Monday, January 30, 2012

Transfer Week for Missionaries

This past week we had missionary transfers.  This entails many of the missionaries receiving new assigned areas and new companions for the next cycle.  A transfer cycle is 6 weeks.  This time around we had many changes so there was much travel to book as missionaries moved from one city to another, moved across town to be with a different companion, etc.  We also sent two missionaries home and received only one from the training center.  That all happens on a Wednesday so for the first part of the week we were pretty involved with that whole process. And then—we prepared for a two day stay in our eastern most city – Krasnoyarsk (Kras knee arsk).  This was really a great experience for us and gave us the opportunity to visit another major city of Siberia. 
Our trip began when we boarded the train at 9:30pm on Friday night with our Mission President and his wife, President and Sister Gibbons.  We “slept” on the train overnight and arrived in Krasnoyarsk on Saturday morning at 9am where we were met with 41 below temperatures.   WOW!!  All bundled up to keep warm only works for a little while in those temps.  It was great though.  We spent Saturday hosting the various missionaries as they came in to the church building for interviews with the Mission President.  Sister Webb and Sister Gibbons even played a little ping pong with the missionaries.  They seemed to have a pretty tough time of it and for those of you who know of Sister Webb’s “passionate” competitive nature you would have been proud of her composure under those losing circumstances.  The day passed quickly and then we spent the night at the Hotel Siberia, a very nice and upscale 8 story hotel and we were 4 of only about 12 guests in the whole place.  It was actually a little spooky to have so few people in such a big hotel.
There are currently three congregations in Krasnoyarsk so Sunday began with a taxi ride to the first group where we both had to speak, our Russian is getting a little better so we try to do part of our talk in Russian and part we use an interpreter.  Then a quick taxi ride across town to the 2nd group for a repeat performance and a quick taxi ride back to do it all over again at the 3rd meeting.  We finished up church with the 3rd group at 5pm.  Then we visited with some of the members until 5:30 when they had a Young Single Adult (18-30 yr olds) fireside at which President Gibbons spoke.  While he was doing that Elder Webb was meeting with one of the local leaders to do a year end audit.  6:30pm came around pretty fast and then we were whisked off by taxi to our hotel where we ate dinner, rested, and packed for the trip back home.  We boarded the train at 10pm and rode the 12 hours back home arriving at 9am this morning.  There is a 1 hour time difference between Krasnoyarsk and Novosibirsk so we gained an hour on the return. 
Krasnoyarsk is a beautiful city of about 800,000 or so but at 40 below it is hard to see much of it so we are hoping for a return trip this summer or fall sometime.  In two weeks we will go for another weekend trip not quite so far away to the city of Novokuesnestk.  There is a small group of the church there and we are looking forward to visiting that city as well.
This area is vast, we have seven cities in our mission each with over 750,000 population where there is no branch or any members.  Imagine.  We visited one city of 500,000+ that has a small branch of 10 (that counts 2 missionaries) meeting in a small rented corner of a large building.  There are established branches in 6 other cities all of which have about 1,000,000 in population.  Our Mission has a total membership of less than 2500 in all of Siberia.  Lots of missionary work needed!!

The experiences we are having with some of these members and the missionaries are very humbling; and when we see the conditions some of the people live in and how difficult life is for most of them we are so humbled considering all that we have been blessed with in our lives.  We will never complain again!!!
Great news for the people here – this weekend we received approval to reorganize our mission into one large district in preparation for them becoming a stake.  So on March 18th we will be consolidating some of the branches into larger ones, releasing all the district officers from the three existing districts and sustaining new district officers for the one new district as well as sustaining several new branch presidents.  More about this as it unfolds.  Have a great week, stay warm, and thanks for all those e-mails.  We love you all.
In front of the church in Krasnoyarsk at -41f below.  Quick pic then we hurried inside!!
That's us on the left with Pres & Sister Gibbons
The Big Game

No comments:

Post a Comment