Sunday, November 2, 2014

Miracles Happening All Over The Place!

Well, Coming up to the end of this year, we just keep having more and more Chooda's (miracles) happening ALL OVER THE PLACE!!!! Elder Braun and I now have 3 investigators on date, one came to the baptism last week and said he wants to get baptized earlier than the 6th of December.  Two weeks ago, we had 2 baptismal dates in the zone.  Last week at this time we had 7, now we have 9 after having two people get baptized last Saturday.  We are just seeing so many great things happening, I don't even know what to do or say.  Yesterday, Elder Braun and I went down to a place called Dzerzhinsk, which is in the oblast of Nizhny, and had sacrament in an apartment.  That place just got opened about two years ago. We also went into a city called Bor which is being opened right now, and just went around and talked to people about our church and stuff.  It was a lot of fun.

On Mon
So Everything is going great!
Right now, me and Elder Braun, have 5 on date.  All of which have been invited to be baptized in the past 2 or 3 weeks.  Just last week,on Wednesday, we walk up to a guy on a bus stop, start talking to him, explain who we are, why we are here and swap numbers.  We call him on Friday, and invite him to the baptism some other Elders were having.  He comes, meets with Elder Braun and another Elder (on splits) after words, and he wants to be baptized! 
These kinds of miracles are happening ALL over the place!!!  It's really crazy.  I don't feel like I, or we are doing anything special.  God is just blessing us like crazy! 
All 5 have a long way to go though.  So we have to work hard and diligently with them.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Zone Leader!

Well, I got transfers and I'm gonna be a zone leader now!  They are sending Elder Sehnert back to his first area to die.  I'm getting Elder Braun, who has only been a zone leader for one transfer, so were both fairly new at this.  They are shotgunning the zone leaders old area and bringing it into my area, so I'll still be with all of our investigators.  President wants us to go on a lot of splits, and they are also opening a new area in our zone, just outside of Nizhny, so we gotta help with that.  There is a lot of crazy stuff that's gonna go on, it's gonna be a crazy transfer.  

Temple Blessings

Have I got a story for you!!! 

A lady from our branch decided she wanted to go to the temple. She prepared and went to Sweden. The problem was, there wasn't anyone there who spoke Russian to help her through her first time. She goes and by happenstance there is a Russian lady in the temple that same day who has been before!! She helps her through and everything works great. This other Russian woman lives in Norway, and was planning on going on vacation with her family to Egypt or something. But she got the impression she needed to go to the temple instead. So, instead of going on vacation, she goes to Sweden and helps our ward member through the temple. After talking, they find out that they are both from Nizhny Novogorod!! What is crazier, is that this woman who lives in Norway married a Norwegian with the last name of Olsen. WHAT!?!?  I need to find out if she is related to our Olsens!!!  

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Baptisms and Transfers!

 YAY!!  Sara is training!!!!!  I'm so happy for her, I've wanted her to train!!!  She'll have lot's of fun :)

As you guys probly know, I'm in the most successful are I've ever been in my entire mission.  We have L and his family who will get baptized, we set another baptismal date with a different guy last week, and we will be getting another family referral this week. 
And I'm leaving on Tuesday O.o
I'm getting transferred, mid-transfer.  Not even, it's the second week of the transfer.  I'm going to go to a place called Nizhny-Novgorod.  Which is cool, it's the third or fourth largest city in Russia, and I've wanted to serve there my whole mission.  But NOW!?  Ya, I'm way bummed.  But that's what life is, and that's what happens.  They're bringing a missionary into the mission who had to get surgery done on his eyes in America, after he served two transfers in Russia.  He's been home for 3 months, and he's coming in on Tuesday. He's going to come to Lipetsk, and Elder Burton will become the new district leader and second counselor here.
Well, I've had a lot of members come up to me this past week and express how they feel about me leaving.  Most aren't very happy, haha.  One lady asked how they would function here without me.  Of course they will function fine, but I was happy that I had such an influence that the members are going to miss me.
Ok, Love you guys!!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Discussion, Uninterrupted

