Monday, December 28, 2015

Good Week in Russia, Bad Week in America

Dear family and friends,

It was really great to talk to you on Christmas!  It was something that I really took for granted before.  My Christmas was great and fun!  The weather is starting to warm up here a little bit.  Had a good English practice : Christmas Edition.

We set an baptismal date for Egor this week and if all goes well Yuri will get baptized tomorrow.  Elder Lyman and Sumner are teaching him right now but me and Elder Lyman found him and it is great to see him progress in his faith.  He had to come to church this Sunday if he wanted to get baptized.  We were all worried when sacrament started without Yuri.  But we just placed it in the hands of the Lord and he showed up!   It was a miracle!

Me and Elder Sumner were on splits this week and had an outstanding day.  I swear the streets were prepared for us because of how many people we were able to talk to and share our message and receive their numbers.  I wasn't really sure how it was going to go at first but it was one of the best contacting days I have had on my whole mission!

My Christmas was awesome!  We were hoping and praying that we could do some service on Christmas.  We couldn't find anything and just planned to contact and do what we always do.  But while we were planning Egor called us and asked us to help him with a pemont (repair) on a wall in his house.  When we arrived I saw chunks of broken wall scattered all over the floor and Egor with a dumbbell in his hand smashing the wall.  It was quite a site and he told us in broken English,  "This is man work".  We ended up throwing the broken wall out of his window that is 2 stories up.  It was fun.

On Christmas Eve we bought a ton of Twixes and some brownie mix and made Twix brownies.  I will send some pictures it was a glorious creation and it tasted so good except the Twixes got a little burnt.  We also watched Mr. Kruger's Christmas that I found in Vlad and brought it here and wrapped it up and put it under our Christmas tree like a present.  It was great to watch and feel the true meaning of Christmas.

The weather has been pretty cold but it has started to warm up.  I think the coldest it got was -35.  I just about got frost bite but it was cool feeling a cold that I have never felt before in my whole life.  The nice thing about the cold is that you can just keep on putting clothes to get warm but with the heat you can only take off so much.

The reason my email say bad week in America is because the Panthers lost.  Dang it.  I thought they were going to have the perfect season.  At least we have the Superbowl we can still win.

Sorry this letter is so short!  I'll try to do better!  I am having a great time out here!  I love it!  I wish everyone a happy new year!

Elder Wilding
For you Mom
Our Stockings
Thy son
Twix Brownies
Thine son
Korean Temple

*From Elder Wilding's mom:
The Skype that almost didn't happen.

After waiting for almost two hours from the set time to Skype on Christmas Day we received this email :

Dear Parents,

Living here in Russia is an amazing opportunity, each new day brings a new experience and challenges. Today in the USA its Christmas, the magic is all around you.  Your missionary has been looking forward to this day for a long time, that once or twice a year experience to “Phone Home” however the internet here is not as reliable as we would like, and today unfortunately has been one of those days.

If you are receiving this email it’s because your missionary has called us, Elder and/or Sister Anderson and they have been disappointed and frustrated in trying to reach you! We are very sorry for this inconvenience. They Love You! They are Safe! And believe me when I say they wish they could be “Home for the Holidays”. But they are serving the Lord and today Christmas Day they will be acting as a servant of Christ, sharing the gospel with those who need them EVEN more than you do.

Wishing you and your family,
Merry Christmas!
Elder & Sister Anderson

For and in behalf of,
Elder Wilding

We were pretty let down but decided to be positive and pray that he was not feeling worse than we were since he is the one so far away from home.  Then we received this email about an hour later: 
Hello this is Elder Lyman from Angarsk. We've been having some problems. We Your sons will be calling from skype in about an hour to 2 hours.
 He looked SO great and sounded even better!  He is happy and immersed in the Lord's work!  We couldn't be prouder of this boy!  Best Christmas present ever!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! 

What an opportunity it is to celebrate the birth of our Redeemer!  Without Christ we wouldn't have this holiday.  We should all strive to remember the true meaning and give thanks to our Heavenly Father for giving his only begotten son who died for us.  Who made it possible for us to live again with him. Who suffered indescribable pain and suffering for each of us.  He was perfect and his friends betrayed him.  How wonderful his birth and magnificent his life.  How horrible his death, but how glorious his resurrection!  He satisfied the demands of justice and gives out unending mercy.  How much we all owe him but how little we can pay.  But he accepts it and pays the rest. In our weaknesses he makes us strong.  I am grateful beyond words for him and for what he has done for us. The little baby boy born in Bethlehem.   

