Monday, October 13, 2014

Omsk, Exchanges, Stuff, General Conference, the Joy!

Dear Pinecones, 
From Michael:
you are becoming too Russian, as they say here. Can you explain some
more about this?

"He is a Big Pine Cone, as they say here" -- What does that even mean? 
Saying a Big Pine Cone is like saying the Top Dog, or like the Big Cheese. 

This week was a fast one, but everything that happened this week already seems like a long time ago. Last Monday night we had meetings with Sasha and Dima at the Turman's apartment. They were great meetings, and Dima has a lot of desire! Monday night late we got on our last train ride to Omsk. They couldn't get flights for us on such short notice, so we squeezed out another train trip! No complaints.

Tuesday morning, we rolled in and went to my old apartment where we met Elders Swenson and Allen who we were on exchanges with for the day. The exchange was cut a little bit as three hours of it was Zone Training. The training went well, and D&C 50 was a big focus. I gave a thought at the last zone conference about building up enduring faith. We have these great, uplifting conferences every so often, and we all get really excited. Then as you get back to your areas, and the work continues, it's easy sometimes to forget what you've felt and learned. That's when it's easy to become discouraged. During Zone Training, D&C 50 came out as kinda the formula of how we can make that faith endure. It was a Great training and lots of powerful testimonies were shared. In Omsk we have four missionaries who are in their first or second transfer so this was the first time to spend time with some of them. The mission is in good hands with them here. Tuesday night was the first and last night of English for Omsk. They had almost nobody there anyways, so the transition into the Group Gospel Discussions in English shouldn't be a problem at all! It was a good exchange with Elder Allen. We came from the MTC together, and now I've been on exchanges with everyone from my group.

Wednesday we were on exchanges with Elders Hodgson and Wallace. I was with Elder Wallace. We got to have a meeting with a great guy. Alexander. He loves the church, loves General Conference, and has been floting in and out of interest for the last 11 years. We had a good lesson about prophets, and General Conference with the invitation for him to attend. Hoping that he did because it was an awesome conference. Wednesday night was YSA night at the Shumway's apartment. It's always great to see Vanya and all of the youth again. We just got some sad news from President today about the Shumways. "Elder and Sister Shumway, CES Couple in Omsk, have received a re-assignment from Church headquarters, approved by a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, to serve in the Ukraine Dnepropetrovsk Mission as the Office Couple there. A need arose, which required that a replacement couple from within the Europe East Area be found soon, and the Shumways became the solution. They will depart in late November or early December, but they will continue to serve in Omsk until then. I am so grateful for and deeply impressed by their faithful response to this need!!"  They will be finding a replacement couple soon and hopefully Omsk will do alright in the mean time! We caught our train back on Wednesday night and Vanya, Chris, and Ira came to the train station to see us off as they have always done. 

We got back into Novosibirsk Thursday morning just after 7 and were home by 7:30. We usually get to take a nap when we get back to get over the train sleep, but this time we didn't. We went right into studies, and planning following which we had to go to the Office to complete a language assessment, after which we had interviews with President Williams. Only after all of that stuffy stuff were we able to get down and have a lesson. We met with Yura. A man that we ran into late one night last week. It was cold and wet, and we had just tracted a big apartment building where nobody wanted to hear it. We were just about to go into the metro when he walked out of it. We talked to him. He was in a hurry so we offered him a Book of Mormon and a brief testimony of who we are. Monday night hit, and we got a long text from him saying that he had read a bit of the book and liked what he was reading and wanted to meet with us to learn more about it all. We gave him the choice of meeting with other missionaries the next day as we would be in Omsk, or meeting with us when we got back so he chose to meet with us when we got back. The meeting was great! He has been looking for truth for years. He has studied extensively about Christianity, Budism, Islam, and many of the individual churches. He was a Christian, and not long ago was converted to Islam. He has written books about why God exists. He came open to hear our message. With lots of questions, we had to tell him multiple times that as we shared our message, all of his questions that he had asked would be answered. He soaked it all up and can't wait to meet again. We testified that this would be the end of his search for truth. We're praying that he is really going to see it, and not just power through this one as well. He said he would read the (whole) Book of Mormon in the next week so he could better understand what we had to share with him. He's a great example of God placing people who are ready for the gospel in our path. He hadn't been to that metro stop in over 4 years, and was only there because he had to help someone with something and there was too much traffic to take his car so he took the metro. We also are rarely down there. We stopped by a couple members to re-connect with them and were just on our way back. See it as a coincidence if you will, but it was a miracle. 

We started exchanges with the Assistants shortly after that meeting, and I went to the Palace with Elder Madsen. My first exchange in Russia was with Elder Madsen in Tomsk when he was my District Leader. :) We were together through all of Friday and until the start of conference on Saturday. 

After technical difficulties, we finally got to watch General Conference on Saturday and Sunday. It sure was a powerful one. It really focused on the importance of having a firm personal testimony about all of this in order to have confidence before God, about being the example for others (expecially children if you are parents), The role of Prophets, and the reality of Christ's hand in the church was also a focus. We have great, inspired leaders that are called of God. :) 

I hope you all had a chance to watch General Conference, and I hope you all took something from it that you'll apply to your lives! 

We had a lot of "stuff" this week. Travel, missionary meetings, exchanges, conferences, and businessy stuff. I share all of that because that's what happened, and that's what life as a missionary is like sometimes. Those things are all important so that the work can be conducted with greater focus and success! Those things are nice and fun, but I didn't come out here to have fun. I came out here to find Joy in my service. The real joy came this week as I was able to testify of Christ, to meet with the investigators and talk with the people on the street. They are the reason why we do all of the fun stuff. The fun stuff is important, but the Joyful stuff is the most important. I'm here to invite others to come unto Christ, and the pure actions like teaching and testifying are what bring the most Joy. 

So it was a great week! I hope you can all find Joy in the course of this next week!

Lots of Love for all of you, 

Elder Benjamin Moore


 From Omsk. 
Elder Walace and I in the center, Vanya and Ivan (or Vanya and Vanya, or Ivan and Ivan... same name Vanya is like the Ben form of Benjamin, and Ivan is like the Benjamin form)
The Shumways
Chris, Ira, Elder Jacobsen, and Vanya at the train station 
Our district on Right bank is HUGE!

Watching Conference 
It's snowing outside right now.

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