Well, I am not going to lie, it has been a challenging week no doubt about it. However, I have grown a lot, made a lot of changes in my work, my testimony has been strengthened, and my flame of faith is burning brighter than ever. I am grateful for trials and challenges and how in the end, they really are for our good. It has mostly been tough, because we are white washing our area, meaning we are both new here. It is my first time white washing and is a lot harder than I thought it would be but I think the hardest part is over and sooner than later we will be fully adjusted and working!
First few days of the week were also hard because they were filled with goodbyes in Rostov. As the days got closer to leave, it just got harder and harder!, the Butenko family made a ton of Borsch and my favorite cake for us and for all the youth that had not returned home yet from the Conference which was way nice of them! night, we were in the Inkeles home and saying bye to them was hard as well, they are like family to me, especially Sister Inkeles who is like a second mother to me.
We got to serve Rustam a few times this week! He welcomed back "Brother Tucker" on the phone before we went and served him in his home and taught him about the Book of Mormon.morning, he sent us to the Rinok to get his groceries because he recently got surgery and cannot leave the house. That Rinok can simply not be described, hope to show it all to you one day but the people there know us because we are there weekly with Rustam but this time we were without him and it was a miracle that we were able to find all that he asked for from the certain people that he knows! Afterwards, while we were waiting at the train stop, a man came up to us and asked what we were selling. He soon asked where we were from and when I said America, he immediately asked, "Is your Church on this certain street, which he named" (which is the address of the branch). Turns out he had come to English club in the past although he hardly spoke any English. He gave us his phone number and told us he is very interested to meet with us! It was a much needed miracle and reminder that 1) the Lord is preparing people all the time and 2) people know who we are and we must be ready at all times to find/teach!
Throughout the week, I was reminded of the words told to me multiple times as I prepared to enter the MTC. Everyone told me that the first few days would be hard, but to just hold on until, and that was exactly what I needed this week. Being back in the Krasnodar Branch for Church helped me so much. The Krasnodar branch is a special place, it is honestly like a big family. The people here are so great and loving, they are different than the people in other cities. Everyone was welcoming me back but they thought I was just here for the day for a split or something and they would ask where I am serving and I answered, "here!" and it was just a happy day. Some of the youth have matured so much over the past year and there were lots of new faces in the branch as well as most all the ones I knew and loved from a year ago!
I was so grateful thatwas fast ! Helaman was the theme of my week. I have prayed more than usual and fasted and I cannot even explain how much peace, guidance, comfort, and joy that I have experienced thanks to fasting and prayer. It has been a humbling week but, just as the verse says, I feel stronger than ever! They are two basic actions, but they work, I know it and I experienced it this week! We got to break our fast at the Lund's home (the Senior Couple here) with all the youth which is always a great end to a great fast!
Last night we were at Vitya's and his mom's place and when I walked in I said, "I'm home!" Vitya is like a brother to me and I am so glad that we get to be with them! We talked to them about missionary work and it turns out they share the gospel with everyone, we read the section in Chapter 9 of PMG called, "No Effort is Wasted" because every conversation, act of service, etc. is a seed planted and we do not know when, where, and how it will get harvest but the conclusion we all came to, is that we just have to plant!
My theme for this transfer is to "Inquire and Rely" which means to pray more and rely on the Spirit because 1) I do not know what I am doing as a trainer and in this new area 2) the Spirit knows better than I do and 3) I have become to reliant on myself!
Pictures - Borsch, me and the Taylors, Shashlik, MLC, Me and my new companion Elder Feldman, Me and Elder Norton, Our new trainees, A lady made us take this picture...haha, Volleyball this morning (notice the Ute apparel).