Sunday, February 3, 2013

February 3, 2013

Happy birthday to my sister Lenae, who turned 50.  Can't believe that she has reached that milestone.
The weather is absolutely wonderful for winter in Russia.  We still have snow, but it was forcasted to be 2 degrees above 0 Celsius today that would be about 37 F.  We didn't have that little pause in the freeze last year.  The snow piled upon snow last year and there was ice under it all winter.  This year is so nice with not near the danger of falling that we experienced before.  Usually February is a very cold month, but we realize that there is still much of February left. 
We had a combined zone conference in Moscow this past Friday.  It was wonderful to see everyone, but more important to feel the spirit in such strength.  We feel blessed to be able to help with the work of the Lord in this part of His vineyard.  It is a bit of a trip for us as it lasts 24 hours, and for some of the missionaries some it is even longer.  We have an overnight train ride which isn't always a good sleep, but we manage to get some rest most of the trips.  The old song with the lyrics that go: 'rock'n, roll'n, ride'n all along the way, all bound for morning town, many miles away"  describes perfectly the ride we have.  I used to sing that song to my kids who probably don't remember it, but it was a good  as a lullaby.
The days are passing quickly and we are trying to make use of our days by inviting some of the people who have had an impact on us while we are here, to have dinner with us. It is a wonderful time to spend with them alone and to get to know them on more of a personal level.
This next week is transfers, the last one we will witness, and we are losing just one young missionary, who will go to Zaleningrad (near Moscow) and another Elder will take his place here.  We will miss him as we miss all who leave, but it gives us opportunity to meet other missionaries.
This last week we visited 2 babushka's who are often home bound in the winter due to the difficulty of walking to the bus on the snow and ice.  One is 92 years old and is sharp as a tack.  She knows everything almost before we do!!  She still hears from several missionaries who have gone back home to USA.  She told us that she is popular in the US with her missionaries!  We do love her and are glad for the care she receives from the other members of the church.  One little sister couldn't afford another telephone when hers quit working, so the branch (local church) paid for another one for her.  The Russian saints have trials that we can't even imagine, yet they are happy and manage to live a comfortable, joyful, and meaningful life.  God bless all these wonderful people.
There were 2 new people who attended church today and they were delightful to have with us. They are from Nigeria and Namibia.  We have been blessed to meet many Africans, probably from 10 or so  countries.  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January 29, 2013



WELCOME TO THE FAMILY.  Geneil Olivia  was born on January 21, 2013 at 6:09 AM.  She is a beautiful little girl and  has been welcomed by her Mom and Dad Raenie and Charlie, brother Dallin age 7, sister Kenzie age 5 1/2, and sister Alayna age 2 years and 2 days!!  It is reported that she is a very good baby.  She looks a lot like her sister Kenzie as a baby.  We think she is very sweet and look forward to seeing her in person. 
We took our Christmas decorations down last week.  Our living room sure looks bare.  We had a lot of positive comments about our Chrismas decorations. We just had a small tree, some candles and a few lights along the top width of both windows. If they could see my house in Utah at Christmas they wouldn't think this was that much.  I love Christmas and the decorations remind me of the season and spirit that should prevail. I loved reading the scriptures under the light of the tree and other lights. 
  Russia is still cold but not nearly as cold as this time last year.  The reported trend this week is for slight warming with no new snow expected until later in the week.  It will still be below 0 Celcius but not that much.  We still have snow on the ground, but unlike last year the sidewalks are kept much cleaner and safer to walk on.
  We have recently had our friends, Anactacia and Ludmilla here for dinner.  We love them and enjoyed visiting with them.  They are members of our branch here in NN. We also had dinner with new friends Nciah and AK who are from Ghana and are here studying to be dentists.  We applaud them for their pluck in coming to cold Russia from such a warm climate to study.  They are brave souls and we have loved getting to know them.
Last evening we had our friend Dasha come to dinner.  We met her a year ago and since then she has been baptized and we have enjoyed seeing her grow in her faith.  She is a wonderful person and we hope the best for her. 
We still teach the Gospel Principles class to English speakers on Sundays.  It is fun to be so engaged, and we find that many people that are beginners in learning Russian find more for them in the English class than they do in the Russian classes.  We are glad to be of service.
   Elder Foutz is sharpening his culinary skills right up lately.  He has taken to baking bread, cookies, making many meals, but breakfast is still his favorite.  The missionaries are surprised to know that he is so good in the kitchen.  Whenever they come over he usually has some little treat or other for them.   We both do a lot of cooking as there is some meeting or other where we bring treats on a regular basis. 


 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Pictures January 1, 2013 C-Novem Godem or Happy New Year!!

 HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Caleb Crane, 9 years old on Jan 1,  Emma Foutz, 8 years old on Jan 11, and Alayna Pratt who turns 2 years old on January 19.
Sons-in-law Kelly Peterson and Charlie Pratt who both have a birthday on January 25.
Our Sister Mitchell singing a Christmas solo on Dec 22, 2012.
She is from Blanding, UT. 

Elder Foutz is the myrrh bearing wise man in our Christmas pageant. 
Doesn't he look grand in his red outfit bedecked with silver stars.


We visited and lectured at this class of students
who are studying English.  Their teacher, Helen, is a good friend.

Statue in front of the school.  The principal is the model,
and he loves his children in the school.

Taken 25 December 2012 in front of
Malia Prokovskya D. 6 K. 3.  Our home for the
past 15 months.  Elder Foutz has a Russia Shopka,
and my hat is called something different
because it has a brim.  My coat is actually
made in Russia but Jerry's came from Atlanta, Georgia!!





Saturday, December 29, 2012

December 29, 2012

Recently we had birthdays for William who turned 5 and Andrew who turned 12.  Happy birthday to our grandsons. We love you all and wish you all a Happy New Year for 2013. 

Christmas is past and we had a wonderful Christmas program 'in English" for some of our friends who, like us don't do Russian so well on Christmas night.We talked about Christ and his life and mission, did a live nativity scene with Elder Foutz as narrator, and a few shared what Christmas is like in their country.  We have missionaries from all over the USA, and two from Russia,  and people from all over Africa and Germany.  We had treats after the program and the favorite seemed to be the Monkey Bread, a carmel covered bread roll with pecans.  Yummy.

There was a great program for the two branches on Dec 22.  There were several musical numbers and a live nativity scene.  Our branch president's wife did the bulk of the work on it and it was very good.  I helped out by making a costume  for Mary and for Joseph.  They had some great costumes for the wise men, one of which was played by Elder Foutz.  I played the piano and we both had made treats for after the program. 

We have been helping teach some people and are so disappointed when the appointments fail :(- We hope to have a meeting this evening with our friend from India. 

