Families Overjoyed As Young Volunteers In Russia Released, Returning To U.S.

Mar 20, 2019, 6:23 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A day of joy and relief for the families of two young missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who were arrested by Russian authorities and now released.

The two young men were serving as volunteers in the country because missionary work is not allowed.

Elder Kole Brodowski, 20, and Elder David Gaag, 19, have left the country according to a Church spokesman.

Elder Brodowski is on his way home to California because his mission was nearing the end. Elder Gaag is coming back to the states and then will be reassigned.  He has been out since November according to his family.

“Just so happy that he’s gotten out,” said a very happy Lisa Krulish to KSL, who is Elder Gaag’s mother. “Just genuine joy. There was a lot of tense moments especially when you thought ‘oh it might happen’ and then no and then yes.”

Krulish says her son and Elder Brodowski were treated well by Russian official. She says they were able to contact her son daily and they had regular contact with their mission president.

“It was kind of an administrative prison. They were in a large room that had bunks that they could sleep on,” she said.

The young men were arrested on March 1st at a church building. According to Russian media they were accused of teaching English and religion.

Three recently returned missionaries from that same mission and knew and worked with Elder Brodowski, tell KSL that they have believed all along the two were innocent.

“I knew eventually they would be released,” said Nicholas Williams who is now studying at BYU. “When I first heard about this I knew exactly why. I thought oh no they are accused of teaching English.”

“I knew they didn’t do anything illegal,” said Rebekah Jex, who got home from that mission three months ago. “Because we are not natives people assume we are up to something.”

“We couldn’t proselyte, we couldn’t talk to people outside our branch buildings,” said Stepan Altuhuov, who served with Elder Brodowski as companions.  “If there was anybody to enjoy the time you had there it would be Elder Brodowski. I’m sure he made a lot of friends. I’m sure he made the most of it.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast at the U.S. Capitol on F...
Colleen Long and Chris Megerian, Associated Press

Biden urges unity at prayer breakfast under new management

President Joe Biden attended the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday in Washington and delivered a message of unity.
12 hours ago
FILE: Groundhog handler AJ Derume holds Punxsutawney Phil, who saw his shadow, predicting a late sp...
Associated Press

Phil’s Groundhog Day prediction: 6 more weeks of winter

A furry critter in a western Pennsylvania town has predicted six more weeks of winter during an annual Groundhog Day celebration.
12 hours ago
Law enforcement officers aim their weapons at a home during a standoff in Grants Pass, Ore., on Tue...
Associated Press

Oregon kidnapping suspect dies of self-inflicted gunshot

The suspect in a violent kidnapping in Oregon has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
1 day ago
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference after a Federal Open M...
Christopher Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

Fed lifts rate by quarter-point and signals more hikes ahead

The Federal Reserve extended its fight against high inflation Wednesday by raising its key interest rate by a quarter-point, its eighth hike since March.
1 day ago
Six-year-old Mason Stonehouse was playing on his dad’s phone before bedtime and spent about $1,00...

Michigan six-year-old orders $1,000 worth of food on Grubhub

A six-year-old as playing on his dad's phone before bedtime and spent about $1,000 on Grubhub orders.
1 day ago
FILE - U.S. Secret Service agents are seen in front of Joe Biden's Rehoboth Beach, Del., home on Ja...
Eric Tucker, Colleen Long and Zeke Miller, Associated Press

Biden lawyer: FBI finds no classified docs at beach house

The Federal Bureau of Investigation searched President Joe Biden's vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on Wednesday without finding any classified documents, the president's personal attorney said.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Families Overjoyed As Young Volunteers In Russia Released, Returning To U.S.