Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas!!

С Рождеством!

It was awesome to see you and talk to you on Skype!  Crazy to think that next Christmas I will be there.  I honestly don't want to leave. I was planning on telling you how we are in Russia and didn't even have a white Christmas but today the snow picked up and we are in the middle of mini blizzard right now.  Who knows maybe we will end up with a foot before it ends just like you.  My Alaska's (my boots) have hardly had any tests this whole winter, but I think these would be warm even in Siberia when it is -40.  Hopefully snow won't stop until Russian Christmas (7 January).  

As I mentioned in my Skype call we have our investigator Nikolai on date to be baptized on the 14th of January.  We found him in the area book, his chart looked great and for who knows why the elders stopped meeting with him.  He looks a lot like Putin and Harry Potter mixed.  Ever since we committed him to baptism he has stopped smoking.  He has tried in the past with no success but he said this time it is easy for him. Prayers have been answered every day and he is on his 5th day already!

We went sledding on what seemed to me like a pretty lousy hill with some branch members but it turned out to be super fun!  We bought sleds for 70 rubles a piece (they tried to charge us 346 for one, but we caught it, it was a problem with a price tag) and those babies flew!  

The Severukins were in our district meeting and we also held a mini MTC for them since them just started their mission 2 weeks ago and didn't have anything like it.  It went well, we have plans to go serve at a orphanage and maybe a few other places.  Actually we took about half a day with the sisters and just walked around town from building to building asking if we could serve.  Most people told us that they had nothing for us to do then we went to a Japanese museum and were met with the same kind of talk, we persisted and the manger lady came down and told us that we could and gave us free tickets to the museum right on the spot!  It was a miracle!  

Thanks for all that you all do!  New Years has a lot more celebrators in Russian and I haven't heard yet but we will probably go home early on New Year's eve.  The branch is having an activity but we can go.  Have a Happy New Year!
Love you all!

Elder Wilding
 Christmas tree making
I was a wiseman
Christmas Party
 With Elder Lawrence

Monday, December 19, 2016

Builder, Welder, Frisbee Thrower

President came on Friday and leaves tonight.  He came with a couple from Moscow and a few of the humanitarian representatives around the mission.  The purpose of his visit was to set apart the Severrookins (a senior couple from Sakhalin) for their full time missionary service.  We will be blessed to have them in our district for 2 months before they start to travel around the mission. President was pretty busy so we didn't see him a ton but we had breakfast with him today and got to talk about the branch and what is about to go on in the future.  He is a smart man, it is always good to talk to him!

We had some fun service: 

-A sister in our branch asked us to put doors back on her dresser that she took off so that she could wall paper her house.  We had marginal success at first, actually no success because it was impossible to line everything up but right when we started to get things going her son came home and and convinced her to just put them underneath his bed.  I was also confused.

- We went to see our friend Max at his warehouse and he let us use his welder!  Not really service but oh well.

-Also not service but I like how these points look.  We played Frisbee outside with a Frisbee that a member purchased in the Netherlands for us (it lights up so we could play in the dark) and after maybe 45 minutes in the cold it broke :(

We had good lessons with investigators and are expecting a lot of success in the future!  Me and Elder Lawrence feel good about he future.

Love you
Elder Wilding

PS: We climbed "лягушка" which means frog.  Pretty easy hike met by a high incline at the end, apparently it is magical.  We slide down on the way back and I felt like Indiana Jones when he jumped out of the airplane, it was so steep!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

So I Guess I'm Famous

Dear family, friends,

We were in Vlad with the WHOLE mission and I finally got to meet everybody.  It was good to see some old companions and reminiscence about good old times.  10 volunteers gave departing testimonies and I don't know if there was a dry eye in the whole room.  Now 3 of my companions are home; Berrios, Lyman and Crabb.  Conference was so good, Elders and Sisters shared stories of miracles, baptisms and reactivation's.  There was a good feeling in the room.

I should start writing better letters considering multiple people told me that before they came in, they read my blog.  Apparently it is the first one that comes up when you search for the Russian Vladivostok Mission blogs.  I didn't even know "Many Are Called But Few Are Frozen" was the name of it, that's genius.  

