Monday, February 27, 2017

Goodbye Sakhalin

Hate to say it but I am leaving the island.  I have enjoyed every second of my time here and would have liked to stay longer but it seemed like a transfer was imminent and I wasn't wrong.  I guess all good things must come to an end, at least in this life. I'm going to miss the mountains. I will be now serving in Vladivostok, the big city, the city the mission was named after.  My new companion is Elder Bacon who came in the same time as Elder Roosa, I've met him when he first got in and maybe once after that.  I looking forward to serve in Vlad.  I may go broke very quickly though because of the Sharma.  I was already there for 3 weeks over a year ago and enjoyed my time.  I am going to be serving in Churkin or as I hear people call it Churkin hood.  We are going to be whitewashed in, which just means that neither I or Elder Bacon has served there.  He is coming from Irkutsk and I from here.  I will be flying there on Wednesday and then to Korea and the temple and by Friday evening I should be in my new apartment.

On Saturday our investigator and also chess teacher S agreed to come to the church and teach our members which were interested who to improve their chess game.  He is an absolute genius when it comes to chess and loves the game.  Two  of our young men came and it was a good activity!  One of our young men plays really good and it was interesting to watch him play against S.  He plans to come back every Saturday and do the same kind of activity, hopefully more people will come and so that he can meet some more members.  I have a good feeling about Sergei, I think he'll find that this is the true church.

At just about exactly the same time I am leaving so is an American couple that has been here for 10 years.  The Severukins have left to continue their mission in a new city and a different American couple is leaving in about a month.  The branch is losing so many people so rapidly!  There was a going away party for the Jones and for part of it, me and Sister Kaprolova (who is also leaving) had to go up and do some game where they would say a normal object and we would relate it to the gospel. We had a friend of ours come.  Either this week or last we had an awesome miracle!  We had an activity going on at the church and a lady walks in who used to come to things.  She had moved away because of work and just got back.  We got her number and she asked us to invite her to activities!  

We had our last mini MTC and district meeting with the Severukins, like I said before they and now serving in a different city and will not return for 10 months.  They are awesome!  I am going to miss them, but there is a chance that I will serve with them again if I stay in Vlad for the rest of my mission.  They are planning to serve there in approximately 4 months.

I gave my parting testimony and said all my goodbyes on Sunday.  These are good people, I will miss them.  I made a ton of good memories here.  The future looks bright though! 


Elder Wilding

Monday, February 20, 2017

Russians, Chess, Boots, Parable Plays, and Transfers

Where to start....

Well first off I am writing to you from inside the church on a TV that we hooked a keyboard and a mouse up to.  We start p-day at 8 a.m.. We can finishing shopping in about 30 min. which leaves us with an hour and half of free time that we don't know what to do with.  The library opens at 10 and almost nothing in Russia is open before that besides flower shops (which are open 24/7 for absolutely no reason) and grocery stores.  So we decided that we would just go right to the church.  lt is a lot better idea, we should have been doing this before.  For one it's free and secondly we always have to come here anyways afterwards to send pictures (....I guess not always, sorry mom...).  So here we go.

For some reason we have been meeting so many "interesting" people lately.  I was starting to think that everybody in the city was nuts until Sister Kaprolava who is a native Russian said that before her mission she thought everybody in Russia was normal.  I guess back home I didn't go on the streets everyday trying to find someone, anyone who would listen to me. For example we met this man on the streets who seemed really cool.  We were busy at the time he wanted to meet, so the sisters met with him but we came in on the end of the lesson.  He claimed that he is the Holy Ghost and that in some of us were reptile people and then he proceeded to cast them out of us.  I probably should have thanked him for his service.  He came again on Sunday and wouldn't you believe it that the Sunday School lesson was on the Holy Ghost hahahaha!!  I'm not sure but that has to be ironic.

Also we have been meeting so many good, sincere, cool people!  For example we met S 2-3 weeks ago at a chess club, he speaks English.  When I first met him we played chess, I ended up losing but not doing too bad.  Turns out that he is a chess teacher and was just letting me do alright not to crush my feelings haha.  We went over to his place today to teach him about the plan of salvation.  He had been keeping his commitment though of reading the Book of Mormon and had so many questions about that that we didn't even have any time to teach him about the plan of salvation.  He is smart and asks good questions.  It's cool he will ask a question for example about polygamy or some other things that seem strange to those who are not members of our church, then he will attentively listen to our answer and understand and accept it and then move on to the next question.  And as a bonus after every lesson he teaches us something cool about chess!  This time he had me and Elder Lawrence play each other in chess and he would make comments on our moves whether they were weak or strong and what we could have done that would have been better.  I made a lot of dumb moves but somehow came off the victor.  He didn't make it easy though, I had to kill all his pieces before it was over.

