Monday, July 31, 2017

Reunions in Rostov

Let me just start by saying how great it is to be back in Rostov - home of Sharma and so many people that I love! Week 1 as an assistant(again), is always busy and crazy with people in and out of our apartment for transfers, train the trainers, orientation for new missionaries, and leadership conference but it all went well! I am loving serving with Elder Weston and learning from each other! It was a week full of reunions both with volunteers and members that I thought I would not see again but have been so blessed to see people I care a lot about and teach them the good news of the Gospel.

Tuesday we were with Elder Altuhov who is a new Zone Leader and just a stud. He has only been a member two years and the light of the Gospel is visible in him. That night we went to Ludmila which was probably the most tender reunion of them all. When we walked in, she recognized Elder Weston and then Elder Altuhov introduced himself and then she looked at me and said, "who is this?" She recognized me, said, "Tucker!" and started to cry. She calls me her second Savior and it was good to be with her. That same night we finished the Book of Mormon with her! I was in awe to think that just one year ago, she could not even see us and that night we finished the Book of Mormon that she had read all on her own up until the last two pages. It is truly a miracle and I was blessed to be there to experience that milestone event with her. 

Wednesday was orientation for our one new Elder, Elder Sweeney who will be an all star missionary. That night we met with our investigator David who speaks English and is looking for his faith to be strengthened! He has started the Book of Mormon and is starting to recognize answers to his prayers. We were blessed to have the Krasnodar Elders with us that night, only a few days without them and I already miss them! 

Thursday was Mission Leadership Council in the Mission Home! I am always amazed at the incredible leaders in the Rostov Mission! It has been awesome to see a lot of the younger volunteers step up as we lose a lot of old, experienced ones, we will be down to 29 volunteers soon! President said how it is pretty crazy that every six weeks we send home our best, most experienced volunteers but he expressed his confidence in the rising generation. We had a great discussion about finding - a big challenge right now, keeping records in area/member books, and baptizing! Should have a good round of Zone Conferences coming up! 
That night we were walking home and ran into little Saveli Inkelis who asked us to walk him home. It was great to surprise Sister Inkelis and be back in their home, she just loves the missionaries and is still doing missionary work herself. In fact, on Sunday she pulled us out during Sunday School to meet her driving instructor that she gave a Book of Mormon to and was sharing the Gospel with. She is the ultimate member missionary! 

Friday we got to meet with Zhenya N. which is big news because Elder Norton and I worked with him extensively and he was coming back to activity but then he asked us to stop calling and stopped coming to church. It was great to see him and see that he has started the Book of Mormon again and teaching him felt so good! 

Saturday we were at the Kerokisyanis, a member family. The kids, and this whole branch apparently, have grown up over the past few months. Little Simone turned 12 since I left and even got the Priesthood! We had a great lesson with them about the Plan of Salvation, the Spirit was so strong. I love teaching the Plan of Salvation! 
Sunday was great. It was pretty funny to see the look of people's faces when they saw me, they were surprised to see me back in Center branch and it took them a minute to realize that it was me. It was good to see all the members! 

Last night we were with Alexander V. who we worked with a ton,  last time I was here. He recently had his liver stopped working and was in the hospital for a while. He has been having problems with his vision too so we read the Book of Mormon with him and he asked us to get it for him in an audio format so he can listen to it. We were also able to bless the sacrament in his home as he cannot leave his house while recovering. 

Found great comfort in the scriptures this week,as always! D&C 24:7-9, 12 and D&C 31:13 were answers to my prayers! I am trying to give my all for Zion, opening my mouth, and fighting through the end of mission trials knowing that the Lord is always with me, even more than ever before. 

I love this work and it is true! Thanks for all the love, support and prayers!!
-Elder Tucker//Старейшина Такер
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Pictures - MLC, Best burgers in Russia, Sons of the original mission moms, Mission Home, Mission Leadership Council

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