Friday, December 9, 2011

Beautiful hand work

A beautiful drink dispenser.   All hand painted work!
This is done at the doll factory as well.

The finished product

Dad said I should have included pictures of
finished dolls.  Here is a selection
of the Christmas variety.
A shot of several finished dolls.

A doll that is made for the 2014 olympics.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Decorations

Our Christmas tree, about 4 feet tall.  All white
and silver decorations.

Small 10 inch Christmas tree we purchased
at the doll factory.  The base comes off
and the center is hollow so could hold a small gift.

A view of our large dining table and lights above the south facing window.

This is the west facing window with lights and greenery.
 We are doing well, and have had some success in teaching and visiting with some members.
As we remember whose errand we are on we quietly remember His birthday.  We are so
blessed with all that are around us and feel to give thanks for all. 
So far the weather is holding out never been below -12C and usually around +3 to around 0C so
can't complain.  We still have snow on the ground, but it has been melting.  The roads are mostly
clear and most sidewalks are free of the ice and snow buildup. 
We haven't seen the sun nor any blue sky for weeks, but it doesn't seem to bother us.  We have noticed that
we have pretty short days.  We don't get any light outside until about 9AM and then it is dark by 4:30PM.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tour of the Martrushka doll factory Thursday 1 Dec 2011

A tray full of little fat men that I really liked.

A close up of a worker smoothing up a swan figurine.

Factory floor, machinery and wood materials in back.

Starsheena Foutz standing in front of the massive amount of wood amased for the factory work.

Not only do they produce the dolls but this beautiful close up of metal work and the detailed painting
The master painters receive recognition and good pay and an apartment for their work.

Selection of the many dolls that are made.  We saw that the artist will paint one
part of the doll and then pass it on to another artist.  Here she is painting
the blue clothing.
We enjoyed our tour very much.  We were wanting more time in the factory than we got.  Dad especially wanted to spend time there, but all was fine.  We saw all kinds of items they make and some
of it takes weeks to paint I am sure.
We arranged to have lunch at the factory cafeteria and they had a special room set up for us and had a very good menu.  The bus ride out there was about 1 1/2 hours north of here.  Saw some beautiful scenery much
like we would see in the mountains.  Lots of snow, evergreens along the road, and pretty little houses, too.
We took all the elders and sisters who serve here with us and by the way it was our p-day so no time lost
We find people here curious about our home in Utah and about our seemingly large family.  We take our picture
book with us occassionally and show off the family.  We don't like to talk about our home, as there is nothing even remotely like it here.  No grassy areas around apts, and the apts are small and not in best
condition due to lack of funds to repair or remodel.  Some families have only 1 bedroom or no bedrooms, they sleep in the living room.  Beds are often hard and not many have more than a stuffed couch in the living room if that.  The people are happy and feel grateful for what they have.  It makes me ever grateful for all I have and the
restored gospel on top of it all. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Our apartment and some activities

I have taken a few pictures of our apartment. It is actually pretty nice compared to a lot
around here.  We are safe, happy, and clean.  The apt is warm so far, but it hasn't gotten too
cold yet.  The lowest, I believe, will be tonight at -12 C.  If I figured it right that is about 10 F.
 So it's cold, but when we think of the -20 or lower, then it isn't so bad.  They tell us those lower temperatures are coming. We have some snow and so far ever since it fell it has stayed. 
There is about 6 or 7 inches on the ground in places.  The sidewalks are mostly swept off
with only a sheet of ice in places, and snow in others.  In the driveways and other places
 not driven on or walked on so much the snow is deeper.
Our dresser and bed.

Elder Foutz ironing in the living room.  You see
the pictures of members of our zone on the left
bulletin board.

Kitchen stove and cupboards.  Fridge is on the right.
Pink is the hand towel in front of oven.

