Sunday, May 21, 2017

"Well that was unexpected" [McKay's Last Mission Email]

***Hello family and friends of Elder Wilding.  There have been some big changes the past couple of days concerning our son McKay and the Vladivostok Mission. We received a phone call from Salt Lake on Saturday informing us that McKay would be returning home in four days instead of 46.  We got a phone call today informing us he will be coming home even sooner.  He arrives on Tuesday May 23 at 7:45 pm on Delta Air 311  His mission has been dissolved and is merging with the Novosibirsk Mission which is directly west of his. The official church press release from the First Presidency is below.  We are so grateful for your support of him through these past two years and have faith that the Lord's servants have been guided in this change.  We will be grateful to get him back on American soil! Our prayers are with the other volunteers as well as his Mission President for their obedience and faith in doing what they have been asked to do, as well as with the Russian saints who will feel a great loss from this change. 

Thank you again for your support!  
Jodi  
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What's Up! 
I'm coming home!

This week was crazy, probably the craziest week on the mission. It all started back on Friday night when we were on a lesson with Konctantin. We didn't even start the lesson yet and got a call from the AP's saying that we need to come to Artyom with the 1st River Elders either that night or in the morning. They told us that we would be having a meeting with President Perkinson tomorrow at 8 in the morning and that we should be praying to accept the will of the Lord. Well, right at first we are freaking out having no idea what is going on or what will happen. We don't know if it is just us or the whole mission. So we ended up just reading the testimony of the 3 witnesses with Konctantin, saying a quick prayer and ran back home. We took a taxi (because of how late it was the buses had stopped running). We get there and find out (to our relief) that the whole mission will be on this meeting and not just the two of us. That night we spent there, I didn't sleep much. Not because I was nervous but because everyone was talking forever and I couldn't fall asleep. So the next day we go to the Artyom church building and see President his wife and Elder Samaykin of the 70. Before we start our meeting we had to get the rest of the mission there through Skype. They just told us that Elder Samaykin was here on assignment from the 1st Presidency and that last Thursday while in the temple they received revelation regarding us. He told us that your mission (the biggest mission in the world) and the Novosibirsk mission (the 2nd biggest mission in the world) are getting combined. And that a new mission president would be coming in about a month to preside over these combined missions and that due to the fact that it is now one mission it doesn't need two mission presidents and that the Perkinsons will be going home. Along with 4 elders who would of ended their missions in 6 weeks but now will be going home this week. And that 10 Elders who would have gone home in 3 months will be reassigned to stateside missions to finish their labors. It was a shock. It was a complete shock. Then the Perkinsons talked to us for a little bit and bore their testimonies. A lot of people were crying, mostly the ones going to the states. After the meeting president gave me Barr and Perry our departing interviews. It was really good, unexpected but good. I received the news that we need to move out of our apartment as soon as possible and that we would be closing the area. They said we would learn when our planes leave as time goes on. 

So that's basically the story. I am going to miss Russia a lot... But I'm going back to America! I can't wait to see all of you! It has just happened so fast! I love you all! The mission was the best decision of my life! I have loved every second out here! It has been sooooooo fun! It has changed me! I love the Russian people! I love to be a missionary! It has been the best time of my life.

See you soon

-Elder Wilding


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First Presidency Announces Mission Merge in Russia

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement Saturday regarding the merging of two missions in Russia:
The First Presidency announces that effective July 1, the Russia Vladivostok Mission will merge with the Russia Novosibirsk Mission. Doing so requires fewer volunteers to staff the combined mission. In anticipation of this change, volunteers from the Vladivostok mission who were to be released in July will return home in late May, and volunteers who would have returned home in August will be reassigned and complete their service in missions in the United States.
President and Sister Perkinson, who have presided over the Russia Vladivostok Mission for the past two years, have been released. We are grateful for their years of faithful service. The Europe East Area Presidency will supervise the combining of the two missions.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Happy Happy Mothers Day! С Днём Матери!!!