We now have snow and recently the temperatures are higher, and we are happy about that.  It was cold enough that I resorted to wearing pants, long underwear, and socks under my skirt.  I kept a jacket or sweater on all day and had a blanket if I was sitting down.  I did keep warm with all the layers.  I saw that on the train thermometer it got to -31 Celcius on our way to Moscow.   I imagine that the temperatures were about that cold or lower some nights.  The humidity and wind make it seem ever colder.  Our boots and other winter clothing are very much appreciated.  It seems like it takes us several minutes to get ready to leave the apartment. Now with the higher temperatures, around 0 Celcius,  it is way better and no need to bundle up so much. 

I have been teaching some piano and as I have never taught, I'm just winging it.  The young African student that I am currently teaching, Prince, is very appreciative and doing a good job.  Hopefully he will continue with his piano as well as church participation and become a member too.

Since my hospital stay, I have sufficiently recovered to say that I am pretty much back to normal.  We are way happy and thankful for that.  The medical care received here was great and they had all the equipment necessary for what was called for. I had a pulmonary embolism and it turned out much better than it could have and we recognized many blessings from the Lord in the care and subsequent healing. 

We have heard Christmas greetings from many people and have talked to the immediate family.  All seems to be well with everyone. 

We are bringing treats for everyone to enjoy right after our meetings this Sunday so they can have a chance to talk and mingle with each other.  We will provide the ever popular Monkey bread, some carrot cake, and some chocolate chip cookies and no bake cookies along with some juice and apple slices. We hope that people will enjoy it and have a fun time visiting.

We have made several trips to Moscow lately and it is as cold or colder there. We will return to Moscow on the 4th for a conference/New Year gathering.  We celebrate Christmas here on the 7th of Jan and  New Year's Eve is when Santa comes.  Santa's name is Ded Moros and he brings gifts and sometimes comes to play games with the children.  They play a game like hot potato only it is Ded Morose's mitten.  When the music stops if you have the mitten you get a present from the jolly old man himself.

We see lots of lights in the streets and on the trees in parks and buildings.  It is very pretty and festive.  We don't see lights in the apartments or outside of the apartment buildings.  Occassionally we see lights in windows, not often though. 

We continue to cook for the missionaries and had a nice meal on the 26th for them when we gathered for the weekly training meeting.  We and the other couple here gave the missionaries a bag full of dollar store goodies and some cookies, homemade candy, and some items for daily use. They appreciated the gesture and we enjoyed the chance to give and serve. 

The holiday season lasts about 10 days usually the 31st through the 9th of Jan.  Banks close and other offices close and things really slow down.  Stores stay open except for New Year's Day.  There is usually a lot of celebrating with a good bit of drinking so we are advised to be off the streets by 6 pm on New Year's Eve until late in the morning the next day. 

This is a such a special time of year and we are greatful for the opportuinty to reach out and try and be of support to those around us.  We are doing well and are becoming more aware that our time is getting short.  We had our last Visa trip last week so we have less than 90 days left in country.
                                                                

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5, Happy Birthday Stan, Dallin, Sierra

We had a nice time talking to the grandchildren on or near their birthday's.  They are growing up so fast.  We miss you all. 
Everyting is going well here.  We have been doing about the same things, supporting the missionaries, cooking, and giving out Books of Mormon.  We enjoy seeing the city and learning the bus routes.  We no longer have a driver so we are on foot or on the various public transports which includes the autobus, or just plain bus for us.  The Tram vi which is an electric train on the tracks in the town streets.  The trolleybus which is an electric bus that uses the overhead wires on parrallel  with the tram vi wires.  Then we also have marshutts which are small buses and then taxi travel.  We use all that will take us to our destinations.
We had a halloween party for the branches and I think it was successful.  Jerry and I made donuts for the donut eating game.  No raised donuts are available here at a good price so we made our own.  Didn't take a single one home.  We had 60 donuts and about 40 holes.  I made the dough and Jerry cut them out and then deep fried them.  We had other games and Jerry made a big pinata with a ton of candy in it.  Everything was a big success.  Everyone had enough to eat and played and visited. 
Our trip to Moscow was cancelled last week so we go this week for meetings and training.  It is not my favorite trip, sleeping on the train, but it has to be done.  There is no other way to get to the meetings on time. 
The weather is cooperating, yea.  So far we have had just 3 skiffs of snow and then it melted.  This week we are supposed to have temps in the high 30's and 40's.  Okay with me.  By this time last year our permenant snow pack was started.
The leaves are off the trees but we are seeing green grass, where there is grass.  The other day we were walking to the church with a member here, and I asked if she was cold, it was about +2 deg.  She said no she wasn't cold this was normal.  Actually we were a little cold, the wind was blowing and it was wet.  She is tough.
Well, that is it for now. 

September 29, 2012

Daughter, Carmen, and sister, Carol have gone home from their visit to Russia.  We had a great time, all of us were about worn out.  We visited the Cosmos Park and Russian dance show, saw the metro from various vantages, the kremlin along with the crown jewels and the aromory which hold the old carriages, clothing and various implements and art work from the Tzar and Tzarinas.  We saw red square and St. Basil, which is the large multi colored church on red square with the 10 towers. We had excellent weather the entire time we were in Moscow.  The view from our 24th floor room was beautiful.  The Russian craft show just outside of our hotel was a sight to behold.  Every kind of craft from scarves, hats, and gloves, to Matrushka dolls, carvings, and Russian costumes.   Good food was plentiful and it was nice to be there and take in all the sights.
Here, in Nizhny we visited an old cathedral, the old soviet mall, the nizhny kremlin, we visited in the home of a member, and the car factory. We attended our English club, church, and our weekly district meeting.  They had a taste of missionary work and our 50 stairs up to our apartment was another challenge about twice a day.   
This last Monday we had another visa trip to Riga, Latvia.  It is a beautiful city on the Baltic sea, with some buildings dating in the 1200s.  It has a lot of history and we met some other missionaaries from Riga who had researched the history and they gave us a nice tour. 
So far there are 3 baptismal committments for October and early November.  We are excited to part of the work here. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

