It has been a snowy week in Rostov, but rumor has it from here on out it is only getting warmer and warmer! Can't wait for some warm weather!
I have learned so much this week and I am going to share a lot of it with you today! First of all, this week the Spirit taught me a lot about consecration. President Miner spoke at Mission Conference and talked about how a temple is just bricks and glass until it is dedicated, tithing is just money without consecration, and the sabbath is just another day of the week unless you make the effort to consecrate it. The same goes for a mission! The day I reviewed those notes, it was cold and gray outside and I thought, "today can either be just another routine cold, gray day in Rostov or it can be a consecrated 24 hours to the Lord as part of the consecrated 2 years, He has given me to serve him. It is always up to us, whether we consecrate our efforts or not, all about our mindset and our actions!
This past week I finished the Book of Mormon in Russian for the first time. I took the time to pray about it and ask if it was true just as we challenge so many other people to do. The Book of Mormon is true, no matter what language it is written in. I know that by the power of the Holy Ghost who testifies to every heart around the world sincerely seeking the truth.
We met a few times last week with Aleksander V., he is making great progress! He wants to get the priesthood so bad but said himself that he wants to make sure he is really committed and ready for it. He said he wants to keep reading and praying daily and coming to church for a solid period of time so he knows that he is committed to this long term. We have set a goal with him to receive the Aaronic Priesthood by the end of March and we have had various members from the branch coming with us to his home to support him along the way. He is such a good man and has a great understanding of the Gospel, we just invite him to act and see the changes take place!
At District Meetingwe watched a seminar given to all the Mission Presidents around the world in December of last year. They keep reinforcing that we need to 'teach repentance and baptism for conversion' which has been going on for over a year now which means that we are not doing it well enough! One of our Russian sisters told us all how it is needed here, to change the mindset of repentance being a scary, dramatic thing and teaching the happiness of repentance, that it is a gift to be able to change! Teaching repentance though all starts with our understanding of it and using it ourselves so we are going to be studying it out and talking about it at upcoming Zone Conferences.
Let me tell you all about Elena!! I wrote last week about how Elder Norton and I challenged an active couple to share the gospel with someone and long story short, they did! Brother K called us last week and said, "come overnight, we've got an investigator for you!" So night we met and taught Elena who is a very friendly woman looking for the truth. It brought me so much joy to be able to teach someone the Restoration because although we teach a lot throughout the week, teaching the Restoration happens a little rarer these days. And to teach in a member's home with so many testimonies being born was just powerful! At the end of the lesson, Elder Fisher asked her to pray and then just sit quietly after and listen. She prayed and afterwards was quiet for a few minutes. When we asked how she felt, she made hand motions to her heart and tried to describe the warmth. She was excited to come to Church with the K. family but ended up getting sick and could not come. We were able to teach her again last night in the K's home and she told us that she read the Restoration pamphlet twice and was so excited to get her own Book of Mormon! She committed to reading the Book of Mormon daily and continuing to pray about it. This experience taught me two things, first that it is such a privilege and a joy to share/teach the Gospel with others. Second, members are key to finding and baptizing converts, especially with the law restrictions. Also learned that people like the K's are so passionate about the gospel and want to share it but just had not been thinking about it until we invited them to do so! To get the members involved, we must invite them!
During sacrament I learned an important lesson from the Spirit. For the last little while, although i have been happy, something just has not been right. I have been overcomplicating and onverthinking things which has led to me feeling overwhelmed and stresed! I have been praying to know what I need to change to just be the Elder Tucker that the Lord needs me to be. I opened up my scriptures with no clear purpose in mind and was led to one of my favorite verses in 2 Nephi 25, verse 4. Then the lightbulb went on, that I need to simplify! 2 Nephi 12-24 are great chapters but are pretty hard, at least for me, to understand and I get frustrated when I do not understand something. Then 2 Nephi 25 is when Nephi recognizes that those previous chapters, that are from the book of Isaiah, are pretty complex and he begins to teach plainly. The Gospel, missions, callings, the Church, etc. can be extremely overwhelming and may not bring much peace if we get caught up in the complications of it all. The Gospel is and should be kept simple and I felt so much peace after I received this guidance to simplify! My soul, like Nephi's, rejoices in plainness. It was exactly what I needed to hear, a clear answer to my prayers from my loving Heavenly Father.
I love you all! Thanks for all the love, support and prayers!! Until next week!!