Monday, September 29, 2014

A Work that Needs Hastening


In district meeting each week, Elder Miller focuses on a different Christlike Attribute, and then challenges us to focus on one for the next week. This last week was "Patience" week, and I guess my patience got tried by a monster cold that hit me last Monday morning. By that night, we had to stop into a pharmacy to get some stuff to take care of the worst sore throat I've ever had. We asked them what they have for sore throats, and they listed off a few things that weren't really understandable. Then I just asked what the most powerful stuff they have is! Well they ended up being these cough drop things that kinda numbed the throat. Tuesday afternoon comes around and my voice is just shot. I probably sang the contra bass part in the hymn we sang for companionship study. Tuesdays we have English practice, so I wasn't much help there and managed to get through it without saying much of anything in the group. Afterwards, in the open conversation time, I got pinned for a solid 40 minutes which finished off any voice that I had left. Well my voice is mostly back now, I'm in the after-cold phase... which is just like a normal cold. Needless to say, the seasons are changing. It's too hot inside as the heaters are blazing, and it's too chilly outside. 

Last P-Day as we were in the center, we ran into our Uzbek mother, Rana. She talked to us for a bit, and asked where on earth we have been! She invited us over to her apartment again where she would make us traditional Uzbek Plov. A rice dish. Rana and her family are so nice, and great people! They are Muslim, and not really interested in the Gospel. The Muslim nut is a hard nut to crack. I've taught a few in Omsk and you really have to help them build their own foundation from the bedrock up. Most Christians who meet with the missionaries have a foundation built upon the rock of Christ, and the missionaries just help them to renovate and strengthen that foundation. You can't just build a foundation for someone and set them upon it, they have to do it themselves. Rana and her family are honest, hard working people, that live from day to day. They work and get by, not looking to the future, because they don't know what it could possibly bring besides what they've always known. They come together every evening and have a family dinner, and to me it seemed like they live for that family time! If I could go over and hang out with them every week, and eat Plov on their floor with them, I would love it. I love people and different cultures, and having incredible experiences. As we talked about some principles in which we believe, they saw them as fairy tales. Like yeah, that would be nice, if my circumstances were different. They're such great people, that there is no way that they won't in this life or the next, accept the gospel. 

There with us were Rana the Mother, Jamshid and Sasha, her sons who are in their low 20's, and Caiora-2yrs old, who is Rana's grand-daughter. Rana said that she never had pizza until she was 45 years old, and then said that she doesn't care for it much. Yes, I guess there are people in the world who have never had pizza. Plov is a dish straight out of Uzbekistan. Plov is made in a big heavy iron Wok. They first make a soup type mixture of beef, and carrots and other stuff, and then last, they add the rice on the top. as the rice cooks and sucks up all of the broth, it covers the meat and soup ingredients. Eventually you form it into a dom over the meat and flip the edges of the rice with a spatula to cook it all. We all sat on the floor to eat together, and we all ate out of a big bowl in the center. It's traditional to eat Plov with your hands, which Rana did. We gave it a try, but used spoons as did her kids. They spoke in Uzbek amongst themselves, and in Russian with us. Teaching us how to say various things in Uzbek. I showed them some of my pictures, they especially liked the one of all 9 of the kiddos on the steps of the cabin from last summer's trip, and her sons liked the one of Christy and I. They asked my all about you, Christy, and then talked a bunch in Uzbek. haha So that was our great cultural experience this week. Though they are not ready for the gospel right now, I feel that when the church has grown here, and in the Stan countries, that they will see how it blesses the members, and they will remember us and want to learn more. 

Just about all of our investigators this week were unable to meet with us. I feel like we have so many great people that we are in contact with, but it is the constant struggle to help them realize the importance of this and the sacrifice necessary to have the blessings that we talk about with them. Even some of our most consistent investigators now seem so see our meetings as a recharge that they need every once in a while, not wanting to be able to generate that within themselves. On Monday night, we met with Victor at the Peterson's apartment. The Petersen's are one of my favorite senior couples here, and they were great for Victor. We taught him the Restoration, and made a good connection with him. He seems to digest what we say slowly, so we're figuring out how far we can go with him. 

