Monday, August 29, 2016

Zone Conference

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Let me start this email with a disclaimer: due to my allergies which have for some reason taken over me today I took a Benadryl which has weakened my capacity to think clear becasue of how tired I am now.  Nevertheless I will strive to write you all a report of what has happened in this past week with as many details as I can remember.

Might as well start of with our amazing zone conference which was presided over by Elder Martino of the 70.  What an outstanding teacher!  He was if not the most powerful teacher I have ever witnessed in person, at least the second.  We learned so much from his teachings on revelation and other important topics.  He opened up the scriptures to us, he encouraged us to be more sincere and to think outside of the box so far that no one has ever tried the approach we choose to take.  I was quite uplifted by his presence.  I have noticed from the general authorities that have come and taught us that their remarks and their general conference talks usually are a part of what they teach to us.  But I don't realize that until after they come when I read their talks.

We also experienced an amazing miracle while looking for service.  We heard that other volunteers have had some success with talking with other churches and serving with them, so we decided to give it  a try.  We first went to the Russian Orthodox church and asked the nice lady in their store outside the temple if we could serve with them.  She kindly told us that in order to serve with them we would need to be baptized in their faith and she even agreed to arrange the whole thing with one of their priests at no charge to us.  Thanks but no.  The next church we went to was the Bible church which was remarkably hard to get to and the entrance to the church was covered with overgrown grape vines and we even thought that maybe it wasn't a church anymore because we saw wet laundry drying on the grounds.  We yelled "allo" and a very nice Korean lady came out and said that yes indeed they are still a church but no indeed they have no service.  2 strikes.  We started our next task of finding the Korean church of the Peace Church.  We asked around and were led down many wrong paths until a large man who we saw earlier that day told us where the Peace Church was.  And this is when the miracle begins.  We walked in and immediately comes a 25-30 year old man down the stairs of the upper building and asked if he could help us.  We told what we wanted and he said follow me.  We went to the back of the church and there was four tables covered with people eating plove (Russian dish with rice and pork) all laughing and enjoying themselves.  We come in and he introduces us and sits us down and offers us food (which we turned down becasue we had just barely eaten) and started asking us a million questions and the whole time everyone was laughing and cracking jokes.  They are the nicest people and as fate would have it they had service planned that exact day in 30 minutes.  We talked to them for a little while longer and then a man who teaches karate to children came and picked us up (me and Staiger with a few members of their church) and we went and washed mats that his students play karate on.  There were endless piles of these mats and we had to leave after about 3 hours and probably didn't even get halfway done.  When people ask about the church and we can't tell them, it's sad because we know this message can change their life.  Like for example the dude that took us to the back when we first got there asked us after learning that we were Mormons how we know that our church is true.  I wanted to testify that moment about the Book of Mormon.  So there are some challenges with the new law but we are actually making better friendships now and before the law there is no way we would have gone to those churches to look for service.  There's good and bad.

I bought a miniature dolphin ice globe when we went to that dolphin show with Elder Roosa and I brought it to Vlad to put it in storage but I forgot to take it out of my bag and on the way home it broke and the water inside destroyed my planner.  What are you going to do?

I might take a nap until P-day is over.  Word of advice, never take a Benadryl in the morning.
I love you all so much!

Elder Wilding
Area Presidency President Martino.
From President and Sister Perkinson:

Dear Brother and Sister Wilding,

We want to share with you a little bit about our East Zone Conference.

The East Zone met together on Saturday August 27, 2016 with Our new Area Presidency member President and Sister Martino. 

It is always exciting to come together and prepare to exchange ideas and be spiritually uplifted! The counseling comes to each of us especially from the spirit! 

Our topic for this conference was on personal revelation and many were assigned to study and prepare to teach one another. 

It was a wonderful day together with the Volunteers from Sakhalin, Khabarovsk, Ussuriysk, Nakhodka, Artyom and Vladivostok!

