Thursday, December 29, 2016

Merry Christmas

December 26, 2016

Привет всем!

Hey everyone, this week has been pretty great! We had an incredible Christmas activity this Saturday, and were able to see a tooon of less-actives show up that members here have been working with to bring back! The primary kids acted out the nativity, and then we ate a bunch of food, and it all worked out so much better than we expected it to! 

We were also able to make it out to the mission home this Friday with all of the other volunteers in the Rostov zone for a Christmas devotional with our mission president. We were able to sing pretty much every Christmas hymn we have in the hymn book (in English, which was a bit of a change for us) and talk about the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I just want to testify, as I always do, of the reality and truthfulness of that story. Christ was born, He lived for us, and He died for us. He lives today, and thanks to Him, we may all become clean again. We need not worry about who we were in the past, what me may have done wrong, or any of the other imperfections or shortcomings we may have, because Christ, our brother, overcame them all. The only thing He asks of us, the only thing, is to take advantage of it! Use it! He's given you the opportunity to live with Him and your Father, and your family for eternity. All He asks is that you come unto Him, and bring unto Him the sacrifice of your broken heart, and your contrite spirit. He loves each and every one of you more than you can possibly imagine, and He is ready to do whatever it takes to lift you up from wherever it is that you have fallen. 

I love you all, and hope that all is well with you! I hope you all were able to feel the Savior's love for you this Christmas season, and hope that you carry that love with you into the new year, and throughout the rest of your lives!


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P.S. Shout out to my new nephew Logan that came into this world last Monday the 19th. I'm grateful that I was able to say hello to him over skype this last Sunday! Here's a picture of him, he's super cute and has tons of hair! Congrats again to Wyatt and Brooke! Love you!

Preparing for Rostov Branch Christmas Program 

Освети этот мир!

December 19, 2016,

Привет всем!

This week has been pretty good! We were able to take the sacrament over to Sister Toma this Sunday for the first time in a few weeks, and it was a really spiritual experience! We had to run from the center branch all the way back over to our apartment in Selmash to get a jug of water for her. She has one small faucet in her house and water had frozen at the very bottom of it, and the handle to open and close it was frozen in place as well. I grabbed a knife and broke the ice apart in the faucet and then gave the handle a couple of good pulls and it broke free as well, so now she has water again! She was super grateful, as she always is, and showered both of us in complements. I was able to get her TV working for her again as well, and she showered some more compliments on me. 
The greatest part though was the actual ordinance of the sacrament, and the spirit that we always feel there when we're with her. She just emanates the light of Christ at all times, and you can just feel the strength and conviction behind her testimony even though she is slightly insane! We're still meeting with Alexander, and he still hasn't committed to a concrete date to be baptized, but he's still studying and sharing the gospel with his friends.
 We're still working with the Kirakosyan family, and they're all doing really well. Lina, their oldest daughter, said that she wants to invite one of her friends from school to church, so we're helping her with that! Marina, their mom, just received a new calling as Sunday School teacher for the Doctrine Principles class, and she's really embraced it! She was telling me that she needs the phone numbers of all of the recent converts and other attendees of the class so that she can get them all coming on a regular basis. I think it'll be a really great blessing for the branch to have her leading those classes every Sunday! That's pretty much all that happened this week though, things have been pretty slow here lately, but they'll pick up! 
Love you all, hope all is well!
До следующего раза,
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Monday, December 12, 2016


December 12, 2016

Привет всем!

