Monday, June 8, 2015

One Last Email from Elder Moore

Well, I don't know what I'm going to write, but I'll write something.

Right now I'm in the Internet cafe just like a normal P-Day. The only difference being that back at the apartment is empty, and tidy wardrobes, and desks. Spotless kitchen, and bathrooms. Luggage packed and waiting by the door, not to be opened until they reach America. I'll be sitting here for another hour and a half, then we'll walk back to the apartment one last time, call a taxi to bring us to the Bus station and be off to Novosibirsk. 

Elder Kovrigin and I are both leaving. We've been getting the area ready to be white washed. Kinda. Elder Gardner with whom I served last transfer is coming back from America and his operation on Wednesday and will be serving in our area. He will be with Denis Schwetsov who is a good friend of mine from Omsk. He moved to Moscow the day I moved from Omsk to Novosibirsk, and there put in his papers and was called to serve in the Novosibirsk Mission. Funny how it worked out. Barnaul will be in good hands. 

I'll say a bit about this last week I suppose. 

Monday we met with Sasha and Lilia, a member from Novosibirsk. Barnaul is her home town. We tried to stop by a less active guy, but he wasn't at work. 

Tuesday we spent the day emptying out the center apartment and closing it down. I got put in the back of the moving truck. 

Wednesday was my last Group Gospel English discussion. The topic was supposed to be the Word of Wisdom, but we decided to do something different, and instead did a kind of an Introduction to Mormonism class. We used the churches videos that they created in 2012. It was a good thing too. We had 14 people! Everyone just decided this was the week to come. We normally have like 4. We gave each in attendance a picture of Christ, and left them with our testimonies of the Savior. Honestly, I normally dislike English group as the only people that seemed to come were the long term atheists who never progressed. We both felt that the testimonies were received this week. Making it more enjoyable. 

Thursday, we were invited to dinner at the Klevakin's home. Brother Klevakin is the 1st councilor in the District Presidency, and his wife with their five kids are incredible members with an incredible conversion story. Missionaries haven't been invited to the Klevakin's home for... a long time. I never ever thought that would happen. It was a great evening. We talked about the missionary work in the city. What's going good, and what needs help. Missionary work in Barnaul is definitely not at an all time high. It's getting there. We ate Blini with ground beef, and also with skushanka. 

Friday, we met with Noor! I kinda bribed him into meeting as I am leaving. We actually managed to pin him two days in a row! Friday and Saturday. He's such a good man, doing all he can for his family. His daughter is getting married soon in Tajikistan. Marriage customs are much different in Tajikistan than in America. They basically have two weddings. One one day for the Bride's family and friends, and the next day a separate event for the Groom's family and friends. The families of the bride and groom don't even meet each other until after the actually wedding. Like Dad used to say... "It's not better. It's not worse, It's just different!" We encouraged Noor to continue to come to the Church and learn of Christ despite my not being here. He has met elder Gardner, so hopefully they can bond as well. 

Saturday was an Activity commemorating the 120 year anniversary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Russia. We had a small choir, and we performed the musical numbers that we had been working on the last couple of months. it went very well. Afterwards, we got to walk and talk with Sasha. He was baptised in December. It was a miracle that his mother gave him permission to get baptized. He's been slowly working on her, and helping her to warm up to the church. She recently gave him permission to serve a Mission! He will be going in July to serve a single transfer "mini-mission" and then after being accepted to university plans to serve a full time mission. Russia needs more Russian missionaries. For them there are simply less barriers to break down in order to connect with the people here! 

Sunday. Last Sunday in Russia. Fast and testimony meeting. I shared Ether 6:5

 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.

