Monday, April 10, 2017

A Conference Christmas #4

Good Morning! 

I don't know about all of you, but I am still on a spiritual high from watching General Conference this week! What a great opportunity it was to hear from our Prophet and Apostles. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the one and only true Church on the Earth, has living apostles and prophets who give us direction and guidance for today. We are so blessed! I prayed and fasted in preparation for this Conference, and as a result I honestly felt like the Conference was directly for me. I felt the personal knowledge that Heavenly Father has of me, He knows us all and when we put in our efforts, He puts in His. It was weird to think that it was my fourth and final time watching Conference on my mission. I received so many answers and so much hope, and will share a little of my thoughts, in just a bit. 

Last Monday we had our Cultural Activity, and this one will be hard to beat! We got to attend the FK Rostov vs. Krasnodar futbol game here in Rostov with Brother and Sister Inkeles! They were able to get us tickets through Brother Ivan who is the second main coach for Rostov, and a member of the Church. Futbol is a major part of Russian culture, but especially in Rostov- FK Rostov is supposedly the best in Russia! It was a dream come true to attend a game here and see the passion they have for the team! I will never forget it! 

Tuesday night we were at Sister Ludmila's, it was a special night for her as she turned 80 years old! She is such a light to the world, so full of love and joy at her age and with her physical limitations. I love her so much and have been so blessed to serve and teach her over the past several months! 

Wednesday we attended a new English School and the people there are so great! They understand our roles here really well thanks to former volunteers that have gone there, we understood that quickly when they offered us hot chocolate instead of tea or coffee. We hope to be able to find people to teach from our service there, but it also is a great source to improve our Russian as well! 

Sunday we got to take the sacrament to Sister Toma and we talked to her about the Resurrection with Easter coming up. It was so powerful to discuss with her the fact that her, and us, and all of you will be resurrected. She has one working hand and can hardly walk, but will be perfect at some point. She did say that she has been working out though and as soon as she can walk well enough, she is going to get to the branch for Church, that is her goal! We were able to get her some more food last week and her daughter that takes care of her is no longer sick so she should be in good hands! She is another light in my life and does not let her incredibly hard circumstances weaken her testimony or hope of what is to come.

Between WednesdayThursday, and Sunday, we got all 10 hours of Conference in! I loved all of it of course, but my favorite sessions were definitely SaturdayAfternoon and Sunday Morning, Priesthood was also incredible! I don't know for sure, but I think the Plan of Salvation was mentioned in almost every single talk on Saturday Morning and that really stuck out to me. I have been pondering the Plan of Salvation often with the exciting recent news that we will be welcoming a new member to our family in September and I am so grateful for the knowledge we have of that perfect plan! (Yes, I am going to be an Uncle). There were multiple mentions about our discipleship, but I really loved Robert D. Hales' words about how we cannot be part time disciples of Christ! It is a state of being, not just actions! 
Elder Holland, as always, gave an incredible talk about staying in the choir. Sometimes it is hard to sing and sometimes we just need to listen to the song of others, but we just need to stay in the choir! I loved when he said, "come as you are, but don't plan to stay as you are." We are all trying to improve ourselves and change as we stand as close as we can to the Savior and try to match his perfect pitch. 
My favorite talk was probably Gary B. Sabin's about being "all in." That was something I really needed to hear as I strive to be "all in" at the end of my mission. He said that if what we are doing is not working, change it! If we are tired of walking, run! Change what needs to be changed in order to be fully commited to the Lord! 
Elder Andersen talked about overcoming the world, something I have studied and thought of a lot on my mission as we are set apart from the world. He gave a great tribute to President Porter who was our Area Presidency and truly did overcome the world. President Porter was serving as our Area President until the very end of his life and is a great example of letting the Kingdom of God come first. 
Elder M. Russel Ballard talked about goal setting and after his remarks, I took the time to set life goals as he advised and I would advise all that have not done so to do so! He, along with a few others, challenged us to study 'The Living Christ' in an effort to come closer to Him and renew our commitment to Him! 
We were so blessed to hear from our Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. Both of his messages were short, but some of my favorite as well,  because they were so simple and to the point. In Priesthood, he talked about charity, a true basic of the Gospel. We can be smart, cool, funny, happy, talented, etc. but without charity, we truly are nothing. If we do not have charity, we are missing the mark! He also talked about the Book of Mormon and I add my testimony to his that it is so important! If you don't know that yourselves, find out! Read it! 
President Uchtdorf also gave great messages about leadership in the Church which also really helped me. I loved the quote, "Never break rule #6- don't take yourself too darn serious!" Those were some words that I needed to hear! 
There was so much said about the Holy Ghost and the Godhead in general during Sunday's sessions that helped me to better understand the role of the Holy Ghost. I am trying to get better at recognizing the Spirit and being a "first repsonder" to his warnings, promptings, and guidance. 
I could go on and on about Conference but those were just some of my biggest thoughts and impressions. Lastly, just want us all to not look around so much, look up! I often look around too much and it gets discouraging, even seems to be impossible. We must always keep an eternal perspective and rely on the God that has everything planned out! 

I love you all and hope you all have a great Easter Sunday! Иисус воскрес!

-Elder Tucker//Старейшина Такер
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Pictures -  Watching Conference, Bowling, Go Rostov, We got some scarves

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