Monday, May 30, 2016

Grand Week

Dear всe,

Grand week it has been!  I got burnt pretty bad at our branch picnic but now it is turning into a way nice tan.  I cut so much wood this week!!!!!!  And went on splits with Elder Sieboch. The weather keeps on being nice and we even went to sleep to a rain storm last night with thunder and lightning!  It was wonderful!

Last Monday after finishing up with the weekly email service we went to a Russian Orthodox temple or a храм.  We had to change out of our missionary clothes into our street clothes.  They were having some kind of service when we went in.  Three men singing praises and a few people in there.  The priests kept on coming out and reading the scriptures but singing them!  It was really cool!  They have beautiful voices and the art in there is very interesting.  All the women have to cover their head with a towel or something when they go in but other than that most of the people in there besides the priests were just wearing normal clothes. 

We met with Mr. W our Chinese investigator who is trying to learn English about everyday this week until Friday when he had to go back to renew his visa.  He is starting to believe in God and he loves to study the gospel!  We go through the restoration pamphlet with him in English and he studies it before our lessons and then we go over it with him and after he has us quiz him to see if he understands!  Since we knew he was going to be leaving soon we gave him a Book of Mormon in Chinese.  If is a really really slow process to teach him so we hadn't even got to the Book of Mormon.  When we gave it to him he said, "No I don't want it I need to study the gospel" haha!  And then we explained what it was and he said he would read and pray everyday!  His prayers get better and better every time we meet with him.  His prayers are very simple but so very sincere.  He is amazing!  It is so sad that his visa had to run out and now he is going to be gone for a month.  

On Sunday we had a man named B attend.  He said we called him but I don't remember it.  He wants to become a member of the church he said and he really liked sacrament meeting.  When I was talking to him I learned that he has 3 sisters.  All of them are doctors haha.  And one of them lives in Australia and has forgotten many Russian words he says.  He speaks faster than anyone I have ever talked to but I am excited for the challenge!  We are going to meet with him tonight after family home evening.

Like I already said in the introduction, I chopped so much wood at C's!  I don't know what was up but I was on fire and was one swing splitting almost everything!  It is a day to be remembered!

Yesterday while on our way to a lesson, this little boy about 5 years old came running toward us screaming as if someone was chasing him.  He ran right past us and kept on going until he was out of sight.  Haha no one ever came chasing him, he was just running and screaming.  Earlier in the week we had a picnic near a big blue lake.  We roasted shishkabobs.  They were marinated to perfection!  And we had more than enough!  We had a really good time relaxing near the water skipping rocks and playing soccer.  President Z even took a swim and grabbed the soccer ball when it got kicked in the water.

On Tuesday night Ussirysk might as well had been called America.  We met more people who speak English than I have ever met in my life.  P and his brother A, we just met outside the church and Peter spoke perfect with no accent at all.  I had to keep on questioning if it was Taylor or not because they were twins.  But I guess that isn't anything new.  Coach Funk, Uncle Scott and Taylor that covers about 60% of Russia's population.

Love you all!  Thanks for all the love and strength given to me through you letters and prayers!  

Elder Wilding

Monday, May 23, 2016

Dear family and friends,

I've got my salmon colored tie on with a red pen in my shirt pocket and am ready to write this thing.

To increase my effectiveness in the mornings and nights I made a schedule of all the things I would do in that set time and set the time of how long they would all take and I planned it out perfectly.  They first test that came was the next morning when I woke up and completely didn't follow the schedule at all.  Well at least I tried but by the second day it is as if I never made one.  Planning is fun and easy, but doing that is much harder.  

This week started with me seeing the beautiful streak of lightning across the sky.  Marking my first lightning seeing in the large kingdom of Russia and also the quickest rain storm in all of history.  It was awesome! I just had told Sister P the day earlier that I wished it would thunder and lightning here because it never does and then was blessed with that.  But it did end amazingly quick.  We went out with our heaviest coats and then regretted the decision 5 minutes later.  We played basketball again with Ev and his friend from China came this time.  A, our neighbor, and the other Elder's investigator is going to a boat show in Vlad soon.  Apparently there are going to be boats from all around the world.

