Monday, March 27, 2017

Bilini's and New Volunteers

Hey everyone! 

It was a solid week here in Rostov, really busy with new volunteers coming in!

Last Monday we were in the Butenko home for Family Home Evening. President Butenko and his wife are just great people, true pioneers here in Russia. They have two young kids and I was impressed to see a well put together Family Home Evening! President Butenko and I have gotten pretty close and it was great to be in their home and talk about missionary work! They have great desires to share the gospel! After the spiritual thought, we planted some cabbage and then the young daughter put on a concert for us. So grateful for families like them that are active in the Church and do so much to keep the Church moving forward here! 

Tuesday we had our weekly staff meeting and then we had Train the Trainers with our three sisters that are training this transfer. We had a great discussion about how we were all trained and the things we enjoyed about our experiences as trainees and things we would change. None of the 5 of us in that meeting have ever trained before so it was the blind leading the blind but there was lots of great principles and ideas discussed! 

Wednesday morning we had orientation in the mission home with the three new sisters that arrived Tuesday night! Taking part in orientation has been one of my favorite parts of serving as an assistant, it is inspiring to see the new volunteers that come in full of faith and excitement and ready to get to work! We kept the tradition alive by making the Russian Blini for breakfast which I have gotten a lot better at after a few times of practicing. I was blessed to speak about the gathering of the house of Israel which is really our purpose on missions. Our mission is extremely unique in regards to the house of Israel, though, because if you look at the Bible maps in your scriptures of the House of Israel and go North which is where the ten lost tribes were scattered, it goes right into our mission! Sister Inkeles was telling me the other week that she thinks there is someone from at least 10 of the 12 tribes in the Rostov Center branch alone and was even able to name 8 of them! We also talked about legal procedures and tips and tricks for learning Russian. It was a great orientation and the new sisters are going to be great additions to the mission! 

We met a couple times this week with Elena! In our first visit we talked about recognizing the Spirit because she thought she had not received an answer yet but tells us how much peace and joy the Gospel brings her so we talked about the fruits of the Spirit and she realized that that peace and joy in and of itself is an answer! In our second visit about prophets, when we asked about her testimony she told us she knows the Book of Mormon is true. She said, 'why wouldn't it be true?' She said she even feels weird asking if it is true because she already knows it is! As we talked prophets and apostles, she told us that she has wondered why there isn't prophets and apostles today and it was awesome to share with her that indeed there still are living prophets and apostles! She gets lots of opposition, she says that her whole street knows she is going to the Mormon church, but she is staying strong! The street she lives on, is a blessed place, there are multiple members in that small area which just does not happen here. We were in a little store on that street getting a birthday treat for a member out there and we asked the lady working what to get for her and she was about to recommend champagne when she said, "Oh, that's right, you guys don't drink!" That whole street knows who we are and it just feels good out there, lots of potential in that neighborhood! We were also able to give Elena a blessing, she was having some bad tooth pain and she called later and told us how much better she felt! 

Thursday morning we got to teach Seminary to Anya, a 15 year old member, in their home. We talked a lot about avoiding sin and the sacredness of our bodies! We will be her seminary teachers for now and it is a great experience! 

We had a great district meeting, Elder Weston, our new zone/district leader did a great job getting everyone excited about finding. I have been thinking a lot about finding recently and just how we can still find even with the limits we have. We find by being true disciples of Christ, by being lights to the world, through service and kindness and people see that and naturally want to hear the message we have to share without us even talking about it! 

Friday we had a baptism in Rostov Center! We had the privilege of picking up Sister L. and the woman that takes care of her and we crammed ourselves into a taxi to the branch, Sister L. is a light to the world and I love her so much! The baptism was wonderful as always, Anya is a young single adult and will be a great addition to the branch! 

Sunday everyone kept asking me if I was crying because my eyes were watering non stop, thought I had bad allergies, but turns out I am sick(good head cold). A member told me I will have it for a few weeks but I hope that is not the case, don't worry though Sister Taylor made me some chicken noodle soup last night and I am already feeling better!

I got to translate for Elder Taylor as he conducted Teacher Council during the second and third hours. I was so impressed to see that all the teachers came and participated and  they truly council together and help each other. I remember when Elder Taylor started those meetings many months ago and it was a rough start but there has been amazing progress thanks to his efforts. 

After Church, we got to take the Sacrament to Sister Toma who lives in some very sad conditions. We arrived and she said she has no food and has been eating little pieces of the same chicken for three weeks. She can hardly walk and it just breaks my heart to see her live in those conditions but she is happy thanks to the Gospel!   

We also got to teach David last night, a youth member. We talked about Patriarchal Blessings and he will be getting one which brings our total to 16 people getting patriarchal blessings in the Rostov Center branch! 

I think that is it for my week! Love you all!  Thanks for 
-Elder Tucker//Старейшина Такер
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Pictures - New Missionaries/Volunteers, A for Anya's Baptism, Perks of living in the same building as the Taylors, Elder Fisher and me making Blini's for orientation, District meeting.

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