This week has been full of really cool experiences, especially our trip to Stavropol this Sunday! We got there and it turns out that pretty much all of their snow has turned to something in between ice and water, and it goes without saying that I chose the wrong pair of shoes for that kind of terrain(I'm going to buy some boots today that will hold up a little better). We had a really spiritual testimony meeting sitting around a small conference table at a different hotel than our usual. The saints down there are really so incredible, and I just hope that they'll some day be able to enjoy the blessings of weekly partaking of the sacrament, even if it means that they need to move away. There still seems to be a lot of potential there. 
We found an entirely inactive lady that has received her endowment and has been a member of the church for over 15 years now. She has some sort of illness, and rarely leaves her home, and even though her daughter lives in the same apartment building, she rarely receives visits from her. When she saw us there she burst into tears, and told us how happy she was that we had come. As we blessed the sacrament for her and as she renewed that covenant with her Father in heaven for the first time in what was most likely a decade, the spirit was so powerful. We were then able to lay our hands on her head and give her a blessing. We called a couple of other less-active members that knew her when she was active, and when they heard that she was still living in Stavropol, they got really excited and said they would come make visits to her. Hopefully we'll see them next month at our little sacrament meeting! 
We were able to meet with a member that we've noticed has slowly been becoming less-active, and I think she really appreciated that we came and reached out. We all talked about our favorite verses in the Book of Mormon, and how the scriptures have helped us in our lives. It was a really great opportunity for me to reflect on how much of an impact they really do have on me every single day. Overall I'm really grateful for this gospel, I honestly don't know what I would do without it! I know that Christ lives, and that He loves each and every single one of you more than you can possibly imagine. I love you all, and hope that everything is going well for everyone!
Until next time,

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Зима пришла!

December 5, 2016

Привет всем!

This week has been pretty good! We've had a few meetings with our investigator Alexander, and he's doing really well! He doesn't feel like the 10th is the right date, but he still really wants to be baptized! He thanks us every meeting for taking the time to talk with him, and is continuing to grow and learn! It's really incredible to be able to see that in him, and I'm so excited for the day when he feels it's right to make that step and be baptized! He told us that he doesn't want to make the trip alone though, so this week we sent 3 copies of the book of mormon down to him so he could share them with his friends! He's going to give all of them our phone number so they can contact us when they're interested! We're excited for all of them down there, and are praying that everything will work out! 
We were able to make contact with a less-active named Nadia this week! I called her and just got to know her, and then out of nowhere she just started speaking literally perfect english, and it took me by surprise a little bit! By the end of the conversation she told me that she really wanted to serve a mission when she was younger, but for some reason decided not to. She told me about all of the consequences of that decision, and how she felt that she just wasn't happy anymore. I was able to testify to her that she could be happy again, and all it required was for her to reach out to Christ, and ask for his help. I gave her a chapter to read in the book of mormon that I felt would help her, and committed her to read it, and share what she learned with me the next time we talk! She was really grateful, and seemed like she was pretty set on reading the chapter. She works pretty much 24/7 though, so it's been hard to get back in touch with her, but we'll keep trying! 
That's all I can think of that really happened this week! It's been a bit slow, but I'm sure it'll pick up next week! I love you all, and hope you're all doing well!
До следующего раза,

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I'm out of Ideas again for a subject line!

November 28, 2016

Привет Всем!

This week we had a lot of cancelled appointments, but where still able to stay busy, which is really great! We had a couple of really awesome spiritual meetings this week though! On Thursday we were able to go over to the Kirakosyani household and help the kids with English! Afterwards we got the whole family together and had a spiritual thought. All of the kids were able to somehow calm down and listen for a little while as we shared a few verses with them and discussed how they could apply it in their lives. Their mom, Marina, bore the sweetest testimony about her family, and decided that she wanted to commit herself more fully to her family. The spirit was tangible as she spoke, and we all felt the spirit. Their son, Simon, raised his hand in the middle of the lesson, and asked how he could feel the Holy Ghost. We were able to help him find that answer for himself, and towards the end he recognized a time when he had felt the Spirit strongly, and told us that he was now 100 percent that it was the Holy Ghost. All around it was just a cool experience to see him coming to those realizations. 
Other than that, we were able to make it out to sister Mikhailuts again this Saturday, and had another powerful lesson with her. We decided to talk about the atonement and the plan of Salvation with her because we just felt that was what she needed. Her mother, who was living in Italy, recently passed away and it's been a really hard time for her these past couple of weeks. She shared some really incredible stories from her youth, and some powerful spiritual experiences she had that brought her to the knowledge that God exists. Elder Burwell did a great job of asking inspired questions, and we were able to help her understand a few principles a little better. Most importantly though, she felt the spirit, and is finally starting to make small steps back to activity. Although she still hasn't made it back to church, I'm confident that she'll return if we continue to meet with her and help her on that path! 
This Sunday we made another less-active run out in Aksai, but this time we brought a member with us! Sister Basileva knows pretty much everyone out there, and had a list of people she wanted to visit. None of them were home, but when we called the domaphone(I honestly have no idea what these things are called in English, but you dial an apartment number and it calls a small phone inside of the apartment so they can open the door for you to let you in) of the last member we wanted to visit, her father answered and told us she was at work. Sister Basileva wasn't ready to go home with out talking to at least one person, so we hopped on another bus and stopped by her work! We ended up finding her, and had a good conversation with her, and invited her to our Christmas activity! We'll stop by again this week if she's got time, and we'll hopefully see some progress with her as well! 
That's about it for this week though! Love you! Hope all is well!
До следующего раза,

