Monday, September 8, 2014

Zone Training, Exchanges In Berdsk, Tracting

Well, Here goes another one. 

This last week was a quick one because we weren't in Novosibirsk for most of it. Monday was P-Day and we bought a ton of food which will last us at least another week! Wednesday we had a Missionary Leadership Council "MLC", and formed our Zone Training. President Williams likes to have a direction and piece it together with the council rather than having a plan that he hands to us. So that means MLC has to be a little longer. This one started at 10 and went for five hours. The one right before I came to Novo was 7 hours I guess. At least the mission home has comfortable furniture. The AP's have been trying to order pizza with stuffed crust for the past few transfers. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to order stuffed crust when you don't know how to say it. 

APs- The crust with cheese on the inside.
Papa Johns- You want three cheese pizzas?
AP's- No, the uhh, border of the pizza...we want cheese to be in the inside of the border. like bread sticks. 
Papa John's- You want bread sticks on top of your pizza? 
Well, they finally got it. Apparently the crust is just called the side of the pizza. Not the edge, not the border, but the side. That's one of the things about foreign languages. You can understand someone perfectly when they say something to you, but if you need to say that exact same thing, chances are that you can't say it the same way. Like the word sock. If you're learning Russian, and you don't know the word for sock how would you describe it? Like a sweater for your foot? It's like charades with words. 

So MLC was good. We figured out Zone Conference. The focus scripture ended up being Matthew 11:28-30.

 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and will give you rest.
 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for am meek and lowly in heartand ye shall find rest unto your souls.
 30 For my yoke is easyand mburden is light.
These scriptures have been referenced in the past, but for some reason, this time they just clicked and were expounded so much further than I had understood them in the past. I'll try and break it down a little. 

V.28- From the past theme of coming and following relating to sacrifice and consecration comes the understanding that Coming unto Christ requires sacrifice. Personal, Meaningful sacrifice. Here we learn that when we come unto Christ and make sacrifices we will rest from our Labor and our burdens that are heavily laden on our backs. 

V.29- Verse 29 seems a little contradicting at first. How can we come unto him and find rest when he is then asking us to take his yoke upon us? (A yoke is a harness usually for two oxen to share the load of the cart or whatever is being pulled)

V.30- For MY yoke is easy, and MY burden is light. How can that be? How can the Savior of the world, have an easy yoke, or light burdens? 

Easy doesn't mean effortless, but it means relative to the task at hand. When we take HIS yoke upon ourselves, we are yoked to the savior. We Carry WITH him the load. Carrying the load with Christ is much easier than carrying it alone. In order to take HIS yoke upon OURSELVES, we have to become like him. He is meek, and he is lowly in heart. We know from Matthew 5:5 that "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. That inheritance will bring rest to our souls. The yoke is easy, but not effortless. If it is hard, or painful to pull the load, then you're doing it wrong, or you're doing it without Christ.

A light burden comes from a consecrated heart. Christ asks us to come unto him and make those sacrifices, then he asks us to rest from OUR labors in order to help him with HIS. When we do this with true intents, we will have peace, and there won't be a burden in our hearts. 

That's kinda how that all related to the missionaries, but PMG 13 was a focus as well so we had to relate it to the Members. If we see the Yoke as the Gospel, or membership in the church, we'll see that the Lord wants people to make the sacrifices in their lives necessary to live his standards and commandments. When we live the commandments we are ready to rest from our personal labors and do the Lord's work. In other words, being able to balance career and callings. In the church, a lot is expected of the members. We can not ask, however for members to run faster than they have strength. If doing the lord's work distracts from the end goal and the blessings, in other words if it is a burden to do member-missionary work, then you're doing it wrong. Christ wants for it to be a rest to our souls when we do his work. I hope that we all want that as well. Again, it's not effortless, but it is easy. 

Because this is a spiritual work, and not a physical work, these verses do not speak of your physical condition, but of our spiritual condition. The first time I read this I thought. Well I'm labouring, but I'm totally exhausted when I go to bed at night. We may very well become exhausted physically, but with that should come spiritual rest and peace. I hoe you can all work to the capacity that you have, and find the balance in your life that allows you to maximize both the weight of the pull on your yoke, as well as the peace you find in your spiritual rest. If you do this, I promise you will find peace and rest even when you are exhausted. I promise that as you sacrifice your personal lives and turn outward to help others, you will be blessed. 

Thursday night, we went down to Berdsk to go on exchanges with Elders Passey and Walker, to do Zone Training, and to do exchanges with Elders Burningham and Nielson. I was with Walker, and Burningham on Friday and Saturday. Doing Zone training was a lot like doing a District Meeting with less businessy stuff, and teaching everything with a companion. Exchanges were great. I love being able to lift the missionary and help to lift the area where they are serving. Berdsk is a Group and they have about 4 members. Elder Passey is the group leader. Berdsk is the smallest city in the mission. It's about an hour outside of Novosibirsk. A nice change from the city scene. I was walking down the road with Elder Burningham when I realized that I wasn't smelling cigarette smoke, or car exhaust, but I was smelling pine trees! I reassured myself that I don't want to live in a big city for the rest of my life. :)

Sunday morning, we came back to Novosibirsk, and we had Sasha at church. He's Russian Orthodox, but keeps coming back and sticking around, so I think he is making more progress than we think. That night we had no meetings, so we went to stop by less active's apartments. We have been counciled to tract around and contact around the area where Less Actives are living. So the last one we went to last night was on the first floor. She wasn't home. We took the elevator up to the top floor and started tracting down. We realized after a couple doors that the stairs went higher than the elevator, so we went up to the next floor. The first door we knocked on opened. It was a 20 year old girl, Yulia who said she was sick. We talked for a couple minutes. She was really open as most of the younger generation is here. She said that her dad had died about a two years ago, that she had heard about the Mormons about a year ago from a Russian guy on Vkontaktye (the Russian Facebook) who is a Mormon and is from Alaska. Pretty crazy! So we invited her to come to english and church. We're hoping she comes so the sisters can start teaching her. We were definitely led there, and she was definitely being prepared by God. 

Cultural note: Nowhere I've been in Russia has had a gutter system. Whenever it rains, the water has nowhere to go so the roads just flood and turn into big rivers. :)

This week we are leaving on Wednesday to go to OMSK! We'll be there until Saturday night doing a few exchanges, and welcoming in the new senior couple as the Walkers are leaving in a week. The whole Novosibirsk side of my MTC district will be there. :) Elders Stucki and Allen, Lewis and I, and Hodgson. 

It'll be another fast week. 

Hope you are all doing well. Hope all the kiddos are having fun in school, and I hope your yokes are easy. 

Much love, 

Elder Benjamin Moore


Elder Burningham and I in Berdsk. Everyone Calls him a Rizhi (Ginger). 
Elder Jacobsen and I with some of the crazy Russian playground equiptment this morning. :)

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