Date

December 12, 2016

Area

Sakhalin

Companion

Elder Wilding

Korea, Zone Conference, and Yuzhni Sakhalinsk!

On Sun, Dec 11, 2016 at 8:12 PM, Gavin Lawrence wrote: Hey Everyone!
This week has been incredible! We flew down to Vladivostok on Monday night for our zone conference, which started Tuesday morning. The flight was a blast and we got to meet up with a bunch of the Elders serving in the west part of the mission. The zone conference went perfectly! We learned a lot, and I got to meet every Elder and Sister in the mission. It was way nice to finally put some faces to the names I've been hearing for 2 transfers.
After the zone conference, we flew out to Korea to get our visas renewed. We flew in late and left early in the morning, but we still managed to make it to one endowment session. It was amazing!! I don't think I really realized how long it had been until when I sat down and it felt like I hadn't been in the temple for years. It was an awesome experience for sure :) We also got to sleep in the temple! There is a room with about 12 bunkbeds in the Seoul temple, and we filled it almost all up with elders. It was a way fun time, and it was super interesting to be sleeping in a temple.
After that, we flew back to Vlad and then straight to Sakhalinsk! It's AMAZING here. We had 74 people at church on sunday!! I know that probably doesn't sound like a ton, but it was a completely different experience than Khabarovsk. We have multiple full families in the ward here and a TON of kids. There are even three families from America in the branch who are here working for oil companies! They are INCREDIBLE. The Allreds, the Argyles, and the Joneses. I'm currently assigned to work with the Young Men, which I can already tell I'm going to love! Brother Allred, who doesn't speak Russian, is the Young Men's president. I get to translate for him every week, which is actually one of the funnest things I've done in Russia so far! Translating is a blast, even though I'm definitely still not perfect in the language.
We've got a lot of really cool people that we're working with here in Sakhalinsk! There is an Australian couple named the Harrisons that we are going to go eat dinner with on friday who run a halfway home here for orphans. I haven't met them yet but apparently they are incredible. We are trying to work out something with church humanitarian to help them out, since they run completely off donations. They are way cool people and they apparently don't like the church they go to at all because its only focus is money. So we're going to show them the better (and much truer) option! :) We also have an old woman named Tamara that we're working with, I met her at church yesterday. She is so sweet! Other than that we have Kirill, who is a younger guy who is a apparently a fairly big political character here, and Nikolai and Rustam, who I haven't met yet (but they sound really cool!) I'll keep everyone updated as to how that all works out!
I don't have any pictures of Sakhalin, because my camera stopped working while I was taking time-lapses on the flight in (figures). I'm just going to attach a link to where I've been uploading all of my photos from my mission so far as back-ups, that has all the pictures I took in Korea and a lot of other ones that I just never sent.
Love you all! Have a great week!!
Elder Lawrence

For anyone interested, Gavin's Mission companions blog is http://eldermckaywilding.blogspot.com/. It's fun to get another perspective of their adventures through his companion. An excerpt from his companion's post this week - "Elder Lawrence and Sister Kapralova just entered the team on Sakhalin and we are glad to have them! Sister Kapralova is from somewhere in the west in Russia. I have always wanted to have a Russian companion but since we don't have any Russian elders I am getting the next best thing. And Elder Lawrence is incredible! He may be the funniest person I have ever met! He has only been in the field for 3 months and speaks like he has been out for well over a year. It motivates me to be better."




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