Well I woke up to a little different scene than I am used to today. I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor, and Elder Thellmann was standing over me. I walked outside to a new city and am writing home from a place I've never been before. I was transferred this weekend to the Island of Sakhalin. It's the North Island of the Japanese Island chain, and there are a lot of Asians who still live here. Mostly Koreans. The Branch here is incredible. It is the only Branch in the Mission that has a Young Men's program. There are a ton of kids in the Branch, of all ages, and a couple more on the way...really soon even..like this week.
There are also a few Americans in the Branch. They are a huge help. Brothers Jones and Noble work for Exxon, who has a big office building here in town where they run all of their drilling operations in Russia. Sister Noble has already given up peanut brittle and chocolate chip cookies. She loves to spoil missionaries. I love people who love to spoil missionaries. :D
My new companion is Elder Thellmann. I love him SO MUCH! We were together for that long time in the MTC and I have always wanted to serve with him. I thought President Pratt was pulling my leg when he called to tell me transfers. This is going to be an incredible transfer. I also love that I am a Junior Companion again, instead of a District Leader. Lots less stress, and it will be lots easier to focus on the important work that we need to do. I'm really excited.
Sakhalin is also cool that the Church owns the building where we meet. It's the only one that we don't rent in the Mission, so it's great. We don't have to use a kiddy pool for a baptismal font, because we have one in a special baptismal room behind the Chapel. There's also a ping pong table and some free weights downstairs...not really sure why, but I'm not complaining.
With all those great things said about Sakhalin, I do miss Ussurisk. I love the members there so much and there is such a special feeling in the Branch. There are some fantastic investigators there, and some great new members who will be great to watch as they grow in their knowledge of the Savior and his restored Gospel. Ussurisk will always hold a special place in my heart, just like Vladivostok, where I spent my first nine months in Russia.
By the time I get at all settled here I'm going to take another trip to Korea. Actually it's kind of crazy. I flew in Saturday night. Tuesday I leave and fly back to Vlad. Wednesday to Seoul. Friday back to Vlad. Saturday home to Sakhalin. 5 flights in one week...cool huh? Who gets to do that on their mission? It will be good to finally get back to doing missionary work after all of that. But I do love Korea, and the Temple, and everything about Korea, other than the time that it takes out of doing missionary work. We'll be ready to just hit the ground running when we get back and spend the next five weeks of this transfer bringing the Gospel light to the people of Uzhno-Sakhalinsk (That's the main city on the Island, where we live.)
Well not much to really share this week, there's a little update on all the things that are new for me I guess. Have a happy Presidents Day! Wednesday we have a holiday too. "Day of the Defenders of the Motherland" Yep...I'm in Russia.
Elder Sam Fife
Note he sent his mom that others might like to read:
It's a good thing that I got out of Ussurisk...ha ha. I was starting to find trouble there. People just don't understand sometimes that loving missionaries is a bad idea...
First there was the sister who moved to my area because she doesn't like meeting with Sisters...she also had a dog named after me at one point. Said her daughter named it...I'm not so sure.
Then last week I get a phone call from a number I didn't know. It was the Sisters' fifteen year old investigator calling to tell me that she wanted me to come visit with the Sisters when they go to her boarding school and that the thing she liked most about Church that day was me...goodness.
Then this week I get a text from another number that I didn't recognize that read this "The Lord created two miracles, the EARTH and YOU" Weird huh? Turns out it was from the Rahis' landlady...I think the text was meant for someone else...but still it was really weird. Way funny though.
Russian women are funny like that. Remember how we used to joke about mail order brides and stuff...yeah that isn't as far out as I thought it was...ha ha. President saved me and took me off of Continental Russia...smart move.
I just thought it was kind of a funny circumstance so I thought I'd tell you about it. Fun huh? There's your amusing story from me for the month. :D