Hello everyone!! We just got back at 5:30am this morning from a weekend trip to Novokuznetsk, a small coal mining town of about 500,000 people. This city is an eight (8) hour train ride southeast from Novosibirsk so we spent two nites on the train again this weekend. There is a small branch of the church in Novokuznetsk with about 15 people attending regularly. We each spoke in church and each time we have this opportunity we seem to get a little better at giving more of our talk in Russian. We had a great time visiting and meeting the wonderful people of “Novokuz”.
The beginning of the week was busy getting ready for our Zone Conference. This is a day of training for all the missionaries in our Zone which includes the Right Bank of Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Tomck, and Kemerovo. The Other Zone meets in their conference this Wednesday and includes the Left Bank of Novosibirsk, Omsk, Barnaul and Novokuznetsk. We (the office couple) will be included again as well as there is usually something we are needed for in these meetings.
After our Zone Conference on Wednesday all the Senior Couples and Pres and Sister Gibbons went to the Ballet. There were 8 of us all together and we all really enjoyed this performance. It was three separate 1 act ballets. Chopiniana was first and was a simply choreographed ballet set to music by Chopin, very relaxing and beautiful. The second was called Polenetsky Dances and was very colorful with a choir accompaniment. It seemed to be a short story revolving around Kublai Khan, maybe. At least the costuming and dance left me with that interpretation. A familiar song adapted from this work you would recognize as “A Stranger in Paradise” I think from the musical Kismet. The third, “Scheherazade”, music by KorsaKov was also remarkable and was based loosely on a story from Arabian Nights.
The big news this week is that Kazakhstan will be added to our mission effective July 1st. This will make the Russia Novosibirsk Mission the largest in the world geographically. We are all very excited for this to occur, although it will certainly be a lot more work for everyone here. There are currently only on two branches of the church in Kazakhstan, one in Al Mati of about 80 members and one in the capital city of Astanah of about 40 members. Right now there is a senior couple in each city and 2 sets of elders and 1 set of sisters. We have not heard yet how many of these will still be serving by July and whether we will get any more for awhile. The announcement concerning this will be coming out in the Church News on the Feb 18th issue. It looks like Sister Webb and I will be traveling to Kazakhstan with Pres and Sister Gibbons shortly after the official merger takes place so we are excited for that upcoming opportunity and will definitely write home about that experience.
|Pres & Sister Gibbons (Front)|
with missionaries of