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.

Friday, February 10, 2012

February1- 10, 2012 Lenae's BD 02/03-1963

  Well here we are on the first day of February and soon it will be my sister Lenae's 49th birthday!!  Can't hardly believe that.  We all get older and that is better than the alternative, for most of us anyway. 
  We are into a cold spell and I guess that is expected to happen here.  We had a fairly blustery day today making the temperature seem colder.  Everyone is cold and we have turned on some space heaters in the apartment to keep the temperature up.  It stays very nice inside.  We had a bit more snow and have seen more and more of the ice chipped off the sidewalks so the walking path to church is getting more and more clear.
   The sisters apartment in the Lower Nizhniy is being vacated tomorrow.  We need to drive down there and pack them up and probably drive them to our apartment.  They are homeless for a few days anyway.  We have an apartment picked out but the owners are nervous about the church connection and will let us know sometime today if they will rent to us.  We have wanted to get them out of the apartment they are in because they commute over an hour to visit many of their appointments.  In a different location the travel could be cut to a third or more.  Housing  is one of our many responsibilities, along with checking the apartments to make sure they are clean and orderly.(We have since moved them into our apartment as the landlord declined their moving into this above mentioned apartment.)
  Last Friday we taught a young lady in our apartment.  She is a fine person and we are hoping that she will
be persuaded to see things in the light that we teach.  She seems to be very well grounded and has many friends and loves to dance and perform in Salsa, Contemporary, Latino, Ballet, and probably others too.
She has very good English and we are hoping that she will read, study, and pray.  Isn't that every missionary's wish for their investigators.  We love the people here and find them intelligent, informed, friendly, and the young kids are so kind to us.  They love to have us be included in their games at the family home evening and are very competitive, but fair.  They love to play hockey with the young missionaries, but we stay away from that.  Too many lost teeth, gouged eyes, bruised shins, etc. Although, I must say , that in the last 4 months I am not aware of any injuries.  I have a hard enough time staying on my feet as it is and do not desire to put my well being to that big a test.
    Here it is Feb 10 and we have not had much time to finish this post and will hurry to do so.  We have had considerable more cold and wind.  It has been down as low as -30C at night and the other night on the Sapsan (fast train) we saw on the digital thermometer -28 C.  We have been warm enough and if the wind whips up we will put a scarf over our faces.  We saw on the train a digital readout of the speed of the train, which we had not noticed before, that the maximum speed it arrived to was 130 km/ hr.  The maximum speed it can arrive to is 250 km/hr.  We didn't get that fast.  I think that they slow down when they come to little villages and so we could see that the train was slowing and then speeding up again all during the journey.  We had another overnight journey too.  The rooms,called coupe,were dark enough but quite warm.  At least we can lay down and stretch out. 
    We had great meetings in Moscow and felt quite motivated and ready to go to work again.  We met Elder Bennett from the 2nd quorum of 70 who is a very good motivator and speaker.  He loves the Lord and over and over again assured us of his and the prophets love.  We felt that too.  Dad and I had the unique opportunity to go for a tour of Nizhniy with our driver and Elder and Sister Bennett.  We saw the kremlin, a good overview of the two rivesr and the lower city, and saw the older part of the upper part of Nizhniy.  We stayed in the upper part on the tour because it is more colorful and the lower part is industrial with not so many sites to look at.
   We have recently had the good fortune to meet a kind couple who are adopting two special needs kids from here and one other city nearby.  This couple are very special to reach out to a select part of the children waiting to be adopted who have health disabilities.  Their two year old is needing almost immediate surgery for heart issues and will soon be in the USA to receive this treatment.  The five year old also has heart defects and will need some supervision but as he has had surgery his need is not nearly so critical.   They have all the clearances to adopt but have to endure a 30 day wait.  So, as they have 3 children in Florida, they have returned home and will come back in March to finish the paperwork, visas, and passports and then take formal custody and return to the states.
   We are teaching again tonight, have a missionary planning meeting this afternoon, have a meeting with the landlord of the new apartment for the sister missionaries later.  So will need to finish this and get going.  I'll try to affix some photos at the end of this.
Babushka Ina who just broke her arm.  Sweet small lady
who loves the Gospel and her missionaries. 

Babushka Ina's living room, really her bedroom too.  She has only the one room
to herself and shares the bathroom and kitchen with a 2nd and maybe 3rd

A famous Russian scene in the art museum in Moscow.  Features
the 3 bogatera.  They are heros in Russian folk tales.

Christmas day 2011 with Johnson, Kenneth, and Joseph.  We really
had a great time.

This is the Sapsan train.  The letters you see on the side say it in Russian.

Here we are in our winter gear in front of our Apartment building.  Don't we
look like natives?
   A thought; when all is said and done, at the end of our lives, the most important thing for us to report to the Savior of the world is the relationship with our spouse, the relationship with our family, our endurance in doing good, and our personal repentance and desire to do the Lord's will.  Will we be perfect, of course not, but we can move that direction, more each day we hope.  The Lord is not so concerned as to where in the journey to perfection we are, but the direction we are heading.  Are we on the Lord's errand or are we sidtracked somewhere or turned around and heading somewhere else.  The Lord bless you all, know that we as grandparents love you grandchildren, and as parents we love you children (including the in-laws) , and as brothers, sisters, friends and family we love you all too.  We love you and miss you and pray the Lord be with you all.