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Ulan Ude members make friends while on the train

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NOVOSIBIRSK, Russia — When members and missionaries greeted three young adults from the city of Ulan Ude at the train station prior to a single adult conference, they were pleasantly surprised at the many young people who clustered around them.

The youth were on their way to Novosibirsk for a two-day conference. Along the way — with their friendly personalities and love of the gospel — they befriended many other young people by singing songs and sharing their testimonies. In the process, they were laying the groundwork for future missionary work.

After bidding farewell at the train station to their new friends, the three members from Ulan Ude, a Russian city west of Novosibirsk near the Mongolian border, joined the other young adults of the Novosibirsk Russia Mission.

"We practiced our performance for all the people on the train and taught them the Buriati National Anthem," said Nikola Ivanov, who is preparing for baptism after learning about the Church from his sister, Rita, who was baptized eight months ago.

"We have a small branch, many kilometers from any other members," Nikola said. "We wanted to meet and talk with the youth of the mission. We wanted to make new friends and have a good time."

Nikola's sister Rita learned about the Church through friends of her family, Sveta and Kolya Adikov. The Adikovs were among the early members in Ulan Ude. Rita became interested when she noticed positive changes in Sveta and Kolya and began asking questions. They told her of the Church and sent missionaries.

The first missionaries entered Ulan Ude in January 2000. The branch now has 25 members and is growing gradually.

The three young adults are eager to learn about the gospel and willing to travel to feel a part of the Church, said Elder Steven L. Tyler, a Church Educational Service missionary in the Novosibirsk mission.