We had an outstanding lesson with G.  I met him with Elder Crabb but it has been hard meeting with him so this was our first official lesson with him.  We taught the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It was great! Sister P was on it and she really helped us out so much.  That lesson was completely changed by the fact that she was there.  Members are so great!  We had some good conversations with people on the streets in the short time we were able to be on the streets.  I saw a girl that looked just like a girl I went to high school with just a little more Russian.  

At C's house we didn't get to do any service because he took us around his green fields and showed us this little pond and this big tree that we all climbed on.  Unfortunately we had to leave a little early because we had lessons to go to.  He just got a fresh load of logs just waiting to be cut.  Next week!

Sports Night began this last week.  We planned on having a ton of people show but we ended up only having about 8.  But that was ok because me and Elder Sieboch went and played soccer with Muslims from many different countries who spoke many different dialects.  I don't know about he others, but one of them spoke 7 languages including English.  He was from Kazakhstan.  They were pretty good and some were wearing Real Madrid jerseys.  I had the ball one time and tried to do a cross to my fellow team mates for them to head it in but the ball just ended up going through the goal instead haha!  

Church was good.  A couple of our speakers showed up late.  So you know what that means.  Yep you guessed it that means that the missionaries get to speak.  Elder Hess got up first and gave a talk on humility.  I thought I was safe because I was the farthest Elder away from the stand and that distance gave me comfort.  But after Elder Hess's remarks we sang a hymn and I am the branch's conductor.  So I come up and conduct the song and then on the way back to my seat I see that it would be difficult to make it back so I sit on one of the empty chairs on the 2nd row.  Big mistake.  Elder Hess then gets up and announces that I would be the next speaker.  I had about 3 seconds from the time I found out I was to speak and the actual speaking part.  I decided to speak on service.  It went a lot better than expected and I think I took about 10 minutes or so.  I was amazed how most of the Russian seems to come out.  So all in all it was a great experience.  I was actually thinking the other day that something like this hasn't happened to me on my mission yet and then it happened.

Me and Elder Roosa were taking the trash out of the church and on our way to the trash can we heard and saw this little red thing hit the ground.  Somebody threw a strawberry at us and failed to hit their target.  We looked up and saw somebody draw away from the window.  Me and Elder Roosa both wish that it would have hit us and that it would have been more than one strawberry, but what do you do?

At home in our kitchen the stove that we have is an elements stove which means it doesn't have an open flame, it's like Grandpa and Grandma Jo's.  Well Saturday morning that element stove top became a fire burning stove.  I woke up and went and threw some eggs on the frying pan and made way nice eggs  I took the pan off the stove to wash it and I hear the sound of a flame.  I look behind me and the stove top is on fire.  The flame is about as tall as 2 or 3 pencils stacked on each other.  Luckily, it went out super quick but I was prepared, I got a wet rag and threw it over the stove.  Elder Roosa made french fries the night before and I didn't even realize that there was still oil all over the stove.  Crisis averted.  

Last story, my allergies have been going off like never before on my mission.  I sneezed probably 200 times in one day or more and it was awful.  At game night a sister in the ward asked if she could help me.  I wasn't sure what to expect but said yes.  She put her hand on my shoulder and starred at me in the eyes and as I started to walk away after a little bit, she took her and off and said that soon I would be better.  Haha it has been a pretty crazy week!


Elder Wilding

Service at C's
My study socks - my study face
Eternal Flame, Circus, Russia,  ?

