January 7, 2015

Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission

Free resources about the Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission:

*Other Mission Pages: Russia LDS Missions.

Rostov-na-Donu Mission Address

Here’s a recent address for the Rostov-na-Donu Mission. We try to keep this information up to date, but it’s a good idea to check the address with several sources, including your mission packet or the mission office.

Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission
per Semashko 117 V
Rostov-na-Donu
Rostov oblast 344018
Russia
Phone Number: 7-863-267-85-51
Mission President: President William H. Prows

Rostov-na-Donu Mission Map

Here’s a link to the mission map for the Rostov-na-Donu Mission (LDS). To access the official, up-to-date LDS.org map for the mission:

  1. Log into your LDS account here.
  2. Click here.

Videos with Rostov-na-Donu RMs

Here are in-depth YouTube video interviews with returned missionaries from the Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission.  We interview hundreds of returned missionaries each year, so check back regularly to see new RM interviews.

mission interview  mission interview

LDS-Friendly Videos about Russia

Here are LDS-friendly educational videos about Russia. We scoured YouTube to find the best quality videos about Russia, that are free from inappropriate music, immodesty and profanity.

weather  places  history  food  nature  language  LDS Church  People and culture  nature  traditions

Rostov-na-Donu Missionary Blogs

Here’s a list of LDS missionary blogs for the Rostov-na-Donu Mission. This list includes the missionary’s name, URL and when their blog was updated.

*Send your missionary a gift (mission-specific shirts, ties, Christmas stockings/ornaments, pillowcases, etc.)

Elder Riley Midgley rileyinrussia.blogspot.com 2017
Sister Kimberly Lindquist kiminrostov.weebly.com 2017
Elder Tanner Weston weston-in-russia.blogspot.com 2017
Elder Zachary Tucker tuckertakesrussia.blogspot.com 2017
Sister Hannah Price hp-rostov.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Dustin Kempton rushindustin.blogspot.com 2016
Sister Margaret Jarvis russiantoserve.blogspot.com 2016
Mission Alumni mission.net/russia/rostov 2015
Sister Tia Misuraca mymission.com/sistertiamisuraca 2015
Sister Emory Montierth sistermontierthinrussia.blogspot.com 2015
Sister Cathryn DeLong cathryninrussia.blogspot.com 2014
Elder Travis Skene eldertravisskene.blogspot.com 2013
Sister Cunningham rushinaroundrussia.blogspot.com 2012
Elder James Curran elderjamesbcurran.blogspot.com 2012
Elder Dallin Wright elderdallinwright.blogspot.com 2012
Elder Scott Allen missionsite.net/elderscottallen 2012
Elder & Sister Gregersen cgregersen.blogspot.com 2009
Elder Michael Addis eldermichaeladdis.wordpress.com 2008

Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission Groups

Here are Rostov-na-Donu Mission Groups- for LDS missionary moms, returned missionaries, mission presidents and other alumni of the mission.

  1. Russia, Rostov-na-Donu Mission Facebook Group (680 members)
  2. Moms (Rostov, Moscow , St. Petersburg, Samara) Group (81 members)
  3. Russia Rostov na Donu Mission Prowskiys Group (57 members)
  4. Rostov-na-Donu Mission Moms (LDS) Group (4 members)

Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission T-Shirts

Here are T-shirts for the Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission!

Shirt designs include Rostov-na-Donu Mission logo/emblem shirts and Called to Serve shirts. The shirts make great gifts for pre-missionaries, returned missionaries and missionaries currently serving. LDS Mission shirts come in all sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, up to 4XL.  The mission designs are printed on white shirts and are shipped to you.

*Simply click on a shirt design to view the details and submit an order. The designs on mission t-shirts may also be printed on other LDS mission gifts, including: Rostov-na-Donu missionary aprons, Christmas stockings, ties, pillow cases, teddy bears and Christmas ornaments.

