October 16, 2017


Ulan Ude


Elder Spencer

First Snow and Mo'!

On Sun, Oct 15, 2017 at 9:48 PM, Lawrence Gavin wrote: I apologize for the rhyme in the subject line. It gets remarkably difficult to make those interesting after so many letters. I am trying.
Hey all! This week has been a great one, lots of good going on here in Ulan-Ude!
Training is going great, Elder Spencer's getting into the rhythm of things and we're picking up the pace here! He's working hard on the language, it'll come eventually. The difference between a good Russian speaker and a bad Russian speaker is a lot more in the effort put in than in natural talent. He'll get it in no time!
One of the highlights of this week was a family home evening that we had at our branch president's house, where as our spiritual thought we asked him to teach us about the restoration of the church. He realized as he was teaching that he wasn't 100% sure on dates and the order of things. We were worried that he might be upset that we put him on the spot, but he wasn't (of course, he's President Baldakov. He's always awesome) Instead, he realized the need that he and every member has to get these things down so that they as members can teach those who ask them questions. That seems to have really stuck with him, and he's been focusing on it ever since. We just had a great branch counsel this week, and he brought up the need for each of the members of the branch to start shouldering the load of missionary work even more (and they're already doing pretty darn good, as I've mentioned in previous letters) and has asked that we as volunteers help each member study and feel comfortable teaching the basic truths of the gospel. I really feel like he's doing the first steps of lighting a fire that will make the work take off here in Ulan-Ude. I really just admire this branch and President Baldakov.
The twins are doing great, we had another great meeting with them and taught them about the Plan of Salvation. They seemed to have a genuine interest this time, which was awesome to see. I think what really helped is that we tried to convey that we weren't sharing the gospel with them just because, but were sharing because we love them and want to help them. That's a basic principle that everyone learns in the MTC, but I feel like it's never something that I focus enough on. Once an investigator understands that you love them, they're 10 times as likely to continue listening and to keep commitments.

Anton's talk got moved to next week fairly last minute (but he's preparing and excited, which is good), and I ended up speaking on sunday about the importance of fulfilling our callings. It was fun :)
Thanks for everything! Love you guys so much!
Elder Lawrence
Pictures: - Jersey made by Artur Sulemanov, the district president here! On the front is his soccer club name (Baikal+), on the back is my name in Russian and the Russian crest - Every plane ticket from my mission so far - First snow of the winter! It melted after like 2 hours


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