     Hey Family!  Things are really going great.  When I first got into this area, I came with a brand new greenie, and we had nothing.  This is the end of my second transfer here in Lipetsk, and I just had my most successful week in my entire mission last week!!  It's on FIRE here!!!  We just set a baptismal date with someone, we have another guy with whom we also want to set a baptismal date with, the members love us, and we are just really doing well.
      Well, we were in a lesson on a park bench with our investigator A, teaching the word of wisdom, with a great member on the lesson.  Then our member gets a call in the middle of the lesson, and tells me that it's our friend M, and that he was going to go get him and come back.  Uh oh.  M is one of our dropped investigators, (with whom we've still been in contact with now and again to be his friend), who only likes to argue with us when we talked about the gospel.  The member and M had become pretty good friends fairly quickly, but now he was coming back with M to participate in our lesson!   We tried to do what we could do wrap up the lesson quick, but A had a lot of questions and concerns that we had to address.  Then comes M with our member friend.  And then, A and M shake hands and start talking like they're old buddies!!  Turns out that they had worked together for a long time a while ago.  Then M says he doesn't want to bother our discussion and leaves!!  We finish our lesson, and commit A to being baptized.  We were sure M would come over and just want to start arguing with us during our lesson, and really create a bad impression with our investigator there.  But it worked out just absolutely perfectly.
Love you!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

I would not be here if it weren't for my parents

Mom, I just want to let you know how much I appreciate all your doing for me.  I'm talking about all that you've done for me growing up.  I've already told you and Dad this, but I wouldn't be here in Russia right now if I didn't have the parents that I do.  I love you Mom, and I'm grateful for the love that you've shown us growing up.  I didn't write this, but a missionary who just went home did and I think it's pretty cool.  It's about the man who built his house upon a rock; and Mom, you really helped me build mine upon that good foundation.

Be not as the foolish man
Who built his house upon the sand
He built it to his own demise
And mocked the man he thought unwise

He thought himself above the rest
Perched upon his lofty nest
He gazed upon the unlucky lot
Who went without or so he thought

He laughed and scorned, so was his talk
"Why have you built upon a rock?"
"Out here the breeze runs wafting by"
"My courts are open to the sky"
"Come, build out here where life is grand"
"Come join me upon the sand"
Many heeded his haughty speech
And built alongside him on the beach
All except one humble man
He would not build upon the sand

He knowingly watched the sand-side block
As he stood alone upon the rock
The people mocked, but he hearkened not
For he knew the fate of that devil's plot

Time went on, years passed away
Until arrived that fateful day
A quake, a shutter, the earth was rent
The time to prepare was now far spent

The people fled before the waves
And now lay inside their seaside graves
Others ran and tried to hide
They came up to the rockman's side
They yelled to him "run you fool!"
"See ye not this deadly pool?"

He responded with solemn word
That stirred the hearts of all who heard
"I've lived my life a humble man"
"I did not build upon the sand"
"I fear not, I've got a plan"
"I built on Christ, my house will stand"

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Baptism in Poldosk!

So this week I got a call from President Borders on Saturday.  He called to congratulate me, and told me the impossible has happened.  There was a baptism in Podolsk!!  It was the sisters' investigator, Galina.  She was found while I was there, and they set a baptismal date with her while I was the District Leader there.  She had a couple rough patches, especially the last week I was there.  She flipped out and yelled at the sisters and the member on the lesson about some weird things, the biggest being tithing.  She had been looking at some Anti-Mormon material on the internet, and had not been reading the Book of Mormon.  They were able to keep things going with her, I had the baptismal interview with her and then I left.  And the baptism went through on Saturday!  I think President just called me because he knew that I wanted so bad to be the one who changed Podolsk. When I left Poldosk, it was still a pretty dead area :\  First baptism in Podolsk in 3 years!!!  I was ALMOST there to witness the sisters break that streak, haha.  

Well, I love my new area!!  I love my new companion!!!  My new branch has about the same amount of members as my last one, but this one is not nearly as self functioning.  There are about 70 on the ward list, and we had I think about 30 at church, with 8 being missionaries.  75% of the active members are all Armenians.  They're way cool; Armenians are very sincere and truly have a deep testimony about the church.  Armenia is the highest baptizing mission in the Europe East area.  I've recently found out that Moscow Russia a year ago was at the bottom of that list, and we were the least successful mission in Russia, but we are now #1 in Russia and #3 in Europe East!!!  That's pretty incredible, I gotta say, that that success goes to our new Mission President who I came out with.  He's killing it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Visit from Elder Bednar