*Click here to browse Rostov-na-Donu Mission gifts

russia-rostov-mission-shirt-1 russia-rostov-mission-shirt-2 russia-rostov-mission-shirt-3 russia-rostov-mission-shirt-4 russia-rostov-mission-shirt-5 russia-rostov-mission-shirt-6

Rostov-na-Donu Mission Presidents

Here’s a list of current and past Mission Presidents of the Rostov-na-Donu Mission.

  1. 2015-2018, David H. Miner
  2. 2012-2015, William H. Prows
  3. 2009-2012, Vladimir Nechiporov
  4. 2006-2009, Майкл A Харрисон
  5. 2003-2006, Albert Y. Aumeister
  6. 2000-2003, Ned C. Arnold
  7. 1997-2000, Robert B. Schwartz
  8. 1994-1997, Vladimir Siwachok

Russia LDS Statistics (2015)

  • Church Membership: 22,472
  • Missions: 7
  • Temples: 0
  • Congregations: 95
  • Family History Centers: 56

Helpful Articles about Russia

Rostov-na-Donu Missionary Survey

Here are survey responses from Rostov-na-Donu RMs, to give you a snapshot into what it’s like to live in the mission.

 

What years did you serve?

  • 2015-2016 (Caitlin)
  • 2015-2016 (Elizabeth)
  • 2014-2016 (Cody)
  • 2013-2014 (Shaelyn)
  • 2010-2012 (Scott)
  • 1996 – 1998 (Jason)
  • 1997-1999 (Nathan)
  • 2013-2015 (Kevin)
  • 2007-2009 (Ann)
  • June 2013-June 2015 (Jake)
  • 1995-1997 (Margarit)
  • 1991-2001 (Gordon)

What areas did you serve in?

  • Rostov (West, North, and Center) and Krasnodar.  (Caitlin)
  • Stavropol, Volzshkee, Volgograd, and a few others. (Cody)
  • Zapadny, Ocktyabersky, Krasnodar, Severny, and Sochi. (Shaelyn)
  • Volgograd, Vohlshki, Rostov Zapadny Ryon, Tagonrog, and Sochi. (Scott)
  • Stavropol, Krasnodar/Novorosiysk, Rostov (north) Volzheskii, Shakhty, and Rostov (Center). (Matt)
  • Krasnodar, Tuapse, Rostov, Volzhski. (Gordon)

What were some favorite foods?

  • Вареники!! С творогом – with some fried onions, сметана, salt and pepper. But if they’re potato ones, they’re great with сметана, salt and pepper, and some herbs. Also пельмени with butter, salt and pepper. And the grapefruit Добрый brand juice is THE BEST. And MAKE SURE you get some real Russian soup while you’re out there. (Caitlin)
  • Milk. Produce. Green Borsch. Bolshoi papa ice cream. Pakhlava. (Elizabeth)
  • Blini were awesome, and Sharma is simply straight from heaven. (Cody)
  • Borsch. Pelemenie. Verenegie. Fruits and Veggies (so much better). Pastries. (Shaelyn)
  • Blinies. (Scott)
  • Borscht, Pelmeni, Piroshki, Blini (Jason)
  • Bread, borscht, keilbasa. (Nathan)
  • Shashlik, Plov, Borsh and shaurma. (Matt)
  • Bortscht. Blinis. Pelmeni. (Kevin)
  • Pelmeni. Vkusna Lubov Blini. Choco Boy cookies. Pomegranates. Korean Salad called Sparzha that tastes like chicken but is really soy and not at all asparagus. Salat Olivier. (Ann)
  • Pelmeni (dumplings) and Shaurma (a Georgian wrap). (Jake)
  • Black bread, borsch, galuptsi, pelmeni and of course, perashki. (Gordon)

What was a funny experience?