Привет) -- (that is how the Russians do smiley faces, without eyes)

I wish all the mothers and especially my own mother a very happy and rewarding Mother's Day. None of us would be here without you, thank you for all you do and all you have done! A mission is a perfect place to be on Mother's Day because you come to realize just how much your mother really does do you for. Skyping home today was happiness! 

President Martino of the 70 and Elder Drachov (also from the 70) came and visited our mission this week. We had an awesome zone conference about how we can improve our work and had principles taught that will bless me not only on my mission but forever. The invitation to act is always the most important part. That is the only way we will become. Elder Martino taught the difference between a follower and a disciple...a disciple wants to become like who he is following. And not only wants to but works to. Elder Drachov is so so funny! He is from the neighboring mission and really had good experiences with missionary work that he shared with us. And he has 6 kids! That is almost unheard of in Russia. He told me that I looked like President Monson! I don't know if I agree, but of course I was flattered.

A lot of members flew in from Sakhalin for the District conference that was held the following day and it was good to see some familiar faces. We had the great opportunity of taking Вася (a 17 yr old from Sakh) on splits with us into the work! All of our plans worked out which in itself was a huge miracle! He is a great teacher and a exceptional young man. He will be an outstanding missionary!

On Victory Day we were able to see the parade and take in a little of the Russian spirit of this special day. They had so many casualties from WW2.  We were able to see the posterity of those who died carry a picture of their ancestors on a stick during the parade. The crowd was as it seemed numberless and it seemed that there was no end in sight of all those hosting a picture. There was also many cool military vehicles. We were able to meet with our friend from Zambia who brought his friend from South Africa. While we were together we ran into people from India (they area lot darker than the movies show) Brazil and a few other countries. All these people are at college at the university on Russian Island. When we were walking around by then it was amazing and funny at the amount of people that asked to take pictures with them. They say it happens everywhere they go. And someone joked that they should charge 50 rubles for every picture. If they did they would be loaded in no time.

I know this is God's work. He leads and guides His church through His living prophet Thomas S. Monson (who apparently I kinda look like). I love when the members of the 70 come. They are proof of what happens to a person when they live a Christ centered life.

Love,
-Elder Wilding
 SKYPE ON MOTHER'S DAY!

Emergency blankets for emergency situations

uhhh.. that is a big podezd...
Xpam
Look at our stairs
One of the elders got pooped on by a bird!

Letter from his Mission Pres and wife:
Dear Brother and Sister Wilding

This weekend has been a wonderful uplifting and spiritual gathering for the members of the church here in Vladivostok! 

Saturday morning we were early in our seats prepared to greet the Europe East Area President Martino and the Area Seventy Of East Russia Gracho for a marvelous spiritual feast! We were encouraged to build the foundations of the branches where ever we serve! We were invited to prepare a 3-5 minute talk on Diligence. Elder Sanders and Sister Arrington were called upon to deliver.

We reviewed Images of Christ and read brief reviews of what the Apostles taught about Christ at our last General Conference. We were encouraged to ponder these messages and seek for more personal revelation each time we study the words of Christ.

We were encouraged to read the white handbook as to the opportunity to talk to our mothers on this Mother's Day. We do hope that you enjoyed you Mother's Day phone call and we honor you with good choices! Thank you for your prayers in behalf of the work of The Lord!

Sincerely,
President and Sister Perkinson
Vladivostok Russia


Monday, May 8, 2017

Just Like Old Times

Hello everybody!