In short, my thoughts on it being that the Brother of Jared and his family who have left their home, and everything they are comfortable with and know in hopes of receiving greater blessings from God. I can't imagine anything they had to do to obtain those blessings were easy. But as Elder Scott taught, "when was anything really worthwhile easy?" Another thought being that the "Lord God caused" the winds to come. I can't imagine that furious winds make for a pleasant journey. The furious winds were necessary in order to reach the Promised Land. We also are finding our way through this life back to our Heavenly Father. There are many blessings to be received, and many waters full of furious winds to be crossed. Keeping our eye on the promised blessings and our faith built upon the rock of our redeemer, all will be well. Promised blessings always come, as long as we keep the promises and covenants that we have made. I really like that imagery. It can apply to all of us regardless of where we are in life or how easy or hard life is at any given time. The point being that there will always be promised blessings for us if we want and seek them, and there will also always be furious winds to get us to them. 

Well, I've said most of the goodbyes that there are to say. The excitement for all of the hellos there will be in the next few days seem to over-ride any emotions. 

I'm excited to come home. Lots of adventures to be had in the next few months and years! 

I will write one more group email after ariving home, and that will be that. I'm really grateful for these last two years. I don't think I can properly express what they have done for me. Maybe I'll try to express that next week when I write one last group email.

With love, 

One last time as Elder Moore

Walking with Sasha and Lilia

120 years of the Church in Russia

Planners... all of the planners. For the last 730+ days of my life.
This is where my bags are right now. Waiting to be taken to the taxi... then home to America. :) (Pray that they make it all the way!!... or you won't get your presents.)

Walked a bit with Armen and Arman this morning.

A couple more days and many more miles. :)

If anyone is going to respond, please use my normal email which is.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Happy Birthday Dad!; His Plan is Perfect

t's June!

Today is my Dad's Birthday. How great is that that P-Day fell on the first of June? Happy Birthday dad. You've had a lot of them! But I hope that today is better than them all in it's own way. In Russia, it is traditional to wish people things on their birthday. Directly translating the way they say it, it would be something like this followed by a long list of typical things. "I desire to you...." So Dad, for your Birthday, I desire to you happiness, beautiful grandchildren, success at work, save traveling, joy, love, friends... and so on. What I really want though is to say thanks. I could never fully express my thanks for all you've done for me because all you've done is immeasurable. I hope you have a fantastic Birthday, and many more fantastic birthdays to come. 

Also Congrats to Christy Moore for graduating last week!! You're the best! Better than all the rest!

On the Russia side of things, it was a long, stressful, busy week. Since last Monday we have been up to Novosibirsk again and back, twice. Another 20 yours spent on that bus line. Elder Hatch was transfered to Novosibirsk to be closer to the clinics, and what not. So now it is just me and my Rooski companion, Elder Kovrigin down in Barnaul. I realized that I'm possible the only American in this whole city. At most, one of few. It's the two of us down here verses 800,000. Lots of work to do, and no time to do it in. The next few transfers there will only be one set of missionaries down here so we have to close down the Central apartment. Not too excited for that, but someone has to do it! 

In our mission, when an investigator commits to baptism and has set a baptismal date, a text is sent throughout the whole mission with the news. Something similar to this one that we received while in the office this week. "New baptismal date for Novo RB! Юлия on June 13! :)" For those of you who don't get much out of words in the cyrillic alphabet, that says Julia (With a German "J" which is like a Y). Now, since first names are far too common in Russia and there could be 25 Julias currently investigating on Right Bank of Novosibirsk, I knew better than to get excited right away. In the end though, that is the same Julia that Elder Jacobsen and I tracted into on September 7th of last year, and who we were miraculously able to visit and give a blessing last Saturday. She has since been in contact with the sisters and is being taught by sisters Fullmer, Lundquist and Conk who are the tripanionship of sister training leaders living on Right Bank of Novosibirsk. Julia is progressing towards baptism, and is having a lot of good interactions with the Russian youth. It's all a testament that the lord is mindful of her. So after all of that, I'll miss her baptism by 3 days. Keep her in your prayers that she can progress and be baptised on that day!

In my many trips to and from Novosibirsk lately I've been able to read a lot of General Conferences. This last week I particularly enjoyed this excerpt from Richard G. Scott's October 2003 address entitled "Realize Your Full Potential"
<<With all my capacity I encourage you to discover who you really are. I invite you to look beyond the daily routine of life. I urge you to discern through the Spirit your divinely given capacities. I exhort you to prayerfully make worthy choices that will lead you to realize your full potential.