This week was really good.  We were on the streets a lot and it was pretty cold but I'm in Russia so everything is fine.  I think that a lot.  You are in Russia.  It blows my mind every time.  On our way to Hari Krishna this week (we always take a bus there) our bus stop came and I told Elder De Sandre a little late that it was ours and it was our time to get off.  So I got off and looked back at the bus and there I saw elder De Sandre pushing through people and he got right in front of the doors just about to step out, then all of a sudden the doors shut and the bus took off down the road.  I started laughing so hard.  Haha, I was with the other Elders because we both went and we were all dying laughing.  We see down the road a ways where the buses next stop was Eler De Sandre jump out of the bus and start running to us.  He told us that right when the doors shut he yelled "блын" which means pancake in Russia but they use it as dang it (we were only speaking Russian) and he tried to push the button that tells the bus driver to stop but it wasn't working he said.  He is a good guy and he thought it was really funny too.

Elder De Sandre's mom sent with him stockings for him and his future companion (me) so we went out and bought treats to stuff in the stockings.  Besides that and the tree that is going to be our Christmas here.  Oh yeah and we bought presents for each other too.  He was saying when he first got here that he was sad that he left his knife at home because it would be so useful here, so I bought him a way nice knife from spetnaz (military store) I think he will love it.

Like I was saying about Hari Krishna, we go there and serve but there are also people who are a part of their religion who help serve.  A few weeks ago we met one of those people there and he asked for our number so we could talk about religion and stuff.  We met with him this week and he said he is looking for truth and we taught him the first lesson with Slava.  I didn't really do anything besides call Slava and him because when we started teaching it was basically just Slava and him talking to each other.  The lesson was good and he came to game night, and this game night we watched the first presidency Christmas devotional.  He watched it and I didn't get to catch him after it was over to ask how he liked it because he had to get home but I loved it and hope he did to.  He was showing us pictures on his phone of his friend who is an Olympic champion.  That was pretty cool.  

I should be seeing you before I write again so until then I wish everyone a Merry Christmas!  

I love you all!

Elder Wilding
Me and Elder De Sandre in Siberia
A Christmas tree at festival (store)
The Frozen Tundra
My way nice meal

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 3 of Training

Hello everyone and С Рождестом

This week has been another fun one!  So yes mom, I did buy that shopka from the old AP.  I was with him when he bought it off the Renik and he let me wear it because I had nothing and I was cold.  I don't know it just kinda grew on me and now I am so glad I bought it.  Speaking of AP's we have none.  I heard we are the only mission in the world like that.  I think president was sick of people aspiring to be called to leadership positions so he got rid of them.  We still have all the other things though, just not AP's.  It is basically the same without them I think.  Who knows how long we will be without them.  Doesn't really matter I guess.  I like how president does things.  I am really lucky to be called to this mission at this time.  President Perkinson is huge on goal setting and accomplishing the goals we have set and that is something I have always wanted to be good at.  I know he will have a huge impact on my life.

One of the fun things about training is planning.  I underestimated the amount of time it took us to get to the church from the Krishna Kitchen so we had to run.  It doesn't matter how cold outside it is.  When you have a huge coat on and start moving, it gets really hot.  But I am learning a lot.  I have a really big desire to get better at this language so for the next few weeks, at least until Christmas, or probably after, me and Elder De Sandre will only be speaking in Russian.  Except for our hour of companion study and after 9:30.  I have realized that the only way I am going to make any real improvement in Russian is if I speak it almost all the time.  This next few weeks will be interesting but I need to do this hard thing now so that I can better help these people.

I bought my boots on the Renik this past week!  I got a steal for them.  Well, first off the guys keep on bringing me the wrong size of shoe so they already wasted a lot of time with me.  He put the boots on my feet and asked for 3500 rubles.  I told him I could only go 2000.  After a lot of negotiating and me attempting to leave, I got them for 2000.  They are big and have fur lining the whole inside.  I love them because now I can walk anywhere I want without getting cold feet or wet socks.  I have heard from older missionaries that Angarsk has the best Renik.  The only catch is that it is closed on Mondays.  We have to go during dinner hours if we ever want to buy something there.  The Renik is indoors and it is HUGE.  It seems like a football stadium when we walk in because the building is huge and is domed shaped.  