3 September 2012 Happy Birthday to Mijken, Jean, Carol

We recently wished happy birthday to Mijken and Jean, same day, they are 30 years apart.  We have been keeping up with Dean and Marilyn who have been going through a major health crisis.  Actually all three of Jerry's siblings have been having health problems and we are hoping that the problems ease and disappear soon.  Our prayers are with you all.  Three of our kids have father-in-laws who have had major surgery lately and all are progressing well, and for that we are thankful.  We pray for you all daily.
Our home church ward is having it's problems with health issues and our prayers are always with them.  Some have had surgery, some of the problems are chronic and ongoing, and three deaths.  We wish we could be there in person to give our help and love, but the best we can do right now is pray.
We have been blessed lately to have a baptism in our branch and another is planned.  This young man is a friend of a convert and is from Ghana.  He is a good young man and has great potential.  We were blessed to be there in support of him and hear his humble testimony.  His friend, Joseph, who is also from Ghana, actually conducted the baptism program, the branch president baptized him, and Elder Foutz got to confirm him. The branch is small and there is no branch mission leader. The branch president was doing the baptism, and the other members of the branch presidency were not in attendance, so the missionaries asked Joseph, who is the branch Elders Quorum President to conduct.  The meeting was in English, because Kwame is much more comfortable with English than Russian.  The missionaries translated for the 2 investigators who were present and it went well.
I will tell a story about him and the missionaries.  They asked him who he would like to baptize him and he, I guess, was told by the missionaries that someone in the branch would be nice, so he chose the branch president.  When it came to the confirming he asked if the elders would do it and of course they would, but they asked him to think of someone in the branch.  He thought a bit and asked if Elder Foutz would do it and they said he could, but he is a missionary.  Okay then could Sister Foutz do it!  He really didn't know the members that well so he asked if Elder Foutz could do it and he did.  It is the first time I have been asked to do a confirmation.  Of course, you may not know, but this is a priesthood ordinance, and only worthy men who hold the priesthood may confirm new members.  He didn't understand that at the time, but he will be taught.
 I played the piano for the short program and that was good for me.  We made cookies for the celebration after the baptism,  fudge nut bars, and they were a big hit.  Talk about cookies disappearing, you had to be right there to get one from the first layer and they went fast.  Dad actually set up the refreshment table while we finished the program so it would all be ready when we dismissed.  He set our cookies in the back, off to the side of the other refreshments.  When the missionaries came to the table they spied the fudge nut bars right away and soon the whole container was out in the center.  Dad helped me to make these bars, they have chopped nuts in them and  there is the middle fudge layer so there is plenty to do for two people.  We make a good team.  We usually do the cooking together.  He has been making bread and it is really good.  The missionaries and members love our home cooked food and we feel it is one way we can reach out to them, since we can't speak their language.
We are excited to announce that Hannie, our third daughter, is expecting her first baby.  We are so excited and will most likely be home in time for the birth, but it will be close.  We will miss the birth of our 20th grandchild this January as we did the 19th grandchild last April, but we love them all the same.  We are sure that our sacrifice in missing the family and family events is noted by the Lord.  We hope some of the blessings that we would receive will go to bless these who go willingly without the help of parents who are off serving.
We are excited to have Carmen and my sister Carol come here to visit.  Only 10 more days, but who is counting.
While the USA has been sweltering in the heat, we have had an unusually cool summer.  Really only a couple or three weeks when we needed to use the fans.  This August has been cool, rainy, overcast, and windy.  I doubt that we will get any more hot weather.  As I write this blog the sky is completely gray and it is cool with a predicted high of only 15 C.  We have been wearing jackets outside for the past 2 weeks most of the time.  The heat is not on in the houses yet, so we wear something warm if we get cold inside. The heat comes from a central building somewhere in the city, and it is turned on when they feel we need it.  We do not have a thermostat in the apartment.  It can get pretty cold without heat at times in the spring and fall.  Like anywhere else, spring and fall weather can change dramatically so we can swelter if the heat goes on and the temperature outside rises.  We haven't been uncomfortable with the system much at all, we can always open a window and cool down if we need to.   We stay pretty warm in the winter and only had a few days when we needed the space heaters to help heat the rooms.  We hope that this cool weather does not mean we will have an early winter.  The trees are showing that fall is nearing in the turning of the leaves.  I imagine that it will be very pretty.  We have had a cool wet spring and I think that means a lot of beautiful, colorful leaves that stay for a good while.  We hope so.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Happy Birthday to Zach, Dad, Nicholas,Jacob, and Spencer

We celebrated several birthdays recently and have had fun calling and celebrating with all of you. Coming up will be birthdays for Dean and Lou.
We continue to enjoy our missionary experiences, and grow from the many varied challenges this brings into our lives.  We are trying to meet the challenge of learning Russian by hiring Kate to teach us.  I am sure she finds us to be especially slow with our learning and she is an English teacher, not a Russian teacher.  She is Russian, but that doesn't necessarily make her a  teacher, but she has elected to try to help us and we are indebted to her for the time she takes to prepare for us and try to help us.  It is an especially trying language in that there are more ways to end a word depending on if it is a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, male, female, neuter, plural , a prepositional phrase, etc. etc.  Most of this can be applied to just one word and how it is used. Easy!!! Right now I am trying to figure out the six ways to say "my" in the feminine and then the masculine and then the neuter and then the plural!! 
     We had an exciting lesson with a young man from India who speaks excellent English.  We really enjoyed meeting with him and he in turn is happy to talk to anyone in English.  He is here on an one year assignment with Intel.  He is a project manager and apparently doesn't have to know Russian to do the job.  His "Russian" is not much different than ours, however he has only been here for 2 or 3 months.
     We recently traveled to Moscow, and had a great strengthing meeting there with our Mission President and his assistants, and our zone leaders.  The trip is a bit exhausing for us 'old timers". We leave at 11:45 PM  and get home again the next night at 11:25 PM.  There isn't much rest, but the rejuvination we get makes the trip worth it.  It is fun to visit with friends, and see people we don't see often.  We are the town furtherest east of Moscow in the mission. Our closest mission town is Yaroslavl and it a distance northeast of Moscow, and there are two or three branches in Moscow in our zone.
     We have recently been collecting information to give some humanitarian help to an orphanage, a kindergarten, and the red cross to donoate wheelchairs in our city.  It takes a bit of doing to get the paper work done right, the credentials verified, and the pictures taken and sent, the story told.  It is interesting work and a gives a huge feeling of satisfaction to be even a small cog in the workings of the process to see the help given where it is needed.  The kindergarten opperates to serve about 125 children from the ages of 2-7 and has for years.  There is no hot water supplied by the city to the 2 story structure.  They are asking for hot water heaters. The kitchen, clean up, laundry, the showers and baths all need hot water and they have a very small and antiquated way to supply that right now.  It is not very efficient and is very time consuming to do it the way they have done through the years.  They also are asking for 2 clothes dryers They supply a bed for each child to sleep in and the sheets are changed and washed every day!  The work is stagering and they still hang out the laundry.  What a change it would be for them to have a few modern conveniences. 
We have enjoyed our missionaries and we hope that they feel like they have someone to help them solve a few problems and be a support for them when they are so far away from home and from the mission leaders.
We don't really have any new pictures for the blog. but will try to keep up with some as we visit some and find new sites to see.
That is all for now.  