I will share one sure way you can begin to accomplish such growth. I have seen valiant missionaries brave icy wind, resist torrential rains, slosh through slippery,muddy streets, and conquer fear. Often they bear a powerful testimony, only to be rejected and roundly criticized. I have seen them struggle to communicate truth in a new language. Sometimes the listener stares in puzzled silence. Then there dawns the shattering realization that the message is not understood. But I wouldn’t change any of it, even if I could, because there are those golden moments of success that make all of the hardships worthwhile. Such rewards come when the Spirit touches a heart for eternal good because someone like you was there. To share truth in difficult circumstances is to treasure it more. When you push against the boundaries of experience into the twilight of the unknown, the Lord will strengthen you. The beauty of your eternal soul will begin to unfold.>>

I am a living testament of that last paragraph. If there are any missionaries that know about Icy winds, and muddy streets, it is those who have served in Siberia. More often than not, when I write these group emails, I'm inclined to share the "golden moments of success", and let me tell you that they really to make all the hardships worthwhile. Nothing brings more satisfaction out in the mission field than seeing God work miracles through you. In all the "difficult circumstances" in which I have been able to "share the truth", I have discovered the "treasure" that the truth is. The blessings that the Gospel of Jesus Christ bring into our lives, and more specifically into our Families are endless. Some of these blessings will come no matter what we do, or how we live. Whether we follow the commandments or not, there are some blessings we will receive simply because God is our loving Father. The choicest blessings, though, the very best that God has to offer us come to us when we do our part. He extends them out to every single person, and every single person has the choice to accept them or not. When we choose to individually accept the choicest blessings that God has to offer, we are accepting his Son, Jesus Christ into our lives. We are humbling ourselves enough to accepting HIS will over OUR will, and we are doing all that he asks of us. I testify that HIS plan is better than any plan any of us can ever thing up. His plan is perfect. It is a plan of happiness. Not A plan of Easiness, or even all of the time of funness, but whenever we choose to follow His plan, we will be on our way to Eternal Happiness. 

I love you all, and I hope you are all safe and happy. 

I want to share with you the words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland which he spoke in his April 2012 General Conference address entitled "The Laborers in the Vineyard"
<<My beloved brothers and sisters, to those of you who have been blessed by the gospel for many years because you were fortunate enough to find it early, to those of you who have come to the gospel by stages and phases later, and to those of you—members and not yet members—who may still be hanging back, to each of you, one and all, I testify of the renewing power of God’s love and the miracle of His grace. His concern is for the faith at which you finally arrive, not the hour of the day in which you got there.
So if you have made covenants, keep them. If you haven’t made them, make them. If you have made them and broken them, repent and repair them. It is nevertoo late so long as the Master of the vineyard says there is time. Please listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit telling you right now, this very moment, that you should accept the atoning gift of the Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy the fellowship of His labor. Don’t delay. It’s getting late. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.>>
With Love, 
Elder Benjamin Moore
McDonalds in Novosibirsk

 We're back down to two!

Elder Allen said that Elder Kovrigin is the Russian version of me, and vice versa. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Elder Russell M. Nelson, Юлия (Julia)

Good Day!