The living situation I am in is very fortunate.  I live with Elder De Sandre and Lyman and Sumner.  All 3 are great guys and it is a blast to live with them.  I think I said this already but Elder Sumner and Elder Lyman went to high school together and now he is training him.  I wonder if that will happen for me?  That would be cool.

We went to an investigator's house last night.  His name is G and he is the first person Elder De Sandre and I talked to when we got back to Angarsk.  We miraculously found his house because all the buildings look the same and are covered in snow and it was night time.  We got there and were greeted by his family.  He lives with his mother, his wife and his daughter.  He is from Armenia.  They brought out apples and this Russian candy and tried really hard to get us to take coffee and tea but we resisted.  We started teaching him the first lesson and how our message can help him in his life.  We had him read the first vision.  It was very amazing when he was reading Prophet Joseph's account.  He got to the part that reads, "This is my beloved son, hear him"  When he got there he got all quiet and read it really slowly, then paused and read it again.  It was amazing to see the power of those words and how much they touched him.  The Restoration really happened.  I know the prophet Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw.  This is Christ's restored gospel.  I know it.

It is good to read all of your letters!  On the 17th it will be my 6 month mark.  Where has the time gone?  I am grateful to be here.  I love you all!  

Elder Wilding
 Merry Christmas
My boots
Ice sculptures holding up signs
 Ice Sculptures

Monday, December 7, 2015

I Am Finally Back Home!

It is so good to be back home in Angarsk.  I had a phenomenal time in Vlad but there is just something about Angarsk.  I had a good reunion on Sunday with all the church members. I am starting to understand a lot more!  It is still pretty hard for me to say what I want but that will come.  I have a few lessons now where I was the oldest one and they all went better than expected.  The Lord definitely qualifies those he calls.

We had our conference this week with the whole mission, and like I said before that is a pretty incredible accomplishment because of how spaced out we all are.  I heard the flight form Vlad to Angarsk is the equivalent of flying from Florida to Washington.    

Before Elder Klebingat came, the Elders had a little priesthood meeting with President while the sisters did the same thing with Sister Perkinson.  In it he talked about respecting women and how what we do on our mission will greatly affect the kind of person we will become.  He also touched on how ever since he got this call to be mission president in far east Russia he has had a strong feeling that the work we do here regarding the Asian population  - that comes and visits or comes and works but then fly back to China or other places that have not the gospel -  will be the building blocks of getting the gospel into those countries and places that don't have it yet.

While contacting on the streets of Vladivostok we were talking with the guy who spoke very good English.  I told him I was from Utah and he said, "Oh Utah jazz, very good team".  I asked him if he knew who Andrei Kirilenko was (a lot of Russians do).  He yelled excited yes and that I looked at him.  I didn't say this but all I could think was, if you think I look like him, you should see my brother Taylor.

During the mission conference with Elder Klebingat, he walked in the door and we all stood up.  Right when he walked in and we got to look at him, you could just tell he is called of God.  He has am article in this months Ensign about when he was first converted.  He is so smart.  He knows the scriptures like the back of his hand.  Someone would ask a question and he would think for a second and put his finger to his head and blurt out this verse in the scriptures and ask us to look it up.  The verses would always answer the question or help make the point he was trying to make.  He told us his way for memorizing.  He first got numbers 0-9 on a paper.  He would write down what ever number represents.  For 1 maybe it is a tree or for 3 maybe the Godhead.  Just anything that makes you think of that number, it doesn't have to be gospel related.  And then he makes a story out of the the numbers that correspond to the verse.  Here was his example: The verse was D&C 84:57 and the verse is about the Book of Mormon and why we should use it.  Here is how he remembers it.  He imagines a Stake Center were he gave a talk on the Book of Mormon.  Inside the stake center he imagines a roller coaster in the middle of the room (represents 8) and then he pictures a car on that roller coaster driving on it (represents 4 (4 wheels))  and then he imagines a hand coming from the ceiling and flicking the car off the roller coaster because they weren't reading the Book of Mormon (represents 5 (5 fingers in a hand)) then he imagines the car flying through the air and the 7 dwarfs running over and catching the car (7).  And whenever he hears the word Book of Mormon and not using it, that story plays in his head and he knows where to find it.  He doesn't memorize the entire verse.  He memorizes the thought and where it is found.  He said when doing it he imagines the colors of everything and the speed of the car.  Simply a ton of details and he tries to make it super weird. He said the more weird the story is the better you will remember it. I started doing it and  for my number 1 I think of Cam Newton.  My 2,  I think of missionaries or Frodo and Sam.  He said it should be personal of what you think of when you think of those numbers.  And that every number should have a least 3 different things.  Like for 1, Cam Newton, a tree and an arrow.  I have tried it and it really works.  It is also really fun! 

