Date

April 23, 2018

Area

Tomsk

Companion

Elder George

Goodbye, Dear Tomsk!

On Sun, Apr 22, 2018 at 10:09 PM, Lawrence Gavin wrote: Hey all!! This week's been a great one, the best last week in Tomsk that I could have asked for!
So, first off, transfers came this week! I'll be leaving my home of the last 6 months, Tomsk, and heading out for Novosibirsk to serve with Elder Creer (again!) as an assistant. Super excited to go serve in the same city where my grandparents served 15 years ago!! And the increased interaction with President Lamb will be great as well. Super sad to leave Tomsk, but I'm looking forward to the future!!
This week has been a whirlwind of last-time member meetings and getting ready for a huge activity that we had on Saturday. It's been a blur and a blast!
The activity on Saturday was a multi-faith "volunteer night" where we were able to meet with a ton of people from a bunch of different groups and churches and discuss ways that we serve. It was held at the church, and it went incredibly! We had about 50 people there, 25-30 of which were non-members. We had some great opportunities to share about what we believe in, and along with the members got contact info for multiple people who were interested in working with us or learning more about the church. We had a lemonade bar and fed everyone American burgers, which was a ton of work, but in the end it was absolutely worth it. I wish I had pictures, but I forgot my camera on the activity. If I can track some down from the members I'll send them later.
It's been way hard saying goodbye to everyone here in Tomsk. I've been right on the verge of tears about 1000 times as these members and others that I've come to love have come up and thanked me and as I've had opportunities to thank them. I always come into a new city thinking that "there's no way the members will be as cool here as they were in my old branch," and I end up being wrong every single time. I love the people of Tomsk as much as I love everyone in Ulan-Ude, Sakhalin, and Khabarovsk, and I'm going to miss them a ton!!
I've been reflecting a lot on my time here in Tomsk, and how it differed from my time in other cities. Despite the fact that I feel I've worked harder and been more capable here than anywhere else, we did not have a single baptism during my time here. As I've thought and prayed about why that was, I can't help but think a few things; the Lord does everything in his own time, and there are so many more ways to further the work in the Lord's vineyard. I'll never lose my drive to find and baptize those who the Lord has prepared, but it's helped me to look back at my time in Tomsk and see all the other ways that I've been able to help and the ways that I've been able to grow here. My time with the young men here especially has left a huge mark on me, and I hope on them as well. Seeing things like the Borisovi family finally coming back after working with them or Sasha, one of the young men here, wearing the white shirt I gave him and passing the sacrament for the first time since I've been here (this Sunday), have been experiences just as sweet as filling the font.
I'm grateful every day that I can be out here on my mission! It truly is the best two years.
Love you all! Thanks for everything!
Elder Lawrence
Pictures: Almost all my pictures this week have Russians in them, so I can't send almost any of them. Sorry!! But here are some:
- Tool pic Tuesday in a dirty mirror- WW2 memorial- Ice breaking up on the river




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