This week was like a big roller coaster! Lots of ups and down and twists and turns. The only thing, though, was that this roller coaster is in the dark, and you can't see the twists, turns, ups or downs coming. They just hit and you have to go with them! The beginning of this week was rather uneventful, as if we were just waiting in line to get on the roller coaster. The same old thing in our Barnaul area. Meeting falling through, contacting and that whole routine. Come Thursday, we finally made it to the front of the line and got on the roller coaster. Starting with the bus ride from Barnaul to Novosibirsk. We got in and had medical appointments for Elder Hatch that evening followed by splits with Elders Allen and Thatcher on the Left Bank of Novosibirsk. We stayed with them that night. Friday was mission conference with Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It was held at the Hilton Double Tree hotel in the center of Novosibirsk. Due to security concerns, we all showed up by taxi. Before the conference, we had stop by the clinic for Elder Hatch to give some Blood. We got to the hotel pretty early. By 10, all the missionaries were there and we awaited our guests. They came and we each filed by them and shook all of their hands. Elder Nelson and his wife, President Porter and his wife, President and Sister Williams and Elder Guschin of the 70. We had a great conference. Just incredible the stories that Sister and Elder Nelson shared with us. It was so interesting to see him in a non General Conference setting. Just the 50 missionaries. He said things he wouldn't normally say in General conference. Like "You've all done stupid things!! That's what repentance is for!" and when he answered the question "What does it mean to be a "Special Witness"", He broke down he word Witness to it's roots saying "Whit, meaning knowledge. A witness is someone who has knowledge of something, a special witness is simply someone with special knowledge. If  you don't have any knowledge, some may refer to you as Witless, or maybe you've even heard the term Nitwit!" Great Conference. 

After The conference with him, all of the missionaries went to the first branch building for Papa John's pizza. You should have seen the delivery people when they walked in to see 50 americans dressed up nice standing around speaking English and laughing and talking. haha. It was all the missionaries from the Russia Portion of our Mission. Kazakhstan attended the conference via Skype. I had 9 past or present mission companions there, and got a picture with all of them. Including Elder Lewis, my first companion, and Elder Kovrigin my 18th. It was good to see everyone. 

The next day was the member conference! Since Elder Hatch had his medical appointments, we scored an extra day in Novosibirsk meaning we got to go to the member conference in person rather that over Skype in Barnaul. A lot of members from Tomsk, Omsk and Novosibirsk that I knew were there. Great to see them. Elder Nelson entered and shook our hands. 

I'm running out of time to write this because I've already written so much today. Here's from my letter to President Williams that will cover the story of Julia! 
Because of Elder Hatch's medical appointment, we stayed the night and attended the Member conference on Saturday as well. This was a divine miracle that we were still in Novosibirsk. When Elder Jacobsen and I served together last August, we tracted into Julia, who lives in the same apartment complex as a less active member. This was right after the summer conference with President Porter who invited us to tract and contact around the less actives. Remembering this council, we proceeded to tract after being turned away by our less active member. Julia a 20 year old girl answered the first door. Good conversation. Her father had died a year earlier which gave us a good opportunity to testify. She came to english, and church a couple times and we introduced her to Sister Koshalyova. Time passed. I moved to Barnaul, Julia moved 170km outside of Novosibirsk. A couple weeks ago, her mother who was fighting illness committed suicide, and Julia came back to Novosibirsk this last thursday. She called Sister Koshalyova who miraculously still had the same phone number even after being transfered to Akaden Gorodok. Obviously, Julia's life had been turned upside down. She wasn't able to come to the member conference as she was taking care of her four year old sister. After the conference, because the sisters were busy, we went over to Julia's and met with her. We testified of God's plan for us, and that we are all his Children. We told her about Priesthood blessings and she accepted the invitation to receive one. She was blessed with peace, comfort, and love from God, as well as a blessing to be able to sleep well which she hadn't been able to do since her mother's death. We left her apartment, leaving a happier, calmer Julia than when we came. Following up with Sister Koshalyova, I learned that Julia felt a profound relief after the blessing, and wants to go on a mission and come to church. She wasn't able to come to church because for the first time in weeks, she slept soundly. For 14 hours. She is planning on attending the youth night in Novosibirsk on Tuesday. From long before that cold, rainy, summer night when we tracted into her to this day, God has been very aware of Julia. My testimony of the power of the priesthood has been strengthened. This is my miracle this week. This is a testament to me that our Father in Heaven is the master planner. 

The Gospel is true. This week was incredible. I have two more P-Days left which means two more emails from Russia. Hope all is well on your end of things! 

Elder Moore

First and last companions Elders Lewis (right) and Kovrigin (left)
Companions right to left: Me, Elders Lewis, Aubrey, Klein, Swenson, Jacobsen, Stucki, Yungfleisch, Hatch, and Kovrigin.