We were blessed to go to the Korean temple after zone conference with about half of the mission.  I was on the flight that all the missionaries returning home were on.  I think I told them like 10 goodbyes before that just thinking that it would be the last time I saw them, but we just kept on seeing them.  

Elder Lawrence and Sister Kapralova just entered the team on Sakhalin and we are glad to have them!  Sister Kapralova is from somewhere in the west in Russia.  I have always wanted to have a Russian companion but since we don't have any Russian elders I am getting the next best thing.  And Elder Lawrence is incredible! He may be the funniest person I have ever met!  He has only been in the field for 3 months and speaks like he has been out for well over a year.  It motivates me to be better.

In the Korean airport we saw this little Asian girl maybe the age of 5 or 6 just standing by herself and Sister Kapralova wanted to see if she could talk to her.  She knew a total of 4 words "I'm sorry", "Bye" and......... "cooked meat" :).  And she was yelling those at her "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, bye bye bye, cooked meat cooked meat" haha!!! I can't even imagine what the poor girl was thinking haha.

On the plane back to Russia, I talked to a woman named Roma (a man's name in Russia) who had a tattoo in Arabic but the skill color that made me think she was from Africa.  Turns out she is from the Philippines.  Anyways she spoke perfect English and married a Russian man that she met when he was traveling in the Philippines.  Really nice lady, I got her email and gave it to the Vlad sisters, she wanted help learning Russian.

Well, that will do it this week!  It was a good one!


Elder Wilding

Friday, December 2, 2016

Sakhalin: Transfer 3

Добрый День  

I'M STAYING!!!  Elder Lawrence from St. George is flying here after zone conference with me and our sisters.  Sister Arrington is staying and Sister Kapralova who is Russian!! is coming.  And also serving on Sakhalin is a senior couple named the Severookin's who are also Russian!  They will start their mission in a few weeks in the eastern half of our mission.  They live here and I have already known them for a while.  So that means that district meetings are going to be held in Russian!!  How exciting and that a lot of papers are going to have to be translated from the advanced English of our leaders into Russian.  I'm excited!

I don't know why and I don't know how, but we haven't gone grocery shopping for like 2 weeks maybe 3 now and we still have food.  We should probably go today but we'll make it even if we don't.  We are leaving Monday (hence why I am writing today) and are returning Thursday night.  9 volunteers are going home on the 7th. This zone conference a ton of time is going to have to be devoted to departing testimonies.  Elder Crabb who I served with in Ussirysk is one of those returning, when we were together he had a little more then I have right now.  Life's crazy.

I got my hair cut.  She told me she was going to try something new and I really had no say... and now I have find of a fo-hawk. 
 As you could see in the pictures when the construction crew was constructing that massive Christmas tree, one of their trucks popped on its side haha, besides that I haven't heard of any other accidents.

We met with an most interesting man - Ки.  His name was in our phone so we gave him a call and finally got to meet.  He was just in Moscow and had a meeting with Putin.  He showed us pictures.  He works in politics and is a very funny guy. 

Last night was the going away party for Sister Bouwhiss and Elder King, talk about a try out!  The place was packed with people.  My sisters that I came in with are in the group that is going home.  Luckily they go early and me late!  

The snow keeps on coming down!  The future looks good.

Elder Wilding
 The tree going up

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Russian Thanksgiving

Dear my family and friends,

A lot has happened, it is amazing how much more when I write on Saturdays.  Right after I wrote you, we got a ton of snow!  Everyone was shocked because it is still November and this much doesn't usually come until late December early January.  An American member who has been here 10 years said he hasn't seen this much snow this early ever.  Needless to say I am counting my many blessings.

Then the anticipated trip of the AP's coming.  They arrived on Sunday night and they ended up knocking on our next door neighbor's door instead of ours.  Somehow we forgot to tell them we moved ;).  I was with Crabb on the split and it was just like good old times!  We went to 3 people and by the end of our trip Elder Crabb was wishing he served here on his mission!  He denies it but we are in that place.  I convinced both of them to buy fox pelts before they got on their plane back to Vlad.

My Thanksgiving this year was quite different than last.  I actually celebrated it this year.  The Americans invited us over!  They bought the turkey in Japan and somehow transported it here.  It was massive!  We had everything and more, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, pie and all the goods.  It was a day to be remembered.

