Transfer Week is always busy and this was no exception. It began with a beautiful lesson on the Restoration at our apartment with Sophia. It was really great. She is 25 and living with her parents and although she is very interested her mom is very much against her joining a church other than the Russian Orthodox. The next day we discovered that one of our missionaries who just got back from Finland had re-entered Russia on his old passport/visa. I know that with two passports it can be confusing but really!! Anyway, we had to send him back out, with a companion of course. Fortunately he had the new passport/visa also so they flew out to Latvia and returned on the next flight 6 hours later. So even though they were only gone for one day it caused no small stir trying to coordinate everything and make emergency travel arrangements.
English was next and we spent most of Tuesday in between all the office stuff preparing for our lesson Tuesday evening which was about authors, books etc. We took some different kinds of poetry to share and had quite an interesting evening discussing how we can conclude different meanings from some of the same writings. Quite insightful as you might well imagine.
Then they arrived, one new sister missionary and two elders. This is the second group coming out of the new language program that is two weeks shorter than previous program. As far as we can tell they seem to be even better with the language than the earlier missionaries; but then again we can barely understand anything so our observation isn’t probably worth much in this area. We spent some time in training and orientation with them and then sent them out to their assigned cities. This is one of the really fun things for us - to meet these new missionaries as they come in to the country and then to watch them grow and mature as missionaries and as young men and women who love and serve the Lord. This transfer has left us one sister missionary short however, so we have what is called a mini-missionary serving here in the city with our one regular sister missionary.
A mini-missionary is called and set apart to serve as a regular missionary for only a brief time – in this case one transfer (6 weeks). She is from a neighboring city (Omck) and will serve here in the city until May 30th. We are having a wonderful time getting to know her. She is a native Russian sister who speaks a little English and is so patient with us as we ask for her help with our Russian. This afternoon we went on a visit with her and her companion and then had them over for a little bite to eat before they headed home.
Wednesday evening we went to a Russian Folk Music Concert in a part of the city we had not yet visited. Armed with a map and several verbal sets of directions we began our sortie for the evening. We boarded the appropriate bus and rode it a considerable distance but disembarked one bus stop too soon. So we managed to turn a 1 block walk into an adventure. Since this is not the first such “adventure” we have had we were smart enough to give ourselves nearly an hour to walk the “one block” from the bus stop. We arrived with time to spare and discovered that yes indeed it was only one block from the correct bus stop. Anyway, going home was much easier and the concert was unbelievable.
This was a group of 4 men and 3 women in costume who sang, danced and played various instruments. 1 young man played the accordion like you wouldn’t believe. For those of you out there who remember – this guy was way more impressive than the accordion player with Lawrence Welk. Can’t believe we are old enough to remember!!! The performance was amazing and what really was a shock was – it only cost us 50 rubles each to attend (about $1.60). For the caliber of this performance I think we would have paid 30 to 50 dollars for a ticket back home.
It was a culturally enriching experience. Not only was the concert great but the venue was educational as well. The group performed at a school auditorium theater. Observing the surrounding classrooms and school facilities was very enlightening. Again, everything seems to be a throw-back to the 50’s. The maintenance and up keep seem to be behind schedule by about 10 to 15 years also.
The week ended with little party at our apartment for our friends the Huffakers. We celebrated their birthdays. They were both born on the same day, in the same town and the same hospital 64 years ago. We had a house full for an evening of fun, food and friends.
We are enjoying a beautiful sunset on this Sunday evening at the end of week where we saw beautiful warm days in the 70’s and then the very next days in the 40’s with icy winds and snow. It is Siberia after all. Love to all – Have a great week.
|Russian Folk Concert|
He played 3 different kinds of accordions!
|Birthday cake & |
Friends in our small apt