This week has been great ! I love all of you. 

Elder Wilding
Snow in Vlad
Statue in Vlad

The ocean
The ocean
Street of Vlad
Zone Conference
Zone Conference
From the plane
Elder DeSandre
Our Christmas tree with homemade ornaments

Sunday, November 29, 2015

New Trainee

Hello everybody,

Elder De Sandre flew in this week.  He is pretty tall and funny and good at Russian. He is from Mountain Crest.  He did track and tennis in high school and just graduated this year like me.  I feel like I have seen him before the mission.  I'm sure I have.  I feel kinda bad for him though.  Since we are in Vlad, we don't have any investigators so ever since he got here we have been hitting the streets all day everyday.  And the first day that he got here there was a mini blizzard.  It has been hard being the one who knows the most Russian or just the more senior missionary.  But it has been fun and I feel like I have been strengthened by Heavenly Father because even though it has been hard, it has been easier than I thought.

On Dec 2-3 we are having our mission conference.  President Klebingat is coming from the area presidency.  I am so excited to hear him!  He gave an amazing talk a few conferences ago on approaching the throne of God with confidence.  He came before when Elder Lyman was here and he has told me when you see him you just know he is a called of God.

I also said goodbye to the AP's this week.  I got a lot of cool stuff from them.  Elder Protopovo (from Moscow) gave me a really nice leather bag.  And I bought a shapka (the Russian hats) from Elder Mateer.  Probably the best purchase I have made on my mission besides my coat.  It keeps me so warm.  The wind is piercing in Vlad and it goes right through my beanie.  But it doesn't get through my shapka.  The nice thing about Angarsk is that even though it is very cold, there isn't any wind.  

One of the lessons we taught this week was at Y's house.  He is old and lives in this run down house.  We were trying to commit him to come to church and he starts asking us if we know what rap music is.  We told him yes.  He stands up and starts saying this rap he wrote.  He was doing all these gang signs when he was rapping for us like rappers do when they are on stage.  It was the highlight of my week haha.  From what we understood we think it was about the Book of Mormon.  The best part of it was that at the very end (he was wearing a jacket without a hood) he tries to throw his hood on but he just pulled up his jacket over his head so that he looked like a turtle.  We busted up laughing.  The whole time I was thinking "is this really happening right now?".

We met these three Catholic missionaries from India.  We were talking to them and telling them which church we were from.  Right when we told them one of them gets really excited and asks if we are from the church that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is from.  He said that back in India he would play their songs off of youtube for the children that he taught.  They love Motab like crazy.

It has been a good week!  Hope everything is going well!

Elder Wilding
New companions

Monday, November 23, 2015

I'm Training!

Hey everyone!

I learned this week that I will be training.  My trainees name is Elder De Sandre.  I have seen a picture of him and he looks really excited.  I will still be living in Angarsk with Elder Lyman but instead of it just being only me and him, we will have 4 elders in that apartment.   Elder Lyman's new companion is a guy that is from his home ward.  What are the chances?

I am still in Vlad and it awesome here.  It was really warm when I first got here but now it is very cold.  I got reunited with Elder Lyman this week who stayed in Angarsk and he stayed it was -28 there.  Time to see what my coat is made of.  I am really lucky to have a senior missionary in my apartment because some of the other missionaries are completely solo and are going to be alone in their own apartment.  

