It was a bit odd to hear you all call me "Ryan" while we were skyping this past weekend! Haha its been quite a while since that's happened. This last Visa trip was a good one. We got put on a later flight than half the other missionaries. We caught up with them later in the temple. The past few times I have been in the Temple I have grabbed a Bible and started reading. Each time I just randomly opened it up and each time the same page opened up and this same verse stuck out to me, it's in Isaiah chapter 57 verse 21.I flew out with the Sakhalin elders and some others. It was a good time getting to see them and spend time together. I got to Sakhalin on Friday night. Now I am on Sakhalin, it’s pretty great that I can be on an island. It isn't warm but it’s also not cold. It’s like a nice autumn day each and every day. I don't know a whole lot about the heritage of Sakhalin yet but hopefully I will learn a lot more. On Saturday early morning we got the chance to go do service with the branch. We went to a riverside, some river bank and cleaned it up. We picked up dead branches and garbage and raked up leaves and it looked really nice after we left. We got to wear helping hands vests and I felt pretty official. J
Another big plus is that our investigator came and helped up clean up. She is so wonderful, she is already fitting in to the branch and becoming a part of it.I didn't know Austin was getting married. Is he still going to be living in Vegas doing magic? I haven't heard about him for a while. Speaking of the Brian and Jane family, our apartment smells like their house does... haha that's kinda random but I had that thought yesterday. It’s pretty crazy that everyone is growing up so fast! I can't wait to see them all again, I am worried that I won't recognize them all! Do you have a countdown clock going? It feels like the closer I am getting to the end, the faster time is moving and that's kinda scary haha. I don't want to miss these last few months. I have a lot to do and I am staying focused.
Turns out that Elder Hess has a girl that he likes and she is serving in the Tempe Arizona mission, so if you see any pretty sister missionaries in the ward you'll have to ask her if she knows Elder Hess!This week was a good week and it was a lot of travelling and packing and getting organized. I had to leave a few cat shirts in Artyom sadly, I didn't have enough room in my suitcases. I also left some shorts and Elder Cluff's brown suit that I snagged a month ago. That's okay though, it wasn't the best quality still. It was a bit old. :)
Elder Turner is a great Elder. He is still learning Russian, but so am I. I really don't think I will be finished studying it, ever... haha I want to keep going with the study of the Russian language when I get back home. It is such a rich language. I hear new words every day and I don't think I will ever get to the point where I will understand everything 100 percent haha. It's so great! That means I can always get better and that is great.
About your dream (Ryan’s dad had a dream that his father told him that Ryan’s mission is much harder than he lets on), that's very interesting. I personally very much believe in dreams and that they can be a way to recieve further light and knowledge that we each need. Grandpa Gardner is a pretty smart guy, in your dreams too he is spot on. I mean... yeah it's hard, but was there anything in life worth getting that didn't require hard work and sacrifice and a little bit of suffering? Maybe not suffering... that sounds a bit too harsh but I don't know what other word to put in place of it. There is no growth in our comfort zones, and there is no comfort in a growth zone. I struggle but that's really the reason we came to this Earth. It doesn't mention in the scriptures anything about God's weekends or vacations he took. It talks about his work and his effort to help us and his constant care for his children. I am enjoying this whole mission, and I am so grateful every morning to be able to be a part of it.I love you a lot and am grateful for all you do for me, even when it isn't noticed.