Merry Christmas everyone!! Since we called home yesterday, which was great to see and talk to the family, we have a lot to do today with moving and such, this will be a shorter one!
It was a very special week with Christmas and the great Spirit that comes with it. At the beginning of the week we were busy with lessons and the end of the week was packed with Christmas activities and so on.
Last Tuesday we met with Sasha who just got back from America! While he was there he attended church and finished the Book of Mormon! He will be going back to America in a month and plans on getting married and baptized in 2017! We went over the Plan of Salvation with him and answered some questions with him, he is such a great man and has found the happiness that comes in the Gospel. He comes to church every week and is close with a lot of branch members, it is great to have him back!
Wednesday we had interviews with President Miner! He asked me if I was ready for a change since I have been in Rostov for 6 months which is usually how long we stay in an area. He told me that I was moving... to a different apartment in Rostov! So I am staying in Rostov but moving a to a different apartment a couple blocks away from my current one. I will be serving with Elder Norton as an Assistant to President Miner which will certainly be a growth experience! I am so excited to serve with Elder Norton, him and I have already gotten super close and our companionship has not even started. He is awesome!! I look up to him in so many ways and he is such a great volunteer, not to mention he speaks Russian like a native!
After I found out, I gave Elder Norton a quick hug, then got right to work planning transfer travel plans. This transfer is effecting a lot of people and it is pretty complicated getting everyone to their new areas usually hours away on a bus or train and of course always with a companion! We got it all figured out though!
Thursday we had a really powerful Christmas District Meeting. The Miners asked us all to watch "Winter Thaw" which is about an hour long about a Russian shoe maker and it was so good. We were all in tears after, everyone should give it a watch, it is on byutv.com!
Friday night we had a Christmas gathering in the Mission Home with all the Rostov Zone of 24 volunteers! That was a night I will unlikely forget, the Spirit was so strong as we sang Christmas hymns and read scriptures under the guidance of President Miner who was conducting the event. As we sang "Hark the Harold Angels Sing" President asked while getting choked up, "What if we were some of those angels that announced the birth of Christ?" Sister Miner made us an incredible roast beef meal with mashed potatoes and gravy and it was just an incredible evening that I was blessed to be able to attend!
Forgot to mention that since Thursday I have been serving with Elder Randall and Elder Norton and we will continue to do so until Tuesday when Elder Randall gets his new companion. It was great to be with Elders Randall and Norton, two good friends of mine, on Christmas Eve and Christmas.
Saturday night was our Branch Christmas activity and it went really well! We had about 60+ people show up and many of them were less actives and non members! The primary kids and young women put on an incredible nativity skit and then we had lots of food but none of it was left over! Was a successful activity in the Center Branch!
Sunday we only had an hour of Church like everyone, although the 25th of December is not Christmas in Russia and we also had a baptism! (definitely a White Christmas) Daria from the Severny Branch was baptized and we had a great turnout to that. I translated the baptism for the Miners and Taylors but was still able to feel the special Spirit that presides at baptisms. That was the greatest Christmas gift of all!
It is going to be a crazy week with transfers and new volunteers coming in! Till' next week! Thanks for all the Christmas wishes and gifts!!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
-Elder Tucker//Старейшина Такер
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Pictures - All our gifts, the district, Me and Elder Norton, Christmas Eve in our PJ's, Christmas District Meeting