Monday, June 24, 2013

Another Week Flown By!

Hey! I don't have a bunch of news aside from what I wrote you in my personal emails to each one of you. The work here is going pretty good. We have been doing service for the members lately and we are really gonna start trying to work with them a little more in the work and ask them to get their friends involved and coming to the activities and Church. This week we had what I think you could call a miracle. We were working with the ward mission leader here who's about to turn in his mission papers here pretty soon, Gosha, on the street. A day or two earlier we called Elder Williams in the office requesting the some info on a member who has been lost out of the records for years. We were contacting some people and visiting members when a lady approached us on the street asking if we were Mormons. We told her who we were and she informed us that her family was searching for years for us and their names were the same people who we were trying to find and requested records for. We took down her phone number and we're excited to see where that can go this week. We're still seeing good news here in Church every week as people are coming back or are willing to meet all the while making big efforts to make it out here and change their routines. We have a cool talent night here planned for this Friday, and a lot of inactives have agreed to come and some investigators, so we're excited to see how that turns out. I don't know if I'm gonna perform or anything, maybe I'll play some Candle in the Wind on the piano or something, I don't know how funny Tim Gunn in Russian would be haha. We have been meeting with some really cool members and families and really trying to build friendships and get to know each other. This branch is awesome, I love the members here and the area is cool too. In short, things are going good here and we are moving forward with the work. I gotta run, I love you guys! Have a great week and be safe, until next Monday,

-Elder Skene

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Fathers Day!

Hey! First off, Happy Father's Day! I hope you had a great weekend and from what you told me it sounds like you did. This week here we were doing a lot to serve the members and build there trust with us and we have been kept way busy. We had a couple inactives show up this week at Church that haven't come in a long time, it's truly an awesome blessing to be able to see the hand of the Lord in the the work that you do, and how through you he blesses his children and the joy that we can all experience by being a part of it. I'm sure that the Lord has been so merciful to allow me to participate in miracles like that, I can't even begin to pay him back for the life he gave me or the atonement that he performed. We are working pretty hard here and stuff is moving forward and we are kept super busy. The time goes pretty fast, I'm sure before I know it my time will be up and I'll wonder what happened. I really hope that I can finish my mission here I think, the branch is awesome, I love them so much, and every branch I've served in has had some of the coolest members that I've ever met before here in the mission so that's saying a lot haha. Attached is a photo of Oleg, one of the inactives, don't post in online though until I get confirmation that the rule was changed or whatever the current policy is haha things change here out of the blue sometimes and before you know it the guidelines have all changed. I gotta run, I hope that you're having a great week and staying safe. Happy Father's Day, I love you guys! Until next Monday,

-Elder Skene

Monday, June 10, 2013

Attendance is Growing!

Hey! This week was pretty good. We had even more people come back to Church that we've been working with. We did a service project this week for a member named Natalia who lives in a village outside of the city and has a mother at home who sometimes needs to be watched out for, so for her to come to Church is a risk and sacrifice, it takes time and faith that the Lord will watch over her mother at home. She came and was happy to be there, and all of us were so excited to see her there. Oleg also came to Church again, Igor, our investigator, and more inactives. What a blessing it is to be able to see how the service that you render and the work the Lord does through you blesses others, and how they change their lives. I consider it an awesome blessing to be able to participate in that here in Volzhsky, granted, things can be tough and opposition exists, but we just need to keep moving forward and watch the miracles happen and witness the hand of the Lord in the lives of others and in ours. We are kept pretty busy here and sometimes that can make the time fly by pretty fast. This week we have a lot planned ahead and splits with our district so that should be an interesting change of pace. Zone training meeting was pretty interesting and gave me some insights. It was cool to be part of the circle to dedicate our zone for the preaching of the gospel, and feel the spirit there. The work is moving forward and the branch is growing, and we know that if we keep working hard and exercise faith the Lord will bless us. I love you guys, I hope you have a great week and be safe! Until next Monday,

-Elder Skene

Monday, June 3, 2013

Workin' Hard!

Hey guys! This week I don't have a bunch of news to report or anything, if I get a chance to send some photos I will. Speaking of which I've been able to see some really cool WWII stuff while I've been here and across the river, which is awesome, it's kinda unreal to think that one of the biggest battles in world history took place right here in our backyard, and some sweet stuff has been preserved and scenery is really cool in some places. I've been taking photos when I can, so I'll have to show them to you guys in a couple months here. We have been really busy this week, like there hasn't been one day that I can recall where we've been able to do everything that we need to and that is coupled with rushing everywhere even, and the spirit has been strong as we've worked with inactives and actives alike, contacted, taught lessons in Church, and just everything else. We about doubled our Church attendance this week, which is also way awesome. Even though it can be pretty tough, I consider being here a blessing and an opportunity to do a lot of good, haha I guess the Lord gave me a good way to finish strong, we are now from what I've heard, visiting every single person in the branch every week, that's a lot of meetings and a lot of people and only 2 companionships to divide and conquer, so it sounds like a good time and we got our work cut out for us. We have had some big progress with the inactives here, and it's exciting to see what could happen in the future. We visited Oleg, a professional photographer/cinematographer who was inactive in our branch and later on in the week did a service project for him to help clean up some stuff at his work. We shared a few spiritual thoughts and invited him to come to combined family home evening with the other branch across the river in our district, he agreed and he'll be the photographer for the activities, and we're riding there with him tomorrow night. We thought that would be a good idea to get him back into the scene by just getting him socializing with the members and then start to get him back to Church, we didn't want to do too much all at once. The Lord must have worked a miracle with him, we are not only going to the activity with him tomorrow night but he came to Church! He expressed the love the felt from us just looking out for him and helping him out, and I think it meant a lot to him. This is all not to mention the work that the Sisters have been doing with other inactives who came back this week who haven't been coming to Church really for 4 or 5 years if I remember right. It's really cool to be able to make friends with the inactives and have them help us with the work by referrals, coming to lessons/meetings, and everything else. Our investigator, Igor, told us about how the Lord help him quit smoking and how he has a testimony about tithing. His stories were really cool to listen to and we are committed with him now to work with his wife and get him baptized, he has been an investigator for something like 8 years apparently but he's really nice and seems to know the doctrine better than a lot of members do here, not to mention what he's shown us too. So all in all things here are moving forward and are doing well. I love and miss you guys, have a great week and be safe! Until next Monday,

-Elder Skene