I taped the brethren on the wall and the 1st presidency on the TV

Temple at night

Monday, May 16, 2016

Love It Here

My dear family and friends,

How great is it that I can be here in Russia!  It is absolutely wonderful!  I am so lucky to get called here

To start I have good and bad news,  We played basketball with week! But the bad news is that I am incredibly out of shape.  I was running around about as fast as I could go for the first 10 minutes and then after that my body seemed to shut down.  But the basketball was really fun nevertheless!  We had to pay 80 rubles to play and we played with me and Elder Hess and Elder Sieboch on my team vs Elder Roosa and Evgenni and Vlastik.  They were actually pretty good.  We are going to play again tomorrow!  This whole game was a wake up call for me.  I have committed to eat so much healthier and drink water like there's no tomorrow!  So I need to know what I could eat that is really healthy!

In our weekly English practice we asked for what people want for upcoming English practice.  We got a few answers but the best one was from our friend Mr. Eugene who asked if we would base an English practice on "The History of Kitchens" haha!  And then another person who knows English pretty well said this way weird complicated sentence of big words jumbled together to show off his English.  Good thing we didn't make any promises that we would do the things they suggested or we would be in trouble.

V has been sick and no meetings with him.  Egor our new investigator came to game night and picked up UNO faster than any Russian I've ever seen.  That may sound weird but it takes a while for them to pick it up.  

I thought I would get out of planting potatoes this year because I am about as far away from the garden as I could be.  But the job followed me here, at C's we planted his huge field full of potatoes.  He is going to have the greatest harvest!

Elder Hess's visa came to an end so he jumped on a plane to Korea and we had a trio for a little bit with Elder Sieboch.  Being with more elders is always loads of fun!  We went over to Casha's from English and he fed us apple pie!

We really haven't had any time on the street this week.  It's really good but when I feel like a missionary the most is when I am street contacting and when our schedule is full with meeting people and going to meetings, which is the ideal.  It sometimes feels like we aren't working as hard.  Of course, it's great what were doing it just feels like that.

We had 4 less actives at church yesterday!  For 2 of them all we did was call and for the other we meet with her and her grandson.  It takes only an invitation sometimes to get people back.

In studies I am reading the New Testament about Christ and his ministry and my goal is to finish the whole thing.  

I didn't keep good notes this week of what happened but next week I will!

Love you!  Thanks for the support and love!

Elder Wilding


Welcome to the world of Chum Chum
The famous Ashley's
Korea from the air
Streets of Korea

Korean Temple Grounds
Korean Temple
 Korean Temple and Temple Grounds

Monday, May 9, 2016

Happy Victory Day!

Also Happy Mother's Day all who are mothers.

What a crazy week.  I was probably away from Elder Roosa this week more than I was with him.  With the visa trip, and 2 times being on splits, that will do it.

I was getting butterflies before my trip to Korea and the temple.  It was so great there!   It was just me, Elder Perry and Sisters Merrill and Young.  They rest of our group was in the west and went to Mongolia.  Who knows, one day I might be in the west again and go to Mongolia just like I predicted so long ago in that one game of risk at the cabin.  The temple was beautiful!  We were able to attend one session.  Sister Young met a girl she went to high school with.  Small world.  (She was a missionary too.)  There was also an American couple down there to pick up their daughter who finished her mission.  Me and Elder Perry had some time in the morning to go around the grounds and take pictures.  The weather was perfect and the flowers were in bloom.  Every time I'm there I think of how lucky the Korean missionaries are to serve there but then I think of how cool Russia is and think they should be jealous.  I was glad I don't have to learn Korea.  We went to eat at Ashley's (a buffet), and I covered just about everything I ate in melted cheese and somehow Elder Perry ate a mini octopus.    It was a legendary night.  And I came to 2 conclusions.  Koreans are the super nice and their children are adorable.  The airport has been rated number 1 for 11 years in a row.  It is so clean.  We saw so many American soldiers in line and talked to a lot of people from the states.  It went fast though, we were out in 24 hours or less.  

The Russian's celebrate Victory Day super hard.  I have never seen so many people on the streets.  Den pa-bed-ee, as they say.  They had a parade and there are military men everywhere in their uniforms. I have seen sooo many soldiers this week.  I saw some people doing the Andrus knee dance.  I need to learn!  In the center square there are concerts or performances going on throughout the whole day.  We can't be proselyting after 6.  We are going to the circus in an hour and then have a meeting with our new investigator E at 7:30 so we will be out, but only to get to places.