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Trip to Riga, Latvia Happy Birthday Carmen, Terry, and Ryan

                      June 28-29, 2012
We were chosen to be couriers for some passports that have to be taken out of country to be processed for new visas.  We were delighted to do it as it is a very fast trip indeed if we don't have another purpose other than stamping a visa out of Russia and a new one into Russia.  Stamps are very important here and elsewhere on the continent.  We don't go anywhere without somekind of stamp confirming we are legal in the country, community, and have a sponser who has a stamp! 
We have to leave Russia every 3 months because we are on religious visas.  It makes things complicated but the system has been streamlined and now it doesn't take much time.  It is difficult for us sometimes, when we sit in a foreign airport and wait for a plane to pick us up in 2 hours, and we just have to wait.  However our purpose is not to tour, it is to work.  So, this time we got a few hours to tour while we waited for a plane to take us home after we completed our business in Riga.  It may not happen to us again so we took advantage of our time there.
Riga is a beautiful city on the Baltic Sea.  It was a beautiful day and we saw a lot of Riga and a neighboring town of Jammal (pronounce the "J" as an "H".)  It is like a seaside resort with lots of top notch homes and wonderful trees, grasses, bushes, and lots of flowers.  The architecture is beautiful and it has the old mixed with the new.  Some of the new is done on the old style, just charming.
We hired a taxi driver, a friend of our contact there in Riga, and both of them toured us around for a bit.  We then ate dinner on the beach at a wonderful restaurant.  We had a 16th floor room in the Radisson Blu Latvia and could see the skyline for a long way.  We will publish some of the photos we took there. 
We have met our new mission president, our former president went home after a three year service term. We will miss them, but will surely enjoy our new president.  He and his wife will be coming to visit our city and to interview the missionaries here this Saturday and Sunday.  It will be fun to get to know them better.
We do enjoy our time here more and more.  We have wonderful missionaries who work hard and one of the sets of 2 missionaries here just completed a week of hard work and accomplishing 15 hours of discussions.  Here in Russia that is a difficult hallmark to acheive.  We are pleased that they are working hard and reaching out to others in a happy, delightful way.  They had to schedule many more hours than that to get the 15 hours.  Now they need to call and talk to and set up more meetings, where they couldn't set them up before.  
We have had some good meeting ourselves, and have been pleased at how well we are accepted. 
We had a chance to wish our daughter Carmen HAPPY BIRTHDAY on May 30th then on June 25th we sang, badly, to Ryan Bailey our daughter, Hannie's, husband. 
We want to wish a happy birthday to Terry.  Haven't been able to get him on the phone so will post this so he will know we didn't forget him.  Happy Birthday to all.

Fountain in 'Riga park.

Skyline of Riga from our hotel room.

Garden in one of the many parks, Riga.

Changing of the guard at the Freedom Monument
just a few minutes before Hilary Clinton visited
to place flowers at the monument.

Windblown but happy on the beach
of the Baltic Sea in Jammel, Latvia.

Don't know if you can tell how big these peppers are.
We couldn't pass  up a chance to photo these beauties.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 27th, 2012

Dear family and friends.  It has been a long time we have made an entry on our blog.  Linda has been the one that has done the posting in the past however this post being done by Jerry.

We are enjoying very nice weather for the most part.  It is sunny during the day and the temperture usually is between high 60's and mid 70's.  Most nights cool down.  We do not have airconditioning, only a couple of fans.  We are managing fine.

I have spent a couple days out in the country helping dig the footings for a new house.  The soil was black as coal for the first 20 inches and the next 25 inches had some clay but no rocks.  It was fairly easy digging. It is very common here for people to have what they call a Datcha, it is a summer home in the country.  They grow gardens at their, village or datcha summer home.  The homes are small fairly rustic, more like what we would call a cabin.  It is very peaceful and nice out in the country.

The sun comes up around 4:00AM and it is not dark until about 11:30PM so there is a long growing period during the day.  The potatoes and other vegtables really look good.

In early December Linda and I went out to dinner one night at a Japaneese restaurant.  The little gal that served us our sprite spoke good English.  As we talked with her, she just had a glow about her.  We invited her to come to our English Club.  She started coming and then started taking the missionary lessons.  The end of May Dasha was baptized.  She asked me to confirm her a member and give her the gift of the holy ghost, it was a very special honor. 

We have had a couple of trips to Moscow and tonight we will be leaving to go again.  One trip was for a Mission Conference with our Mission President and his wife who just finished their mission and went home this Monday.  The second trip was a combined conference with our mission and the Moscow Mission, which we are now a part of.  It was very special because we had a number of general authorities at the conference.  Elder Christofferson, Elder Rasband, Elder Stevenson, the new Presiding Bishop and our Area presidency, who are all three members of the 2nd Quorum of seventies, along with two mission presidents.  Their wives were with them too.  What a great experience!

We are going to Riga, Latvina tomorrow to renew our Visa's and will be able to stay overnight.  We hope the weather will be good and we will be able to see some of the city while there.  It is on the Baltic Sea, a real new adventure for us!

The missionary work is going along fairly well here.  We are keeping busy with many different activities:  English Club, supporting and feeding the missionaries, supporting both of the Branch Presidencies as best as we can, setting up some Young Single Adult/Seminary activities and firesides, trying to line up some Humanitarian projects (we have three identified) and doing some teaching.  It is all good and we are greatful to have the opportunity to be here.

Raenie and Charlie announced that in January we will have another grandchild.  We are excited for them.  Jacob and his family will be moving to the Baltimore area in July on a three year assignment.

Dasha's baptism

May 10th Russian Victory Day WWII Veteran with ribbons/metals,tulips given to him by people, like us, to show respect.

One of the many Russian Orthodox churches in Nizhniy overlooking where the Aka and Volga rivers join

Friday, May 4, 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KENZIE, and to Susan May 4 2012

Hello everyone,
    Kensie, we are looking forward to talking to you on your birthday.  Grandma and Grandpa can't believe that you are tujrning 5  Wow, starting kindergarten soon and you are growing up to be such a lovely young lady.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY.
  We got to talk to Susan on her birthday and we are happy that things are somewhat better and hope that surgery on the 10th will be successful.  We really do wish that we could be there to help you and the family, but you have the greatest help in Jacob and the kids.  We are hopeful for the best outcome with this surgery. 
  We are doing well and look forward to our continuing time here is Russia which seems to be sliding away at an alarming pace.  We now have less than a year and so much to do.  We do miss home and all of you, however we do have a need to be here.  We have a meeting here in our house with a young man in a few minutes.  We so look forward to being with these wonderful souls in Russia.  Oleg is a fine young man and we count him as a friend.  We hope that the message that we give is received well.
   The weather is better, actually quite Spring like, rain, grey skies, wind, sun, and blue skies. some leaves on the trees, and soon to see flowers.  We enjoy the rain, it seems to be a gentle rain for the most part.  The pollen release hasn't missed me and I am just getting over the allergic response to it.   All in all we are well.
    There are 17 BYU students here in Nizhniy for the next 2 months.  We have met many of them and hope they go away learning much of Russian and understanding the wonderful people.
    Our driver is the new branch president and is a bit more busy now.  His little girl, Masha, has been much sick this winter and also Ivan, his boy.  They really are sweet kids and we hope they are better soon.  Their mom has been ill a good deal too, so not a great winter for their family.  
    This May 9th is the national celebration of the end of WWII.  They have parades and not sure what else, but we are hoping to see some of the doings.  WWll  was a terrible time for this country, losing about 25 million citizens.    
     We were invited over to see the new baby of one of the sisters in the branch and meet the parents.  They are visiting from Saint Petersburg for a few weeks.  The husband was very interested in talking to us in English and it was a pleasure to talk to him.  
    We have talked to many of you this past week and enjoy listining to your stories of your lives.  It is all good for us..  Love to you all.   
  