  • I was in a “tri-panionship” walking around Rostov in the beginning of fall. It was cold, so we were all bundled up. I was wearing a long black skirt, black boots, and a long, dark jacket. We passed a group of young men, and one of them said to another, Что за манахи?” Or “What’s with the nuns?” We couldn’t help but laugh, since we obviously we’re dressed like nuns with our many layers. (Caitlin)
  • Acting in a Branch’s Christmas party as part of the “little snowflake and the animals save Christmas” play. (Cody)
  • They happened daily and it normally had to do with saying the wrong word to someone. (Shaelyn)
  • Giving out English club invitations to only cute girls. (Scott)
  • There was an ice storm and everything was covered in ice. My companion offered to help an old lady across the icy street and as he offered he slipped and fell on his rear end. The woman just shook her head and kept walking. (Jason)
  • Being push on the bus and my feet weren’t touching the floor for a couple stops. (Nathan)
  • I remember we saw some very strange things in my mission and we created a journal of the events that happened that were the most strange. One of them was when we were knocking a Dom and coming out of the stairwell there was a giant moth like the size of my hand in the wall and I touched it to see if it was alive and it took off flying and then somehow oozed a liquid and it got all over my companions bag. (Matt)
  • A guy on the street gave his book he wrote. (Kevin)
  • The first time I used a public restroom (which involved a row of holes in the floor-no privacy), my Russian companion who spoke no English kept repeating “ti mima” and I kept asking what that meant and telling her I don’t understand that word. When I finished my business and discovered I had missed and soiled my food, I learned that it meant I was off-target. I’m sure most of the women who stopped to go that day still remember it, too. There is a large store called Astor not far from the mission office. Our mission president referred to it as the Big Astor. (Ann)
  • Having to run home before 9:30 pm because the buses stopped running that late at night. In one area, we had to do this almost every night. Another time, a drunk lady came up to me while I was trying to visit a less active. The lady realized I was American and asked me how to say I love you in English. I said it and she smiled, saying “Oh thanks” in Russian. Then she went in for the kiss, but I ducked away and ran like the wind!! (Jake)
  • My companion, Elder Peterson, was too smiley for the Russians on the street, so he would have random people wanting to fight him. (Gordon)

What was a crazy or dangerous experience?

  • My first Sunday, a deaf (and probably homeless) man came into our branch building, yelling and making forceful hand gestures. We ushered him into a room, where my trainer and others attempted to translate his gestures. He wanted us to get him into America – and I believe he said he was an American citizen. He said the Russian government was trying to kill him. We finally got him out when an elder promised to come meet him the next morning. (The elder didn’t actually go, and we never saw the man again.) (Caitlin)
  • There are a lot more drunk people there than I was used to and I had to be observant of my surroundings. (Shaelyn)
  • When I got a shotgun pulled on me and was told by the man he’d like to kill me and cut a cross in my chest with a knife. (Scott)
  • My companion and I got mugged by a large group of teenagers. I was even pepper sprayed in the face during the ordeal. The crazy part however was that after it was over the group came back and gave me back the ring they took from me and started chatting with us like we were long lost friends. (Jason)
  • Picking up drunks off of the pavement. (Nathan)
  • Elder Zitla and I were going home one night in a rough neighborhood and some kids stopped us to try to get money from us. They threatened to attack us and take our money, but we ran away and they did not chase us. (Matt)
  • People persecuted us for hours by car and on the street. (Kevin)
  • Having a companion who couldn’t tell the difference between someone who was drunk and a “special spirit”. We spent far too much time trying to escape drunks who had us in their apartment and didn’t want to let us out or running from them on the street. (Ann)
  • Dealing with drunk men, especially as the Ukraine war was heating up. They did not like Americans and would often try to start fights. Also, don’t talk to the police if you get into trouble or get attacked. It causes too many legal problems. Just call the Mission President or the visa registration people in the office and they will tell you what to do. The police don’t like us. You just have to be smart and follow the promptings of the Spirit and you will be safe. (If you follow the Spirit, you should never, ever have talk to the police. I only talked to them twice, and that was because I wanted to, not because they stopped me.) (Jake)
  • That one time the elder got married on exchanges. Haha. (Gordon)

What was a spiritual experience?

