Another fantastic week in Siberia!! It all started out rather much as normal through most of the week but by Friday things really began to happen. On Friday afternoon our landlady delivered new furniture to our apartment. We had asked her if it might be possible to get new living room furniture for the apartment and she had agreed to get some for us (we think she might have been a little nervous that we would move) and then on Friday it showed up – a couch and two big chairs. We then had to pile up all the old furniture to make room for the new and they weren’t coming until the next day to pick up the old furniture. You should have seen us. It was a real comedy, kind of a jigsaw puzzle really, moving and stacking furniture. In the end we got our new couch and two chairs placed and the old 3 piece sectional and chair, a day bed, and one lounger all piled up in our 13 X 16 living room. That evening was date nite so we went to left bank and had dinner with the other Senior Couple here in the city and watched a movie – DVD. The next morning about 10am our landlady showed up with a couple of helpers and hauled away all the old furniture – we hardly could recognize the place. It looks like a whole different apartment. Anyway, we were very excited to get a make-over.
Later in the afternoon our Mission President, President Gibbons and his wife, picked us up at our apartment and we drove 5 hours east across the Siberia plain to the next city – Kemepobo (kemerova), a city of over 500,000. We arrived about 7pm checked in to a hotel and then visited with the small branch of the church in the city. We spoke at a little gathering of the total membership of 8, which included the two young missionaries and then retired for the evening. Sunday we spoke in church, taught the Sunday School, had dinner with the local visa registrar who is a member of the branch and drove home, arriving at 8pm. It was a great weekend.
The drive across the country was absolutely amazing. As far as you could see across the horizon there were forests of white birch trees with beautiful cleared farmland interspersed throughout. There were no fences and no homes that we could see anywhere. It was beautiful country. Apparently everyone lives, if not in the cities then just on the outskirts, very close in. There was an occasional small town off in the distance. For the entire 5 hour drive there was nothing along the road except 2 gas stations strategically located along the route. Just outside each city for approximately 3-5 miles (depending on the city) there are little settlements of Dacha’s. These are very small cabins, some barley large enough to store garden tools, owned by the city folks where they raise their produce on small plots of land. It reminds one of a conglomerate of community gardens with little cabins on each plot. Very interesting!! Another thing we noticed on the drive was that the cemeteries were mingled in among the white birch stands and each individual gravesite was fenced and each was very beautifully decorated with flowers. All in all a great week.
Hope this finds everyone well, warm and happy. We love you all. We pray for God’s choicest blessing to be with you and your families.