We have been in Moscow Russia for over 13 months now. We have been serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Sants. We were called as the office couple when the mission had 50 missionaries and included cities in the Moscow area. The time has gone by very quickly. We have had experiences we never would have dreamed of, seen things we never would have thought to see, and met some of the most wonderful Russian people and missionaries in the world.
Three and a half months after arriving, the Russia Moscow West Mission and the Russia Moscow Mission were consolidated. We now have over 110 young missionaries and presently over 15 senior couples. Our mission boundaries expanded to about the size of the United States.
We have worked as hard as we ever have. We have been exposed to a new culture, difficult language, have dealt wih an extreme learning curve. We are away from our mothers, friends and children, have grandchildren we miss and a granddaughter we haven't met yet. So, why are we here?
We love the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have been so blessed in our life with good health, financial security and a desire to serve. Our mission is helping to keep us young! We have been given so much, it is time to give back! And oh! what a ride it has been thus far! Bumpy at times, but it makes the journey more interesting than a smooth ride.
Our prophet, Thomas S. Monson and Gordon B. Hinkley before him, have encouraged senior couples of the Church to serve a mission if possible. The need is great, the benefits beyond imagining in the most wonderful way.
We know that our family has been protected and watched over in our absence. We have seen miracles happen in our family since we have been here. We do not believe it is coincidence.
The Lord is hastening His work. In July 2013, 58 new missions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will open throughout the world. That means 58 new office couples will be needed this summer (along with others who are being released such as Elder Sutton and I). And many other couples will be needed to help these new missions get started. These 58 new missions are joining the approximately 350 missions the Church has worldwide already!
It feels good to play a small part in watching the Russian people blossom as they learn of the gospel and Heavenly Father's love for them. We have watched with awe as our young missionaries work hard to serve the Russian people. They have dealt with hostility as well as kindness. They have experienced joy as they are able to share the gospel with them and see Light come into their lives.
This experience is one we will always cherish. We have made eternal friendships here.
I ask you to please join your prayers with ours that the needs of the Russia Moscow Mission will be met. Needs that can only be met with our wonderful senior couples. The need for senior couples here is important to help the work move forward.
Why are we here? Because we love the Lord and we want to serve Him. We didn't ask for anything in particular when we turned in our papers. We left it up to the Lord. We know that Moscow, Russia is where he wanted us to be, where he needed us to be.
Thank you for your love and support. It means more than you could possibly know.
Until next time, dos vidonya and God bless!