   
   
 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

GIDEON PAUL FOUTZ turns 2 April 20, 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Gideon. 
We love you Gideon and hope that you had a good birthday.  Miss you lots and lots, we know that you are surrounded by lots of love, we wish we could be there with you. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

HANNIE AND HYRUM HAVE BIRTHDAYS APRIL 23, 2012

I am surprised that I haven't written for so long.  I wanted to wish Hannie and Hyrum a happy birthday on the 9th and 10th.  We did get to talk on the phone to both and it was good to hear how they were celebrating their birthdays.  Hannie was working, and Hyrum took the day off school to celebrate and to be with his friend who was visiting from Canada.  Anyway here is another HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!  We love you both.

Since our last post we have pictures of our grandson, Coleson Paul Foutz.
He shares the name Paul with his cousin Gideon Paul Foutz who is two years older.  They both share the name with my father Wayne Paul Gaertner who died in 1980. 

Our spring has finally sprung!!  The first two days were even summery, mildly humid and warm into the night.  We have since then had more springlike weather, but once the weather broke, it has never turned to freezing in the night.  The nights continue to get shorter and shorter.  We have it fairly light now until 8:30 PM and the sun rises around 6:00 AM  a big change from last December when we had only about 9 hours of light.  We walk to church in the light both ways all evidence of ice is gone. We still see piles of snow around in corners where the sun never shines that still are slowly melting.  It does feel good to have it sunny again.

We have been involved in teaching some of our people and it feels so good.  We sometimes have people who speak English and we need no translation, but most of the time that is not the case.  We have told
the missionaries that anytime they want to come to have a home cooked meal, just bring someone over whom they are teaching.  So last night we had the elders and a young man over who is very interested in listening.  He is a good young man. We were involved in as much as we could be.  He said he liked my first attempt at borscht (Russian soup with beets).  We liked it and he said it tasted like it might be american style.  So far I haven't had any luck to get the ladies to share with me their recipes.  Maybe later.  Mine didn't stay very red.  He is actually a Ukrainian and misses his really red Ukrainian borscht.  He didn't offer to teach me, don't know if he knows how to make it.

Since last writing we have had a visit from President and Sister Woolley.  That weekeend President called our driver Andrey as the new branch president.  He will be a very good one, and his wife, Olga, will be a great support.  They both help us a tremendous amount.   We are working with Olga, to do some humanitarian work here.  It will take time, but we feel confident that we have some good projects. While the Woolleys were here we visited Gorodyets with them.  They got to see 2 museums and lots of the countryside.  It was good to be with them again.  It will be good to go there again when the trees are in full leaf, and the flowers are blooming.  It is a pretty little town. 

We continue to visit both branches, and they are doing well.  We have one more baptism scheduled and maybe  another one soon after.  The branch president in the lower branch and his wife are expecting their first child, a girl, in the middle of July.  They are so happy, it is fun to watch them. 

It was good to get a whole envelope of letters from our empty nesters group in South Jordan.  What fun it was to get them and we enjoyed every one.  Thank you so much Joe for heading up that project for us.  Write again anytime!!!  We can get letters, and cards with envelopes through the following address:  Elder Jerry and Linda Foutz, Russia Moscow West Mission, Muravskaya Street,  Bldg. 1  Floor 3,  Moscow  125310  Russia.  This requires overseas postage.  If you write on a single page, writing only on the front, (NO ENVELOPE) then fold it in thirds, taping the two shorter ends,  and put the address on the back, you can send this in the pouch for regular mail price at the following address:  Elder Jerry and Linda Foutz,  Russia Moscow West Mission,  POB 30150 Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150.

Someone asked if we are affected by the mission boundry reassignment in the Moscow Mission and the answer is yes.  We will be part of the Moscow Mission as of July 1 this year.  Our mission president will be going home after a 3 year assignment and the present Moscow mission president will be taking the orphan groups in Russia over. Our mission is presently made of groups in Russia, Belarus, and Kazahkstan.   I don't know if that spelling is right the way they spell it here is different because of the cyrillic alphabet.  Anyway, we will be one of the furtherest outlying groups in the Russia Moscow Mission

We have ventured out a bit more since we don't have to watch for ice and it is fun to see the architecture on the buildings.  We were always watching for the ice and didn't look up that much. 

We are slowly getting a bit more of the language, it is a difficult one in which you have to know parts of speech and then rearrange the words to work better in the language.  I haven't done much with grammar, I am struggeling just with memorizing sentences for which the grammar is already situated.  There is a specific accent on each word and it does matter which vowel you accent!!  Since the written Russian doesn't include the accent marks you have to get pretty comfortable with the language to read out loud!  We have a teacher who comes over once a week and struggles with us to help in this matter.  Oleg is very patient but insists that we do it right and there is one sound that I haven't mastered yet, it is written as 'bl' but it doesn't sound like it is written. It is a cross between 'ee' and 'uy' and is more gutteral than we are used to.  He just shakes his head and then is surprised if I get it close, but of course I can never repeat that one time it is close!!  Oleg is a young college student, not a member, but loves to serve others.  He likes to spend time with us speaking english to improve his skills.  He is scheduled to go to Texas this summer on a work permit for about three months.  He is real excited to go to the U.S. and hopes he will be understood.  His english is pretty good and he won't have any real problems communicating.  We hope he gets more serious about the church.

Oleg is going to Galveston, Texas, so we got on line and played him Glenn Campbells version of Galveston!  I don't know if he liked it or not but now he knows a bit about Galveston fame. 

Transfers were this last week and one of our sister missionaries completed her mission and returned to St. George, Utah.  We have a new Elder from Shelley, Idaho, a sister missionary who will serve 2 weeks,  and Sister Francom, who was here before has returned to finish the last six weeks of her mission here.

We are doing well and feel blessed to be here.   

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Welcome to our new little Coleson Foutz!! April 5, 2012

Baby Coleson Foutz has been welcomed into the family of Spencer, Amanda, Emma, and Will.  Born April 4th at 3:30 pm weighing in at 7lbs and 14 oz., he is healthy and so is Amanda.  I am sure that big brother and sister were thrilled.   They decided not to know the baby's sex until birth so they have been adding names to the growing list of possibilities for boys and girls. I understand that Emma and Will have suggested that Barbie or Ken would be great names!   They haven't decided on a middle name yet.

We keep hoping for some spring and there have been a few false starts to spring, but it has snowed almost every day since we last posted!!!  It is still snowing lightly even now. The temperature hovers just above freezing it does not leave quickly.  Every day I wish, 'let this be the last snow of the season'.  We can't complain because the temperature is slightly warmer and some days it is sunny and bright, can't say it is warm yet, but we are eagerly waiting for Spring to decide to stay.  One good thing about the warmer temperatures is that the sidewalks are finally, mostly clear of the ice build up.   After all we are in Russia!!!

