Monday, December 19, 2016

Visa Trip and Baptism

Hey everyone!

It has been a good week although this week, a lot of our teaching appointments fell through. We had a lot set up, but last minute cancels were common. We learned the importance this week of having solid back up plans that is for sure! 

Last Monday we met with Illya and will meet with him tonight for the last time about Home Teaching and next week he is giving everyone in the Elder's Quorum their assignments! We hope to see an increase of unity between us and the members as we go to work together! 

Tuesday turned out to be an interesting day. Our plans fell through and then our apartment building power went out right when we had to take a large suitcase of stuff to the office. We live on the 14th floor so we got a good workout in on Tuesday! We got to go back to the English school after not being there for a few weeks. Everyone was really happy to see us and they ended up helping us with our Russian questions more than we helped with English. 

Wednesday we gathered for District Meeting and Coordination Meeting. In District Meeting, Elder Norton gave a great spiritual thought about giving our all and had us all share times when we gave everything we had and times that we have held back a little. He taught that the difference is in the little things and that is so true! I am trying to give my all more often and even do the little things that count in the long run! Our District Leader, Elder Kempton, lead a discussion on faith and our most valuable time to build our faith and testimonies which is in Personal Study. I have gained such a testimony of Personal Study and the effect it has on my day. It truly is how we "obtain the word" before we can declare it to others! I was asked to teach the Language portion and for the first part we discussed why we speak Russian all day every day and talked about how it is good to open our mouths, better to speak Russian all day like we have been asked by President Miner, and best to actually learn from it, to progress and improve and not make the same mistakes tomorrow that we make today. To do that requires a lot of humility and it is far from easy, but it is the standard that has been set for us. Then taught about a Russian grammar principle that would not make much sense to any of you so we won't get into the details! 
After District Meeting, we had the Assistants over and we made lunch. It was Elder Wride's last day so had to say goodbye to him. He had such a great impact on me and set the bar high for all of us as leaders. He is already deeply missed in the mission and the Rostov Center Branch. 

Wednesday night we met with Yura and talked a lot about the Book of Mormon. He read the book of Enos which was his commitment and we talked a little about that before committing him to read the Book of Mormon from the beginning. He ended up getting sick a couple days later so we have not seen him since but plan on meeting with him this week! 

Thursday I was up at 4 AM and off to the airport with Elder Clark for our Visa Trip! I was deemed 'trip leader' because I am getting old out here but our group is experienced and knows what they are doing. We had a good trip, had some delayed flights that actually worked out for our benefit because we had some time to eat! Flew to Moscow, Armenia, and back to Rostov. All went well with the new visas and we were home by 9 PM like a normal day, but those trips take their toll on me. It was the last visa trip for the sisters that came to Russia with me which we just could not believe, we felt like we were on our first trip just the other day not knowing at all what we were doing! Time flies! 

Friday we got our new registration started with our new visas and planned our upcoming week that will be really busy with Christmas activities and lessons! 

Saturdays and weekends in general are typically super busy for us. This Saturday we were out in Bataisk in the Anderson home with both the Andersons and Savenkos. They made us some awesome pizza before we talked about the Plan of Salvation. The Savenko boys are pretty opposite from each other but they are both great kids. One really wants to start coming to church with their mom and the other does not for now. They both have a problem with getting out of bed on Sundays which I completely understand from when I was a little younger. 
We ran to the branch from the bus stop after Bataisk for the baptism! Tatiyana from Novocherkassk was baptized! Novocherkassk is one of the smallest branches in the mission and has not had a baptism in 3 years. They have now had two people get baptized in the past two months and will have a third shortly. Miracles! There is a special spirit at baptisms and it is always a special day when someone makes that decision to take the Savior's name upon them! Sasha came to the baptism who is a long time investigator that has been in Florida for the past three months. Him and I have emailed while he has been in America and I was so excited to reunite with him. He is so solid and went to Church there and continues to come here and just needs to get married before he will be baptized! 

Sunday I got to bless the sacrament with Illya,  Elder Taylor and Elder Norton gave some last minute talks in Sacrament meeting. Elder Taylor talked about the importance of the Sabbath and Elder Norton talked about improving our prayers, they both did a great job. Sunday School went really well! Sister Taylor and I always say that in Primary and Sunday School we either take 10 steps forward or 5 back. This Sunday was a 10 step forward one. I rearranged the seats in class that helped a lot and everyone participated in our discussion about leadership qualities and how Christ is the ultimate leader and follower. I will attach a picture of the board from the lesson!
After Church we all stayed back to help the Branch President set up for our Christmas Activity. It was quite the process and we did not leave until it was dark outside but got everything ready for what should be a pretty solid Christmas party this weekend. 

Took Sister Ludmila the sacrament and got to see her for the first time with her glasses! She is seeing pretty well now and even cooked for the first time in 5 years. She gave us some of the pies she made and they were great! We talked with her about faith and how faith does not grow accidentally, we must choose to act and then our faith grows. 
It is going to be a busy week and Christmas will be here before we know it. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and remember the true reason we celebrate this time of year. Take the time to appreciate the Savior this week and share His light with those around you! 

-Elder Tucker//Старейшина Такер
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Pictures - Sunday School Lesson, City decked out for Christmas and the New Year, Final Picture with District, Burger King in Moscow, Somewhere between Moscow and Armenia, Elder David and Elder Boyce sent me a Christmas gift(front and back of it).

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