How many times have I mentioned that life is different in Russia? Missions are different too. There are many kinds of missions as has already been discussed, but I would like to share what a typical day for one of our young missionaries is like.
6:30 am - A missionary's day starts. They have until around 8 to shower, breakfast, etc,
8 - 9 am - personal scripture study of the scriptures or Church materials, such as reading the Liahona, Ensign.
9 - 10 am - the missionary companionship study the scriptures together, plan their day, practice lessons, maybe do some role playing to help them be more effective, etc.
10 - 11 am - language study. Studying the language is so important. Missionaries are expected to teach in the person's language. This means that even if a Russian can speak good English, he is still taught in his native tongue.
As you probably know, Russian is a tough language to learn and practice, practice, practice is |SO important, even though our missionaries have had 2 -2 3 months of intensive language training at the MTC before coming to Russia.
11 - 12 - lunch time and clean up.
The rest of the day they are expected to be out being missionaries! This includes street contacting. Our missionaries here in Russia DO NOT go door to door. They meet people on the street, or in the metro.
It is important for them to be creative in finding people to teach. They are invited into homes or invite an interested person to come to church whee they can be taught or ask questions, etc. These meetings with individuals last for generally about an hour.
Another way our missionaries interact is through service. As Elder Simmons mentioned, we have a lot of babushkas in the wards and branches. (older women) The missionaries assist in moving furniture, remodeling their apartments or helping them tend their gardens in the summer at their daschas.
Almost EVERYONE has a dashcha that they retreat to in the summer to get away from the hustle and bustle of a large city. |this dasha can be anywhere from a shed to a fancy home on the lake. Many of them are very humble, but provides the people with a chance to get some fresh air and have a garden and grow their own vegetables.
The missionaries are expected to be in their apartment by around 9:30. Their day isn't over yet, though. There are phone calls to make to check on the other missionaries in their district to make sure everyone is ok, and to make some plans for the next day. At some point during that 9 hours, they sometimes get something to eat!
One day a week is Preparation day, a day to do laundry, grocery shop, play sports and relax, see some cultural sites. It is a day to rest from their vigorous missionary routine. Sunday, of course, is Church and they meet with investigators then and visit members in their homes as well.
I have seen some of our wonderful missionaries at work. For instance, on the metro, it is not uncommon for them to strike up a conversation with a passenger. Sometimes it results in a referral, sometimes, just a friendly visit, sometimes it doesn't go well.
Our missionaries here in Russia are up against it sometimes. The language of course is hard. It is a tough language to understand! ESPECIALLY when they speak fast.
As mentioned before the seniors are not prosylyting missionaries. What we do in the ofice is much different than what our young missionaries do.
I have the greatest love and respect for these fine young missionaries who have put their life back home on hold to come and share the message of the gospel for 18 months to 2 years. They touch the lives of many. They are a blessing.
I'm sure grateful for the two missionaries who taught me the gospel over 40 years ago, 2 young men, Elder Lemmon and Elder Fetzer. God bless our wonderful missionaries, here and throughout the world!