Dear Elder and Sister Crane
Welcome to the Russia Moscow Mission! We were excited to learn of your call by President Monson to serve as a volunteer in Russia at this important time. Your picture is now prominently displayed on a board with all of our other current and future volunteers. We are looking forward to meeting you and working together with you to build the church in Russia. We have a great love for Russia—the people, the culture, the language and the church in Russia.
You probably have some questions about what it means to be a “volunteer” instead of a “missionary”. The law recently changed in Russia in a way that restricts proselyting in public. This has caused us to reconsider and adjust how we are working to build the church in Russia. We will not try to answer all of your questions in this letter. However, we will try to address the most common questions.
Our male volunteers are still called “Elder” and our female volunteers are still called “Sister”. You can still teach the gospel to those who are not members of our church. Elders are permitted to perform priesthood ordinances and all volunteers are permitted to speak and teach in church meetings. In general, the lessons to non-members are taught in our church buildings with local members of the church present and participating in the lessons. You will spend a significant amount of time doing community service and service for church members. You will also have a calling in the ward or branch that you are serving in and will work closely with ward and branch leaders to reach out to less-active members and to establish the church. You will not be having conversations with strangers in public places about the gospel. We still use Preach My Gospel, so study it well. Overall our experience under the new law has been very positive. We are confident that you are going to love being a volunteer!
The best part of the Russia Moscow Mission is the local church members. They are wonderful! We have known many of them for over ten years, so we can speak with some authority in saying that you will be blessed by your association with the church members. They have made great sacrifices to remain faithful in the gospel and we hope that their faith will rub off on you.
The next best part of the Russia Moscow Mission is our volunteers. Our volunteers are dedicated and love the Lord and one another. We are confident that you will fit in very well with this devoted group. In order to maintain your own well-being and the well-being of the Church here, we will ask you to work hard, to study diligently and to be wise and mature. We will talk more about that when you arrive.
We understand that you are likely feeling a mix of emotions about moving to Russia and starting full-time service as a volunteer. You have a lot to learn, but you will be surrounded by good people who will help you to be happy and successful.
May the Lord bless you in these remaining days of preparation. This is His work and we feel it a great privilege to be engaged together with you in His work in this great country.
With warmest regards, President and Sister McGhie
Russia Moscow Mission
Russia Moscow Mission