I feel somewhat lucky I am able to write this letter today. This day has been quite a fiasco. To start off we went to our main place where we always go but for whatever reason "myldsmail.net" would just not load. So after 30 minutes of juggling with that we went to another place in Center which worked for about 47 seconds flat, and then out of nowhere the power went out. We planned on waiting there until the power came on but after 10 minutes of waiting the workers said that they don't know when the power will be back on and that they are closing up the store right now because it will probably be a long time. But all hope was not lost, we knew of a different place about 15 minutes away on bus that we could go to. But, that was closed due to Victory Day, a holiday that will be tomorrow. On our way to the place that was closed, we saw a different internet cafe that none of us have been to before. We went in to try it, but it was a super dark and sketchy place. And to add to that, their computers had no internet. As a last hope we came back to the 2nd place we visited and to our great pleasure the power had been turned back on and now were in business!

This has been a nostalgic week, mainly just because me and Elder De Sandre were on splits and he made pizza. He has a gift! We met up with a man named Ivan who I met at a bus stop a week or two ago. We met near a church and started talking to him and an older guy comes up to us and says "Mormons?" and then tells us he knows a lady that goes to our church. After he left we looked around and Ivan was nowhere in sight. We went searching for him, he simple disappeared. No longer having plans, we decided to go to a soccer field to see if anyone was playing. We went up to about four teenage kids and they said we could play with them. My soccer skills are not up to par.  We were having a great time laughing while we tried to play. After the game we got their numbers and planned to meet up again. 

On Thursday to Saturday I was on splits again but this time with Elder Barr. We had a really good time. His investigator, V, took us to a lighthouse! It was super small, I took some pictures and I will send them next week. He is very interested in the gospel and a really nice guy! And on Friday we had to set up a projector for a "Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration" movie night. It was a lot of what happened today trying to write. Running there and back and then to another place. The activity went good! And on Saturday we had a picnic with the branch! It was a little windy you could say. That is actually a huge understatement. The wind was incredible. Also, it was a miracle because when we started the picnic, the weather was rainy and cold but we decided to hope for the best and have it anyway and despite the wind it was really nice weather.

Another miracle: on our way to the picnic an 18 yr old girl comes up to us and asks, "You're Mormons right?" (now that the coats are off we are getting recognized a lot). We affirmatively responded and she told us that she goes to the ДВФУ (the college in Vlad) and is studying Mormons. She told us that there is a lot of negative info about us and wants to do a report showing that we are good normal people. What? This never happens! She was way cool too! 

Well, it has been a fast week. I have been getting a lot of sun and my arms are feeling it. 

Have a fantastic Victory Day! 

Elder Wilding

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Service With the Nuns!

Gracious Greetings!

I actually took notes in my planner this week of what happened so now I don't have the excuse that I don't know what happened. I wish I would have done this sooner, it takes like 2 minutes to do it but it is the difference if I will remember my mission or not. Also because of this my journal writing has gotten better! What a awesome week we just had. 

To start it off we had a radical family home evening with a recently married couple who has a frenzy for Farkle. We discussed the beautifully simple truths of the doctrine of Christ and they feed us some tasty pastries. Later in the week they called us over to help them do a pemont (repair) on their house. We pulled up the roll out floor lining in one room and then helped them lay down a new floor. My allergies were going nuts the whole time. Speaking of service we officially are out of the old church building. We had one last sweep of the building. After that we were asked to transport around 30-40 suitcases from the 4th floor to an apartment that is just a block or two away.  The suitcases belong to all the elders and sisters who brought two to their mission (you usually have one and keep one in storage). It went fast because all 9 of the volunteers was there to help.

On Tuesday we helped our investigator K get started on his family history. Before we started he showed me pictures of the outside of a zoo that he went to. He let his kids go in but he wouldn't go. He said it was because it was too dangerous haha. Then on the way home that night on the bus I got a phone call from an Elder in Artyom and two 30 year old women got very excited when they heard me speaking English. They always think that we're Brits!

On Wednesday we met with a tall less active that is involved in a pyramid scheme. I spent basically the whole time trying to convince him that he was in pyramid scheme to no avail. Poor guy. And Elder Bacon found this guy from San Diego in the same cafe we were in. After that we went and met with our friend J from Zambia and he had with him his friend from South Africa. They showed us their campus and we saw how cool it was. 

