It all starts off on Monday morning with our weekly shopping trip. Generally we will leave around 9am and head to the local MERAC store (pronounced may gus). The Mission driver picks us up and brings us back home so we at least don’t have our groceries and other items to pack home on the Metro. This week was a little different, it is always fun to do different stuff, even something so routine as grocery shopping is fun when you are going to a different store and you don’t know where anything is and you can’t read what stuff is even when you think you have found it!! This week was not an exception. We went to a BIG store, kind of like a Costco only things came in singles and smaller sizes. You needed a card to get the discount price and our driver had one so it all worked out. This store was called RN RAHT. (The N here is written backwards and you pronounce this Ge Gant which appropriately means Giant). It was quite a place compared to where we have been going. We were kind of pressured to hurry so didn’t really get to take it all in but we will definitely be going back. So we finished our shopping came home, put stuff away and headed out to the office. Tuesday we generally have a staff meeting and a Mission Presidency meeting. These meetings began at 11am and finish up around 2:30 but this week President Gibbons (the Mission President) was out of town so we spent the day just doing our thing. New guidelines for missionary travel have just been issued so we spent the day and most of the rest of the week reworking travel plans for the upcoming migration and visa trips. We have two Ukrainian sisters who have to leave the country briefly, for a visa renewal (migration) and 21 American missionaries who will be gone for a couple of days (visa). I think we have mentioned that this is something that each missionary has to do every 90 days. We have been reworking the schedule so that this will happen only once each month but it will involve around 15 to twenty missionaries depending on the rotation. Sister Webb and I will have our first trip coming up the first of December. We of course will let you know how that all goes.
We also put together the travel for all of the local leadership to come to Novosibirsk for a leadership meeting on Saturday. There were 9 men in District leadership and 12 local unit leaders from all over the mission who came. We had the other 4 Senior Couples who are serving in the mission come as well. It was great to finally be able to meet them and spend a little time with each of them too.
This meeting was really a pretty big deal most of these men had not even meet each other and had never all been together in a meeting like this since the Mission was formed. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the reorganization of the Mission and the individual units and to lay the groundwork for the formation of a Stake. For those who are unfamiliar with Church speak - a Stake is an administrative layer of organization comprised of several individual units. A president is “called” assigned by church leaders from Salt Lake to direct the affairs of the church members and units in a particular geographical area. In this case it would be all of Siberia and it would be only the 2nd stake in all of Russia and the largest in geographical area in the world. Needless to say, the excitement level was high and the significance of such a meeting did not go unappreciated by all who attended. People here who want to attend a Temple must travel to Kiev in Ukraine which is a couple of days journey from here so of course they would like a temple in Novosibirsk where it would be much closer. One of the administrative requirements for building a temple in any area is that there must be a stake in existence. This meeting brings that possibility closer to reality for these people as well. Anyway, it was very exciting for us to be a part of all of that on Saturday.
Sunday we were off to church during the day, company for dinner (the other Senior couple in the city here) and then back to the church for choir practice and a fireside meeting on Family History. Choir is pretty fun with Sister Webb directing, young missionaries trying to follow her, interpret for the pianist and the other choir members and then having us all trying to sing in the middle of all that activity. I don’t know how she does it. I would be pulling my hair out. I guess she pretty much does that while we are walking home afterwards.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the evening we walked a 3 mile round trip to have dinner? At Carl’s Jr. We took a young Russian man about (22) who had interpreted for us last week with us for a treat. He has lived in the city his whole life and had never been to Carl’s. He thought it was a blast, LOVED the French fries and we so enjoyed being part of someone else’s first cultural experience!!
|A different view|
|The local train Station|