Monday, April 29, 2013

Easter here next week!

Hey! So this week wasn't super evenful as far as the majority of the days are concerned, but towards the end of the week we found a few people in interesting ways that said that they were interested. Then at Chruch we had over 40 people in attendance, I know it sounds small but that's more than I've ever seen in Selmash before and more than I've ever seen on my mission regardless of where I served. Despite the few individuals who don't seem to be onboard with the new changes in the branch, we had a good Sunday and got a lot accomplished, if they choose to continue to act the way they have it will be their choice and their issue to deal with, our job is just to fellowship them, not fuel the fire, and be forgiving. Sometimes that can be pretty difficult, but I'm sure with someone as experience as President Williams, we can all collectively do it as we heed to his council. I was translating the whole day it seemed, which was pretty cool. It's a rush to have your brain just working on 2 tracks at once, and transferring not only the words but the meaning too. President Williams and his wife both spoke about the Atonement and forgiveness. The congregation really seemed to enjoy the talk, and we had multiple inactives show up. This past week or so Elder Cook and I have called all the inactives on the branch list and let them know about the new changes and to tell them that the new Branch President would like to meet them. We had a couple show up to Church, who were brought by another member, that aren't members that we have the number of now, and our investigator Maxsim came too. We now have MLS all up-to-date and all the records sent in, we just have a few more things to do and then everything should be caught up. So to make things short, it seems that things can really turn around here, and that's awesome. It's been way too long since things were appearing to make big improvements. With next Sunday being Easter and all I don't know if I expect a ton of attendees seeing is many will probably be visited family as some of them have expressed, but we'll just see what happens. The inactives who came expressed a deep desire to come to church and their love for the Gospel, they even payed tithing! So all and all our week turned out to go pretty good. I love you guys, stay safe and have a great week!

-Elder Skene

 Elder Cook
 8 year old boy we baptised

Selmash Branch Presidency

Monday, April 22, 2013

Forgot about the transfer news!

Hey! So the news about the transfer is that there is no transfer, we are both staying haha I forgot to tell you about that last week. I anticipate maybe staying here for even a 6 transfer due to the branch situation and all that. As far as updates on Selmash go we had a lesson with Vera this week and the biggest progress we have made with her is that she will now pray with us, she is just really accustomed to praying to icons and reciting written prayers. We are working hard with her and Maxsim, and they are still both progressing and keeping the committments that they are willing to accept and both of them have accepted the soft baptismal challange, but the hard challenge (as in setting a date, not just a comittment when they come to know that the gospel) is TBA at this point. They are great people with honest desires though and they have a lot of potential, I just wish I could help them more along the way, but it's up to them to make the decisions, we just need to do our part and understand that they have their own agency and that's part of the whole plan. That's key to missionary work, you need to understand that you need to do your part but that others will ultimately make their own choices and we just need to love them undconditionally, and that's for sure hard sometimes and you have to try especially when you don't have a bunch of baptismal success, I suppose that everything can't be easy, but we're all growing together right? Sunday was kinda intense but I'll let you know more when I'm home about some of the things that need to be dealt with here, well the things that aren't confidential I mean but yeah it's always a great week in Selmash haha. The work is moving forward and miracles are happening here in the mission. I miss and love you guys, have a great week and be safe! Until next Monday,

-Elder Skene

Monday, April 15, 2013


Hey! So as an update, we have 2 investigators who could be likely to accept a baptismal invitation here in the near future, namely Vera and Maxsim, we are searching for other people to meet with though and we'll be calling everyone on the member list this week. This last Sunday was interesting, I was pretty busy helping President Williams with administrative stuff and learning my way around the MLS system with the Branch Presidency. I'm happy that I've gotten a chance to be part of the whole operation, it's nice to have a change of pace now and again. Things went smoothly this past week for the most part and we were able to do everything that we were supposed to other than send in the weekly financial report through MLS, so President Williams is going to send from the office so it should work out, but either way we need to call a Branch Clerk asap so we can deter this problem in the future. I was able to watch the Saturday session of conference but barely the Sunday due to the errands we had to run, but I'm enjoying being pretty busy. To answer your questions from last week I would recommend Elder Cook's talk to listen to, it gave me some interesting insights, on things. When it comes to peace in the soul it truly is an eternal principle that no amount of wordly goods or treasures can really bring us sound and consistent peace, it's only our relationships, good deeds, and most importantly, our standing before God that can do that. I'm glad to hear that you guys are doing well, I gotta run though, so have a great week and be safe, much love,

-Elder Skene

 Russian icicle
 In the Branch Office
 The apartment (nice tie!)
 Elder Reingard (my trainer), me and Elder Cook (who I am training)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Happy Easter! (as far as Russia is concerned)

Hey! We had a good Easter this week, and we'll find out transfers this week but my guess is that I'll be staying in Selmash for a little while, due to some new updates. Yesterday, Elder Williams, a senior couple missionary from the office in Rostov who's an awesome guy was set apart as the new Branch President for our ward, and I'm the second counselor. I'm serving along with a first counselor named Yuri, a nice guy in our branch who's Russian though so he doesn't really speak any English, so I have my work cut out for me and we are on a blitzkrieg mission here to turn things around in our branch here as quickly as we can with making sure that the right steps are taken so we don't rush anything, but I gotta be honest, it's pretty intimidating but I know that with the Lord's help I can do it, I know he issues calls that we can fulfill if we just rely on him for strength. Other than that we are indefinitely putting-off Pavel's baptism until some things can be figured out, and this week we'll be meeting with Vera and Maxsim and trying to make things happen for them, and contacting some people we have been teaching on the street from this past week, so hopefully some cool stuff will come out of all of it. We have a youth baptism in the next couple weeks too who technically counts as a convert baptism due to some odd circumstances but nevertheless he is an 8 year old, and we'll be watching conference, the general sessions I mean this Saturday and Sunday, so I'll let you know how it goes but I haven't seen any of it yet. I love you guys, thanks for everything you do for me and all of your support, have a great week and be safe! The Church is true! Until next Monday,

-Elder Skene

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter!

Hey! Thanks for your emails as usual, I loved them and it's a bummer that I missed Easter with you guys this year but I'll be seeing you in 6 months to the day, so we'll have plenty of Holidays to catch up on. Easter here is this upcoming Sunday, so we'll see how that goes, last year there wasn't much other than a lot of people going to church and telling you that Christ has risen, which is true, so we'll see what this year holds in store. We committed an investigator, Pavel, to baptism and he accepted this week for the 21st of April, but we'll see what happens with that, he is having some personal issues that could prolong the whole process or postpone the date. We had a lesson with him again this week and while we were waiting for him to show up a lady walked by the building and was interested in the church building when she noticed the repairman that was working there with his son, both members from Zapandy. We together taught her a lesson and they showed her the building and we both took down here number after giving her a Book of Mormon, and she along with Pavel both showed up to Church this week, it was awesome. The only worry is that it may have seemed a little strange to them because to the few people there due to the temple trip, but they said that they liked it and she stayed and participated in Sunday School. We'll keep working hard here to move the work forward, I love you guys, have a great week and be safe!

-Elder Skene