We had service with the nun's! There are two nun's living in Vladivostok who are from America and they called us up to see if we could come and help them clear out their attic. The house they live in used to belong to someone else and there was SO much junk in there. Let me list a few of the things we found: a dog's skull, a mouse caught in a trap who had been there for probably 5 years already and so many fish movies. I was on the wheel barrow the whole time and when they brought things down from the attic, I wheeled it over to the dump that was a football field away. We moved a lot of stuff and put some of the things in the wrong area and had to move it again. Then nun's also fed us lunch! We had chicken with rice with some amazing jam! We were able to hear what they believe and we told them what we believe. 

I love this work! Hopefully we can start teaching more in the future!

Elder Wilding

Dear Brother and Sister Wilding

It truly is a blessing to serve The Lord and His children here in Vladivostok where the Church is stronger and the people are so friendly! The opportunity to meet together as a Vladivostok District once a week and review names and talk about spiritual matters is a wonderful blessing! 
We welcome Sister Jossie from the West and realize that this is her last transfer before her 18 months come to an end. We also welcome Elders Gee and Elder Barr from Artyom who travel far to get here and are always welcome. Elder Wilding invited us to prepare for Zone Conference with the Martino's by reading Alma 4-7.  Elder DeSandre offered a prayer and led us in the Mission Statement. 
Our topic of spiritual discussion was from the Preach My Gospel, chapter 3, lesson 2 second half of the lesson where it talks about the Atonement of Jesus Christ for as we rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, He can help us endure our trials, sicknesses, and pain. We can be filled with joy, peace, and consolation. All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We talked about the spirit world and judgement day and the three degrees of glory and how we are truly blessed to have this knowledge! It gives us even more reason to be urgent and diligent in our desires to share this Gospel of Jesus Christ!
We humbly kneel together as a District before the Lord to plead to know how best we can accomplish His work among His people. We are grateful for your prayers and support as we strive to do our best daily.

Sincerely,
President & Sister Perkinson
Vladivostok Russia

Monday, April 24, 2017

Workin in Churkin

Morning good everyone! (You can say it such in Russian)

It is now time for my mind to pull up all of its hatches so that my memory of this last weeks events can come back so that I can give at least a decent report of what has been learned and what has happened these last few days. It has been said that you never learn something until it is taught to you 7 times in 7 different ways, that appears to be true. 

This week was great! Everything is good in Vladivostok. We still are experiencing a drought of new investigators but we have a good likely candidate in a 26 year old college student from Zambia. He is a 7th day Adventist, speaks great English and Russian and hopefully with fill the truth of the gospel message. We were going to meet on Sunday but he said it was too cold for him to wait until we make it to center (40 min. bus ride) so we are meeting this Wednesday after Russian practice.

Also we have been working with some promising less actives. One, Hope, who is a mother of 3 children, was so happy to hear us when we called. We talked about repentance on our lesson and it went great. Another less active we are working with is named K and he is a way tall and pretty funny member who said himself that he wants to come back but doesn't see it as a huge priority yet. We are going to keep on working with them and keeping on going through our area.  We don't have a ton of actives in Churkin and therefore we have a lot that we can work with.

I gave a talk on Sunday. It went good, Sister Jossie who goes home at the end our this transfer and Sister Thomas both bore their testimonies because they are new to the branch. It is still fun having church in a 5 star hotel. The staff always brings in like 50-60 water bottles and 4 microphones and has everything set up like we were having a huge conference. I think sometimes the workers are surprised at the little kids running out in the halls haha. 

The gospel is true, the doctrine of Christ is the means by which we can make it back into God's presence. The weather has been warm lately with a few cold days.

Love,

Elder Wilding

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter!!!

Happy Easter! 

