Date

September 26, 2016

Area

Khabarovsk

Companion

Elder Gee

Week 11: Russia's Heaven!!

https://overview.mail.yahoo.com/mobile/?.src=Android">Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android
On Sun, Sep 25, 2016 at 10:53 PM, Gavin Lawrence wrote: ​​I have like no time left this week, so I'm just gonna copy-paste all the questions I answered from my parents this week and attach a video I took of our apartment.

- What is Khabarovsk like? Are the people generally friendly or cold?- Khabarovsk is AMAZING. Honestly, it's incredible. The city is beautiful and remarkably clean. The people are much, much nicer than I expected!! They smile on the streets (as long as you smile first) which was a huge surprise to me. No more or less nice than like the average groups of people in like New York or a bigger city.
- Are you four volunteers the only ones assigned there? Do you all live together?- It's us four and then two sisters, Sister Boulander and Sister Kapralova. I know Sister Boulander from the MTC and Sister Kapralova is an awesome native sister who helps us all a ton with our Russian. Us four elders all live together.
- How do you spend your time? Is service a big part like you thought it might be? What is a typical day like? - Definitely lots of service, but not as much as I expected. We helped out at an elementary school English class (we can't teach English, but that's allowed), we visited an old Babushka who is a member and needed the sacrament but lives way far away from church and can't come cause she's old, and a bunch of other smaller things. Tomorrow we're spending most of the day helping out at the Khabarovsk zoo!! I'm really excited for that. The typical day consists of first off a lot of studying. While I'm in my training phase, we do 4 hours of study every day. Then we eat lunch, and from there it's service and a ton of just working with members. We try to meet with as many members as we can, making them cookies and teaching them how to teach. We also have three "friends" that we're working with right now!! They are AWESOME. They all work a lot and live fairly far away, so it's hard to meet with them as often as we'd like. But they are all progressing really well. D(sorry, can't use names) is about ready to be baptized!! He told us last week that he believes that the BoM is true and that he knows he needs to ​​be baptized!!!!!! We have a lot more to teach him but he's in a great place right now. D was a professional MMA fighter and he's now a doctor (radiologist). He gives us boxing lessons every saturday, which are a ton of fun. He is just super, super cool.
- What is Elder Gee like? How is he the same or different than Elder Neuffer?- Elder Gee is awesome! He's from Seattle, and he's an amazing cook. He is great with the language and he can almost always answer my (many) questions about grammar and such. He's always pushing me to be better in the language and form good habits with pronunciation and grammar early on. It's much different with him than it was with Elder Neuffer, especially in teaching. Elder Neuffer and I were in about the same place with the language, but obviously Elder Gee is very advanced. It changes up the dynamic a little bit but it's still great.
- Are volunteers involved in branch leadership there? Do you have a Russian branch president?- Elder Gee is the second counselor in the branch presidency right now, and two of the branches in our mission have volunteer branch presidents. Vlad is just such a new mission, we have a lot of areas where we're still working on building up the fundamentals. Our branch president (President B) is getting married and moving to Moscow (we helped him pick out his wedding suit! It was a ton of fun. He's really cool) And we don't really have anyone to replace him right now, so it's likely that Elder Parry is going to end up being the branch president in Khabarovsk. But we'll just have to see!
-- What are some current personal goals and projects that you are working on?- My biggest struggle right now is just understanding what people say. I feel like I'm doing pretty well with the speaking part, and I can generally get my point across, but there's only so much I can do when I can barely pick out what people are saying. They just talk so fast here. But I feel like I'm making progress and the members I've spent a lot of time with I can usually interpret pretty well. Sister Boulander is only 7 weeks into the field and she already picks up almost all of what people say, which means it's definitely possible. Apparently most people don't really start to pick up what's being said until around 3 or 4 months in. I don't want to wait that long, though, so I've really been working on it. I'll keep you updated :)
- In what ways is the field different than you thought it would be when you were in the MTC?- Honestly it's just fun. That's what I'm most surprised by; I love it not just because I get to serve the Lord every day and help people but because it's just a fun experience. I am out in seconds every night because we work so hard and I'm exhausted, but it's a good exhaustion. I feel like I accomplish so much more than normal every day, and it's just a good feeling. The language is hard, but there's no better feeling than saying a sentence and having someone actually understand you. I feel myself progressing every day and it's just fulfilling.
- What's your dress situation? Tags? Shirt and tie or P day gear always?- We get to wear shirts and ties everywhere! It's really great, actually. Tags are a no-go, but it's alright. We do get to wear them in the church, which is nice!
- What are you eating? Any discovered culinary treasures?- Like I said, Elder Gee is an incredible cook. He makes amazing food and by far the best stuff I've eaten so far in Russia has been made by him. Overall there's a lot of the same food we get in America. There's pizza stands at like every single bus stop, which is awesome. Overall the food is just great here!



Have a great week!!

Старейшина Лоуренс


https://drive.google.com/a/myldsmail.net/file/d/0B9kQY1UnJpU-SlVKR25sMGlWWkU/view?usp=drive_web" style="display:inline-block;overflow:hidden;white-space:nowrap;text-decoration:none;padding:1px 0px;border:none;width:100%;"> DSCN0358.MOV​




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