Splits were fun! I was first with Elder Sieboch and then Hess.  Me and Elder Hess found D and went in the church and played ping pong with him and his girlfriend.  He is way cool and told us if anyone ever tries to mess with us to just call him.  We are making friends left and right now.  Everyday it seems that we see someone we have already talked with and became friends with and it's cool to talk with them.  PS: if this letter sucks it is because the keyboard I am typing on is the worst.  We actually had this guy being annoying today and D saw us on the road and told him to leave.  There is a lot of alcohol consumed on this day.

Sorry this is short - it took so much effort to even type this much because of that keyboard.  But all was well this week!

Love you all!

Elder Wilding

Monday, May 2, 2016

Happy Russian Easter

Dear Everyone,

Good week.  We were super busy.  That always make the week go by fast.  

Yesterday was Easter!  Ee-soos vas-kress, Poe-istinoo vas-kress.  That is what is heard in Russia on that day.  It means Jesus is resurrected, Yea surely He is resurrected.  You say the first part to someone and they have to respond with the second.  Easter is a big holiday here. They make giant cupcakes for it every year and everyone gets together with their families and either colors eggs or eats them haha, I asked a taxi driver and wasn't really sure what he said but I know it involves eggs!  The cupcakes look great at first and tasty but right when you bite into it you realize this is not a cupcake at all.  Just bread with frosting on the top.  It is quite deceiving.  

They got the fountains going.  That is fun to see everyday now on our way to church.  Russians flock like sheep to this park by our house.  It would be great contacting just it is in front of a government building.  I saw my first Russian cemetery during service at K's!  Imagine our cemeteries, and our grave stones, stick a picture of the person who died on the front of the stone and you've got a Russian cemetery.  It is so cool to see.  The picture is part of the stone and really pops.  I am considering doing that when I die.  I'll try to get some pictures next time to show you because it is awesome.  On our bus home from that same service i lost our phone on the bus.  I got off not realizing anything until we crossed the street and I started feeling my pockets.  I asked Elder Roosa if he had the phone.  Nothing, I looked down the road and the bus was already half a block down the road. I started running as fast as I could down after that bus.  Luckily Elder Hess came running right by my side but he got tied up with this tiny dog that wouldn't stop chasing him.  We were no match for the bus, it was out of sight before long.  I figured we had lost it and started slowing down but Elder Hess came running from behind me and kept on running and that encouraged me and miraculously we made it to the bus at a stop far down the road and I grabbed the phone.  We would have lost all of our contacts and would have had to buy a new phone and new SIM card.  I am so grateful we didn't lose it.

There are so many kids in here playing Call of Duty or something on the computers and they are losing their minds.  They are slamming their hands on the table screaming as loud as they can.  There are so crazy.

On another note, at church this week we had 3 investigators!  That is the most I have ever had I think.  We have this man named Mr. W.  He's Chinese and is trying really hard to learn English.  He has such a thick accent though that I can't ever understand him unless I focus really hard and even them it's like 50 %.  It's so funny listening to him but I can't laugh too hard because that is exactly how it is for us with Russian.  I never thought about the phonetics part of learning a language.  And I think that is the hardest part.  Pronouncing words how they do it so foreign.  Another investigator we have is named G.  The first time he has been was yesterday, we talked to him after and he really liked it but we had to have this mini meeting with our visa clerk lady and we told him we will be back in 2 min.  We came back out and he bounced.  But he called me later that night and apologized for leaving and said he wants to become a member of our church haha!  The Lord works in mysterious ways!

In Artyom we had a joint district meeting.  Basically a zone conference.  We learned a lot about  becoming friends with people first and then teaching them and doing a normal approach but still using our agency wisely and being representatives of Jesus Christ.  The new approach works way better and we are making a lot of friends and getting lessons!

Another week in the books.  Looking forward to what we have ahead.

Love Elder Wilding