At church an inactive member brought in his friend and we are going to be teaching him on Wednesday.  I taught in Elders Quorum.  And we are our branch president's home teaching companions now!  He is an amazing man, the elect are here!​

Love you!  Elder Wilding
 Shoveling snow like a boss
 The tree going up

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hello World

My dear family and friends,

To start off, since I am writing this on Saturday this may be significantly shorter because I don't have Sunday to write about.  I'm just joking but it will probably be shorter because of a number of reasons.   But most importantly I still love it out here and am having the time of my life!

We helped a sister and her son in our branch move out of a bad house they were in to a house just across from the church.  Opportunity finally presented itself for me to use those gloves you sent me!  Turns out I didn't need them but I was wearing them on the way to the house looking way nice.

This morning our friend and member who is about a 60 year old Asian man took us out to the cheap market to buy groceries and then to a fish market.  He bought us halibut because he saw my pictures and that we used to catch them in Alaska haha.  Russians are really nice!

We were walking outside of our house to go visit a less active and out of nowhere we hear a "BLAM" and look to our left and see that the snow from of our building fell on a car below.  I don't know how it didn't break the window because it sounded like a gun shot.  They actually put out signs and tape so that people don't walk underneath some of the buildings in town.  The weather here lately has been that it snows at night and then in the morning it heats back up again and the snow starts to melt and hence why the large amounts of snow falling from the skies.

I bought my winter boots!  "Alaskas" is what they are called, they come up to my mid calf and are super warm.  Only cost 1100 rubles.  And that is crazy because off of Sakhalin you can buy them for 700.  Everything is more expensive here.

We had dinner at the orphanage that we served at a month or so ago. Only of the guys we meet there invited us to come with him.  We ended up having hot dogs which is something I haven't had for a while.  And we talked to the owners of it .  They are the Harrison's and are from Australia.  We had a great talk with them and might start to volunteer and help them finish the house.   They moved to Russian 11 years ago when they were 34 and 33.  Pretty amazing people.  Said that they felt that God called them.  Hopefully they will become interested in the church!

I love you all!  

Elder Wilding

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

President's Visit

 Dear Family and Friends,

It is great to write to all of you again after another successful week.  I have been winning the battle with my journal for a few weeks now for whether or not I will write in it.  I might be gaining massive amount of weight because we are back to eating chum chum for a crazy amount of meals.  Only time will tell.  Promised blizzards have been phonies, it just has got colder.  Maybe in the future will we finally get those promised snow storms of which I heard so much about.

We have been getting out early in the morning to try and catch less actives with good success!  Many promises of church attendance.  Many times we have prayed over specific people to be home when we go over and our prayers have been answered!  

One of our less actives works as a seamstress and I had some pants that needed sewing and we went over to her with a member and were able to meet her and also get my pants fixed.  

From Wednesday to Sunday President and Sister Perkinson came down to visit us on Sakhalin.  We went to many members houses with both of them and had interviews with President.  It was good to see them.  Simply being around them we get so much wisdom and knowledge.  Spiritual and temporal.  At one such visit we had dinner with a family consisting of the parents and two young daughters.  One of the daughters who is 5 years old really likes blonde hair and blue eyes and throughout the entire night was giving me drawings she had made haha.  

During President's talk on Sunday he gave a talk where he told Elder King he sent him a talk that he was supposed to print off and give it to all the men in the church.  We spent all of 2nd hour printing and self stapling because we couldn't find a stapler. Turned out a lot better than I thought.

It was a good week as always.  President really wants us to focus on service and getting to know the people of the community.

Love Elder Wilding

Letter from Mission President and wife with photos below:

Dear Brother and Sister Wilding,

We have been blessed to be able to visit the Sakhalin Branch this week. The members are blessed with strong branch leaders and influence of American strong members of the church! 
We are also very grateful for the strength of our young volunteers as they strive to uplift and give support to the branch members. 
The District met at the church early on Thursday. Afterwards we attended Institute.  We met with A wonderful young family that we were able to visit and teach and feel of their desire to return to full fellowship in the gospel inspire of difficult circumstances.
Friday President had Interviews lined up with the Elders and Sisters!
Saturday it started snowing! But that didn't stop us at all! 
We were able to visit a few more families and feel of their goodness and help them find joy in living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Sakhalin Branch Building was filled with light and goodness this Sunday as each Elder and Sister took part in supporting and serving the members.