 This weekend, Elder Bednar came!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  OH MY GOSH!!!  We saw him at Stake Conference on Saturday, he gave an incredible talk! (funny hearing him speak Russian ;) )  And yesterday he gave another incredible talk. THEN, we had the opportunity to meet with him as missionaries.  Only the missionaries in Moscow stake got to go, so I was WAY lucky.  He came, and I was expecting to get an intense lecture/talk about missionary work and stuff, maybe like Elder Holland style.  But he came up to the stand, and told us that we would be have a discussion.  He had asked us to read three talks of his before, and he just asked us what we learned.  He started just calling on missionaries and we would say what we learned, and then he would go off for a while about it.  He called on me, and asked me some follow up questions to my comments.  I talked to Bednar :D  And then he asked us to ask any ANY questions we wanted, and he would go off about them.  I, and we, REALLY learned a LOT about how to become a better teacher.  It was supposed to start at 2 (it started about 245) and it went until 6:30!!!!  And I was way sad when he left.  I shook his hand.  It was the most spiritually building experience I think I've had in my life, in that short of time. It was truly incredible.  I don't understand how his mind works; he's my favorite apostle now for sure :)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Please do not share any of this blog information publicly. Thank you!

1. Laws in the countries of our Area prohibit the online sharing of any “personal data,” directly or indirectly, pertaining to another person. Thus, we ask that you not share through social media tools any information – including photographs, names, addresses, contact information, or any other “personal data” – about individual members, nonmembers or missionaries. If you currently have a public social media site or Facebook page where Area related material is posted, please immediately remove all posted photographs of missionaries, members and nonmembers as well as any written information about them. If you wish to keep photographs on your site, please make that site private, and strictly control who has access to the site – by invitation only. Please ensure that those
invited onto the site can be trusted not to share or forward information made available on the site to ensure that we honor and uphold the law. Our missionaries are focusing on their missionary purpose, even on preparation days and we are asking them to be wise even regarding the number of photographs that they send home.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Church meetings.. .

Mom!  To answer one of your questions, we meet in a building underneath a restaurant. There are an average of about 35 members that come to church every week.  The meetings can be Hilarious sometimes!  They do things very differently than they do in America, but it's good.  

No effort is wasted

Dad, I know without a doubt that I'm supposed to be right where I am.  It's dang hard.  As one companion I've had put it, this mission is one slap in the face after another.  But I love it.  In PMG, it says that no effort is wasted, and I believe that.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Building relationships with the members!

So this week was pretty dang good.  We had good stuff happen.  We're gonna get a baptism here, and not only that, we are going to change this area. (no date or anything, but our AWESOME investigator) We've been working hard, and we've been doing things differently than missionaries in the past, which is what the area needs.  We also taught a lesson yesterday in Church, and we talked about members and missionaries working together.  And we've been meeting with the members like CRAZY.  We are doing everything we can to build a relationship between the members and the missionaries I'll tell you what, since doin' that we've never had so much success in this area, and I feel that it's just getting started!  And it's not just our mission that it will work for. I testify that in order to get baptisms, in order to build whatever area we're in, in order to be an outstanding missionary (not just one that's good at contacting) we NEED to build a relationship with the members, so that they cry when we leave!  (But not by wasting time "hanging out" with them.)  Using them on EVERY lesson, serving them, siting by them at church, going to lunch with them, tracking down the inactive lost sheep, and becoming their friends.  We've just barely begun to do it, and I can't explain how much my view of the mission has changed.  I'll tell you success stories from it when they really start pouring in, cuz they're going to :)

I love you guys!  

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Tale of Two Missionaries


Their smile...


 How hard they work---worn out

 Cold weather countries

Happiness in Sharing the Gospel

Monday, January 27, 2014

Baptisms and a transfer

Sorry for the late email!  Had to cut email short today due to helping an investigator move.  
anyway!!!  New area!!!
 Podolsk is wayyy awesome in the fact I DONT HAVE TO RIDE THE METRO!!!!  :D  But there's a lot more walking, and now I have to go like an hour away by train to get to investigators or members houses sometimes.  It's kinda nuts.  ANd my new comp?  He's pretty cool :)

It's cold.  Like way cold.  And Moscow isn't even considered that cold compared to the rest of Russia.  We were walking with  an Investigator, who's got this mustache, and as we were walking his spit, or snot or something was collecting on his mustache in within 20 min he had an Ice-stache.  haha.  And about that investigator.....
We gave him a baptismal date!!!! Way awesome, and came out of nowhere!  We just called him out of the area book, and he said he knows the BoM is true, and he believes that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and our church is better than any others!
And we have another investigator who got a baptismal date the day before I arrived in Podolsk!  So we have two dates!  One for feb 15 and one for March 1.  Way awesome!
Ya right now, it's awesome!  I gotta a visa trip this week, gonna go to Riga for a full hour or so ;)

Well family!!  Have a great week!!