Our work continues as we get into the lives of the people here.  We recently met Albeena and Victor. We found Victor gravely ill with cancer. We were informed a few days later that Victor had died.  Safely to his heavenly home and free from pain and suffering.  He suffered a lot and she was an angel to care for him in such a loving way, it was wonderful to see.  I don't know when she slept.  We are happy to know that they are sealed together for eternity and have that hope to be together forever which of course softens the pain and releases her from the terror of the parting.  It is still lonely and she will have to find ways to fill in the void as do all who lose loved ones.  We hope to support her in any way we can. 

We are entering the Easter season and have renewed faith in the promise of the coming of Christ again.  We know that He now lives and is aware of each one of us.  He is watchful over us and even though we are going through some tough times as a county, we are sure that He will support and help us.  We are ever promised that He will watch over with care and intervene when needed, as we ask in faith believing that He is there.

Our work has been full of cooking for several activities, we traveled to Kiev to renew our visas, (an every 3 month requirement for us,) and back in about a 24 hour period, involving 3 flights and one train ride, supporting the younger missionaries, continuing with English conversation helps, studying Russian, visiting the members, and enjoying our general conference: watch at  http://www.lds.org/
We have a baptism this weekend and are excited to be attending that.  We are still attending both the congregations (branches) here and I am asked to play piano in both, when we are in attendance.  It it good to be needed.  Dad goes to the branch presidency meetings and supports in administrative duties.

Dad is going to help Andre with some major snow clean up at the village summer house of his parents today.  We have been told that the snow is up around 6 meters high there.  It is a concern because it can lay a heavy burden on the fences and  roofs, and when freezing has occurred it can damage doors, windows, and plumbing. 
They may have to dig to get to the house!!  More on that project later.

Dad and I are hoping to do some firesides in our home with the young people, ages 14-27.  We will  invite them to watch Church Education System (CES) youth talks and will involve them in some service or learning activities.  We will hold picnics and such activities when summer arrives. 

That is about it from this neck of the woods, as the saying goes.  God is good and we are doing the best we can. 

Linda has given a good update on our activities.  I want to share a miracle with you.  A couple of weeks before we arrived in Russia a young 6 foot 8 inch , size 18 shoe, 200 pound young Elder arrived.  He took the train to Nizhniy for his first area of assignment.  On the train he began speaking the best he could with a women from Nizhniy.  It was difficult but he got her e-mail address.  He did not attempt to make contact with her while in Nizhniy but a few months later while assigned to another city he had someone help him compose a letter to her and e-mailed her, and she wrote back.  About a month ago he was reassigned to Nizhniy.  This is a city of about one and a half million people.  The other day  this Elder heard his name called  while he was in front of the large apartment building where Victor had lived.  Friends and family had gathered for the funeral and to go to the cemetary.  The Elder looked up and on about the 8th floor a women was waving and calling his name.  Yes, it was the women he had met over six months ago on the train!  I am not a statistician and have no idea what the probabililty of that happening is when one figures in all the random possibilities.  I am a believer in miracles.  I am a believer in a loving Heavenly Father who knows each of us personally and wants only the best for us.  I am a believer that the message that we are here to share with the Russian people is important for them.  This elder now speaks Russian fairly well and he will be contacting this women to teach her.  We will keep you posted. 
PS:  The snow today has continued all day and turned into quite a storm.  It layed down about 4 inches of snow and no sign that it will melt anytime soon, but we hope so.  There is snow everywhere and all the sidewalks are covered again, and the roadways too.  Traffic has been bad today and the trip out to the village was attempted but because of the storm it had to be postponed till further notice. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Update from Nizhniy 22 March 2012

A trip to the train station with friends and luggage and we bid good-by to our friends the Gays, who after 18 months of faithful service have gone on the midnight run to Moscow and then home Monday night.We were sad to see them go and know for sure that they have ambivelent feelings about leaving.  They were loved and in turn loved the people here.  They have earned a deserved rest.

We got on the train at midnight the following night for a trip to Moscow for meetings with all of our local missionaries on Tuesday night.  None of us slept very well.  I think that it wasn't the best wish for 2 elders to be in the compartment with me and Grandpa any more than it was for me to be in there with them for the night.  However we made it and were all up by around 6 AM and left the train by 7 AM.  We had a short walk to the metro station and then rode the metro to the Central Chapel by 8AM.  We had glad reunions with some of the missionaries we have served with previously, and bid good-bye to some who will be returning home in a month.  One of the 5 returning sisters is one from our lot.

We rode home on the Sapsan, fast train, and got in around 11:30 PM.  By this time we were short on sleep and had many short nights previously so slept in a bit this morning.  It felt good.  Today Grandpa went to help remodel the apartment with Jenya and I cleaned the apartment and washed the laundry.

We have visited this week with a couple who are adopting 2 little Russian boys with special needs, after a long time of negotiating, fall backs, and redoing paper work. They now  have custody of their little ones and are in Moscow with the final stages of preparing passports for the trip home to Florida.
They both have heart problems and the youngest needs medical attention very soon.

We still have winter here, after a false start to spring for 2 days, which gave us hope, it fell into a winter storm with 2 or three days now of more snow.  Luckily not much snow, and we hope that is the end of it.  The temp is up a bit and even with the storm, some of the ice was beginning to melt off in some degree or other.  There are still ice fisherman on the rivers near here, and the snow is still on the rooftops, alleys, and in the parks and open areas.

We are healthy and happy, doing what we can to help the work along.  We made some candy for passing out to different individuals who have helped us, and have felt blessed to do our part.  The Lord is blessing us and we count it a blessing for us to be here. 

We will start being more involved with the lower branch now that we are the only senior couple here.  The lower branch president speaks pretty good english and we hope to be of assistance in the branch to reactive and strengthen where we can.

The missionaries here have some good people they are working with and we feel confident that the work is going to pick up and we will see some fruit from the labors of all of us.




Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 13, 2012 Gorodyets Tour 3/1/2012

Well this blogging is getting to be very time consuming for me.  I did a whole blog with pictures that didn't get posted and made the next one incomplete.  I'll try to relate what was in the one I lost.  (Now that I have this one posted the other post on this tour is posting as well.  So I have 2 posts about this tour,  hope you like the pictures!!)

On March 1, our district of 10 travel to Gorogyets  (Городец).  I am just beginning to pick out the new alphabet.  We have the computer key letters overlaid with stickers that include the English and the Russian letters.  No they are not in the same order and that makes it a slightly bit more complicated for me.  For example the  T is in the N place.  The M is in the V place and the O is in the J place. Instead of an I we have the ш (which says sh).  And on we go.  I personnaly have no problem with the letters but the hardest ones to learn to  read, are the ones that look like the english letter but say something different:  H is for N, C is for S, P is for R, and B is for V. Reading and typing have become a difficulty but not insurmountable.  Any way I digress form my narrative.
 Городец:   A beautiful city on the bank of the now frozen Volga river, up river from NN.  It used to be in a strategic spot and was surrounded by a high wall.  It is a city of about 30,000 and is very quaint and delightful spot.  The houses are traditional 1800's Russian archeticture.  The 5 museums we visited were painted nicely and had been mansions or wealthy merchant dwellings.  As wealthy as they were the dwellings seemed not to be very substantial and not very richly decorated.  This may have been lost over the years though. 

