It has been such a solid week on the Don. It was a really busy week, full of miracles! We were able to teach the Gospel to lots of people and we both think this was one of our favorite weeks on our missions!
I am just going to write about the great people that we worked with this past week and the progress being made in their lives!
We met a few times this week with Alexander V. who is a less active recent convert and is the father of a family full of members. We started meeting with him last week and he has a great desire to make some changes in his life and he has a good understanding of the Gospel. We committed him to start the Book of Mormon and he did! He has been reading daily and rediscovering the great truths found in the Book of Mormon. We love meeting with Alexander and we always feel the Spirit so strongly when we meet with him. He still has a testimony and we are just trying to get him acting on it, and so far he has been! He came to church on Sunday for the first time in a pretty long time and it was awesome to see how many of the active members were so welcoming and happy to see him!
I wrote last week about Vitaly Motok who we helped with some new winter clothes last week and we met with him once this week. He is also a recent convert with a strong testimony. We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and just how simple it is! We had a cool miracle while we were there, a woman walked in with whom Vitaly and his mom had shared a little bit about the Gospel. Her name is Zita and she told us right off the bat that she wants to get baptized! She just moved to Rostov from Moldovia and has a family coming soon. She is really awesome, we have only taught her the very basics of the Restoration but plan on working with her more this week!
We had a few solid meetings with our investigator Georgi who continues to progress slowly but surely. We actually talked with him about procrastination and the danger of it, in regards to being baptized and he understood it well. We met with him later in the week and retaught the Restoration, focusing on the importance of prophets and Priesthood in Christ's Church and also talked more about the Great Apostasy and the Restoration itself. He has a great understanding of the Bible so we used Bible verses to support the message of the Restoration. He understood it all and even answered some of his own questions. He is continuing to read and pray and come to Church and we hope to help him recognize his answer soon!
We have another investigator named Armen who is a deep thinker and has lots of questions! We only had short meetings with him but he committed to starting the Book of Mormon and we are trying to help him find answers to his questions!
Zhenya is a young man, also a recent convert that we have been working with. He has great questions and just loves to learn more. We have been talking a lot about repentance with him after he had some promptings while at their Institute class and we had a couple great discussions about it. At first, he was convinced that repentance is not manly and just had a misconception of it but we studied it out and he understands now that repentance is personal and necessary for all of us. He went to church yesterday too, but to a different branch. After our meeting on Saturday night, he thanked us for meeting with us. He told us that he is a hard person but we do a good job with him.
Other than that, we had Mission Leadership Council on Friday and it went super well. It was different attending that meeting as an assistant and not as a zone leader but still just as powerful! Elder Norton did a great job conducting and we discussed our mission's Standard's of Excellence as well as getting the members involved in the work which is our 'next big hurdle' in our mission according to President Miner. We are trying to work with the members to strengthen them and so that the less actives and investigators we work with have a permanent link in the branch because we will leave at some point! President Miner gave an incredible lesson that was great for us as leaders and future parents about how to correct behavior. I loved how he said that when we see something that needs to be corrected we must first ask ourselves if we ourselves exemplify the standard and if we have taught it well enough. President Miner understands and teaches the principle of agency really well and he taught us that neither side wins when someone is forced to do something. He also counseled us to not sweat the small stuff, just be good examples and teach but always allow others to use their agency.
Sunday was a way great one in Rostov. In the Center Branch, our attendance varies anywhere from 100 to 55 depending on the day which we are trying to get more consistent. Sunday we had a full hall and fast and testimony meeting is always my favorite, the Spirit is so strong! We had a lot of less actives and investigators in attendance as well. Sister Ludmila was also able to come to church and bore her testimony even! She talked about how she sat home blind for 5 years but the Lord was always with her and that He sent her us to help her and now she can see and was able to bear testimony. That was a really happy moment for me to see! It was just a solid Sunday in the Rostov Center branch, afterwards we just felt so good about the bright future of the Church in this city.
A lot of great things are happening in our area and in the Rostov mission. It is an exciting time and I feel blessed to be here working with Elder Norton! Thanks for all the love, support and prayers
-Elder Tucker//Старейшина Такер
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Pictures - Finally got our beds set up (no more sleeping on the floor), First sunshine in 3 weeks, All alone on a bus, dog followed us forever.