You can send the picture with me and Sister Cisar to the High Council. Let them know that both of their Duluth Minnesota Stake missionaries in Siberia are doing well!
Elder Allen and I on a bus.

The Zhelnorovich family from Tomsk! 
Julia's apartment building that we tracted last August and visited on Saturday.

70 Year victory of WWII monument in Barnaul.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Another Week Gone.

Just a quick update this week with a few pictures. 

The weather this week has been great so there were a lot more people on the street that we got to talk with. Including a lot of young families. The past weeks we've passed out hundreds of pass along cards, and this week got a text from the Assistants with a media refferal for us. Meaning that someone who we gave a card to actually went to the website, and even requested a Book of Mormon. So tomorrow we are planning on meeting with this woman. 

Thursday we helped out an older woman in our branch at the cemetary where her daughter is burried. In Russia, it is cultural to place a short fence around the burrial plot to better protect the resting place. We helped her clear the plot of weeds, and to repaint the fence black. 

The Zone Leaders came down this week and we were on exchanges all day Friday. 

Saturday was service with the branch we wore "Mormon Helping Hands" vests and cleaned up a street not far from the branch. Hundreds of beer and vodka bottles! So that was fun. 

This next week we've got a mission conference with Elder Nelson in Novosibirsk. 

Hope all is well on your end of things. 

Elder Moore

Left to right: Elders Hatch, Allen, Me, Thatcher, Kovrigin

Monday, May 11, 2015

Victory Day Festivities, Mother's Day Skype

Happy Mother's Day

I just got off Skype with most of you just a few hours ago. It was good to see you all! One month from just a few hours ago and I will be landing at the Minneapolis airport and we can see each other for real!! 

The weather this last week was fantastic! Last P-Day after we got done with everything, we went out to the park behind out place and played some frisbee. Having Elder Kovrigin around all the time is pretty helpful. He answered a question of my soul... what on earth are all of these trap doors by the side of the apartment buildings. Is that where they keep their dogs? Is that access to utilities? Is that some sort of Russian imprisonment? Turns out they're just a bunch of cellars. It's just a big pit in the ground and they often come with an apartment. People use them to store potatoes and food they grow out at their cottages in the country, or to put food storage. So I thought that was pretty cool.

Having Elder Kovrigin around also brings some interesting stuff. Like Akroshka (Окрошка). A cold soup made from cut up hot dog like sausage, boiled eggs, and dill, with a broth of Kvass (Квас), mixed with a decent amount of mayonnaise, and mustard. yum. I bet you can't wait for me to prepare Russian cuisine when I get home. :) I will say thought that the pasta dish he made with some weird canned meat turned out pretty good.

We had 9th of May festivities all week which just meant that we had an earlier curfew. We were in at 6 from the 8th to the 10th. On the 9th at 10 pm we heard all the fireworks from the park down the street, but could only see the reflections on windows of our neighboring building as out window was on the wrong side. The day time festivities were almost on par with the 4th of July stuff in the states. Just made me think about the coming up 4th of July

We met this week with quite a few different members, and even got a meeting with Noor who we haven't seen in three weeks! Armen is now signed up for a Patriarchal blessing along with his brother Arman. They were both baptized last June. 

President Williams will be coming back on Thursday. Elder Gardner had his operation and will hopefully be back in two or three weeks. He may make it back before the end of the transfer. ( I kinda hope not thought, because serving with Elder Kovrigin and Hatch in a tri-panionship is a blast. 

Until next week!

Elder Moore

Frisbee last P-Day
 Potato Storage!

It's nice enough to have lunch on the go outside.
Akroshka (Окрошка)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Transfers, Adventures, Transfer Changes!

This week was absolutely insane! I know I won't properly be able to express all of it in this email so I won't try too hard. It seems like last P-Day was a long time ago. A lot of photos this week as there were a lot of little things worth documenting! 

