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. :)

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