We are grateful for the opportunity to serve the Lord and His children here. We are grateful for the power that come thru the many prayers in our behalf. We sincerely thank you for your support of love and faith!


President and Sister Perkinson
Vladivostok Russia

Monday, August 22, 2016

Дорогие семьи и друзья

Дорогие семьи и друзья,

Tell Grandpa Jo I say happy birthday.  

What a week.  Since I basically shaved my head about a month and 1/2 ago I finally had another hair cut last Monday.  They took off the sides only.  It looks much better but I still have to be patient until it grows back to where it was.  Also last Monday we have legit smores and roasted marshmallows!  One of the missionaries who served here and ended his mission about the time I was about 4 months in, came back and we had a campfire with him and some of the members!  He is Russian so I don't know how he got the marshmallows and chocolate and graham crackers or the starbursts but I didn't care it was so delicious.  I think I was actually the one who enjoyed it most out of everyone haha,  Actually most of the members didn't like it and said that it was too sweet. I just felt like I was back home in the backyard roasting mellows.  Speaking of good food, watermelon season has hit Russia!  That reminds me of when I first got in country and me and Elder Lyman would buy at least one every week and absolutely love the watermelon.  They are dirt cheap at the store just across from our house.  Oh yeah, I don't think I ever said, at our new house a grocery store is right across the street an makes shopping fast.  

Vl from Angarsk called me this week haha.  He wanted me to send him pictures and was telling me how Angarsk was and everything.  Haha it was awesome!  We met with this guy this week who called at us in English when we were in Burger King.  He took us to his home and played some songs he wrote by himself.  They weren't that bad, he is pretty talented but I have been thinking of remixes to his songs this whole week.

With the new law, we cannot talk about the gospel or anything of that sort outside of the church.  The only exception is that we are allowed to teach members in their homes.  Until last week, even if we were in the church with a non-member we couldn't talk about the gospel until the person signed a paper noting that they agreed to this and that they were a follower of the church.  But that has been thrown out now and as long as we are in the church we can talk with anyone about gospel topics.  We still can't directly invite non-members to activities in the church but we can let them know what time the activity will be as long as there is no invitation extended.    Lately Elder Staiger and I have been inviting people to a store near the church and then walk with them to the church to play ping pong or some other activity.  I hope that makes sense.  If I forgot to add something or if there are still questions please let me know.

After Institute we played "Book of Mormon bingo".  On the bingo card is Book of Mormon characters names.  I put the names in google translate trying to be more efficient becasue it takes me a long time to type in Russian because I haven't memorized where the letters on the keyboard are.  I thought google would have translated them over exactly how they were in the Book of Mormon for some reason but I was so wrong.  Hagoth the viking ship builder in the Book of Mormon got translated over as Xagoth.  All it changed was the h to an x.  "G" isn't even a Russian letter.  Wherever they pulled out his name they just said viking haha.

The spin trimmer was taken by President Zag and that which was broken is now fixed!  The blade on the end that was no where near the center is now centered which stops the problem that we had where it shakes until your hands bleed.  We cut for a couple of hours at the "green island" and got a good chunk of the field cut down to size.  It only died once on us and it was somewhat of a miracle.  If I haven't said it before I will say it now, at least one person gets married in Ussuriysk or at least that is what it seems like.  They put flowers and ribbons on their cars and drive around the city honking as they drive past you.  Anyways we had brought a soccer ball with us and we see a woman in a wedding dress and a small group of people with her.  They come over and ask if they can use our ball for their wedding pictures (he was in the goal and the bride pretended to kick the ball).  We happily told them yes. If only I would have brought my camera with me I would have had some great pictures.  Their friend afterwards said that he plays basketball more than soccer and Elder Staiger told him I was from America and play basketball too and the guy freaked out when he heard we spoke English and that I was from America - he loved it.  He started talking to us in English that he learned in school and invited us over to his house as guests!  And throughout the rest of the night he kept on calling us haha.