Kitchen from the other end.  Table and drinking water with
the cupboard on right for extra storage.
We had a great experience this evening with Sister Galena who is a new member.
She has really been blessed with the spirit and has tremendous potential.  We
are truly blessed toteach her. 
The branch want us to teach cub scouts, family history, visit the
branch members, teach piano, and I don't know how many more things. 
The branch is in need of lots of help
and they are worthy of more than we can give.
We also helped Sister Ireena clean her new apartment that her family will move
 into pretty soon.  It is in sad shape.  Our apartment looks like Eden in comparison.
 Sometimes we don't realize our blessings until we see someone else in worse
 circumstances.  There are many in that situation here.  We are very blessed and
have much to be thankful for during this thanksgiving season. 
Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A journal entry

I have a little time today to write.  It is our preparation day but still have many things to do. I am going shopping with the sisters to find some boots for one of them.  They don't have that much money with them, so I go to pay and then in 3 days the reimbursement will come in from Moscow.   
Jerry will go to one of the investigators to help him in his apartment remodel.  He loves to help, and to get out to do something physical.
We had a great street contacting activity on Sunday afternoon.  We were actually asked to leave one area, because we didn't have the paper that would give permission for the activity.  We had actually tried to find out if the activity were permitted in this area, and I guess no one really knew what was permitted.  Well, we found out!  Not a bad thing, the man who related the news told us kindly, and we left.  We travelled on the subway (metro) for a few stops and then got on a rickety old tram vi.  I don't know exactly how old the trams are but I think they have been around since the 40's!  It is an electric trolly car.  We had among the 8 of us in the group, 4 plastic table tops and the 4 legs for each of the tables, some Books of Mormon and pamphlets, some paper to put over the tables, so we each had something to carry.  Jerry was carrying a plastic bag with 4 or 6 of the table legs and the bag developed a hole in the bottom.
I need to learn how to blog better.  This picture was supposed to be added at the end of the dialog.
It is a picture of our group on the first full day in Nizhniy.  The mission president and his wife are seated by us. 
Seated on the ends of the couch are the sisters we worked with until the one on the far right,  departed for another assignment.
Sister Lovett is center in white shirt and her husband is 2nd from right on the back row.  We replaced them here.  Sister Gay is behind Jerry and me and her husband is 1st on the right, back row.  The tallest elder 6'7" in back and his comp on his left are still here,  and only one of the other elders are still here. 
The table legs started sliding out the bottom of the bag, so he stooped over to pick them up and legs start coming out of the top of the bag.  We had table legs going every direction and I got to giggling about it, and so did the man who was sitting behind me.  The tram is a fairly jerky ride and Jerry wasn't seated.  So he was trying to keep from falling, and filling up the bag which kept emptying.  The man offered Jerry a seat so he could contain those table legs and as soon as the man stood up, a woman got on the tram and very smoothly sat in the seat just vacated!!    I would have helped Jerry with those legs but he was standing right by me and at times half sitting in my lap as the tram was josteling us around.  Jerry gave the helpful man one of our cards and we got off the tram with all table legs in tow!!  The change in location lost us an hour of light.  We found a good place to contact, and a few stopped to talk to us.  It got so cold that people were just hurrying on to get to their destinations.  It made a difference when the sun went down. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pictures from Russia

Moscow Red Square Oct 11

MTC map showing Nizhniy

View from our apartment office window

Detail on building across from our apartment bedroom window.

Looking out apartment living room window.

Elder and Sister Foutz, Elder and Sister Lovett, Elder and Sister Gay
along with Kenneth, Stanisloff and  Fidel,  university students from
Africa who joined the church while here.  They had just hosted
an African culture night activity.

On our way to Nizhniy we stopped by this Russian Orthodox
church that was built around 1170 AD.

