Monday, April 24, 2017


Hey everyone! 

It has been one coooold week in Rostov. I have probably said "I am cold" more this week than in my two Russian winters combined. It has been rainy and really low temperatures all week but to make it worse, the heat in our building was shut off last week, and for a few days we did not have hot water so it really was a cold one! But, other than that, it was a great week! We had lots of opportunities to teach,  we were running around from appointment to appointment all week!

Recently I started studying Doctrine and Covenants and I have been loving it! Last week I studied D&C 5 which talks about testimonies. Testimonies are truly gifts from God, they are not just empty words, but rather a witness from the Spirit. That section talks about how we must be humble before we can receive that testimony and then how we need to share it because that is how this generation will hear about the Gospel- through us and our testimonies! Share your testimony this week! It was not given to you to be selfishly kept, for that which is selfishly kept will be lost, but if it is shared, it will strengthen both you and the person hearing it! 

Wednesday we got to meet with Mark Milkovich, a recent convert returning less active. The Selmash Elders had been working with him for a while and he started to come back to Church just this month. We now do not have Elders in Selmash so we have started working with him. It was our first visit so we did not know what to expect but he blew us away when he had some questions for us from his scripture study, he reads and prays every day and is even wanting to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood! We had a discussion about prayer and will continue to work with him to prepare to get the Melchizedek Priesthood! 

Thursday I was on splits with Elder Clark while Elder Fisher and a few others went on a visa trip and we had a super busy day together. We got to serve Sister Ludmila and read the Book of Mormon with her, yes she can read now! We also got to help the Taylors in the office. We had a lesson with Yegor who is one of the few youth members in the Center Branch. He is such a good kid who lives in a pretty tough situation. We talked to him about repentance and we are trying to help him see how the Gospel is applicable to his life and how important it is. 

Friday I was on splits again with Elder Foote, one of the Zone Leaders from Krasnodar. We also had a great, busy day together. We had District Meeting that day and I gave the spiritual thought about obedience and why we have so many rules on our missions. Missionaries are set apart from the world in a literal sense and therefore, the standards we have help keep us on that higher plane of thought, action, etc. We have authority and power to teach the Gospel and such a great gift requires great obedience.

Saturday we had an incredible branch activity- it was a "Good Deeds Auction." Everyone wrote down an act of service that they were willing to provide and in return received "money" to buy the good deeds of others. We "auctioned" 45 good deeds and it was a ton of fun, everyone got really into the auction! The Sister volunteers did a ton of the "behind the scenes" work to prepare for the activity, but the members did a ton of it which is something we have been wanting to see! It does not do them much good when the volunteers do it all and there is a better turnout when the members have responsibilities in the activity. It was a big success! 

Sunday was a good day of Church. While I was partaking of the Sacrament, I got emotional thinking about the limited time I have left in the Rostov Center Branch. I have been here so long and have gotten so close to them and it just broke my heart to think of leaving. But change is good! 
I was blessed with the opportunity to translate sacrament meeting for the Taylors and also translate Elder Taylor's Teacher Council Meeting. After Church, it was a downpour and the temptation to put on some sweats and go to bed was real but we of course went out and ended up teaching three lessons (everyone was home!) We were able to meet with Aleksei Pavlov who is the son of an active member. He was active last summer but then had some setbacks but has been recovering for a while and now he wants to come back to Church! He has made some huge improvement on his own and even looks like a different man. He has goals and plans to get back to activity and he wants us to help him spiritually along the way. We talked a lot yesterday about prayer and committed him to pray every day before bed. He offered a great prayer at the end of the lesson and he was surprised that the prayer went so well and it was visible that he could feel the Spirit. He thanked Heavenly Father for sending us His servants to him and he told us that it was so good to know that God has not forgotten him. It is such a privilege to be a servant of the Lord and to bring that comfort to God's children. 

Well this is the last week of the transfer so I will be finding out where I am headed soon. It is going to be extremely hard to start saying goodbye to Rostov, but it is time and I will go wherever the Lord needs me. 

I love you all! Thanks for all the updates, love, support and prayers

-Elder Tucker//Старейшина Такер
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Pictures - Best Dessert, Mom-this is the how your package came to me (I am sure this is not how you sent it, but I believe I received all the contents), Good Deeds Auction.

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