  • We had an investigator who was 65 years old, had lost her husband in war, and was living on her own. She claimed to be atheist. At the time that we met her, she had a lot of issues going on with her life. She had recently lost a lot of money, and she was very lonely. One day, she had a gold necklace stolen from her purse, and she called, asking, “Where is God in all this? Why doesn’t He help me? Why do bad things keep happening to me?” Truth is, she didn’t find the answer while I was there, and our efforts to explain never quite hit what she needed. But she kept inviting us back over. And she kept asking what she should do. And though she asked, “Where is God?” several more times, I heard hope in those words and not despair. I could tell that she could feel our light, and I think subconsciously, she knew that we would help lead her to the answers. She’s still on her path to finding God in her life, but I thank God that I saw the hope that she held in that pursuit. (Caitlin)
  • Absolutely yes!!!! (Cody)
  • The gift of tongues is real and I had several spiritual experiences with being able to communicate with someone when I thought I couldn’t. (Shaelyn)
  • Testifying of Christ in the middle of the street. (Scott)
  • We had a disabled and home bound investigator that really wanted to be baptized but he could not leave his apartment. We were given permission to do the baptism in his home in a bath tub. The man was at least 6 feet tall and his tub was not very big. The Elder baptizing him knelt outside the tub full of water and tried to submerge the man without much success. They tried again with not much more success. The investigator was fully willing to try and try again but it was obvious he just was too big for the tub. At that point our Mission President, who was at the baptism, told the Elder that that was sufficient and that the ordinance was valid before the Lord. This man was so faithful and had such a desire to follow the Savior and be baptized you couldn’t help but feel the spirit through every part of your body. (Jason)
  • Baptism in the Don River. (Nathan)
  • A mission is full of spiritual experiences. One of the experiences I had that was neat was teaching one of the young men’s parents. Kostya had been baptized before I got to the field and his parents had not yet joined the church. They were investigating the church but the office elders were teaching them and not getting to them enough according to Kostya. So as the District Leader, I decided to supplement the Office Elders’ visits with some visits of my own. We would leave teaching the lessons to the office elders but we would go over to them to read the Book of Mormon. One time, we read the Book of Mormon and it was so spiritual you could almost cut it with a knife. The next day, they told me that a clock that had never worked before started working and they thought it was because of the intensity of the Spirit that was there. Perhaps that is not true that the Spirit made the clock work again but I believe that it is not beyond the realm of possibility. The Lord works in mysterious ways. (Matt)
  • My first baptism. We found somebody and the ward ignored everything we did. We had problems. Made a decision to move forward and make the best out of our situation. After our decision, on that Sunday we came to church and our investigator was baptized in two months. (Kevin)
  • Bearing testimony to myself in my head as we went from door to door. I was secretly practicing for when I gave my welcome home talk, but quickly realized this is a powerful tool to get continual, extremely powerful confirmation of the truth. (Ann)
  • While serving as the first counselor in the branch presidency, I taught the Branch President how to give blessings and lead the branch. We both learned a lot from each other and the Spirit and were led many times in how to act on how to bless the members of our branch. (Jake)
  • Administering a funeral with Elder Rasmussen in Kapustin Yar. (Gordon)

What were some interesting facts about the Rostov Mission?

