Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sakhalin Island

Dear one and all,

Another awesome week on the island!  I love it here!  It is so beautiful and the members are so great and it just feels good to serve here.  We were busy this week running around getting to know members and doing other tasks.  In church due to the American families, we have a translator.  I got to translate during gospel doctrine class which was quite interesting but I really like it because it is sometimes fun explaining what they said without using the exact words.  I mostly just translate it in Russian grammar to English so it sounds funny a lot!

We went hiking on a mountain about 20 minutes from the church with two members of the church.  It was a beautiful hike and we saw Sakhalin from above.  The trees and bushes were in reds and browns and oranges and it all was really pretty.  We had to hike up first a quarry where they have sand and other materials and it really just looks like a big construction sight. On the way we picked berries and had a great time!  One of the members made a pie out of the berries we picked and that was delicious!
We served at the Hari Krishna kitchen like I used to do in Angarsk and prepared food for the homeless.  It always feels good to serve!  On Sakhalin they also have Russian practice and our teacher knows English amazing!  

We taught a member's daughter who is eight but is going to have the missionary lessons first before she gets baptized,.  We taught the plan of salvation and it is amazing how much kids know! 

At sports night we played ultimate Frisbee and a sister and member collided and fell on the Frisbee and broke it.  Luckily we had another.

Sorry this is so short and scatterbrained.  I will write this letter first next time.

Love Elder Wilding
 The Hike
Scenery on the hike
The hike
Tiny dancing robots they had in the Korean airport

Sunday, September 18, 2016



What a week...  I was taken for the pilot of our plane to Sakhalin when we got off.  I was wearing my way nice winter coat and had my military Russian bag on and apparently I looked legit. 

We had so many flights!  When we went to Zone Conference I stayed at the AP's apartment and had a joyful reunion with Elder Crabb if I have ever seen one.  We got new materials to keep us better organized and more focused on our goals and Zone Conference was of the chain as usual.  While I was in Vlad I had three sharmas which still doesn't seem quite enough. We went to Korea and got three sessions in, a trip to Ashley's, dinner with the senior couple from Brigham City and McDonald's breakfast.  I have never been more effective in Korea in my entire life!  The flights were pretty fun.

After Korea I spent a night in the AP Elder's apartment and had some delicious breakfast cake Elder Hess made at my request and got to know a few of the Elders in the mission I didn't know that well.   Elder Bodily goes home this transfer and then I won't have anyone from my same city in the mission.  We got up at like 4 or 5 in the morning (I don't remember which, it was so early) and took a flight to Sakhalin and landed at 9:35 a.m. and on the island (Sakhalin) church starts at 10.  We rushed to the church and made it for sacrament and I gave my testimony in church.  This branch is huge!  Like 60-70 people and it is three hours long which I haven't had my whole mission.  So many people here speak English.  At least half the branch.  Oh man, it is beautiful here.  I feel like I am in Alaska.  Especially when one of the American families who is here working for Exxon invited us over for dinner and we went into their gated community which literally looks exactly like Alaska and is incredibly nice.  We had such a good dinner there and I kinda of understand now what it is like to serve in a state's mission.  Sakhalin is sick and I know it is going to get better and better!

I love you all!

Have a great week I will send pictures next week!

Elder Wilding

Sunday, September 11, 2016


Hello everyone and welcome,

It is amazing what fire gets in my soul when I hear that my beloved Panthers lose.  But those feelings are suppressed because transfers came in and I'm going to Sakhalin!!!  I always hoped I would go there, and now I get to! It snows so much in the winter that it engulfs cars! I mean what else could I ask for!  And it is an island which will be an adventure.  I am sad to leave Ussuriysk but if I could have chosen where I would serve after, I would have chosen Sakhalin.   

Yesterday was a day of goodbyes... and more than a few pictures.  This whole week was basically all goodbyes.  I made some good friends here that it will be hard to forget.  Sister L made all of the volunteers borsch and had us come over to her house for family night.  She has completely mastered cooking in life.  That is a talent she definitely did not bury and it blessed all of us!  K brought a watermelon after church and we all savored it together.  We have been having so much good food lately.  Also at our lesson with Sister P she made us us hot dogs but the hot dog was completely covered with bread, they kinda looked like rolls.  After eating a few I grabbed one that seemed a little small, I didn't think much about it and bit into it and to my shock and the laughter of others it was filled with candy wrappers hahas.  People are the same everywhere you go.

S (lost at sea) FINALLY picked up his phone after months and months of calling it.  It turns out he actually was at sea this whole time.  I also called Mr. W to tell him goodbye and he gave me his number that only works in China.  If I ever go to China he is the first person I am calling. 

The city celebrated it's 150 year mark last week.  They got a concert set up and a firework show.  It reminded me a lot of peach days when I saw everything set up.  

The weather has been outstanding, I hear there's fierce wind in Sakhalin.  I am going to Vlad today and I'm  going to grab all my winter stuff.  That means the shark force (my coat) is coming back out! I missed that thing.  I will be in Vlad for a week and won't get to Sakhalin until Sunday morning at 9 am.  The plan is to get on a plane at 7 Sunday morning and fly there and land at 9 and make it to church at 11.  Oh yeah my new companion is Elder King.  I am excited to serve with him!

From my memory that pretty much wraps up this week.  Next time I write you I shall be on a different land mass.

Elder Wilding

Sakhalin is in the red circle

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Flood

Dear Family and Friends,

Ussuriysk my home of 7 months or so has been taking quite a lot of rain falling from the heavens so much so that the park where we always play soccer every week has flooded with water.  A restaurant is not too far from the soccer field and if the rain keeps up it will be swimming as well.  That is what happened last year apparently.  It is a good area, away from the city and quiet, but it was a bad idea for them to put that restaurant there.  

We went to the youth service of our Friends at the Peace Church on Saturday because they were nice enough to give us service.  Interesting meeting.  Started of with hymns played on the guitar and piano and everyone stands up and sings and some people put their hands up in the air when they are really feeling it I guess.  We then sat down and a young girl went up to the front of the room and we read out of 2 Samuel.  Everyone reads the verse together whenever they read verses and if they agree with what the person says they say amen after it.  Their teacher came up to the front after the singing and taught out of the bible.  She was Korean and taught in Korean but they had a Russian girl translate into Russian.  Overall, it was a really good service.  Almost everything they said was correct.  The teacher gave out $100 to a girl in the class who had read the bible all the way through.  It was an example of how God, when we keep his commandments will bless us.

Our friends who we play soccer with invited us to go watch the city's team.  Our team won 7-2!  They started off rocky but after 20 minutes they got it going.  We also made it out to K's and talked with him for a second and invited him to church on Sunday.  His field looks really good and the rain is helping a lot.

It was a good week, we got a few phone numbers from a few young guys and hope to see progress with them.  We were walking home last night and one of these guys called us over to the bus stop they were sitting on and he knew a lot about churches and said he believed in the bible but didn't know if any church itself was true.  We didn't ask him this, he just came out and said it.  He looks pretty promising.  He gave us his number and is going to come to the church next week.  

O just walked in the door of the church, I guess he's back!  I hope we can get him back on the right path he has been gone for several months now.

I love you all!

Elder Wilding
The flood

My planner and the broken snow globe