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Зима Пришла

November 21, 2016

Привет всем!

This week has been nothing short of incredible! This week we have been blessed with a lot of tender mercies from the Lord. To start with, we were finally able to meet with Alexander, our old investigator from Stavropol. We asked him if he had been able to continue studying the gospel in the time that he had lost contact with the missionaries, and he told us "Of course!". He's read the book of Mormon in it's entirety, and began again. Right now he's in Alma 42, and shared a few of his insights from reading there this past week. We talked with him about baptism and asked him when he would be able to enter into that covenant with the Lord. Without hesitation he said "Right now. Let's do it tomorrow!" We told him we would be in Stavropol this weekend to bless the sacrament, and that we could organize a baptismal service then if everything works out, but he couldn't make the trip up on such a short notice. He committed to the 10th of December, and we're working with the members down there to get everything organized. We're really excited for him and the progress that he's making! 

This Saturday before we left for Stavropol we were able to make it out to Tolik, who lives over in Bolshoi Log(just outside of Aksai) and meet with him and his sister Olga. We shared a few verses with them from Romans chapter 8, and focused on the phrase "suffer with Him". In the course of discussion, and after asking a few questions that clearly must have been from God, Olga broke down and told us that she feels she doesn't have a testimony of this church. We then asked her if she wanted a testimony, she paused and thought for a moment, and said she doesn't know if she does. I asked her then, what it would mean for her personally, if this church was true, what would come as a result of that. She thought for a moment and then listed a few of the blessings that would come as a direct result of this church being true, and that she does want to know. We committed her to kneel in prayer that night and ask for that knowledge. We'll stop by as soon as their work schedule permits to see how it went and continue working with her. If she returns to activity, it very well could mean the return of her entire family to activity, and we're both really excited to see the blessings they're going to see as they make their way back. 

I'd just like to testify again that the Lord knows us, and He loves us. He is there for us no matter how far off we may have drifted, or how many mistakes we may have made. All that He asks of us is to walk with Him, to take up our cross and follow Him. It may be a difficult task in the beginning, but the beauty of it is that He will be with us every step of our journey, and that alone is enough for me. Overall I'm just glad to be here. I'm grateful for the fact that the Lord sent me to this particular part of Russia to work with these people. I feel such a strong love for every single one of them, and hope that I can play even a small role in their personal progression back to our Father in Heaven. I love you all! Hope all is well!

Until next time,

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Transfer week!

November 14, 2016

Привет всем!
This week has been pretty great! We've had all kinds of fun experiences, but I'll start off with transfer news! Unfortunately Elder Boyer is heading out to a town called Novorossiysk, and I'll be getting a new companion, Elder Burwell! I'm honestly pretty bummed that we got split up so fast, but I'm excited to get with Elder Burwell and keep the work going as well as it is right now! 
We had our visa trip this weekend to Armenia, and that was a bit of an experience! For some reason all of our flights were booked pretty closely together, so we had just a little over an hour in Moscow and a little under two hours in Armenia. Due to poor weather conditions in Moscow our plane got delayed significantly, and by the time we hit Armenia, we had missed our flight by 10 minutes or so. 
We scrambled, made some calls, and got some tickets for a flight to Moscow for a few hours later, waited another few hours in the airport for our connecting flight back to Rostov and got home at around 3 in the morning! Almost 24 hours of traveling, but we've got our visas so it was all worth it! Other than that, this week has been filled with a lot of cancelled appointments from non-members, and a good amount of meetings with active members! 
That's pretty much all I can think of for this week, sorry it's so short! Hopefully I'll have more to talk about next week though! Love you all! Hope all is well!
Until next time,

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