Sorry we didn’t do our blog last week, but the mission has been crazy-busy the past two weeks. During our report this week I will share with you some pictures we took while doing a riverboat tour of the city and also a tour of the palace where Rasputin, a so-called holy man yet surrounded by controversy, was murdered. We hope you enjoy the pictures and share in our busy adventures over the past 2 weeks.
Every six weeks we have mission transfers. During this time the missionaries are moved around the mission and companionships are changed to help in their growth and success. All the missionaries who are being transferred come into the mission office for a transfer meeting and devotional (teaching session). Sister Carter (Kathy) helps with the transfers and also assists them with supplies, support, etc. , I take care of their physical or financial needs and any needs associated with apartments. I also give the young male missionaries a good handshake and hug and Sister Carter does the same for the sister missionaries. We truly love them like family.
We also have a zone conference every two months and all the missionaries come into the mission office for a one-day training. Kathy and I help coordinate the meetings, lunches and try to go out teaching when possible with the missionaries.
These two sets of meetings fell in back-to-back weeks.
We had an area training with the stake presidency that was a full-day and a couple of baptisms on Saturday. We had two missionaries complete their missions and travel back home and I was able to take them to the airport and get a final hug and wish them farewell. Their flight was early, so we had to leave at 4:00 am, but it was well worth the opportunity to be with them.
One of the men serving with his wife as a senior couple developed a problem in his leg and they had to go back to the states for some surgery. We pray for their quick recovery and are hopeful to have them return to our mission or be able to finish out their mission in the states.
This weekend Kathy and I are travelling 5 hours by train north to Petrozavodsk for three days. The senior couple who just went home for surgery served there and we are going up to teach with the missionaries, speak in their church meeting and attend a special baptism.
It is an honor to represent the mission in these activities, as our mission president and his wife will be travelling to another remote part of the mission this weekend. Even though they leave in 2 weeks they continue to put in time and effort well beyond what any human expects.
Our current mission president and his wife are going home in two weeks and we will have a new mission president. It has been a true honor to serve with them and develop a lifelong friendship. They are such an example to all of us in how to love each other and those they serve.
We had the honor of helping them host a dinner/dessert activity last evening at their apartment. We had 40 young men and women come and it was a very spiritual evening. All of the youth were either new converts, investigators, less active or part of the young adult program and they were so full of life.
Our mission president and his wife did a slide show of a recent convert’s baptism and then spoke of the importance of keeping yourself worthy to enter the temple of the Lord and picking the right companion. He gave them a list of items that can be helpful when dating and choosing a spouse. These are the future leaders of our church in Russia and it is exciting to feel of their strength and testimonies.
As you can see by the pictures at the first of the blog, we were able to slip away for an afternoon and enjoy the magnificent beauty of St. Petersburg. Some of you have seen the movie Anastasia. In that movie they talk about a person named Rasputin. In the real story Rasputin was a trusted advisor to one of the families who had great influence in Russia.
The other leaders were concerned over the influence Rasputin had on the decisions of the Tsar and his family and plotted to take his live. We toured the palace where the murder took place and as you can see from the pictures, it was also an amazing palace. The one problem of being in power in Russia in the old days is that you had great wealth, but people also looked to take your life. I will include a link for those of you who have seen the movie and wondered about the true story.
Well, I will close this blog with my love of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is amazing to watch the spirit of the Lord fill the hearts and souls of the people we teach as they read, learn about the restoration of the gospel, understand the truth within the Book of Mormon and gain a testimony that the book is a second testament of Christ and goes hand in hand with the bible.
Just as I give you links to various historical facts about Russia I want to give you two other amazing links. www.lds.org and www.mormon.org The first link is information about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the second is a link about the people within the church. You can type any questions into the search field and find out the answers to questions you may have. I know I have learned a lot since beginning my mission. I hope you don’t mind my weekly testimony. You probably understand my desire to share, because If you had the greatest gift in the world I know you would want to share that with me as well. We send our love from Russia. Bob and Kathy