We saw a museum that is particularly dedicated to the showing of artifacts that have been unearthed from the 1300-1400's  in the site where the town now stands.  A lot of war impliments and several items of clothing from the era.  There is a room of stuffed animals native to the area, and a room that shows the cathedral complex that once stood on a hill in the city.  Some farming instruments and also war impliments.  One piece showed the schrapnal taken from the eyes of soldiers (ugh).  There were also several carving displays that had been used in the decoration of houses and windows previously. 

One of the museums was a 2 year old building, made in the original architecture style of Old Russia.  It had many of the same types of displays with the addition of a  type of childrens whistles, and a display of clay pots. 

Another showed more childrens whistles.  Children were believed to have been given these in the day when they believed in evil spirits.  As the children blew the whistles the evil spirits were driven away.  We all got to make one!!  They were made in the form of an animal of any sort.  They were then painted in beautiful colors.

Another was a mansion that displayed art work, clocks, books, clothing, and several irons, balance weights, early working tools of all kinds.

Lastly we saw a beautiful merchant home that displayed tea urns.  The tea urn had two parts.  The water was stored in a outer chamber and inside this chamber was placed a central tube to hold live coals to keep the water warm.  They put the tea leaves in the water and then dispensed the ready tea through a spiget to a cup for chilly patrons who would pay for a warm drink.  It was an old fashioned type of thermos, and worked very well.  They were very popular and over the years they were improved and improvised.  There were several urns there that were non operable because they were only decorative. Some were absolutely gorgeous.

We recenly had a baptism that was really a wonderful experience.  We have had the visit of our mission president and his wife who came to teach, inspire, and see the branches and generally be of support.  They achieved all their goals as far as I am concerned.  They both travel extensively and are rarely at home in Moscow.  He does all the missionary conferences, all missionary interviews, and then all the interviews for the branches, nine in all in 3 countries.  None are very close to the other so it is a major time consumer just to get around to all the missionaries each 6 week period.  He has duties in the office, meetings, and newsletters, and general challenges to help solve.  What a great team they are and are enduring well.

We are currently helping with the missionary effort by visiting and generally helping the young missionaries.  We enjoy it and are happy to be here.

We will be sahying good-bye to the other senior couple serving here.  They are in their 18th month of service.   Since we are all on a 3 month visa and theirs runs out on the 20th they are leaving here the 19th and we will miss them. They both are talented and have given much to the growth of the lower branch.  We will try to take up some of the duties they have been involved in and hope to help keep things going in both branches.  President Woolley will be back 14 April again to conduct some branch business and missionary interviews.






Whimsical wood carving of a hunter and his faithful dog.
We liked these a lot and they show the gifted
talents of the locals.


One of the delightful decorative tea pots on display
in the museums at Gorogyets.







Plaque showing the happy family listening to the
recording of societ propaganda.  See how
engaged they all are and how it
adds to family life!!!

Helmet unearthed in the Gorogyets area.
The owner is unknown but this is the most valuable
piece in the museum.  Helmet has silver and gold
overlays and is believed to belong to a prince.
From the 1300-1400's.  Nose protector is missing.
Close up of the cathederal model that once stood on a hill
overlooking the Volga river and all surrounding
country side in Gorodyets. 

Beautiful lace work shown in a work done to
show the CCCP revolution.  (USSR)
1945-1975




Intricate wrought iron work in an archway of a building.
Gorogyets,  Russia
Detail on the east side an 1800's merchant home which
now houses the tea urn display. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

8 March 2012 (more tour pictures) Alan's Birthday 2-26-57

 My brothers birthday was on 26 Feb.  Hope it was a great day.

Spring Tulips
It has been a time of joy, a time of snow, a time of warmth, and a time of cooling.   The weather here is like anywhere else, unpredictable and as variable as any.  We are happy to see the sun more and even though it is usually cooler when it is out.  The tulips were a gift from Dad to me for Women's Day.


Collection of Tea urns from the 18th century Russia.

New museum in Gorodyets in traditional architecture.

Museum in Gorodyets
 chain armor from the 13th or 14th century.

The sign reads Gorodyets.  You see the frozen River Volga in the background.
There is an open channel about half way across in this location. 
There is a huge motor works on the opposite side of the river.


8 Mar 12 Tour of Gorodyets


We are busy with cooking for the missionaries and some of the people here.  We try to make a place for the missionaries to come to that is inviting with some good food to enjoy before or after teaching.  We enjopy meeting people here.  They are warm and accepting of us and seem to like to call on the two american senior sisters to bake goodies as much as there is occassion to do so.  We enjoy serving and hope that the bit we do bears fruit.
Our recent highlight was a baptism for Oley a very sincere and sweet young woman.  She seems very intregrated into the young peoples lives already.  She has been a joy to get to know and see her grow.We are working with Oleyg, who has good English skills.  He wants to help so we have invited him to help us with some Russian.  He is helping us to pronounce phrases and then we try to memorize them.  He is a joy to work with.  The missionaries are teaching him and we try to back them up.  This is the best part of our mission experience,  seeing people come into the church and working with those interested.

Recently we worked with Vladimer who is our driver's father.  Andre has been waiting 20 years to see any movement in his father toward religion.  It is a pleasure to work with him.  He is our age and it is fun to see him reading and then teaching us what he has read.  He seems to be very excited to the extent that when, we were there he excused himself to go read the Book of Mormon while he was thinking of it.  We have high hopes for him.

We have been helping a sister who has recently had a baby, visiting with the missionaries to some people our age, and generally helping out.  Grandpa went to the father-son activity and had a good time on the national Defenders Day.   Today is national Womens Day and one of the men at English Club gave me a small bouquet of flowers.  What a sweet gesture.  Grandpa gave me some Tulips, they remind me that Spring is coming soon. 

We recently had a tour of 5 museums in Gordyets, a city just about 30 minutes north of NN.  It is a beautiful city of about 30,000.  They are preserving much of the early Russian architecture in the houses.  It is very unique and interesting.  Will include some pictures of our tour. 

We stay healthy and are  happy to be here and enjoy the young missionaries.  We get attached to them and eventually they are transferred.  We are going through that right now.  This week our zone leader  has been asked to be an assistant to the president.  One of the elders that served here when we first arrived will take his place as zone leader here in NN.  We have two sisters leaving, and our sweet Elder from Vladivstock has been transferred to the office.  We will miss them all. Soon we will be saying goodbye to the other senior couple here, who leave on the 18th or 19th of this month.  There is currently no replacement for them that we know of.  We will try to make up for their activities as much as we can.  We can stand to be a little busier.  They are church education missionaries and as such have a special calling to work with the youth of the branches.  They will be missed so much.
Model of Cathedral in Gorodyets
now demolished.  Must have been a
beautiful complex.