  • It contains all 12 tribes of Israel! There are 3 beautiful rivers, one in each of the main cities: the Don, the Kuban’, and the Volga. Our mission includes Sochi, where the 2014 winter Olympics were held, and where palm trees grow! (Yes, there are palm trees in Russia.) A member of the church is the head coach of the Rostov soccer team, and he attends church there whenever there’s a game. (He’s a fantastic Sunday school teacher, too!) Rostov was at one point a huge center for crime and the Russian Mafia, and was nicknamed “Rostov Papa” – with its coupling city, Odessa Mama. (Caitlin)
  • They grow the BEST produce. (Elizabeth)
  • It’s big, includes at least two castles, and some major WWII battlefields. (Cody)
  • The Winter Olympics were in my mission. (Shaelyn)
  • It’s the only mission in Russia where you could serve in cities in the winter and it possibly wouldn’t snow, and if it did it melted quickly. (Scott)
  • Volgograd in my mission used to be called Stalingrad and was where the Nazis were turned around during World War II. There is a statue there that is called Mamaev Gurgan that is supposed to be taller than the Statue of Liberty. (Jason)
  • It has the largest cemetery in the world. In the summer it can get to about 100 degrees and in the winter it can get to -40 degrees. Rostov has almost 2 million people. WWII ended in Volgograd and there is a monument there that is the tallest statue in the world. Pedestrians do not have the right of way so be careful crossing the street. (Matt)
  • In one city, I had just one statistic after three months, but it was a baptismal date with one of the smartest people I met on my mission. (Kevin)
  • Rostov makes tractors. There are a lot of Koreans (who moved there during Communist times) who sell salads in the markets. Water randomly gets turned off every where. In some apartments, you have to light the gas water heater to get hot water. (Ann)
  • It is in southern Russia, where the Battle of Stalingrad was fought. The 2014 winter Olympics were held there, and it is the home of the Cossack people. There are palm trees in the very south and desert and farmland throughout. It is also located between the Black and the Caspian seas, as well as the Sea of Azov. (Jake)
  • My mission President was the most interesting person, he was spiritually strong and had an eternal influence on me. (Margarit)
  • The models in the windows of the retail stores in Rostov were actually kidnap victims. Forced into modeling clothes by the local mafia. (Gordon)

What was the weather like?

  • It was really cold in the winter, and really wet. My boots were soaked through on several days. It would often snow, then get warm enough to rain, then get cold again and freeze the rain, making ice traps all along the sidewalk. The summer was very hot and humid, but far better than winter!! Much of the year was also just very windy. (Caitlin)
  • Hot and humid in the summer, snowy in the winter. Windy. (Elizabeth)
  • It changed a lot. Hot and humid in the summer, cold and humid in the winter, lots of rain in the spring. (Cody)
  • The weather was crazy but the summers are really hot and the winters are really cold. (Shaelyn)
  • Really hot and humid in the summers, snows in most cities in the winter,  like an average Utah winter, unless you’re in one of the southern cities on the black sea, where the weather is amazing all year, kind of like the weather in Los Angeles, California.
  • The weather was hot in the summer and cold in the winter. The humidity was a little higher than Utah. (Jason)
  • Cold and icy in winter. Hot in summer. (Nathan)
  • Warm in the summer and cold in the winter. (Matt)
  • Cold and also very hot. (Kevin)
  • HOT. I bought a winter coat on sale just in case I got called to somewhere cold. I was certain I got called to Russia because of that purchase. I served in Rostov and Krasnodar and both have EXTREMELY mild winters compared to my native Chicago (like it only rarely even hit the freezing point and was often in the 50s). The summers, however, are unbearably hot (I served in 4 straight months of over 100 degree F weather). (Ann)
  • In the summer, it was humid and hot…in the winter, it was FREEZING! (But not as cold as the rest of Russia.) Bring thermal garments 🙂 Fall and spring are both rainy. (Jake)
  • Warm a good portion of the year. Awesome rainstorms that would fill up the streets and I experienced a few water spouts in Tuapse. (Gordon)

What do you like about the place/people you served?

