Date

January 14, 2018

Area

Tomsk

Companion

Elder George

Opening Soon: the Tomsk Russia Vietnamese Branch

On Sun, Jan 14, 2018 at 7:44 PM, Lawrence Gavin wrote: Hey all! So the title is a joke, but just barely! This week has been incredible!! Let me tell you all about it :)
This is the first week of this transfer (Which started a month ago) that we've had all 7 days in our area. It's been crazy, but we used it to the fullest!
The highlight of this week was definitely our meeting with Hoang and So (pronounced Sho). They are so prepared and sincere, it's honestly amazing to see! We committed them to baptism and they agreed! We've got a lot of work to do, since they're starting from very little knowledge of Christianity in general, but they're working towards baptism on the 24th of February. It'll come up quick! They have such a sincere desire to just become better people and to follow and learn about Christ, it's amazing to see. When they get baptized, we'll have 4 Vietnamese priesthood holders here in Tomsk. Crazy to think about! They'll go back to Vietnam once they finish studying and hopefully can help form the roots of the church there. The Lord works in mysterious ways!
We also had an incredible meeting with Aleksandr, the guy who showed up of his own accord to church last week. We agreed to study the bible with him, so we did, but we tied in modern scripture as much as we could. He was genuinely interested, and has an immense knowledge already of the Bible. Like, to the point where the opinions and beliefs he has formed are approaching our own. Crazy, right? There are some differences, obviously, but he's an incredibly humble guy and open to other ideas, and we're super excited to keep working with him!
We had 4 investigators come to sacrament meeting on Sunday! Admittedly one of them was the gender dysphoric guy from last week. But he's actually reading the Book of Mormon and keeping all his commitments... So technically he is progressing. He's got a long way to go, but anyone can change! So we'll see. I got to teach gospel doctrine class on Sunday to about 20 people, which was a great experience. Normally new investigators go to gospel principles class, but we felt like we should invite Alekcandr to come to gospel doctrine, since he knows the Bible so impressively well. That was definitely an inspired decision; he was amazing! Super participative, great comments, the members were awesome about answering his questions, and it was overall just incredible. That was all thanks to the members, they are so willing to help with new investigators here.
We got to go to a service project that a group puts on here every week in Tomsk with a member and feed the homeless, which was an incredibly humbling experience. Obviously as a volunteer I've had significant amounts of interaction on my mission with the homeless, but every time I'm just genuinely blown away by how little some people have and how grateful they can be for seemingly small things. Service really is one of the greatest ways to come closer to the Savior!
The branch here is doing great! We're getting back into a more regular schedule here with the holidays having passed, so hopefully we'll continue to see sacrament attendance rise.
Thanks for everything! Love you all!!
Elder Lawrence
Pictures:-Super impressive ice sculptures here in Tomsk; I couldn't make something half this cool out of play-doh and they're doing it with ice. It's crazy.




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