated but the basics are what it all comes down to! They will be asking their dad for permission to be baptized either this weekend or next so we continue to pray that we will see a miracle! 

Sunday I decided to fast after studying about fasting on Saturday which really increased my understanding of fasting and why we do it. It is really for increased spiritual strength and not just because everyone  else is doing it on the first sunday of the month! This fast meant more to me and as it says in the Doctrine and Covenants, it was like "rejoicing" rather than a multi-hour struggle without food and water! Fasting works, I know it! 
We had a smaller group in our Sunday School class and the lesson went really well. We talked about being spiritually self reliant and not relying on the testimonies of others but truly having our own testimony. We discussed questions from Elder Klebingat that essentially asked, If judgement day were tomorrow, would you be ready spiritually? They took the topic very seriously, one was even brought to tears! So then we talked about how we get a testimony using a talk from President Uchtdorf- Step 1 being to have the desire and Step 2 studying the scriptures. We introduced a 90 day challenge where they have to read the scriptures for 90 days in a row! Told them they could choose a reward but for now they said they don't want a reward, they just want to study for their own sakes! Pretty sweet! 
Took the Sacrament to Luda then went out in the -1 weather for about 3.5 hours going to less active members. Some actually opened their door this time and talked to us for a minute but did not get into any of the homes. There is still lots of potential though, we know we are needed to someone, somewhere!

I love you all so much, I am so grateful for the incredible friends, family, and support team I have,  that makes it possible for me to be here. Have a great Thanksgiving! 

-Elder Tucker//Старейшина Такер
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Pictures -  Me and Elder Randall, Sneg(snow in Russian), Flowers, Service Crew today, Me and Elder Norton

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