Beautiful whimsical carving on display
in Gorodyets

Detail in lace, the actual is about 2" square.

Childrens Museum.  Whistles were given
to children so that as they blew them
it would scare of evil spirits.  They could
be molded from clay into any shape they wanted.

Detail of  museum in Gorodyets.  This is a selection of many
houses in the area.  Beautiful architecture and fine work.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chance is 4, 17 Feb, Sierra is Baptized, 19 Feb

Chance turned 4 this week and we missed talking to him and when we did get hold of his Dad, Chance declined the opportunity to talk on the phone.  We love Chance and hope that his birthday was a great one.  Happy Birthday Chance!!


Sierra turned 8 in October last year but sadly her Daddy was away in Afghanistan and so she waited to be baptized.  She was richly rewarded for her wait when on  Saturday 18 Feb, 2012 she was baptized.  She had a lot of people come and she was so happy to be with her friends and family.  We wish we could have been there but send our love.  We talked to her and she was very happy that day.
Hyrum got new glasses.  We love your new glasses and hope you can see lots better at school. hyrum has a new remote control helicopter that he enjoys flying. 

We are having a great week.  We had a great district meeting.  Our English club came later in that evening and we showed the video Johnny Lingo.  The club were all men that evening and I think only one is married but all probably have been married.  I didn't know how this would work out or if the conversation would pan out.  We did find that they were interested in the thought of an 8 cow wife and it was pretty singular for them.  We had a good conversation and ended by saying we should make all of our loved ones feel like 8 cow people.
We did our apartment inspections and the outcome was very spectacular!  Nice clean apartments and clean sheets.  Even clean refrigerators!!
We have tried to get the water filter for one of the sisters apartment working but the connecting adapter is too large.  We were going to just buy a new faucet but the landlord didn't want that.  So now Andre, our driver, is going to get a friend of his that has a pipe threader and other tools to make a new adapter that will fit the faucet.  We hope that this won't take too long.  All missionary apartments are fitted with water filters for their health . 
I put a quilt on the frame for a small baby blanket for the sisters to help tie.  No one came and so Grandpa and I tied it.  We did a very good job.  I think it was his first time to tie a quilt and he did an outstanding job.  We can give it to a sister in the branch who is a new grandmother.  We will do another one for the branch crib when the sisters can come help.  It is hard for them to come, they have work, school, and other activities that interfere. 
Dad had an opportunity to help Andre, our driver, with a service project.  He and the missionaries went to the kindergarten run by Andre's mother-in-law (a member of the branch) to shovel snow and chip ice off the sidewalks and the roof tops of some play gazebo's.  The snow stays pretty long here and just adds up and then it becomes very heavy.  We haven't had a tremendous lot of snow but it all adds up.  He was pretty tired, but it was worth the effort.
I finished the quilt while he was shoveling and then found some information and pictures for our Sat English Club visit.  On  US holidays we are usually invited over to this club to talk about the holiday, this one being Valentines day.  We shared what we know about how it is celebrated and what is done.  With the internet they pretty well know all about it, but the first hand experience we have is pretty special to them.  They seemed interested in what we had to tell them about Valentines Day and our comments about love and family unity.  We gave them each a copy of the Liahona and explained to them that there were articles in it for children, teenagers and adults, all good information about how to live lives that are centered around showing love to those around us.  My Valentine braved slick walks to go out and buy me some valeintine candy.  I made him a large heart shaped cookie.  Out of that batch of cookie dough I made a bunch of heart shaped cookies.  I think Dad likes those cookies, even though he doesn't care for frosting he still eats them.
We hosted a meeting here for the making of a card that will show the different facets of the church
and programs we offer.  It will be on cardstock and will be professionally done.  Should be a good tool for the members who want to reach out to the community.  After the meeting they enjoyed  quite a few of the valentine cookies.
We attended the funeral of a man whose wife is a member of our branch.  It was quite different from funerals we have in the US.  We didn't know her as she has been home tending to her husband for quite a while.  We were glad to be of support to her.  There were 7 of us from the branch.
We just got this picture so here it is for all to see that Celeb was baptized!  We love you Caleb.
He had lots of friends and family come.  Wish we could have been there!  We did get
to talk to Caleb and he was a very happy young man.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Feb 14- 15, 2012 Happy Birthday Raenie and Happy Valentines Day

Here we are fully covered from foot to head!!  We are in front of a large
snowbank in back of our apartment building.  Such snow piles are
quite common here and help preserve winter and diminish the parking spaces.


Here we are quite comfy in our Sapsan seating. 
We were warm and quite surprised to learn that the
temperature outside at this very minute was -28 C

A very cold looking picture of Lower Nizhiny from the 17th floor of
a missionary apartment.  To the left in the picture is a
frozen lake used now for sledding down the banks.

We want to say Happy Birthday to Raenie. 
 We  WARMLY wish you a happy
celebration.   Love you much.
Our past Sunday was the coldest daytime temperature down to -25 as we walked to church.
 We have hunted for and acquired a new apartment for two of our sisters and they are safely tucked away in their new dwelling.  We had them with us for about a week or so and they were very fine house guests. 
They assured us they would miss all of Elder Foutz's breakfasts.  We miss the conversation and special spirit they shared with us while they were here.  They are in a good area, close to the chapel, their finding area, shopping, and mass transportation.
Yesterday was spent sharing our computer time with the elders and sisters here, and shopping for the dinner we cook for on District day.  We tried to find a piece of plumbing for the water filtration system for the sister apartment.  We spent quite a bit of time here and there trying to locate this adaptor, but to no avail.  The current thinking is that maybe we should just get a faucet that will fit the apparatus for the filter system.
Our small branch had a small turnout on Sunday, probably because it was so cold.  Those of us there were warm and enjoyed  a nice block of meetings.  Our Sunday School class had only one person but we had a good discussion.  We had  many teachers and leaders missing so following the Sunday School topic the elders used a video for the 3rd hour to explain more fully the principle of agency. 
We didn't get to teach our young lady this past week because she is out of town. 
Here is a classic Russian made car that we saw in a museum that
is shown here probably more for the benefit of our grandsons.

This is an early Russian made car and if it looks like a Ford that is because
Henry came over and helped start the factory.  Thought the grandson
would like this one too.

Here is a puppet show scene for the kids to enjoy.  The shows are put together by
the missionaries for use in the country of Belarus.  The missionaries cannot
openly teach religion so they teach health and good eating
in schools, libraries, and in good weather, they are on the streets.
 They can answer questions about the show.  Teaching is allowed
when  people initiate  the inquiry. 
                                      Happy Valenitnes Day to all.  Don't eat too much chocolate.