Love, Will

Service, an important part of the mission

Yvonne!!!  How has school been going for ya??  Any better?  Work your hardest and take the harder classes earlier in high school, so you can take it easier your senior year ;)  oh yaaaaaa. 
How was Mexico for you and Mom?  Did it make you sick at all?  It was an awesome experience for me.  Thinking back on it, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  I really do enjoy doing service for other people.  We don't get a lot of opportunities in Moscow, for whatever reason, besides helping people as we see them on the go.  
I feel like that's something a lot of missionaries forget about a lot of the purposes of why we're serving missions.  A lot of them get caught up in the "talk to everyone"  routine and decide that that's all they need to be doing their whole mission, when, in reality, we have been told again and again by leaders of the church that we need to be talking to people on the go, while we are traveling to other and more productive things.  Such as lessons with investigators, members, meetings, and doing service!!!  
Well, Yvonne, I hope life's going good for you!!!  I love you!

Love Will

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New area: Podolsk


Hey family! 
      We're outside a lot, walking the streets talkiing to people.  Had a sweet sacrifice I think I already told you about.  Our area presidency has said that they don't think we have had enough sacrifice in this mission so we sacrificed sweets this transfer as a zone to show God we are serious about making a certain goal. We didn't make our goal, but we put forth a big effort to get 40 member present lessons together as a zone in one week.  We got 29 in our zone, which is way better than it's been in the past, especially this time of year!  
      To make the goal we would have had to get 4 or 5 as a companionship this week, but we got 2.  We got a lot of figs (where people just don't show up to an appointment) that is very common here.  People set up an appointment, and we even make sure the very day of the appt. that it will still work, and they just don't show up.  Then usually, we can never get a hold of them again.  Happened twice to us.  Also had a lesson with an investigator we've had since I got here, and we dropped her.  We started talking about her coming to church, and she said our members and bishop could go to h...  And started talking to us about anti mormon But she says she likes us and wants us to come back.  (We won't.)  As is missionary life in Moscow :)  
      Well, I'm getting transferred out of my first area!!  I'm going to Podolsk.  It's about 45 min south of the metro (I think) on an electrishka train.  But it's still technically considered Moscow.  I'm pretty excited to go to a knew area.  
Oh ya, it's cold now.  About -21 c yesterday.  
Ok, that's really it for now.  I'll be thinking an praying for Yvonne!  Let me know what she thinks of her patriarchal blessing!

Love you all!  
Will, Elder Bass

Friday, January 17, 2014

Appreciate Living in America!

Hey family!!!

So not much new to talk about.  Just normal stuff.  It's starting to get colder (finally)  Theres a lot of ice on the ground, so there have been people falling down everywhere.  I fell on my butt and squished some milk last week haha.  It's been snowing consistantly for the past 4 days or so.  Apparantly that's what Russian Winters are supposed to be like, with a constant light snow and occasionally a big snow storm here and there.  
Transfers are in a week!  I'll find out where I'm going by saturday.  I'm way excited!  I've loved my area, but I've been here for 5+ months already so I'm kinda ready for a change.  (I hope I go to an outer city to be honest.  Away from the metro!  hahaha ;) )  
I have to say, living here has made me appreciate living in America a lot more! Anyone who talks bad about America that lives there has gotta get out and see what the rest of the world is like

Monday, January 13, 2014

Things Are Looking Up!

