Sunday, September 16, 2012

Moscow Afternoon

This week many of the “new leaves” that we turned over as a mission were implemented and many of those individual and mission wide commitments made during our Zone Conference of last week were put into place.  A couple of those I will mention.  First – our District meetings will no longer be held in the Senior Couple Apartments but will be held at the Branch Buildings and no meal will be served.  This will enable our district meetings to be all about the work and less about socializing and sharing a meal.  All of us can return to our work for the day much sooner than has been the case previously.  This means we will no longer be spending time cooking and preparing to feed a dozen missionaries every Friday.  This we will miss (we still think this might have been the “meal of the week” for most of them) and we know the missionaries will miss it as well but we are all excited for a new course.  This past Friday was our first such meeting and it was great.  We will admit that we fudged just a little and took some treats for everyone as they left our meeting.  Another change is that our FHE will no longer be mission sponsored but rather under the direction of the Branch Presidents.  This is of course the way it should be and since we had to be gone on Monday night anyway, Family Home Evening was canceled for this week and the next one as well while the Branch President considers what and how to organize for this.  We may still end up hosting FHE every Monday but things could be a whole lot different and we might not be involved at all.  So – two big meals a week we are no longer preparing – at least for now.  Although we will miss doing this and the obvious associations that it brings we are going to enjoy the break I believe.  Those are a couple of the more temporal changes coming out of our Zone Conference which were just a small part of much more far reaching commitments to study, serve, and teach more diligently. 

Quickly, we want to mention that we had about a 6 hour lay-over in Moscow on Monday when we flew to Helsinki on Mission business.  So we took advantage of that and rode the Aeroexpress train from the airport to downtown Moscow, about a 30 minute ride.  We transferred to the Metro and headed for Red Square.  This was our first visit there and it was quite impressive.  We did not have enough time to tour the Kremlin but certainly saw most everything else, St. Basil's Cathedral, Lenin’s Tomb, etc.  We also spent some time touring the various Metro stations.  These stations are quite impressive in their own right.  After the government took over following the revolution they tore down all the churches and many of the furnishings, statutes, etc. were removed and ultimately used to furnish the metro stations.  Huge high backed marble pews serve as waiting benches, and statues of all sizes and shapes, mosaics, stained glass, etc. all decorate the various metro stops.  It was pretty amazing not to mention that the metro itself is an amazing maze of interconnected trains and stops.  We were glad to have another couple serving in Moscow who graciously hosted us for about a “3 hour tour” of central Moscow.  They were great guides and delivered us safely back to the train station for our return trip to the airport.  We continued our journey to Helsinki took care of our assignment there and returned home the next day.   The rest of the week was spent catching up with our regular work and just plain catching up.   We also celebrated Olga’s birthday with a little office party Friday afternoon when we got back from our District meeting. 

We are now looking forward to the arrival of the Gundersens this week. 
                                       Here are some pics in and around Moscow
We thought this "Church" was pretty impressive
Today this is a Museum

rym (Goom)
Moscow's central shopping mall - extends about 1block on each side of this picture
The inside is even more impressive
(Don't let the "girls" loose in here!!!)

A constuction site in the city - nice idea with the canvas

Sponge Bob!! - (for all you fans)
 Angles Gate in the background - the main entrance
to Red Square

One of the many mosaics deep in the Metro of Moscow

Part of the "Old Wall" around Red Square
Kremlin is the yellow building in the background
Elder & Sister Webb standing by "our city"- Novosibirsk
outside the Kremlin Wall

Sister Webb found her favorite Statue inside the Metro
couln't pass this one up!!!

And here is the one we all go to see -
St. Basil's Cathedral
Has not been a religious structure since the Bolshevik Revolution

A little closer look at this magnificent Cathedral
Marks the center of Moscow; Construction began in 1555
by Ivan the Terrible

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