Last P-Day:
As transfers stood last P-Day, Elder Gardner needed to be transfered to the center apartment, and Elder Hatch needed to be transfered to my apartment. After we emailed, we took a moving truck with the last of the things from the sisters apartment along with all of Elder Gardner's suitcases and brought them to the center. We dressed up in normal street clothes for all of this. The truck driver was a really cool guy, and we had the most productive gospel conversation I've had in a wile! We dropped off his stuff, and set out with Elders Reynolds and Hatch to the БАРНАУЛ (Barnaul) Sign on the river not far from their apartment It was a beautiful day and we took a lot of pictures. "Б" is the Russian "B". Like B for Benjamin! After that, I headed back to my area with Elder Hatch and all of his stuff. 

Tuesday we were off to Novosibirsk. Elders Gardner and Reynolds left at 6.30 am and we left around 2 pm. It was warm in the morning and when we left, so I didn't think twice about leaving without a jacket. We had to stop at the center elder's apartment to get some things for elder Gardner. Since he arrived in Novosibirsk and was in contact with the mission doctor and such, his chances of going home for surgery got a lot greater. By the time we got to his apartment, the temperature had dropped so I grabbed one of his sweaters. Right outside the Bus station, they were pinning people with 9th of May pins and gave me one as well. It's Victory Day and is a big national holiday. Pretty much the 1st to the 9th of May is one big holliday here. All the missionaries can't procelyte later than 8, and on the 1st, 8th and 9th, we are to behome by 6 pm. When we got into Novosibirsk it was even colder! The next morning was clear skies but by 10 am it was hailing. Crazy weather. 

This week President Williams who has been having health issues flew back to Utah for medical care. He has since leaving over a week ago has three stints placed in his heart, and is recovering well. He went to Heart specialists in Bountiful UT. The same practice where Elder Russel M. Nelson practiced if I'm not mistaken. He is recovering well and will be back around the 14th of May. The departing missionaries had exit interviews over Skype or over the phone, and on the Russia side of things the Turmans in the office as well as the Assistants have been holding down the fort. This week was transfers, incoming missionaries, departing missionaries, visa trip, and Elder Gardner. They've had a crazy week with all the missionaries in Novo for something or another. Elder Hatch was due for a Helsinki run to renew his Visa. We stayed at the Novosibirsk Left Bank Zone Leader's place. There were seven of us there and place enough to sleep 5 so I was on the floor. The Visa trippers left at 5 am so I woke up and got one hour of good sleep. By 11 on Wednesday morning It was just Elder Allen and I left. Then we found out that Elder Gardner was going to return to Indiana for surgery and was leaving early thursday morning, and That Elder Kovrigin, his to be companion would come with Elder Hatch and I in a Tri-panionship. This is Tri-panionship number four for me. Elder Kovrigin is from within our mission from Krasnoyarsk and will be on a "Mini-Mission" for one transfer. Wednesday I went to the "train the trainers" meeting as I was to be his trainer. Elder Kovrigin will be my 18th mission companion, and hopefully my last! A bit after we found out about Elder Gardner, we got news that Elder Russel M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles would be coming to our mission this transfer! We'll be having a mission conference with him in about 3 weeks. Good timing on that one! There hasn't been an apostle come to visit here in quite a long while. 

Elder Hatch got back on Thursday morning and then we picked up Elder Kovrigin and were off to Barnaul. I have been on so many bus rides this last transfer. Just about 40 hours of bus time between Novo and Barnaul. This has given me a lot of time to read and think which has been nice. Some of the busses are nicer, some are absolutely horrible. I finished reading the Book of Mormon for the month of April on the 30th. Since so much time was spent reading while on a bus, I didn't hilight everything I wanted to and after about 2nd Nephi more of less abandoned my idea of hilighting the Charachters and their attributes. I still enjoyed it this time around! For this last transfer, I'm not going to try and read it all in one month. I want to be able to go deeper into topics, so I'm going to study specific chapters in the Book of Mormon, the New Testiment starting after the four Gospels, as well as Preach My Gospel and Past General Conference addresses. Gotta make the most of all this study time we have as missionaries! 

