March 26, 2018




Elder George

A Wedding for the Books!

On Sun, Mar 25, 2018 at 11:14 PM, Lawrence Gavin wrote: Hey all! This week has been stellar!! Too many miracles to count, plus a wedding on top of everything. Loving life out here in Tomsk :)
We got a huge surprise while we were preparing food for the homeless like we normally do on Tuesdays; Vladlen, the father in the recently reactivated family here in Tomsk, showed up to help! He was the last person we expected. But he is such an amazing guy! He's been a secretary and a first counselor in the branch presidency, and the branch adores him. It's been such a huge blessing to have him and his wife back with their kids. We got to spend a lot of time on Tuesday getting to know him, and even more time later as we helped get ready for the wedding. He was at the church almost every day this week, including sacrament! They're really back with full force, and we're all ecstatic. They're great!

On Wednesday Elder George and I went to a multi-confessional discussion group that a friend we made while doing service invited us to. It was one of the most effective finding activities of my whole mission! We were literally asked every one of the questions you hope to be asked while with people outside the church. It was as close to teaching the first lesson outside the church as we're allowed to come, and there were 6 people there listening! The best part was at the end, when one of them got this way excited look on her face and said "can we invite the whole group (they have about 10-12 people total) to come do a tour of your church? And you can tell us a little more about what you believe?" Our jaws literally dropped. They're all coming this next Sunday after church, we're super excited and working on getting members to come to make sure they get the full experience. I'm still a little in shock.

The wedding was incredible! New people, less-actives, and non-member spouses of members all came. Andrei and Hastia were so ecstatic, it made all the prep work worth it. He's such an incredible addition to the branch, he just got called as the sunday school president and is already digging into the work.

This sunday we had an incredible member turn-out! Tons of Melchizedek Priesthood holders showed up, which is one of the biggest indicators in terms of forming stakes. The Novosibirsk district is working hard to get to a stake, and we're pretty darn close. We need 5 branches strong enough to become wards, and we're currently at 4. Tomsk is the next in line to become the 5th, and we're really pushing for it! It helps so much to have such a tangible goal to work towards.
Loving it out here! A little bit scary, I've had to start figuring out rooming for college and things like that the last few weeks, which is the last thing I want to be thinking about. It's starting to get a little bit real that the mission doesn't last forever. I'm gonna make these last few months count for sure!
Love you all! Thanks for everything!
Elder Lawrence


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