Christmas just keeps coming in Siberia!! Just this week, we got a Christmas package from our youngest son and his wife (Tyler and Janae). They sent us 12 individual presents 1 for each of the 12 days of Christmas so we had a lot of fun lining them all up, reading the little verse that was on each one and then opening them up one at a time. It was really fun.
It is always nice to have some time to regroup, re-focus, organize and clean-up and this has been a week for just that. Sister Gibbons is back in the U.S. for a few days, President Gibbons is on the road teaching and training throughout the mission and with no visa travel or transfers we have had the week to reflect and reorganize. It is amazing how much there is to do in a mission office but we love and have loved every minute. As time winds down though we are busy updating everything to leave it all in tip top shape for Elder and Sister Palmer who will replace us. They will be coming to the mission on the 6th of March so there will be a couple of weeks gap. Elder and Sister Gundersen will pick up the slack in the office duties for those 2 weeks until the Palmers arrive.
We took a couple of hours Friday evening and with the Gundersens went to Ploshed Lenina (Lenin Square) downtown to see the winter snow sculptures. They are really something. Big blocks or snow are hauled in and representatives from the various cities and regions around Siberia come in and carve (sculpt) the blocks into amazing works. It was about -31F so needless to say we didn’t linger long at any one piece, made our way around to all of them and then headed back to our apartment to warm up and have a little dinner. We visited for awhile and then after Elder and Sister Gundersen were warmed they bundled up and headed out for home, about 5 minutes walking, 10 minutes on the Metro, and another 20 minutes walking. We know they got home safe because we saw them again on Saturday at Olga’s baptism.
Saturday after attending the baptism we returned home and our Landlord (hazika) stopped by to collect the rent. We are just getting to the point that between us both we can communicate fairly well with him and he has attempted to learn a little English as well. When he found that we had been to a baptism he shared with us that just that day he too had been baptized – into the Russian Orthodox faith. He was very proud and we congratulated him of course. He will make one more visit to us before we leave. He and his wife are the nicest people and very accommodating - they are two people whom we will miss.
Sunday we were in Berdsk again. We so look forward to visiting each week with the members there. They are such special people and try so hard to live good lives in the midst of all they have to deal with each day. They look forward to our time together to worship on Sunday as much as we do. There is just something about sharing in the spirit of Christ that binds people together no matter whom or where they are; and those ties are reallyy strengthened when common beliefs are shared each week. Meeting with these wonderful people has only reaffirmed our testimony that our Father in Heaven knows and loves each one of us – wherever or whoever we might be.
Sunday night – back home and getting ready for another week – hope all is well with each of you. We are getting excited to see everyone and to feel the love of family and dear friends. 33 days. Have a wonderful week.
|12 Days of Christmas|
Thank you Tyler, Janae, Harrison and Emily
The Red card right of middle is from Harrison
|Snow Sculpture by Kazakstan|
|Sculpture by the City of Sochi (see sign)|
Host to the Winter Olympics 2014
|Sister Webb and Sister Gundersen at the Snow Sculptures|
|Cleaning up the Parking lot|
Wherever you find Snow you find Snow mounds
the world over
|Our Friend Yanna who cuts our Hair|
Sister Webbs last visit - maybe