Well, I hope that feels you in on what happened. Looking forward to another good week!  Hopefully we can find some more service.  If anyone has any suggestions on what we could do I would love to hear them.  Zone Conference is next week and Elder Martino of the 70 comes.  He replaced Kl as the 1st counselor for our region.

Much Love

Elder Wilding

Monday, August 15, 2016

An American, a German, and a Russia walk in to a ba...... Church

My Dearest Family,

Quite a week I have had.  The sun seems to be focusing all of it's energy on Russia judging by how hot it is.  The Russian seems to be falling into place.  Of a truth, whenever I learn a new word I hear it everywhere with everyone with whom I conversate.  And I always am amazed how I never heard it before.   Be diligent and persistent is so so important in learning a language.  Some things I could study for hours and never understand and then one day for some weird reason I hear something and it all clicks and it is stuck in my brain forever.  But that never happens if you stop.

Update on the new apartment:  The moisture in the air has been thinning and we have been removing the gross sometimes moldy pillows and other items out and it is smelling and feeling better!  It actually is a really nice place once you clean it up!  

Yesterday in church we had 3 speakers planned to speak.  All 3 showed up and gave fantastic talks.  The only thing was that they were a little too short and seeing that we had 16 minutes left on the clock I stood up once again and gave a talk before the congregation without foreknowledge of the event.  And it went so well!  I gave my memorized "restoration lesson" lesson and turned it into a talk.  I said the first vision over the pulpit and it was sweet!  When I was talking about prophets, V comes in and yells "I'm a prophet" haha.  Next time though I am probably making Elder Staiger give one becasue it seems like it is always me.  Or maybe Sister Blonkquist!  (it is her second week)

The Testaments was the movie we decided to share at movie night.  We bought a huge block of ice cream (they come in a bag) for the film.  Not a big turn out so the people that were there got loads of ice cream each!  Sad thing was that a sister in the ward showed up about 15 minutes late or so and all the ice cream was gone but she saw our empty dishes.  But I guess as the saying goes, the early bird eats the ice cream.

We had a sick lesson with the other elders old investigator Zh on the 10 commandments!  We taught him the signs you can make with your hands in order to remember.  And also created a Book of Mormon Characters bingo!  Every week after we'll be playing!  Sister P made some dang good blini and the stuff we put on it was egg whites and sugar blended together.  I don't remember what it is called I only remember how it tastes.  как нельзя лучше.

We took the sacrament to this sweet babushka who has a little problem with her memory and is so funny!  Most times she tells us the same life stories she has told us a lot of times and this week she found out that Elder Staiger is from Germany.  She raised her arm and shouted "Heil Hitler" a few times haha.  She always does something like that which makes all of us laugh!

We went and played soccer at locomotive field with the Russians that President Z. works with.  They are good!  But this time I didn't do too shabby and Elder Staiger was showing all of them how Germans*** play.  

Fun week!  The second half goes quicker than the first unfortunately!

Love Elder Wilding
 With the prophet

Our old apartment
Without flash - with flash
One time I swept our old apartment
Purple tie

Monday, August 8, 2016

Moving Day, Branch Presidency, and Shopka in the Summer

Hello and welcome one and all!

Marvelous week in Ussuriysk with many ups and downs!  Namely, President Z, who thinks I look like John Kennedy made us borsch and I have gained 15 pounds.  I haven't gained 15 pounds in the year I have been out here, I gained it all in the last 2 months.  I don't know where all this weight is because it isn't visible but I think I know where it is coming from.  Since the establishment of our companionship me and Elder Staiger have been eating mass amounts of a glorious even heavenly food-chum chum.  Which was supposedly healthy considering that all it contains is rice, veggies, chicken and 2 sauce packets.  But to my surprise and awful dismay we discovered just this week that chum chum contains so much fat.  I was so sad to find the news.  It is the best thing I know how to make myself and it is turning me into a mess.  Of a sad truth, the more unhealthier the food is the better the taste and it's the same if you switch it around.  To battle this startling weight gain me and Elder Staiger hit the streets and went running.  I have never had more respect for mom...after only like 20 minutes I was dying and couldn't keep on going.  Oh well, some much for chum chum 3 times a week.