  • They’re all very honest and open. They’re very aware of others, and young men will often stand up on public transport in order to give a lady their seat. (Caitlin)
  • Russians have so much faith in miracles. They also will give anyone the clothes off their back. (Elizabeth)
  • I eventually found the language to be one of my favorite things. I loved the food. And I really loved the people, as a general rule. (Cody)
  • I loved the people and the areas. The people were super friendly and loving to everyone. (Shaelyn)
  • People are very blunt. They remember and still honor veterans from WWII. The food has very little preservatives, and therefore goes bad a lot faster, but it taste so much better. (Scott)
  • When you get to know Russians, they’re really friendly. They are not so friendly on the surface, but they are so kind if/when they let you in the door. (Ann)
  • They have had a lot of sorrow in their lives, but as they sincerely accept the gospel, their entire countenance changes and they become so happy. It is an amazing transition to witness. (Jake)
  • I like the Russian people for their honesty and I like Russia for its fascinating history- lives on in tradition and architecture. (Gordon)

Any packing or clothing advice?

  • Get waterproof, fur-lined boots (I would actually recommend getting them in the United States) and lots of thick tights, as well as some thick, longer skirts, but also make sure you also have some t-shirts and thin skirts for the summer weather! Get good shoes for the summer. Don’t you dare wear just ballet flats. I would highly recommend getting, for a journal, a small binder that can be added to, so that you can organize your studies. You’ll want a strong umbrella for the wind. Pack plenty of straight skirts – thick and thin. They’ll be your best friends on windy days. Bring a Plan of Salvation outline. Bring some cool Deseret Book stuff for the members! I think it’d be really cool to take some temple recommend holders out there to them. They don’t have that kind of stuff there. (Caitlin)
  • Get your winter boots and coat there. Don’t over pack. Your suitcases have to meet the weight limit and you will end up buying things there. Russia has super stylish clothes. (Elizabeth)
  • Don’t pack tons of accessories, odds are you won’t use a lot of them. You can also usually find local stuff that’s better for the local climate anyway. Bring mosquito repellent though. (Cody)
  • For sisters, pockets in your skirts. Thin shirts for summer and lots of layers for winter. But all of your winter gear in Russia. (Shaelyn)
  • Pack like you’re going to serve in Salt Lake City, Utah. Buy a winter coat there. You probably won’t need special boots. Regular church shoes should be just fine. (Scott)
  • Just make sure you have some good boots and coat. Also make sure you invest in a shopka once you get there because if you don’t have one and winter hits you will have plenty of people telling you that you are going to get sick. I actually got my first shopka because someone saw me with nothing on an physically put the shopka on my head. (Jason)
  • Good warm walking boots and a really good jacket to keep you warm and dry. It is very muddy in most places so prepare for that as well. (Matt)
  • Gratitude. Simplicity. Humility. (Kevin)
  • Bring warm tights even though the winters are mild, you’re outside a lot and it feels colder. A can of dry shampoo for days you won’t have water. Don’t bring anything you’re super attached to. (Ann)
  • You can only take 44 pounds in each of your suitcases, so pick carefully what you need. You will buy boots and coats there, so don’t buy them in America. (Jake)
  • Pack light and buy suits coats and other clothing there. It’s usually cheaper and you’ll assimilate better. (Gordon)

What blessings did you receive from serving a mission?

  • I can speak Russian, which is opening doors for my future career. My family was blessed and prospered while I was gone. I got to be a part of saving souls. 🙂 (Caitlin)
  • Every single aspect of my life has been blessed. (Elizabeth)
  • Too many to count. I think every good thing in my life currently can be traced back to my mission. (Cody)
  • My amazing husband is one of the many blessings I have received. I have been able to help members of my ward come back to church, get baptized and sealed later in the temple to their spouse. (Shaelyn)
  • I matured, learned tons of new life skills, met so many amazing people, and grew my testimony of the truthfulness of the church. (Scott)
  • Serving a mission prepared me for so much that has transpired in my life since. I am married to a beautiful wife and we have 5 incredible children. I constantly find myself thinking back to my mission experiences for spiritual strength and faith. I was taught more on my mission by companions, mission presidents, members, and investigators than I ever taught anyone else. For that I am eternally grateful. (Jason)
  • I got to learn Russian which is way cool. I also solidified my testimony of the gospel and in hard times that solid testimony is what has kept me active. (Matt)
  • Just buy Canadian or Scandinavian brands for the cold or wait until you are in Russia and buy it cheaper there, but it depends when you arrive in the field. (Kevin)
  • Lasting relationships with some of the most wonderful people ever. Stay in touch with them when you go home! Take them through the temple for the first time, even if you have to sacrifice to travel that far. I had a whole branch I served in fast for me during a difficult time in my life because I stayed in touch. (Ann)
  • I have made amazing (eternal) friends and gained a huge appreciation for others. I have learned to be more loving and less quick to judge. I also came to know my Savior in a very real and personal way. That was incredible. (Jake)
  • I have received my testimony and it helped me to stay strong in the Church. (Margarit)
  • Confidence. New experiences that opened my mind. (Gordon)

