This week turned out to be quite busy, exciting, and “ochen interesee” (very interesting). Monday three packages arrived for the Webb’s. Both of our families sent boxes of goodies and some very dear friends sent one as well. Thank you all so very very much. We had a blast opening them and discovering the treats inside. Even senior couples love care packages from home. Some things just aren’t the same here so when we saw the powdered sugar, brown sugar, marsh mellows, Reese’s peanut-butter cups, chocolate chips, popcorn, etc. we were pretty excited. I must say though that a couple of boxes of chocolate covered macadamia nuts sent by our friends (no names as to avoid retaliation) prefaced with a note about lying on some warm Hawaiian Beach, seemed almost cruel given we are a -30f. The chocolate went down pretty easy tho’, thank you so much.
Tuesday evening the young missionaries hosted a music night as a finale for this last group of people who have been coming to learn English on Tuesdays. It was quite impressive. We had a concert pianist, a concert violinist, an impromptu jazz trio (piano, alto sax, guitar) and some vocal solos and group vocals. This group of missionaries is really quite accomplished.
On Wednesday there were about 40 missionaries from around the mission in town for leadership training day. Sister Webb and I attended along with the other senior couple here and we put on the luncheon for the entire group. We just did chili, salad, chips and cake and ice cream for dessert so it was pretty easy and actually quite fun. Then Thursday am we sent off 22 missionaries to Finland for their 90 day visa renewal trip. This was a pretty large group so we kept our fingers crossed that everything went smoothly – it didn’t - but in the end they got there and back in one piece and are all now good for another 90 days. No visa trips in February but we have another big group going the first of March. Sister Webb and I will go then also and we’ll overlap with this group so will be able to help out with any glitches that might pop up.
Today, Sunday was a good day. Beside all the great lessons we learn at church every week this particular Sunday taught us some interesting life lessons for how to help children cope with the cold. The weather this week has been in the -20’s to -30’s and today was no exception. We are getting used to bundling up and getting around in the cold. The people here just simply do not let the cold deter them in anyway and apparently they have a couple of tricks for helping the children deal with the cold as well, at least we hadn’t seen this before. The last hour of church when the kids are in primary the serve them hot chai (a fruit tea) with an inch cube of sugar. Sister Webb says the kids dip the sugar cube in the Chai and then suck on it until it begins to disintegrate and then the rest of the cube just goes in the chai to finish up. Then they all bundle up to go home. Raises the internal body temp a smidge I suppose.
After church today we had a young single parent family over for dinner, mom, a 10 year old daughter and a 2 year old son. The sister missionaries came as well. We just loved it. The little boy (Deema) is just 5 days younger than Harrison our youngest grandson and he reminded us of him a little. He certainly was a two year old. I tossed him in the air a few times (until he wore me out) and we are now bosom buddies. We served ice cream for dessert (yes we eat a lot of ice cream here – it is absolutely the best ever) and the mom had us zap Deema’s ice cream in the microwave for about 30 seconds to “warm” it up. This we were told is fairly standard so the little guys don’t go out in the sub-zero weather with “cold tummies” - Who Knew!!!
Enough of the rambling on – we have what looks to be a fairly slow week coming up except of course we have our Russian lesson on Tuesday evening for 1 hour each and Thursday morning for ½ hour each. So that will of course necessitate some heavy study. We are also heading out this weekend for a trip to the Eastern most city of our mission with an established congregation (Prehode). It is called Krasnoyarsk, population 1,000,000+ and a 9 hour overnight train ride. We will leave the city around 10pm and arrive there about 7am. We’ll report on that trip next time.
Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers. Know that we love and miss you all but we are loving our mission here. We are safe, warm and serving the people of Russia the best we can. Keep the emails coming and let us know if there is anything you would like to know about this fabulous part of the world.
|The Jazz Trio|
|The troupe doing a group number|
|Our Sunday guests|
|Sister Sanford w/Deema|
|Sister Trottier w/Ana|