The rest of the week was stopping by Less Active members, and sifting through the Area Book. We already have the people to meet with, we just have to get them to meet! As far as the Less Active work goes, it's a hard one, with which I've fought for my whole mission. We stop by time after time to less active members, and time after time get turned away, or find an empty apartment, only to try it again in a month or two. Sometimes they eventually open up, or something in their lives happens to help them realize what their missing. In all of my cities here the Less Active work seems to rest on the Missionaries shoulders. In PMG 13 it says "Under the direction of the bishop, the ward council has first responsibility for strengthening new members and less-active members." ,Because the church is still so young here, it seems like the norm to say that these principles apply to more established places, but here we have all of the Missionaries to do it. I've seen miracles from my companionship's efforts to do less active work, but the real miracles are being withheld until the branches awaken and realize their purpose and calling. PMG also says, "A vital part of your mission is to establish the Church and strengthen the unit in which you serve." We are getting there, slowly but surely, members are starting to realize that it's up to all of us. in Omsk, I went home teaching with members a couple of times. In Novosibirsk I have also done home teaching with members. I often think about my home branch in Ashland, Wisconsin. From the time I was a freshman in high school up until a few months ago, there were no missionaries serving in out branch. That's about six years. Needless to say, I didn't know much about missionary work in high school or how it all worked. The first time since 8th grade that I lived somewhere with missionaries was when I came to Russia a year ago and became the branches missionary! I can't wait to be able to work with the missionaries in Ashland next summer. 

A lot of thinking goes into "How can we do it better, more efficiently, with more of an effect?..."  Our mission seems to be very obedient and consecrated, and there are lots of miracles happening, but there seems to be a jam somewhere. I hope that General Conference really inspires the members to open up and show their faith. We have such incredible members, and there are a few of them who really understand the bigger picture, but once all of them start working together it will be fantastic! It's been said that we should stop praying that the missionaries can find the people that will accept the gospel and start praying ourselves and our branches that we can find the people for the missionaries to teach. I also think that missionaries can stop praying "Bless us so that we can find the people who are ready", and start praying "Bless the members so that they can have the faith to reach out to their friends, family..." 

We are all in this together. With fellow ward members and missionaries, we plan and pray and help one another. Please keep the full-time missionaries in your thoughts and prayers. Trust them with your family and friends. The Lord trusts them and has called them to teach and bless those who seek Him.
Elder Neil L. Andersen

The church has a whole website for "Hastening the Work of Salvation". Even if you don't have time, I want you all to make some time to explore it a little bit. Watch some of the videos, and get some ideas of how you can more fully hasten the work where you stand! As the work is hastened and the church is strengthened where it is already strong, more efforts will be sent to the "nethermost parts"! Do all you can there so that the borders can be expanded, and so the Millions of people in the Stan countries can receive it all a little sooner. 

The Transfers are in! Elder Jacobsen and I are staying together. Omsk is changing quite a bit. Two of the new missionaries will be trained there by elder Lewis and elder Robley. This transfer, we'll be going on exchanges with every missionary in our Zone instead of just the District Leaders. So we've got nine exchanges coming up in the next three weeks. We're going to be having an MLC on Thursday, and leave for Berdsk that night. Friday we'll do Zone Training in Berdsk and go on two exchanges down there. Next Monday night, we'll head to Omsk to do the training there on Tuesday, and go on exchanges with the 2nd branch elders. The week of the 20th we'll make another trip back to Omsk to do three exchanges with the first branch elders. At some point we'll have exchanges with the assistants as well as with the companionship that is living at their place until an apartment frees up. 

Well that was my week I guess! I hope you're all having a great fall. Get the kids to the park a couple more times before you have a bunch of little tornadoes cooped up inside for the winter! 

With Lots of Love,

Elder Benjamin Moore

Here's some pictures from Last P-Day in the center of Novosibirsk 

Burger King
President's Tower: That Blue tower is Preisdent's home...some call it the "tower of revelation". haha
 A story that the english group made up word by word.
 At Rana's place for Plov.
From Rana's place Plov, sitting with Ciaora

 I want to go to Uzbekistan some day.

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