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.