We are very grateful for your love and support! Thank you for your prayers in behalf of this mission and these wonderful Russian Saints!


President and Sister Perkinson

Vladivostok Russia
Another great memory: check out this purple cake that was as delicious as it was beautiful!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Sakhalin State of Mind

My dear family and friends,

I am delighted once again at the opportunity to write to you.  I'm greatly blessed by all your prayers and letters for which I am truly grateful.   Also thanks for the package Mom and Dad.  I was informed that I couldn't open it until Christmas so it has been sitting in a corner for a week now but thanks to the use of modern technology, I have been found that I have been living underneath my privileges and actually can open them.  How lucky we are to have email.

I am pleased to say that I am the owner of a fox pelt.  Bought off the Renik for not too much.  She is a beautiful orange color.  I also bought a Shopka that makes it so that my ears will never be cold again.  But I can't wear it outside yet because I would get some strange looks.  It isn't cold enough yet.

We set up for the branch Halloween party but weren't able to attend due to a lot of things I don't want to get into.  We had some awesome snow storms when it was just pouring on us and we thought within a few hours it would be above our heads.  That isn't exactly what happened but maybe sometime soon!  Turns out there is a chess club on Sakhalin and when we went it it was only filled with guys 60 and up.  And when we sat down a man said to his friend, "I thought you said the youth don't play.",  and he may be right in my case because I got destroyed.

We had a cool experience where we went to visit a less active but had no way into her apartment building but on our way there one of our friends who lives there saw us and let us in.  The Lord prepares a way!  She wasn't home unfortunately, but we left a Liahona with an Asian man who opened the door.

While getting haircuts at our members hair cutting studio, her co-worker was there and we started to talk to her.  She was very interested in why we were here and what church we are from  and because a member of the church was there she was able to explain the things that we couldn't!  We are seeing miracles everyday!  Also a miracle we did a service project a little while ago at an orphanage called House of Hope.  While on the streets we met a man we met there who said that ever since that night he couldn't stop thinking about us and was so sad we didn't switch numbers!
And on Sunday we had a marvelous fast and testimony meeting.  A family who has been in America for about a month and a half just returned (they were even in Brigham City) and they all bore their testimonies of the temple becasue they went to many in America.  And the mother said that in the scriptures you read how America is a holy land but when she got there everything was the same as Russia she said.  But she noticed that everyone smiled and that there were a lot of believing people and that she absolutely loved that.

I am so lucky to be serving right now!  I love my time out here and am beyond blessed.

Love Elder Wilding

Monday, October 31, 2016

Pik Chekova

Hello one and all,

Oh man, I put this off to the end again, sorry!  Even more snow has gathered on the ground since the last time I wrote you.  My winter clothes from last year.  I just need boots and I'll be set.

A few church members took us hiking to Pik Chekova, a famous mountain on Sakhalin.  I for one reason or another did not bring enough warm clothes on the hike and everyone looked at me like I was crazy.  One of the members was nice enough to lend me his scarf.  It was pretty warm most of the hike considering there was snow all around us.  The only part that was bad was when we got to the top and it felt like we were on Everest -  the wind was blowing so fast.  We didn't stay there too long fortunately, and I still have all my fingers and toes.

During Russian Practice S our teacher told us a little about the history of Russia.  It sounded a whole lot like what happened in the Book of Mormon to me.  A lot of people denying the throne but instead of judges, imposters took power.

There was a representative of the institute program who visited and we have a conference with him.  Despite the meetings we played Floorball which is street hockey in a multi purpose room and we went bowling.

We had some more home teaching and had an awesome lesson with a member we went to last night.  He has had many experiences of when it was obvious that God's hand was in his life.  It really does seem that when people live righteous lives they end up having some really amazing things happen to them.

Good week!  I am still loving it!!!

Love Elder Wilding
Hike to Pik Chekova