Transfers are this week, and I'm losing Elder Marx. I'm staying in Арбатский for another transfer with Elder Davis, he's coming up from Воронеж (Voronezh??) He's a zone leader down there, which is pretty cool.  I'm pretty excited. 
We got another investigator,t we actually have some hope for him; he's been talking to a member online through  Her name's Надя (Nadya), she and her twin sister actually have a mormon message.  We had a lesson with him with her on the lesson.  She was a lot of help!  We are right now just hoping he's not just interested in the church cuz he's got a crush on her or something
     Things are looking up I think.  Yesterday we had 2 lessons with our friend who left for Armenia a while, but came back!  Hes never been to church, and has had a hard time meeting with us in the past, but now he is committed to coming to church and wants to meet with us everyweek.  He gave his book of Mormon in Armenian away to his family while he was down there, because he said that he didn't know of any way they could get in contact with the missionaries down there to get one.  He's pretty awesome!!!  We also met with this guy named Maxim, who has been kind of skeptical about the church and missionaries, and religion in general.  We invited him to our FHE that we have every week, and no one else who was supposed to come showed up except one member, Artyom (Артём) and the senior couple (cuz it's held at their apartment) and we just played games and stuff with him.  It was a blast!!!  We built a great foundation with him, and we had some great discussions about the church with him as well.  He is now very willing to meet with us to talk about our purpose here, and discuss the church. Very cool!!

Ok, Love you guys!!!

Doing the work with doughnuts!

Hey family!

Sorry my emails are always so short and without pictures.  I just don't take pictures very often, and I just don't have a lot of time to email..  I think I'm slow at emailing.  And our day is just always so packed as is;  The metro just sucks our day away, everyday.  You have to ride the metro anywhere you go.  

So this week we have been planning a party for our English clubbers.  Also for investigators and for members of course.  Me and Elder Marx have been put in charge it, it's for pretty much all of the missionaries in Moscow.  We've recruited the sister's help in our district (and they're pretty much planning it, while having us run around and do the errands :) )
Me and Elder Marx have been put in charge of a big party for pretty much all of the missionaries in Moscow. (at least half of Moscow...the bigger half)  It's for English club, but we're inviting all of our investigators and Members.  We've been working hard to try and get this put together.  We have a bunch of games that we're planning on doing. One of them is doughnut eating on a string.  So today we have the job of finding cheap doughnuts!  Which will be a huge task all in itself.  Doughnuts don't exist in Moscow, and where they do they are VERY expensive.  Well, everything is expensive in Moscow.

We've been getting shut down a lot.  It's kind of depressing to be honest.  No one likes to talk to us, and we're losing investigators fast.  I told you about our golden investigator.  He won't answer the phone anymore.  It's getting harder and harder out here.  I still love it here in Russia, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.  But it's been hard.

 It's defintely a different world over here.  A lot of neat culture and things to see, it's defintely a place that I think you'd like to see!  

Love you family!!! 

Старейшина Bass

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Intense Missionary Work in Russia

Hey Family!!!  

Well, this week is pretty normal.  It's been getting down to freezing regularly, till a couple days ago it shot up to about 12 degrees (c) and been staying there.

Me and my comp have really been trying to work on the members.  One of the biggest challenges here in Russia has definitely been working with members.  There aren't a whole lot of members here in Russia, and everyone here is always super super busy.  The way of living in Russia, isn't to know or even talk to your neighbor.  So member missionary work is difficult.  But we have been really pushing trying to get the members to help us out, so Elder Marx and I put together a little plan of our own, and at the same time our mission area has been pushing for Member Missionary work.  So that ended up working really well!!  In the past 2 weeks we have received 5 referrals from members we have been trying to work with.  Which is twice as much as my companion has received his entire mission, and he's been out for a year!

Anyway, I think everyone is pretty confident that the missionary work is gonna start picking up here.  Pretty excited about that.

Ya, and this transfer is over on thursday, and I'm staying in Арбатский Приход (Arbatski Ward) with my companion still!!  I'm actually really happy about that.  I wanted to stay, cuz I have a feeling we're gonna see some baptisms this transfer.  We're gonna work at it! :)

We have one new "investigator" who is from Uzbekistan.  He's actually a member; he got baptized about 10 years ago.  But right after he got baptized he moved back to Uzbekistan, and the church doesn't exist there.  So he came back here, and we got a call from his nephew saying he wanted to meet with us and come to church.  We had no idea he was a member, we thought he was muslim (cuz ALL "Stanians" are muslim) Well, we asked him to start working towards becoming worthy for the priesthood, but he can't read the BoM.  He lives with a bunch of other Stanians, and they are all muslim. He said that if they knew he had a BoM and he was Christian, they would kill him.  Pretty intense!  

Anyway, I love you guys.  I'm loving Russia, and I'm way happy to be here.  It's really flying by!

Love you!!