It is weird seeing the AP's about to go home.  This is their last full day.  Tomorrow they work until 5 and then they go to the mission home and have a meal there and get interviewed by president.  And then they're off bright and early to the airport at 6:00.  These 5 months have gone by so fast.  The elderly couple the Huntsman's go home as well on Wednesday.  

I got a way nice tie from the AP's and a few other things from them.  We went and taught this man named Y.  He lives in the outskirts of town.  We went into his house that was darkly lighted and there was so much stuff everywhere.  He played Elder Perry in chess and beat him in 3 moves.  It is hard to teach him anything because he is always going off on random tangents and he speaks really fast.  Interesting investigator.  I think he has read the whole Book of Mormon.  He knows all about the church history and when things happened and where.  Hopefully we can help him receive this great gospel.

We went searching for a less active and the map we had took us onto a high mountain overlooking Vlad.  I wish I would have had my camera on me.  It was so beautiful, you could see all the tall buildings and the ocean.  I always forget that we are next to the ocean because we mostly just stay in center.  

I'll bring my camera next week and hopefully then I will have more time to write.

I love you all!

Elder Wilding 
With the AP's

Monday, November 16, 2015

My Time In Korea

Wow this week has been crazy.

I spent 2 or 3 days in Angarsk but right now I am in Vlad.  This is my travels, I took a bus from Angarsk to Irkutsk and then from there jumped on a plane and flew to Kharbarosk.  Had a long layover there and actually slept on the bench seats in the airport.  After the layover finally ended I flew Vladivostok.  Was in Vlad for a very short period of time and from there I flew to Korea.  Once I got in Korea I took a bus to the center of the town and ran to the temple.  The bus drivers in Korea wear suits.  Completely different from Angarsk. After we got off the bus we ran up this hill and couldn't really see anything but all of a sudden the angel Moroni pops out and it is completely stunning.  Korea itself is absolutely amazing.  It is basically futuretown.  Big buildings. Flashy neon lights.  I felt like I was on a different planet.  Once we arrived in the temple we just immediately did a session.  We would have gone and got McDonald's but we just had no time for it.  It actually turned out to be quite fine though because when we were just sitting in our rooms (in the temple, it isn't in the actually temple temple but it is connected to it) and one of the workers brings to us pound cake and milk.  Korean people are so nice.  I love bowing down to everyone because they always do it back.  And Korean sounds so cool!  Walking the streets of Korea is so cool!  It was so warm there.  Then after all of that we woke and took a bus to the airport again.  I stood in a line in the airport for about 2 hours, then jumped on another plane and now I'm in Vlad.  It was so much traveling in just 2 or 3 days.  I was so tried and jet lagged.  But it was so fun!

I love Vlad!  I didn't know if I would like the big city feeling of it but I do.  There are always people to talk to on the street and it is not as cold as it is in the west.  I was walking the other day with one of the AP's to go check out a hotel for the new elders that are coming in and on our way there we saw a black guy on the street.  That alone was pretty surprising because he is the 2nd black person I have seen on my whole mission, so of course we talked to him.  He spoke no Russian.  We asked him what he was doing in Russia.  He told us that he was bringing football to Russia and he coaches a team here.  He also told us he played in the NFL.  He played for a couple of teams but the only one I can remember is the green bay packers.   His name is Bobby Rome.  I have never heard of him before but I'm sure if I looked him up I would find him.  He pulled his hand out of his pocket and on his hand he had 3 rings that looked like Superbowl rings and a really expensive diamond watch.  He isn't very smart walking around in Russia with that on but he could probably fend for himself just fine.

I met a man from North Korea in Vlad.  It has been a really fun and exciting week!

I love you all!

Elder Wilding
On Korean bus with Elder Brower

Korean Temple

Monday, November 9, 2015


Mom, you can finally relax.  I bought my coat.  To say it is warm would be an understatement.  It is a shark force.  That is the name of it.  It is probably the best name I have ever heard!  On the inside are these words that make no sense haha.  I'll send a picture.  Time keeps on flying so fast.  How am I almost already done with training?  I honestly don't know.  It feels like yesterday I was at home chilling with Mr. Cat.  

