Date

September 18, 2016

Area

Khabarovsk

Companion

Elder Gee

Week 10: I think. I'm losing track. Let's go with 10. I'm in Russia!

On Sun, Sep 18, 2016 at 10:57 PM, Gavin Lawrence wrote: ​I arrived!! I'm alive, and the flight was great. I've had a ton of fun
so far. I spent 2 and a half days in Vlad when I got in, and that was an
awesome experience. I met President Perkinson and his wife at the
airport and then we went on a tour of the area around Vladivostok. It
was WAY prettier than I expected. Like for real. I didn't take any good
pictures (ugh) but look up Vladivostok online sometime. It's unreal. We
met the missionaries in Artyom, which included Elder Downing from the MTC! Anyway, We made it to Vlad and went straight to the church, where I got to meet a bunch of the members and a few more Elders and Sisters. I saw Elder Peterson and Sister Mitchell from the MTC, which was awesome! We had Seminary, which happens every Thursday night. It was a ton of fun, and I got to listen to some younger Russian members speak. They talk SO FAST. I can only pick out tiny parts of what they say, but generally I can get the gist. Sometimes I'm just completely lost, though. But I'm loving it and working hard, so that's what matters.

So my first full day in Russia I got to spend with the APs in Vlad. Their names are Elder Crabb and Elder Nielson, and they are AWESOME. They were a ton of fun to be with and they made me feel totally comfortable on my first day. We got to go teach a less-active family named the Gusavas! It was way fun. They live in an apartment with a ton of people, mostly little kids, so we switched off between giving the lesson and playing with the kids to keep them entertained. Russian kids are SO CUTE. And I can normally understand most of what they're saying, which is nice. I got to share a scripture near the end of our time with the Gusavas and it was my first time really speaking to Russian People. I shared 2 Nephi 25:26, and then I talked about it and bore (Beared? Bared? Boar? Why does that look wrong?) my testimony in Russian. It was a great experience.

I
made a friend on the plane into Vladivostok named Taras! He lives in
Vlad and owns a Virtual Reality Arcade. Which is like way cool. He
speaks perfect English and he has a wife and a little 2 year old kid.
His arcade is only like a 5 minute walk away from the apartment where I
stayed in Vlad, so we walked over and contacted him on Saturday morning.
He's just a really great guy all around and I'm excited to get to know
him more if I end up back in Vlad.

I'm
assigned to work in Khabarovsk for my first two transfers while I'm
getting trained. I'm super lucky; It's rated as like the 3rd or 4th most
beautiful cities in Russia, and it's the biggest city in our mission.
The branch is pretty small; there are about 60 people on the records,
and this last Sunday there were around 14 people at church, which is about normal. But the
people who come are AWESOME. Probably my favorite person I've met in Russia so far is Sister Slava. She is a Babushka in our branch and she is amazing. She's a doctor and probably the strongest member in Khabarovsk. She's been all over the world (Including Saint George!! How crazy is that? There are actually two Babushkas in our branch that have been to Saint George. Which is sorta super crazy.) She speaks pretty good English and she talks slow enough that I can pick out most of what she's saying. She's HILARIOUS. The perfect example of dry Russian humor, and even a little sarcasm, which is rare in Russia. I'll try and take pictures with a bunch of the people in the branch and then I can give a little bio on them with their picture next week. Our branch is awesome!

My companion is Elder Gee! He's super cool. He's from Seattle and his Russian is really, really good. We live with two other Elders, Elder Sumner and Elder Parry. They're both super cool, too. Elder Sumner only speaks in Russian around the house like 90% of the time, so that's been helping me learn to just pick up what's being said even though I don't know a lot of the words being said. It's been a ton of fun and I can already feel myself progressing in the language. I've got a LONG way to go, though!

I've got a lot to talk about and not a lot of time, so I think I'm gonna end this email here. I'll try and remember anything else that happened these past few days and put them in my next email. But I'm loving it here in Russia and I couldn't be happier!! Talk to everyone next week! Also I'm just gonna attach all the pictures I've taken. The nicer apartment is the mission home, and the other one is our apartment, which is also way nice and quite spacious. Which is good. The three pictures in the computer lab are (in order) Elder Gee, Elder Sumner, and Elder Parry. I think everything else is self explanatory, hopefully. Love you all!!

Elder Lawrence

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https://drive.google.com/a/myldsmail.net/file/d/0B9kQY1UnJpU-YmJLclpBRVVhdDA/view?usp=drive_web" style="display:inline-block;overflow:hidden;white-space:nowrap;text-decoration:none;padding:1px 0px;border:medium none;width:100%;"> DSCN0344.JPG​​
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https://drive.google.com/a/myldsmail.net/file/d/0B9kQY1UnJpU-cG56dFBKelhfaXRaLWJXWnVtWlJyVUNuRmY4/view?usp=drive_web" style="display:inline-block;overflow:hidden;white-space:nowrap;text-decoration:none;padding:1px 0px;border:medium none;width:100%;"> IMG_5220.JPG​​
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https://drive.google.com/a/myldsmail.net/file/d/0B9kQY1UnJpU-bGF3UmtiWFVpb3RCS1hfMmxUazF0ODJsMzJN/view?usp=drive_web" style="display:inline-block;overflow:hidden;white-space:nowrap;text-decoration:none;padding:1px 0px;border:medium none;width:100%;"> IMG_5223.JPG​




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