Sunday, July 20, 2008

7/20/08 Who's Liam

Who is Liam?
President Mickelson has instructed us to attend one branch each week. With three branches, we will be rotating through the month at different branches. This week was First Branch which meets at 2pm. Today we went in company of Elder Lunt and Gambardella and arrived an hour early because one of the elders would have to attend the branch presidency meeting before Sacrament Meeting.

About 1:45, while waiting in the Sacrament Hall, I became aware of an orange tee-shirted young man being seated behind me & to my left on the isle by the branch president and elder Gambardella. Hearing a few words of English, I turned around and introduced myself to him. He said his name was Liam (Alexanrov).

Now, Liam is an Irish name and that got my curiosity up so I began to ask a little about him. He is a 4th year university student from Barnaul on a month's "travel around the countryside. This was his time in Novosibirsk. He was studying translation, specializing in Russian/English translation. He had attended the English Club in Barnaul and knew elder MacBride and elder Christiansen there and had been reading the Book of Mormon. I invited him to come and sit between Cindy & I during Sacrament Meeting and asked him to translate for us since the elders were busy in the meeting. I introduced him to Cindy and explained his situation. Not knowing of my request, Cindy also asked him to translate.

As the meeting progressed he began to translate, but it was very haulting and skipped a lot. During the first speaker his translation started to smooth out and as the second speaker began it became fluid and confident. He continued this way through the third speaker and to the end of the meeting.

Both Cindy and I felt impressed to invite the elders to bring him to dinner so that we could have a gospel discussion with him. As it turned out, he had a guitar and a backpack and Cindy told him that I played also. He was quite excited to have me play and to play himself. When we got home he tuned it up and I played and sang a few of my folk songs and he sang & played a few Russian songs . He continued to play while I helped with the dinner.

At dinner, I waited for the elders to open a gospel discussion, but they didn't seem ready for that so I asked him how the elders' Russian skills were. He said that he was sure elder Gambardella was Russian or at least from Ukraine and elder Lunt also spoke very well. He was amazed that they had only studied 3 months before coming to Russia. I jumped on that.

Telling him about the US government wanting to know how we teach the elders so quickly, I related what I'd read about the encounter and what the officials were told. Specifically that the elders learn by the Holy Ghost and the government's program didn't have that element. Then I asked him about his translation in the meeting and how it changed. He looked up and the recognition was in his eyes. He said that suddenly he was calm and the words seemed to flow without effort. That was the Holy Ghost. I confirmed that with him and went on to discuss the Godhead and the job of the Holy Ghost.

Liam was led to us for that very lesson and we, all of us, were ready to teach him. He says that he is searching for religion and had asked the Barnaul elders how to get to church in Novo. The Lord and the Holy Ghost brought it all together and he was ready to hear.

The elders got his phone number and are meeting with him this week for further discussions. He is Golden and one of the Elect that they have been charged to find. They got a little help on this one.

What a country


Trisha said...

How cool. You are just so good at jumping in and taking charge. Isn't the spirit the best. I just lit up while reading this. I remember one on my goldens. It is the best.

Shannon Simmons said...

How wonderful!!!!!! What a neat man. I love how the Lord brings us prepared people. He sounds really special. There are no accidents or coincidences. God truly has a hand in everything!