Monday, December 29, 2014

Not "Holidays", But Rather "Holy Days"

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! 

This last week was a festive one! Being Christmas time and all we had a lot of special experiences and opportunities. I can't remember if I wrote about it last week, but late last week, we had made cookies for a member as a back up plan for a meeting with Sasha. Well the meeting with Sasha worked out, and we didn't get to deliver the cookies. For some reason we got news that Brother Ozheryelyev was in Vladivostock so the next night when we couldn't get any meetings set up, we decided to bring the cookies and drop them off at another member's. Sister Lyuba in our branch who works in the mission office and does a ton for the missionaries was our pick. We got to her place and she wasn't home yet, but her inactive daughter was home and answered the door. So we gave her the cookies and wished a Merry Christmas and were on our way. Christmas day rolls around and we hear from one of the sisters in our District who had talked to sister Lyuba that her daughter was really toutched that people from the Church actually care about them and simply missed that. She told her mom that she would come to the Christmas activity on Saturday. She also invited her sister who is not a member. They both came to the Christmas activity, and the next day Sister Lyuba was joined by her daughter at Church. She stayed for all three hours and then for Choir afterwards. 

On Christmas day we got together with the District with all the different kind of cookies we made. Split them up and made plates for bringing them to the members. Some members came to go with us on splits as they wanted to help serve the other members. Well Sister Lyuba had the day off and came to help! She is one of the few members here that owns a car and we ended up going with her to members in our area. Well since she had a car, and there are rules with missionaries and cars, we had to get another guy to come with us or it wouldn't have worked. So we called up Pasha, who we were planning to stop by, and he was getting off of work a half hour from then. Sister Lyuba drove over there and we took the Metro and got there right in time for him to be free from work to go with us. Members, and especially members with cars can do things so much more efficiently than we can without them! I've rarely gotten to do work like this with members so it was great. Lyuba and Pavel got to fight over who got to ring the doorbell, and Lyuba would give us a que to start singing Silent Night... the only Christmas hymn Elder Stucki and I have memorized. Everything just worked out perfectly and when we got dropped off with Pavel, he thanked us for giving him a chance to serve. Even though he seemed exhausted from the long work day, he was just so happy to help brighten another's Christmas. Russian members don't really know the missionary rules since most all of them are converts and didn't serve missions. It would have been easy to just go with Sister Lyuba, but blessings to the three of us and Pavel came as we did what we were supposed to do! 

So those were the main Christmas miracles as far as the real missionary work goes, so here's on to the more cultural experiences we had! 

Back home in the U.P (Upper Peninsula) we have the Christmas tradition of strawberry pancakes, bacon, and eggs with juice for Christmas breakfast after opening presents. So Elder Stucki and I figured we'd give it a try. So here are some pictures as the result. :) 

The Christmas morning about as close to home as it could while way out here. Presents from loved ones followed by a day of serving among the members in Novosibirsk, I don't think it could have been a better day. :)

The 26th was pretty good as well. We woke up at 5:30 so we could make it to the Turman's place to Skype our families. When we confirmed plans with the Turmans the night before, they invited us over to have breakfast with them before skyping. They are such a fantastic couple that do so much for us here. After breakfast I hopped on Google Hangout where they were all waiting! Google Hangout was great as it let us have multiple video feeds from Minnesota, Michigan, Utah, and Pensylvania! 

Had a conversation with Jane that went like this:
Jane: Hey Benjamin! Whatcha doin' on your mission?!
Me: Oh, ya know... Missionary stuff. 
Jane: Oh.. Ya mean like... teachin' People?!

Caroline asked Sophie to sing Rudolph for me but she said she'd only do it if I sang a song first. So we brought Elder Stucki's family in on their Skype and sang for them. 

So it was great to talk to all of you! Until Mother's day! 

That about sums up this week. We met with Victor at the Train Station and walked with him all the way to the Branch to have our lesson. It was good as we were able to sing some hyms with him with the Piano, and teach him in a good environment. 

Dad, I bet your package will get here soon. We were in the office the other day and I saw a big stack of package slips for Elder Gushin to pick up from the Post Office. :)

Thanks to all of you for making this a great Christmas. It'll soon be 2015. Think about the last year and think about what kind of goals you have for the future. Think about what actions will help you reach those goals. This morning I read from this last General Conference, Quentin L. Cook's remarks during the Priesthood session. It's a great talk about Choices and goals and ambitions. I highly suggest reading it as you look toward the new year and set goals that will help you to draw closer to our Savior. I know he lives, and that he loves us. 

Much Love, 

Elder Benjamin Moore

 Christmas Morning Present Opening

Christmas Breakfast!

 I forgot to Write about the Nutcracker!

President and Sister Williams got tickets for all of the Missionaries in Novosibirsk, Omsk, and Novokuznyetsk to go see the Nutcracker Ballet in the huge Opera/Ballet Theatre in the center. It was pretty impressive! Elder Stucki and I were somehow in the 7th row while most of the missionaries were more towards the back.

Last ones. 

Snicker Doodles... or Christmas Doodles. Whatever you'd like to call them.
The branch Christmas activity on Saturday: It was a huge miracle! From our area, we had Sister lyuba's two daughters, Julia (the Girl that Elder Jacobsen and I tracted into way back when. She reallly hit it off with the sisters and the members, and even helped clean up afterwards!), Igor from English, Stas and his wife Zhenya (We had the meeting with them and the other couple a while back), and three or four less active ladies came as well. It was amazing to see them all interacting and enjoying Christmas together.

Forgot to attatch all the Skype pictues. So here you all are!! Looking so good and happy. :)


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