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.