Gary Browning served as a mission president from 1990 to 1993 over missionaries in Russia, the Baltic States, and Ukraine. He recounts that experience in this BYU devotional address. He reports that factors that have contributed to the growth of the Church in Russia include a dissatisfaction with ancient dogmas and with rigid ideologies that forbade open inquiry. Favorable though limited press and TV coverage the visits of the Tabernacle Choir and several Brigham Young University performing groups, General Authority meetings with members and friends of the Church, and superb missionaries, dedicated and competent, have been crucially important.
As all who have served a mission know, hardships and disappointments are a prominent part of the experience. Chief among ours was the dearth of Church materials and our own meetinghouses, although progress is being made in these and other areas. Problems with arranging for adequate healthcare, missionary living quarters, telephone and mail communications, banking services and office procedures were lessened or overcome through the efforts of senior couples.