Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Trip to Vladivostok

We all went on over to Vladivostok this past weekend. The trip was great.  It was a great bonding experience for all of us in the Nakhodka Branch.   A week and a half ago we took the train to Vladivostok.  It was pretty cold on the train. We were in the regular cheap seats and they weren’t heated very well. This week when we went to Vlad we rented a bus and drove down - the whole branch together. It was a very fun bus ride. Yes, I was wearing a candy necklace :) Mrs. Schindele sent it to me in a letter and I thought "What better to do on a bus ride than to make and eat some jewelry?" Very tasty:)  

In that picture I was with Ksenya's oldest daughter. She is pretty cool, she speaks English pretty well too!

Must have been a long bus ride.
We had Elder Jorg Klebingat (of the Quorom of the 70) come visit us with his wife. They spoke at church on Sunday to all of the church members we brought. Then they were also with us on Monday at our Zone Conference. He is the 2nd Counselor of the Eastern European Missions, including all of Russia. He spoke to us about how we could improve our missions and how we can grow and be better people in general. Better followers of Christ. It was way good:) I took lots of notes. He is the man!  He doesn't beat around the bush when he talks. He tells us what he is thinking, he does what he does and he knows what is up.  His confidence is great, it is hard to describe, but if you met him you would understand right away.  Oh and I talked with him for a few minutes after church. He asked me "What can I do to help you Elder Gardner?" Oh man, haha I had NO CLUE. What should I ask a member of the Quorom of the 70 to do for me? I told him “nothing” but afterwards I was thinking that I should’ve asked for some Burger King:) 

We stayed the night with the APs. (The assistants to the President.) They are so much fun. It is right now Elder Jaeckel and Elder Hinkson. I have spent a few days with each one of them in the past and they are doing a great job! Everybody loves them.  

I got a TON of mail there while I was in Vladivostok!  I got a package from the Priest Quorum, Brother Busby sent it to me.  And I finally got the Worthen’s Package!  I also got some letters from the Rick and Pam Woods family and I got some letters from people in the ward. Oh, I got a letter from the Calvin Woods family, too.  It was way good to hear from them all.  

That is neat that Mom and Cameron got to go out with the missionaries.  I would be SO interested to see how American missionaries work. They can use their native language, they can speak to people who are probably nice most of the time, and  they can use iPads!  I think it would be such a different experience. 

Thanks for that picture of Elder "Varney" doing that baptism in the ice... That is Elder Barney. In Russian a capital "B" makes a "V" sound so maybe that was how he translated his name tag back in the day, or maybe it was just a bad translation:) I never knew him but Elder Sayers says that he knows him:) Cool stuff! We haven't done any ice baptisms yet, boy am I glad!  https://www.facebook.com/LDSMissionaries/photos/pb.259235360763343.-2207520000.1421578245./883161378370735/?type=1

The legislative bills Dad is working on sound a bit difficult. I can't imagine fixing the pension system. Where to even start? There are a ton of people here in Nakhoka, though, who are on pension and they get free bus passes. They don't have to pay to ride the bus around town:) Hopefully you can do something like that for the firefighters, even though we don't really use busses in Arizona. Those projects sound big! I know you will do good:) If there is anything I can do to help, just let me know.

We bought 15 kg of potatoes for a Babushka.  (about 33 lbs)
Hope everything is going well:) My 6 month mark is in 11 days! Wow... Time flies! I think it is interesting how some people get homesick while others don’t. I don't know if I have gotten homesick once yet:) I am too tired to be homesick. ha ha

I love you all so much! 

Elder Gardner


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