S (speaks English) had me proof read his college paper that was filled with a ton of huge words I don't even know and he was asking me if it is correct to use them in this context.  Haha I hope I helped him out but I was guessing on half of it.   Our spin trimmer has been turning out to be more of a nightmare than we hoped for.  Before it shook you to the core but now it won't even cut.  Whenever we try to get it started it goes and dies.  President Z took it from us yesterday and is going to take it into his shop to fix it.  Hope everything works out.

We moved out of my home for 6 months and somehow made it to our other apartment with all our things after a few taxi rides.  I wore my shopka when we moved just so that I didn't have to pack it and when I walked out of the house all eyes where on me.  I don't blame them though because anyone who would wear one of those in this heat is absolutely nuts!  I was dying of heat until I took it off.  Our new apartment is somehow always wet and humid.  I sleep on a pull out extension of the couch, not because my bed is bad but because for some weird reason I sleep like a baby on that couch. 

The new sisters that came are Sister Merrill (I was in the MTC with her) and Sister Blonquist (who knows a girl I went to high school with and one of Taylor's friends).  District Meeting was fun and we will have a fun District!  In church this week all the missionaries just got put in callings because of the new law and I am the acting First Counselor in the branch.  Me and A (the secretary) did a lot of work after church on MLS and LCR working with the finances and trying to get me into the branch, the latter with no success.  It's an amazing opportunity to be learning how these computer programs work.  Not many missions in the world have the opportunities that we have.

I will end this email with a  quote I memorized at the request of Elder Staiger.

"Being blessed with hope, let us, as disciples, reach out to all who, for whatever reason have moved away from the hope of the gospel.  Let us reach to lift those hands which hang hopelessly down"  - Neal A. Maxwell 

Love you all and pray that all is well with you!

Elder Wilding

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Apartment Swap


Might as well start off with transfers.  Elder Nielson and Hess have left the city and me and Elder Staiger are moving to their old apartment, while our sisters take our nice, freshly clean and large apartment.  Serving without sisters for 6 months definitely had some benefits. 

I don't remember if I told you or not but last week we bought a spin trimmer from the Renik.  I think I may have said how the grab broke off after only a few minutes.  The machine shakes so violently in your hands that it made one of our members hands bleed from using it after only a short time.  I tried for myself this week (with gloves) and it about shook me out of those gloves.  It cannot be adequately described in words how forceful it shakes. Just thinking about it amazes me.  

Elder Hess asked me to speak in sacrament again.  Only strange thing about it was that he didn't give me any topic to speak on. And that he let me know about it 5 seconds before I should speak.  It happened again, asked to speak in sacrament meeting over the pulpit.  My mind went searching once again for a topic, anything that I could speak about and I didn't really get much back from my that search.  I could only remember what I had studied that morning.  Which was a talk in the Liahona by Elder Bednar which by the way is an amazing talk.  I spoke a little bit about Tyson and I think I took around 10 minutes again.  It went well with a lot of Russian mistakes.

We deep cleaned our apartment.  We thought we were having sisters moving in on Thursday so we packed up all of our books and I shrink wrapped my clothes and was about ready to go to the other apartment when we found out that the sisters would only be there for one night less than 14 hours and that we could have just left all of our stuff there with out shrink wrapping anything.  That's just life.

We have taught Mr. W everyday for about 10 days and he is progressing marvelously!  The Chinese pamphlets came and it is much easier to teach him now!  He always works on Sundays so it is hard to get him to church.  And he goes back to a city 3 hours out of town in 1 day.  We can't call him and teach him due to the new laws.  It is just a minor setback.  He will be baptized eventually of that I know.

Well that just about fills you in.  It was good to read all the emails and hear everything is going good.  I'm glad to be staying here with Elder Staiger!  I love you all!

 Elder Wilding