What are some skills you gained on your mission?

  • I learned to organize my time better. I learned how to keep busy with meaningful things. I gained more confidence in Lord and in my abilities to do what He asked of me. I learned to be more patient and optimistic. I learned to train my thoughts to focus on the positive. (Caitlin)
  • Self discipline, listening, selflessness. (Elizabeth)
  • Too many to count, but one I value a lot is the ability to plan. (Cody)
  • Leadership. Communication. How to love people like Christ did. Being bold. Speaking Russian fluently. (Shaelyn)
  • Learned Russian, learned how to learn and teach myself, and to push myself to be the best person I could in every aspect of my life. (Scott)
  • I gained leadership and communication skills on my mission. I was always one of the most shy people around and never put myself out there but on my mission I had to do it. I am still not the most outgoing person around but I gained a confidence in myself that has continued. (Jason)
  • How to talk to people. How to handle rejection. How to learn on my own or self teach. How to cook. How to listen to the Spirit. How to work hard. How to serve. How to be more selfless. How to love others as myself. (Matt)
  • Understanding what it means to be thankful and to be able to live under all circumstances. That God really saves us and cares about us. It is not about statistics, but about his children, not about you. (Kevin)
  • I speak Russian. I can live 15 months without eating spaghetti (they have noodles, but cheap spaghetti/tomato sauce doesn’t exist there). (Ann)
  • How to focus, how to really feel the Spirit, how to speak Russian ;). (Jake)
  • Navigating public transport. Language skills of course. I know English better, have learned Russian. (Gordon)

What do you wish you knew/did at/before the beginning of your mission?

  • I wish I would’ve memorized more scriptures, and I wish I would’ve made a conscious decision, sooner, to leave all my affairs behind. (Caitlin)
  • The Lord knows your desires. He knows that you are imperfect. He loves you and can do miracles through you anyway. (Elizabeth)
  • How to be humble, how to be bold, and how to speak Russian. (Cody)
  • I would be able to speak Russian and not to freak out as much in the MTC. The mission goes by quickly. (Shaelyn)
  • Purchased “big red”, the nickname for a Russia/English dictionary that was very popular among the missionaries because it’s the most accurate and useful. (Scott)
  • I wish I knew the language a bit better. I took Russian in High School and when I got to the country I felt a bit lost. I picked it up fairly quickly but always felt I could have done more had a done more with my language skills before and early on in my mission. (Jason)
  • Nothing. Unless you can just magically know the language fluently. It is important to work hard every day and do your very best. The Lord will do the rest.  (Matt)
  • How to prepare better and what you really need as a non-American to go on a mission to Russia. (Kevin)
  •  How hot it was going to be! That everyone addresses each other as girl, boy, man or woman. It was odd to hear “Girls! Go away!” or sometimes even “Woman (because I was older), girl-go away!” Mayo is considered a sour cream substitute and NOTHING can be eaten without one or the other. Russians always smell their food before eating it. (Ann)
  • I wish I tried harder in role plays and at being less focused on obeying the rules because I had to, but more focused on being obedient because I love the Lord. The less you think about yourself and more about the people, the better you will feel and the better you will be able to serve. (Jake)
  • Everybody you meet are real people with real life challenges. I would love anybody who comes in my path, and would encourage them to love themselves. (Gordon)

Any advice/testimony for pre-missionaries called to Rostov-na-Donu?