We finally bought a USB adapter that hooks up to our TV and ever since that we have been watching Bible videos and listening to talks every night.  It is actually really really nice but crazy how much faster the time seems to fly.  Also last Monday we went bowling with the sisters.  We ended up playing 3 games.  The first I was rusty and was mediocre, the second I was on fire but ended bad and the third game I shouldn't of even played -  it was awful!  Also something fun the branch put on  production where families in the church dress up and act out parables.  We as a district had the parable of the ungrateful servant, I'll try to send some pictures it was really fun!

My beloved Alaskas (my boots) are ruined.  They are full of holes and have some paint on them from when we painted the Book of Mormon ice sculpture.  I am going to buy new shoes today hopefully for a good price at the market.  It is starting to warm up so I won't buy more boots.  I want a dress shoe that I can zip up so that I don't have to tie them.  We finished the challenge of sewing 35 blankets!  They are now all packed up and ready for delivery.  Nikolai came and helped twice before his trip to the north of Sakhalin to see his family.  He is going to be gone a month.  Transfers are this Thursday and I think I might be leaving so that might be the last time I see him in a long time.  But hey there is always Facebook!

The Argyles had us over for lunch yesterday, we had BACON!!!!  If I leave I am going to deeply miss this place.

Elder Wilding
 Completed Blankets
 Cool Russian Bible
 My Alaskas (boots)
 Cool Russian
 Car on a roof

*Moms' Note: I am adding a little excerpt from his former companion Elder King's email because it will be of interest to some of you: 

The top 10 most common words in Russian:

1) и -- particle, it means "and" in most cases. Can also be used for emphasis

2) в (во) -- "in" or "into" (preposition)

3) не -- "not"

4) на -- "on" or "onto" (preposition)

5) я -- "I"

6) он -- "he"

7) что -- "what"

8) с (со) -- "with" or "from/off" (preposition)

9) это -- "this, that, it"

10) быть -- to be (verb)

I'm not going to explain cases. I don't want to open that can of worms.

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Time of Training - A Time of Chess

So, I should be writing home a little bit early now becasue of the new change to our P-day schedule.

Good Week!  We met a lot of new people.  N came to church on Sunday and received the Aaronic priesthood.  I had the privilege of giving him that priesthood.  It was a great experience.  N has a month long vacation and in two days he will be heading up to the north of Sakhalin for about a month.  We are sad that he is leaving but will still keep talking to him on the phone.

One of our new investigators who actually is a chess teacher taught us a thing or two.  I was amazed by the amount of strategy that goes into that game.  He was showing us how we should start a game and what to do if on the board is only kings and a pawn and most importantly how to put some poor fellow in checkmate in two moves.

The branch is in the process of sewing blankets (35 to be exact) for those in need.  It is a big project and we have been able to help a little.  Besides all the new investigators, most of our other lessons have revolved around teaching the members the new goals that the area presidency put out.

The gospel is true. I am blessed to be out here.  Thanks for all your prayers!

Elder Wilding

Monday, February 6, 2017

4 Elders!

The AP's came down this week. Having 4 in one apartment makes everything more fun! It is was like I was back in Angarsk again!  They arrived Wednesday morning and left Sunday after church.  They came to have a conference with us where we watched a new training for all volunteers.  The conference was pretty great and now we finally have our new schedule.  The major changes are that now we have more time on P-days (3 hours!!!!) and we plan in the morning instead of the night. 

We went to a chess club and got a nice old man's number, his name is S and he is going to teach me how to play chess better.  He is a Baptist and I think would be open to our message.  We almost had service at the zoo but when we called back they said that it wouldn't work out because we need some special license or something to be around live animals.

We went over to a member who is from the Netherlands and had really good dinner!  And a 8 year old girl just got baptized on Saturday by her dad!

They was basically my week (according to my memory) .  Sorry that it is kinda small. Thanks for all the support!

Elder Wilding