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