  • It’s going to be great. The Lord will strengthen you. Do all that you can, and you’ll see miracles. Love every person you can with everything you’ve got. Tell the members you love them, often, and really get to know them. (Caitlin)
  • Strengthen your testimony, start keeping a journal, and begin to ask God what he wants you to do today. That will make a big difference. (Cody)
  • Work hard and know that as you dedicate yourself to the Lord and His mission for you, you’ll be blessed and everything will work out the way it is supposed to. (Shaelyn)
  • Even the smartest of missionaries didn’t start to really grasp the language until their second year. So be patient and diligent in your language studies. Its a hard, freaking language. I’d recommend committing to memorize 10 new words every day for at least the first year. Get used to stepping out of your comfort zone. About a third of the missionaries by the time they left still had a poor understanding of the language, and therefore struggled their entire mission. You need to study and work really hard. Don’t be one of the missionaries that goes home and has regrets because they didn’t work as hard as they could have, and therefore were less effective missionaries. (Scott)
  • All I can say is that this mission was the perfect one for me. It stretched me and molded me into the man I am today and for that I am eternally grateful. (Jason)
  • As they say, it is the best 2 years. You will go from being a boy to a man or a girl to a woman. You will have to serve in hard places and you will have to serve with hard companions and you will have to do hard things all the time. Just always keep a positive attitude and keep the Lord involved in everything you do. If you always have the mind set that there is someone out there that wants to listen to your message and that that person is the next person you will talk to, you will be very successful. Never ever give up no matter what. (Matt)
  • Read the Book of Mormon…learn it by heart. Be yourself. (Kevin)
  • Eggs are sold by 10s, not by the dozen. Don’t expect to see lettuce or grass until you go home.  (Ann)
  • This mission will be one of the greatest opportunities of your life. Make the most of it. You can impact lives for eternity. The people of Russia have been deprived of the right to worship God for such a long time that most people are suspicious and angry when you mention Him. But if you go forward with faith and charity, with a desire to serve your Lord and your fellow man, you will be eternally blessed. This is the Lord’s work. He knows His sheep. Be happy and humble. The Lord loves you. (Jake)
  • Relax and trust that God will change your life if you surrender to His unconditional love. (Gordon)

What was a funny language mistake you made?

  • I mispronounced a word, and instead of saying “Jesus loved everyone,” I said “Jesus killed everyone.” We laughed and it was totally fine. You need to be able to laugh at yourself. (Elizabeth)
  • There are words that are really close and I messed them up daily! Just laugh and don’t get too frustrated. (Shaelyn)
  • No mistakes were funny. It’s depressing not being able to testify, and just speak with the people. You can learn enough to get by, but if you want to be really good, you will have to work extremely hard. (Scott)
  • Well I once said, “let’s sleep on hymn number 14 ‘da-vi lick-ovat.'” instead of saying let’s sing. (Cody)
  • There are many possible language mistakes to make but the one most missionaries make early on that is quite embarrassing is that the verb for “to write” and the verb for “to go to the bathroom (#1)” are very similar and if you conjugate the verb wrong you say something you didn’t mean to say. (Jason)
  • I was telling the congregation how I almost died as an infant when I fell into a pool of water but instead of saying water I said hell it was pretty funny. (Matt)
  • I want (ya chochu), but in that way said to a girl without shtobui means I want(to have intimacy with). That was really funny and awkward. (Kevin)
  • We were talking with some members about a time when we met with our land lady. The word for land lady sounds similar to the word for babe, like that girl is a babe. We kept saying the word with the wrong accent and they kept laughing at us for saying we met with our babe. (Jake)