Russia celebrated this marvelous holiday on the same day that you all did in America, which is a rarity. We celebrated the holiday in remembrance of the Savior and His resurrection. The members brought us boiled eggs and candies and even cupcakes which were gladly received. They have a special greeting in Russia that I talked about last year where you say, Jesus is risen and the person you say it to responds with, truly He is risen. It is a great tradition they bring with them from their Orthodox church. Although I heard it a lot less this year than last. We are lucky to have knowledge of the Savior and his atoning sacrifice and have the hope that that brings! 

We live like 40 min. away from the center of the town where we usually meet with people and don't make it home for dinner a lot so we have been eating out a lot. The "burritos" food stand is a favorite for dinner, where they sell Sharma. I haven't had Chum Chum in the longest time because at the grocery store where we shop they don't have any of the sauce packets. I have been eating good lately though....he senior couple fed us right after a lesson we had at their house.

On Saturday we had a picnic on Russian Island! We played Frisbee and roasted hot dogs and explored the place we were at. It was a good activity! Me and Elder Bacon had to leave before the activity ended to make it to a piano recital of one of our friends. He is a talented man.  He said he practices (based on how he feels), like 2-6 hours everyday. He did well and at the end this funny Korean man ran up and gave him flowers.

We met with a new man named D that was just in our phone and we finally got a hold of him. He didn't smoke or drink and was a really tall nice man. The day after we meet with him though he texted us that he is moving back to his home town way far away that very day at 5:30 and then after that he was going to work on the sea for a year. It is too bad, but he brought one of his friends who we can meet with in the future!

Church in the Hyundai went great again! We had the huge room this time and it is really really nice.

It was another fast week! We have the commandments for our good, to keep us from regrets and sorrow! The more I am out here the more and more that becomes clearer.

Love,

Elder Wilding

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Work Goes On

Transfers came and I'm staying in Vlad! Home of the best Sharma I have ever tasted. Me and Elder Bacon will be serving together once more. This transfer was weird, almost everything stayed the same, and the only change in our district is that one of our sisters is leaving. Plus 2 other sisters are coming.  And the work goes on as it always seems to do.

I still have not yet watched conference in English. I have watched all the sessions except for the priesthood session in Russia, and from what I got out of it we had a really awesome general conference! It was great to hear the words of our living prophet and his invitation to read the Book of Mormon everyday. One of our investigators who we met with after asked us what the Prophet said, we of course excitedly told him!

We have officially moved out of our old church building and are in the Hyundai Hotel, a 5 star hotel. It is a really nice place. The first time I walked in it I heard the obviously not Russian people all speaking English to each other which is not a common site in Russia. We have two fairly same rooms constantly that we have if we need to teach lessons or hold district meeting or other stuff like that, but on Sundays we have a large hall that holds 250 people (way more that we need) for 5 hours.  So it turns out that sacrament meeting will be in the big hall and then after that the primary and other groups will go to the two smaller rooms and have their classes there while the rest of us stay in the large hall.  We watched conference there last Sunday as a branch and it went well! 

We went to our Branch President's house and brought dinner with us and ate with them. They are a hilarious family and we were laughing the whole night!  This was our first time going there and we got on a bus at a non ideal spot and we road the bus for 1:30 before we made it to our destination. And I forgot a book to read on the way! Now that I have been on my mission this long I have come to appreciate long buses. 

We had a fantastic Russian practice with one of our members who works at the large university on Russian Island and teaches Russian to foreigners. She is teaching us Russian the way the schools do it and I think I like the way I did it better.  Too much homework.  I'm on a mission, I don't got time for that!  But the lessons are fun and she can answer all of our questions.

Still on the lookout for new people to teach. We found a place designed for street basketball that was actually pretty cool! We played some basketball and made some friends. We are on the look for the elect and trying to find natural ways to meet them.

Thanks for all you do!

Love,

Elder Wilding
The Aquarium
 The City (Vlad)
 The hair cutting process
 Russian Basketball