Latter-day Saint Volunteers Detained In Russia Have Been Released

Mar 20, 2019, 7:40 AM | Updated: 8:46 am
Elder David Gaag. Photo provided by David Gaag's family....
Elder David Gaag. Photo provided by David Gaag's family.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Two volunteers with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were detained in Russia earlier this month have been released, a Church spokesman said Wednesday.

Elder Kole Brodowski, 20, was nearing the end of his service and will be returning to California. Elder David Gaag, 19, will return to the U.S. for a short time before continuing on a new mission.

“While in detention, the volunteers were treated very well and maintained regular contact with their families and mission president,” the Church spokesman said. “The Church is closely monitoring conditions in Russia for all volunteers and will continue to full comply with Russian law.”

The two men were taken into custody March 1 in a church meetinghouse in Novorossiysk, reportedly for teaching English without a license. Once of the volunteer’s father, though, said the two were just playing games with others in English and not teaching.

David Gaag’s family released a statement saying David is happy that the detention is over, but he is sad to leave the Russian people who he grew to love. The family notes that David is optimistic and happy to be able to continue his missionary service in a new location.

They also said that the experience should serve as a reminder that the Church volunteers were lucky to have the resources they did — something not everyone is afforded.

“Even as we are happy for David’s freedom, we do not want to forget those in similar circumstances around the world that do not have the support that we have had,” his family wrote. “We would like to pay it forward and encourage continued support, thoughts and prayers for them.”

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Latter-day Saint Volunteers Detained In Russia Have Been Released