Tuesday, October 7, 2014

First Week in Nakhodka

Hey family! How are you all doing?? Russia is fun.  I really like it!  I hardly understand a word of what is being said but it is such a blast! Down here in Nakhodka, it is pretty warm. I always leave the house with a jacket in the mornings but I take it off pretty quickly.   Russia is pretty normal, hate to say it. I expected it to be a lot more.... I dont know..... Russian. It is a ton of fun though:)
More Russian than this?
Looks like they need a can opener.
Or this?
We were told this last week that no more Ipods are allowed and no flash drives either. MoTab CDs are allowed so a couple of those would be fabulous if you could find them.   My companion is awesome! He speaks Russian super well! Some people say they can't even tell that he is from Oklahoma. We have had a hectic week, carrying my bags around for 3 days before we finally got to Nakhodka.  We almost missed our train, but it wasn't that close. We had like 30 seconds to spare before it pulled away.
Getting Elder Alward and Gardner settled in Nakhodka
Plenty of times I see guys shouting at us and I say to my companion "Hey that guy is super interested we've gotta turn around and talk to him!" My companion just says "No Elder Gardner, don't turn around, he is drunk!" Dang it! The drunk people are always the happiest to see us!  I need a couple of new "Pick-up Lines" so-to-speak. One of them is "Hey have you seen us before?" or maybe on a bus I will open up my Book of Mormon and ask the lady next to me how to pronounce a couple of words from the book:) I don't know! Help me out here:)
A Kitty Friend
I believe we were led a couple of times this week by the spirit. We had set up an appointment with an investigator named Костя. We went over to his home, but he was not home. We headed back out and I turned to Elder Sayers. I told him "Hey, there is a reason we are supposed to be here. There is a reason we planned to meet Костя and the plans fell through. Keep your eyes open Elder!" Earlier that morning we had this idea, "Let's plan on meeting a Владимир today."  So as we were walking back from our fallen through appointment, we stop to talk to this man. We introduce ourselves and he doesn't immediately tell us to go away.  We ask him his name.... Владимир. Way cool! We tell him we can help him quit smoking if he wants, we can teach him about our church and he seems kind of interested but he had to go. We will see if he shows up to church, I don't know.  I hope so!
Looks like Ryan is having a great time!

Another experience:  we had to fill out some quarterly report. Both Elder companionships were at the church so we could work on the report. Elder Alward and I both just got to Nakhodka this week so we didn't know any of the information they needed. We decided it would be a better use of our time to go out and talk to people instead of just sitting around. So Elder Alward and I head out to the street and we didn't really know where we were going, just walking. We tried talking to probably 20 people with no success. Right after that, we saw a guy walking towards us with the biggest smile on his face. We stopped to talk to him and he said he has met the missionaries before. He reads the Bible every day and would love to read our book and to know more. We invited him back to the Church building to show him around and he loved it. He was looking at the big painting of Jesus for 5 minutes. We then asked if he had some time, and he did, so we taught him the first lesson:) He said during the lesson that he quit smoking a while ago, he doesn't drink tea or coffee or anything like that because he knows it is bad. He was totally being prepared before we got there. We just had to tell him the information and he was already relating it back to the Bible and he accepted it all! We set a Baptismal date for 3 or 4 weeks from now. It was a really awesome experience. If we would have been a minute earlier, a minute later, on a different street, or not even out there at all, we would have missed the great opportunity to teach the gospel! I am so happy I got to be a part of that.
I am having an amazing time! I haven't gotten nervous yet... yet! Haha wish me luck!  Even in Russia the Church is true and I Love You.

Старейшина Гарднер
Elder Gardner

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