Monday, July 22, 2013

Splits and Progress with Investigators

Hey! This week we had splits with the Traktorny Elders, I was with Elder Vail here in Volzhsky and Elder Lambert went with Elder Goodwin back to Traktorny. It was a really helpful to shake things up a bit and see different ways to work than you're normally used to. Elder Vail and I visited Michael the American, who actually I guess was just out of town at some camp thing so he didn't answer his phone for a while but we had a meeting with him and it was interesting, but maybe the best part of it all is that we got to meet and talk to his girlfriend and she should be coming to our Spiritual Night activity that we are having this Friday here in our branch. We also had a lesson with Mihail that Gosha, our ward mission leader, sat in on and testified with us which was a really helpful and they are friends outside of lessons so things are moving forward with him getting used to the branch. He prayed and came to Church! It went from him being like atheist and telling us that our Church is nice but we don't really know whats going on to him praying with us, reading, coming to Church, and agreeing to meet again. He speaks English really well and could be a huge help here for the branch, he's a good guy and has a lot of potential. We are gonna try to work on home teaching here and get that set in motion too, and we've been doing a lot of work on the branch member list and looking for the people who we haven't met and getting the people on there who need to be from either other branches or from the Moscow file, and we've been able to make some really useful changes and this week should prove to bring more as well so we'll just have to see what we can find out. Other than that there isn't a lot of news to report about, there is a transfer here coming up in three weeks, it will be my last transfer, I really hope that I can stay here but I guess we'll just see what ends up taking place for everyone. I love you guys and thanks for everything you do! Have a great week and be safe! Until next Monday,

-Elder Skene

Monday, July 15, 2013


Hey! This week there was some changes made in how we do the work here. For one thing, no activities for missionaries except for monthly events, at least as far as I understand it, they are trying to shift the responsibility to the members so we have to have full confidence that they can make the changes they need to to take control of things. Obviously it's a little tough because we just had like a big renaissance in our branches over here where a lot of people were starting to come back and participate, and we were getting a lot of investigators and referrals, nearly all of them in fact. This is all being said though, this is the new direction that President wants us to move in and even though it's hard we just have to trust that we maybe can't understand the full long and short term effects of it all and that we will be blessed from it, we just need to try to work hard to adjust to it and get another game plan in action. We also had a few audits this week that I was able to participate and and translate and do MLS stuff. I worked with Elder Bergerner, the chief Eastern Europe auditor, and it was a good experience and I learned a lot about Church policy, finances, and a bunch of other stuff even though it was just for a few days of doing it all. Not a bunch of updates this week as far as investigators go, we are still working with all the Russians but the Americans seemed to have gotten derailed somehow, granted one of them told us that he read about Mormonism on the Internet and you can imagine how that conversation went but we just told him that he is entitled to his opinion and that we are just here to invite people to read the Book of Mormon, pray about its' message, and come unto Christ by being baptized by someone holding the true Priesthood authority. On the bright side though we are having some progress and moving forward and working with people that we never really thought would be willing to hear our message. I hope you guys all have an awesome week, thanks for everything you do for me. I love you!

-Elder Skene

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Work is Progressing!

Hey! So this week we had some good progress with our investigators and the work here. We had our last English conversation group for a couple of weeks to let the program rotate and that went well, we had family home evening on Tuesday and had a handful of investigators there and they brought their friends, some of which we are now working with. Namely, there is a guy named Michael and his friend Truman, both Americans who live over here and among other things teach English. We had the first lesson with Michael and it went well. He agreed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, so we'll have to keep meeting with him. It was kinda strange to teach the first lesson in English to be honest, but it was cool to experience a little bit of what the missionaries back home in the US do. We'll be seeing all of them hopefully this Tuesday along with our other investigators who couldn't make it last week and Elder and Sister Crane will be there so it will be good for them to talk them and discuss the Gospel and become friends. We had Zone Conference this week too, my last one, which was kind of bizarre. There will be zone training meetings but I guess there not really the same. Sometimes the mission has gone by pretty fast and at other times slower, but I'm sure that either way I'll be at the mission home having my final interview before I know it, which will also be unreal I'm sure. You're whole mission you never really anticipate that day coming, as though it does for other Elders and Sisters but you have a special assignment or something haha. You come into the mission office on you're first day here after leaving the mission home and see the pictures of everyone on the board and then you realize that every single person in the mission on that board will be gone before you are, except for those you came with, it's just been an interesting process to see the change happen and almost everyone I knew before is home now but have been replaced by everyone, but the transition has been over 2 years so it's all been step by step so not super alarming. I gotta run, thanks for all you're support and everything you do, have a great time in Lake Powell! I hope that you have a great week. I love you!

-Elder Skene

Monday, July 1, 2013

Talent Show!

Hey everyone, this week we have Zone Conference here in Volgograd, which should be exciting and I guess it's my last one unless there will be another before October, which is kinda unreal to be honest. I always assumed a day like that to be far away in my future. Either way, it should be helpful and cool to see everyone again. This week we'll be meeting with some people hopefully who can provide us with some contacts and who can be really helpful to our branch. This week we did some service for a member who moved here a little while back and got a working lock put on her door so she can leave freely. Her daughter works in the city and I guess makes the money for the family while the Mother builds the house all day with her own hands. So we've been over to help a few times, we went with the other Elders and Sisters in our district and we want to do that again sometime soon, maybe on splits this week. It was really helpful to her, she wasn't able to ever leave for fear of someone robbing her house. She lives out in a village north of Volzhsky, about 20 minutes our so by car so not to far out but if something were to happen it may be tough for her to get help in time, so she's been confined to her home for a while. She comes to Church though now and was at the talent night, speaking of which, it went really well. A lot of people performed and a lot of inactives showed up and some investigators too. I got to MC the evening and sing a hymn with two members from our Branch here. It was all a really good time. After counting things we realized that our attendance was over 40, maybe even over 45, which is a huge improvement and jump ahead for the Branch here. It truly is a blessing to be able to take part in the work like that. So the work here is going well and things are moving forward, I can't believe that I have like 12 weeks left, crazy. I'll just need to keep continuing to do the work and try to focus on what good we can do here. The Work is true, it's of the Lord. I love all of you, thanks for all your support and help, have a great week and be safe, until next Monday!

-Elder Skene