President and Sister Woolley in front of another
old Russian church built in 1170 AD.  We
were on our way to Nizhniy. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Journal Entry

Here we are in Russia and since this is not a p-day this will be short.
We are 11 hours ahead of Mountain Standard Time.
We have been welcomed and loved into the branch where
we go to church and the missionary district where we serve with the missionaries.
There are 4 young elders, 2 sisters, and one other couple with us. 
We are in Nizhniy (rhymes with dish knee) and Novgorod which
sounds like Nov (long O) gor (like gore) and od which is like odd.
There are about 3 million people here and it seems to me like most live in apartments.
There are some single family homes, but they are usually outside  the city.
The sky is mostly grey and don't see the sun much.  The city is busy
with many buses, trams, subways, motor cars, and a few motor bikes.
Lots of pedestrians.  We love it here and are excited to really get busy.
Learning Russian is another thing but slowly it is starting to come.
Today I learned to say Thanksgiving Day---Dien Blogodarna. If
I actually wrote that in Russian it wouldn't look like anything any of
us are used to seeing.  We can read Russian, very s-l-o-w-l-y.  We
almost never get the accent right, but hey, you have to start somewhere.
Next time I promise pictures.  Signing off at 22:10 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

WIFI... finally!

Well after about one month living here we finally got our wifi up and running. 
 We need to shop today.  We shop often because we have so little fridge space, and we cook
for 10 of us every week.  Time wise it takes a bit of time to find the items we need
for our use. 
We are finding that it is okay to send packages.  So we might want a package of
items that we can't get here.  I was thinking of several things. However packages
are expensive to mail so I won't overdo it.   Love you all and know that we are fine, safe (behind
three locks and two doors, one of them is a big thick steel door)  people have to
buzz to get into the building too.  It is nice too, because they have to buzz our apt, then
a camera and sound system is activated and we can see who is there and talk to them
and if we want, we can open the door. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011


  Just wanted you all to know that we are thinking of you and,
before Andrey comes to get his little usb thing-a-majinger for
internet, I will give an update.
We are getting into the missionary mode.  Although the past 3
weeks has required us to spend a lot of time setting up, shopping,
waiting in line (at the grocery store, in traffic, for the internet
doctors to come and fix it)  and getting adjusted to the schedule, it
is all worth it.  I tried to start a full day of wash today but the water
(did I say waiting for water to come on again, waiting for the piano tuner, and
waiting for the washing maching repair man) was on for only one load.
We are in the water again but it turned really red so had to flush
everything out good, then will start another load.  I need to start
the jello salad for tomorrow's district meeting.  The missionaries here
don't get invited out much at all, so the tradition is for the senior couples
to make a nice meal in conjunction with the district meeting.  Tomorrow
while you all are sleeping, we will be having our meal of scalloped potatoes
with cheese and ham, along with some peas and corn and some jello
with fruit.  The other couple will bring homemade rolls or bread and
some kind of desert.  It works out just fine.
We look forward to having the missionaries here in our home.  There are
only 6 here and then the two couples.
I may have mentioned that Dad has been busy building and installing shelves
in the bedroom closet that was just a bare closet with two small shelves up high
in a small alcove of the closet and then the wider part of the closet sported one
high shelf.  Now we have about 6 or 8 new shelves.  He was really happy
to be working with wood, saw, hammer, screws, and getting into all that
We have been getting up at 6:30 and going to bed by 10:30 and studying the scriptures
for an hour, then companion study for an hour, and than language study for an
hour or so.  I am reading the book of mormon in Russian.  That is probably a stretch since
I don't know what I'm reading, nor do i know if I am pronouncing it right, but I'm doing
it anyway.  i do recognize a word once in a while.
Here is a word for the grandkids :  ykcyc pronounced ook soos  means vinegar!!  Isn't Russian easy!!!
We are having a good time, keeping our covenants, and trying to be of help to others.
More later...
  Thanks to you all for your prayers.  We need them, and ours go out to you too. 
Love you all so much.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

preparing for the change

Soon we will be leaving this chaos behind for 18 months,

and, establishing a temporary life for ourselves here. We promise to keep you in the loop.

So, peek in on us here, and you can find out what it's like for us to be temporary russians.