A true Siberian Winter. We have discovered that last winter was just a tease with its small amount of snow and only a few days of really cold weather in late January. It has been in the minus 40’s this week and the outlook is for more of the same - maybe sneaking into the minus 30’s next week. It was a -44 on Friday and a balmy -42 for our big dual zone conference on Wednesday. Zone Conference was amazing as always with great counsel and instruction from President and Sister Gibbons the Zone Leaders and Assistants. We heard very special testimonies and parting words from 2 Elders and 2 Sisters who will be returning home next week and then Sister Webb and I were asked to speak and share our testimonies since this would be our last Zone Conference.
It was hard to wrap our heads around the fact that we will be back home before the next Zone Conference rolls around. It doesn’t seem possible that we have been here that long. Standing in front of these amazingly good and spiritually strong young missionaries was quite intimidating to be sure. We both enjoyed the opportunity to share our feelings about this great work with them and the wonders of Russia and its people as they seek for a better life and a hope in Christ. It is amazing to watch and to be a part of what is happening in this land of the lost tribes of Israel.
All of our Senior couples were here for the Zone Conference so we all rendezvoused at the mission office and walked over to the conference – (check out the picture) it was as mentioned just a minus 42 for our short walk to the Branch Building. The next day our dear friends the Gundersens flew out to Helsinki on their first visa trip, hard to believe they have been here long enough to need a visa renewal.
We finished up the week with District meeting on Friday and then out to Berdsk on Saturday for the weekend and church meetings on Sunday. Church with the members in Berdsk is a special time and this week Pres. and Sister Gibbons came out to visit our little group. President spoke to us in our Sacrament Meeting, joined with us in Sunday School and then Sister Webb and I were blessed to catch a ride back to Novosibirsk with President and Sister Gibbons – (remember our experience last week when we missed our stop on the train ride back). It was great to get a ride right to the door of our apt in this cold weather (-40 today).
For anyone interested, it looks like we will be coming home on the 22nd of February, arriving in Wenatchee about midnight if everything goes right and the weather cooperates. We are excited to return home but are approaching this time with sadness in our hearts for the people and work we will leave behind. We will for sure leave a bit of our hearts here in Russia and hope to be able to return someday to rekindle the friendships we have made with the people here. At the same time we are so very anxious to embrace you, our friends we have left at home and to share our wonderful experiences with you.
|Getting Ready to go out|
|44 Below - That's the Mission Home in the Background|
peaking out of the "Frozen Air"