This week was another week of miracles.  This man we met on the streets a few weeks ago is named Yuri.  He loves life!  He is just a happy person who finds everything funny and everything brings him joy even though he is very poor.  He knows English very good as well.  And he loves the word "yup" haha.  Well, a few weeks ago we got his number and told him to come to English practice but English practice came and went and Yuri wasn't there.  We called him but he was always native stupen (which means their phone is either off or they didn't pay their bill so their phone is shut down) like everyone else in Russia.  We were sad because he was really interested and we really wanted to meet with him.  Well then at Hari Krishna, our service project where we serve food to the poor and homeless, he showed up!  Right when he saw us he said, "It's Destiny" He would look up to the sky every time he said it too.  He said the reason he wasn't answering his phone is because he had it on a lanyard around his neck and his cat hit it into some water.  He kept on saying it was destiny that we met again.  We invited him to English practice again and he came this time.  After the practice  we taught him the first lesson.  He said, "I already believe all this".  When we asked him to be baptized he said, "When and where?".  He is so solid and so prepared.  We set up another time to meet with him but he didn't come.  We were bummed again because of how golden he is.  Yesterday we were contacting just like we always do and we saw him, waiting at a bus stop!  We went up and talked to him and he apologized for not coming to our meeting.  He said he was working and couldn't make it.  His job is to shovel snow and there is a lot of it now.  He has been reading the Book of Mormon and we are going to meet with him tonight.

It snowed a few inches this week.  Everything is ice now.  To get rid of the ice they have the workers with shovels of course, but they also have these tractors that have on the front of them these huge brushes the size of a side walk in length that are made up of spin trim wires.  They work like a lawn edger does and just completely obliterate the ice.  They look like a lot of fun.  Might want to get one of them for home haha!

I am going to Korea this week!  To renew my visa.  SO excited, I get to sleep in the grounds of the temple and do a session or 2 in the temple!  Then I will be in Vald for like 3 weeks.  We are having a mission conference (our whole mission).  We don't have that many missionaries but that is completely nuts because of how spread out we are.  So it wouldn't be very smart for me to fly to Korea, and come back to Angarsk for only like a week or 2.  So I will be serving with the AP's for a little while which is going to be awesome!

The mission really makes you appreciate everything you took for granted when you were at home!  Thanks for giving me a great life!  

Elder Wilding
Your son in his coat
Shark Force inside and label
Russia - Angarsk
Russia - Angarsk
Chicken Alfredo
 *Mom here... I added this forecast for the next couple of weeks...

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween (Galloween) PartyHalo

Dear Family,

This week we had our Halloween party at the branch.  It was really fun and a lot of non members showed up!  We carved apples and played the Oreo minute to win it game, relay race of wrapping people in toilet paper like a mummy and the game where you tie a balloon to your leg and try to pop others without getting yours popped and the donut on a string game (well actually bagel because we're in Russia) and bobbing for apples.  The took it over and did a great job.

A lot of miracles this week!  This man was outside on the street passing the church and for some reason just came in and we taught him a lesson and it was way good and he said after the lesson "maybe God sent me", he doesn't know how right he is.  Another one was we had forgotten a book that we needed for a lesson at the church so last night we went there to grab it and one of the members in Angarsk was there with his friend teaching him about the gospel, we got there and taught him the first lesson.  If we didn't forget that book we would have never been there to teach Mark's friend.  Oh and Nikolai is going to get baptized this Saturday!

Me and Elder Lyman have been speaking only Russian from 1-9 everyday.  It's hard and requires a whole lot of hand actions but I think it is helping my Russian improve a lot.  And bought a muffin pan!  English practice wasn't as good this weekly as the past weeks because there weren't as many people there as there were missionaries and we had the question of the day "how do you deal with your problems" we thought people were going to say exercise or listening to music or something and we were going to turn it into how we can turn to God and he will help us but people started telling us about their problems and were basically venting haha but it was good!

We were walking and saw a Panda bear on the side of a building and it was wearing a Chinese chef hat and was cooking Chinese food so of course I thought it was panda express but when i went and checked it out I was deeply disappointed when it was only a sushi place.  A bird landed on my shoulder as I said in the picture I sent you!  We didn't even have  any food and all the pigeons surrounded us.  They are everywhere in Angarsk.  

I am going to buy my coat today!  I love all of you!

Elder Wilding

Me and Elder Lyman's Halloween costumes

Halloween Party
Elder Lyman's amazing creation

Pigeons surrounded us and one landed on my shoulder