Tuesday, July 19, 2016

We are volunteers serving the great people of Russia

Hey there

Everything is going pretty good. We are working hard, trying to make friends and keep moving forward. I am learning things every day. All of the things I am learning are all tied back to a central theme of .... I know so very little. Some elders that I have met think I speak good Russian but I never stop finding new words that I don't know the meaning to. I find new views of the world each day and new ways of looking at the gospel. I learned this week of a new Russian dish that is very Russian but I hadn't heard of it before. I don't think there is enough time in a lifetime to learn enough important stuff.

Thank you for the advice about how to deal with people, it definitely is a slow process. Learning to be a better leader.

There have been a few new changes to the way we work now. We as volunteers will be working closely with the Russian members of our church. We will be supporting them in their efforts although we will not be acting as missionaries. We aren't missionaries. We are young volunteers here to support and love the culture and country and government and people who live here. We aren't missionaries:)

We are volunteers and will be doing free service projects for anyone who would like help. Anyone who wants help can talk with us and we would be more than happy to help them clean their yards or anything like that. We will keep the church building open more than in the past and it will be a place for our church members to come and spend time when they need. It will be open to the public if the public would like to come look around. We won't be going door to door but we are glad to talk with everyone. We will be supporting members as they share the Gospel with people who would like to know more. We will visit members and make sure everything is going fine in their lives. We will be taking a more active part in cultural activities and other things to get to know the Russian people better. I don't know exactly what I am allowed to say or not say yet. But be sure to help us out and call us Volunteers. We are volunteers. President sent an email to everyone he could and it is very important that we do what he says. The law is so far not conpletely clear and we all have lots of questions about what we can and cannot do so we are extra cautious for the next few weeks. Please help us as much as you can:) We are trying our hardest to follow the laws and avoid problems with the Government. We will need the help of all the parents at home to do it.

Letter to Megan:

The thought of coming home is bitter sweet. I love the Russian people too much and it is going to be hard to leave. I am going to miss them a lot, and I am sure that I will cry. I am very blessed to be able to finish my mission on Sakhalin where the members are absolutely fantastic.  

Yeah, I can't even wrap my mind around the fact that soon I will have a phone all to myself... It’s a weird thought.  J

I hope you've learned the words to I am a Child of God in Russian! We can sing that in your ward when I get back. The week was a good one. The island is still cold all the time. We are wearing suit coats all day every day because it never gets above 75 degrees. The rule is that when the temperature is above 80 or so you can go without jackets but we just keep them on always. It never gets hot. It should get hot in August or later. There isn't anything similar to surf shacks and beach bums here haha. I don't know if I have even seen one person who could qualify as a beach bum. There aren't board walks or surfers. Nobody surfs as far as I can tell. I haven't heard that word at all here. There is a thing similar to island time... everyone is always late haha. We are even late sometimes because we will be waiting for a bus to take us across town, but it's not really the same as island time. It feels like real Russia, not like a fun island party place:) Maybe we need to introduce that mindset into Sakhalin! That would be cool

I love you all!


Elder Gardner

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