Monday and Tuesday passed by rather slowly as we kept our normal routine; Wednesday, Sept 19, the day for which we had been waiting for over a month, seemed like it would never arrive. Then it was here!! We arose around 3:30, showered (yes, we had plenty of hot water that day), got ready and met our taxi (mini van) out front at 4:30 for the ride to the airport. We walked into terminal for arrivals shortly before 5:30 and after a brief wait – there THEY were. Elder and Sister Gundersen had arrived!!! It was great to see them – it still seems a little surreal to have such good friends from home serving in the same mission and in our same city where we will see them frequently.
Well they hit the ground running. We picked them up got them to their apartment, showed them where things were, generally, and then left them to get a little rest. It is about 20 hours on planes and 16 hours of layovers to get here given the mandatory stop in Moscow to secure passports at the US Embassy. It was back to the office for us where we tried to work in spite of our excitement waiting for them to rest up a bit and then call, which they did around 3pm. So off we went over to pick them up, show them the metro system and how to get to the office, got them registered in the city, went to dinner, and then at 6:30 took them to week one of our new session of English where we meet with any people who wish to come and learn and/or practice their English. We had 45 people at this session so we are really excited for this 8 week session and another opportunity to meet new people and help them in their efforts to learn English. After English was over we all stayed around for a while and visited with some of the people and then we took the Gundersens back to their new home.
Thursday, they explored a little and then ventured out to the office on their own arriving without incident. We had a little dinner and then it was off to their first Institute class (Thursday evenings at 7pm). The kids were excited to see them and greeted them by signing a traditional Russian folk song with costume. It was pretty fun and of course they wanted to know all about the “newbies”. The kids warmed up to them right away and are looking forward to some FUN TIMES with the Gundersens.
Friday we were back over to see them and attend a baptism and Saturday they had a Seminary training meeting all day. Sunday after church, they attend with a different congregation on the left bank while we attend on right bank, they came over to our “Dom” for Sunday dinner. We had planned to attend the CES/YSA Sunday evening fireside at 6:30 but since it was cancelled we took advantage of the time and just visited. It has been quite a first week for them with all the activity mixed in with trying to get unpacked and settled in to their Russian home. It is so great to have them finally here. We have had quite the time catching up on home and planning out what to do in the coming days and weeks.
The work continues to move forward here and we are really enjoying working with the missionaries, meeting the people they are teaching and participating with them in the many baptisms and activities they are continually planning. Our next such activity will be Mexican Fiesta Night on October 6th.
We have been hearing quite a bit about all the smoke back home from the many fires all around and we sure hope things clear up soon for everyone. We think about you often and remember you all in our prayers every day. Have a wonderful smoke-free week. We love you.
|Friends from Home|
|At Institue Class|
with a few of the Young Single Adults