Back on the Barnaul side of things, we're the only companionship of missionaries left in the city. From 3 to 1 just like that. We've been in and out of meetings ever since we've gotten back. There are so many inactives and less actives and recent converts that we have to work with. We've only had a few hours to procelyte on the street. Our days are even shorter this week as we can really only work effectively until 8 pm

The coolest experience of the week was probably with Armen and Arman. The Patriarch is in Novosibirsk and will be there until late MAY. He his pretty well booked, but when I was there I checked and he had a couple openings from people who had dropped out. Neither Arman or Armen were planning on getting their blessings. We decided we needed to teach them about Patriarchal Blessings and did so. On the meeting, Arman, who had been really down and kinda depressed a few days earlier the last time we saw him was happy once again. He said that he had prayed, and received a prompting to fast. So he fasted. After a day, he received a prompting to fast longer. He fasted for three whole days during which time he prayed and read the scriptures. He's just awesome! He said that by the 2nd day, he was at peace, and by the third day he received revelation that he needed to receive his Patriarchal Blessing. He talked with the Branch President who said it was too late and that the Patriarch was already booked. We didn't know all of this when we started teaching him about Patriarchal Blessings, and by the end of the meeting I had reserved an opening for him in Novosibirsk, and he had scheduled to get his reccomendation from the Branch President. It's incredible how it all worked out from both sides as we were all evidently inspired on what to do. Armen does not yet want to receive his blessing though. 

Elder Kovrigin is a powerhouse. He is a convert of three years. Studied and worked in St. Petersburg for a bit, and has gotten out into the world a bit. If you try to imagine what Elder Klebingat of the 70 would be like 3 years after he was baptized as a young guy, I think he would be strikingly similar to Elder Kovrigin. He is here doing a mini mission as he waits for his real mission papers to be submitted and processed. He'll receive his real call in a month or two. He GETS IT, and as president Williams said "He is to Russia, what Elder Jurkivenas is to Lithuania" (Elder Jurkivenas is from Lithuania and served here and went home a while ago, he is now at BYUI on a sponsorship). This tripanionship, and a whole needy city and branch are exactly what I needed to give me that boost to finish strong to the end of this transfer, and the end of my Mission. 

It's funny though. After Elder Bergmann and Hancock BOTH went home for health issues before the end of their training period with me, the joke was that I would get another companion to train and that we would simply both go home at the same time. It's kinda happening. I "killed" elder Gardner (though he should come back in a transfer or so), and Elder Kovrigin and I will leave the mission at the same time so we are going to "kill" each other. 

MOTHER'S DAY SKYPE!: The plan is that I will be on Google Hangout as we've done in the past on the 11th of May at 7:00 AM Novosibirsk time. That should be 7 PM on the 10th of May Michigan time. (I think it's a 12 hour difference). If all you (family) who wish to chat (I hope it's all of you. :P) could be already in a chat 10 of 15 minutes earlier, it will be a lot smoother as I will be able to just join in like we did last time. :) 

It seems like Dad got my travel plans from the emails he and AnnaMarie sent... I didn't get anything. Could you forward them to me? :) 

I think that just about covers the insanity of this last week. Somehow amidst all of the businessy/transfery/travely stuff, the Work still got done, and Miracles were still performed. This is definitely the Lord's work, and his hand is so evident in the lives and ministry of all of his missionaries. Especially here at this time. 

Now for all of the many pictures.

Hope all is well on your side of things!
Be safe and have fun!


Elder Benjamin Moore

 Elder Reynolds and I
 Adventure Time!
 Bus Station/Temple
 The Top of Barnaul
 Big Russian Orthodox Cross... on the Top of Barnaul
"Б" for Бenjamin
 With Elder Hatch
 Elder Hatch, Myself, Elder Gardner
 9th of May ribbon. They're everywhere! 
Barnaul sign from the bridge on the bus to Novosibirsk
 40 hours of bus rides this transfer
Huge Burger King advertisement in Novosibirsk
Traditional building
Elder Kovrigin and Me
Tripanionship number 4
Sasha and Masha made a sign for Elder Garder!
Best Part of training a new missionary

That's it! No more. have a great week!

Oh, and according to my journal, today is my 700th day on the mission. :)