Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gorky Square and Sapsan Train

Lights in Gorky Square 20-11-12

Lights on Gorky Square 2011-12

Lights on Gorky Square 2011-12

Elder Foutz in front of the Sapsan Train. The letters that look like
 'cancah' are really Sapsan in Russian!

Sister Foutz in Ukraine Keiv Airport Jan 2012
 keeping warm.

Sapsan engine and cars in Moscow 2011

Thursday, January 26, 2012

25 Jan 2012

     Hey everyone!  It is getting colder but we are managing just fine.  We senior folks don't get out in it that much and we bundle up really well. It has been around -10 thru -20 at night.  We have a porch outside the office and keep some extra food items in there and a few things have been freezing.  We try to keep a watch on the liquids and keep them some place else.
Jerry has been a companion to one of the elders here in the city because his companion went home.  He actually went home a few days over his two year committment but not in sinc with the rest of the transfers. We thought that there was a young man from another city who would come and be with him but that didn't work out.  He is staying here with us for two days while one of the young elders here travels to another city to work.  The other elder here is traveling to Ukraine for his visa renewal.  After his visa renewal he will travel back here with his own new companion and a new one for our elder here.
     This past week we have had our english club and did a demo about time using the jar with large rocks, gravel, and sand in it.  We then observed that at last it could hold some water.  We talked about how it would be impossibe to fit the largest things in unless we fit them in first.  We can't be successful unless we do the most important things first, then fit in between those the good but not vital things and then do the other things and so forth.  All the people seemed to like the message and one asked us to please let him have a copy of the message. We have been asked to speak at another english club meeting here in the city in February about Valentines day and traditions in the USA.
     Some other activities during the past couple of weeks include, helping out a couple who are here from Florida to adopt two small children with special needs, attending the games night with the youth and family home evening. 
We visited a young woman who is not currently attending church, hoping that she will start up again. She has lost contact with the missionary who baptized her back in 1994, and we hope to help her.  Her information was on a cell phone that was lost or stolen and she is now moved and has a new phone number.  I went to a meeting with some of the sisters and we decorated envelopes and paper to be used for invitations for a celebration of women that is pretty important in Russia. Linda's artistic endeavors were pretty sad, but not that much different from everyone else's.  Jerry continues to help with the apartment remodel with Jenya, on occassion as time allows. 
     Linda was asked to speak on Sunday for about 10 minutes.  That is a talk of about 5 minutes length for me and 5 minutes for the translater.  I find it more difficult to do a good 5 minute talk than one that is longer.  You really need to come to the point and then make it and close. The talk was on charity, who better to talk about that subject than Sister Foutz!  She did a great job.  The young women in the branch that Linda had the sisters over to tie a quilt for had her baby monday and is doing well, as is the baby.  She loves the quilt. 
     Jerry was asked by the Mission President to get the leadership of the two branches together for a meeting to discuss the statistics and see how we can improve.  In 2011 the average Sacrament meeting attendance percentage was almost half what it was in 1999.  It was an eye opener for the priesthood leaders.  The purpose of the meeting was to make them aware and get them committed to a plan of action to move the work forward.  They committed to do that and I think we will see some improvement.  One of the problems is that the membership records are in bad shape.  There are many that are still on the rolls but not here any longer or have died.
     We are doing well and thank the Lord for His patience with us and this opportunity.  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jan 19 2012; Alayna is 1

So far we have missed the birthdays of our grandchildren Stan who turned 5 on the 18 Oct, Dallin who turned 6 on 19 Oct, Sierra who turned 8 on 24 Oct, Ruby who turned 7 on 24 Nov, CJ who turned 5 on 28 Nov, William who turned 4 on 17  Dec, Andrew who turned 10 on 21 Dec, Caleb who turned 8 on 1 Jan and then was baptized on the 7th, Emma who turned 7 on 11 Jan and  Alayna who turned 1 on 19 Jan (today).
I think we have managed to at least talk to the parents and let them all know that we miss them and are so glad for their progress.  We wish Happy Birthday to all. Alayna has taken to walking behind her little push toy and her Mom says she can walk anywhere.  She just holds onto the handle and it balances her.  She has even taken two steps on her own so far.   Way to go Alayna.  Stan is excelling in his preschool and the teachers say he should skip preschool next year and go right into Kindergarten.  We shall see how that goes.  All the grandchildren are of course: smart, cute, sweet, handsome, beautiful, fun, intelligent, clean, thrifty, brave, and reverant.  I'll stop there but could go on as of course all grandmas think the same about their grandchildren. 
    A little about us here in Russia.  We have received letters of Christmas greetings from our home ward in South Jordan and was so good to hear from all of them.  Thanks to Bro Reed Nelson for forwarding them on to us.  We miss our ward and hope all are doing well.  For the first time in our 2 missions I have a visiting teacher, Jennifer Walquist!  She e-mails and I appreciate hearing about her and the encouragement she provides.   I guess now we need a home teacher who e-mails too!!
    The ideas as to how to serve are coming to us slowly.  We do appreciate the help of the Lord in reaching out to our friends with whom we can converse only very little.  They are great people here and just need a little encouragement and direction.  We will be busy implementing our various activities.  Our best bet is to go slowly and let them catch the vision.  Don't want to overwhelm them in any way.
    We still have snow and got more last night.  The temperature is dropping but so far not significantly.  We still sleep with the window open at night because that is they only way to control the heat in the apt.  We do keep plenty warm. 
   A few ladies and 2 missionaries came over to our apt and we tied a baby quilt for a lady who is due soon.  We also made no-bake cookies and it was fun teaching.  They enjoyed learning about the no bake technique.  I have been called as a counselor in Relief Society.  They can't speak more than 10 words of English and i can't speak more than 10 words of Russian it will be a fun exp.  Dad spoke in church and did a good job with the help of a translator. 
    Missionary work has been slow as the new year celebration is continuing.  School is out and the banks were even closed from Dec 30 thru 10 Jan!  Things are beginning to come to life again.  Today is a holiday and is celebrated by the state church as the day of the baptism of John the Baptist.
   We continue to do weekly meals for the 8 missionaries and the two of us couples each week.  The other couple help out so it isn't all on us alone.  We roasted 3 chickens yesterday and did vegetables in the crock pot and had dressing and gravy and thanks to someone who mailed us jello we had a jello fruit salad.  They thought it was thanksgiving and really enjoyed the meal.  Not much left over to clean up. 

    We continue to feel the hand of the Lord in our work and know that He is interested in what we do and are thankful for that. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Trip to Moscow and Ukraine

January 9, 2012

We had a great trip to Moscow for our annual Mission Christmas party.  We had a great time visiting with the other senior couple missionaries who serve here in Russia Moscow West Mission (RMWM) or MWM).  We are serving far from each other and see each other only when we all go to Moscow.  However our little district has 2 couples the only city that does.  We have two branches, we prosylete they are working with the youth. 
Our trip to Moscow began at 11:30 in the evening in a sleeper car.  We did manage to sleep some.  Up by 6:20 AM to leave the train by 7AM.  We caught the Metro and went almost as far south as one line went.  We then walked about 1 mile or so to the chapel.  We had good food, lots of visiting, a game for the young missionaries, a movie, and skits.  We left with the office couple and settled in for a short night.  We made it fine to the airport  and after some help we found where to go.  After walking about a mile we found the gate. We made it into Ukraine just fine.  We had a bit of a wait for our return ticket but all was good.  Our plane waited for a connecting flight that had about 20 passengers to join us.  We got to Moscow just fine but about 40 minutes late.  We had some good coaching so we were somewhat prepared from here.  We found the marshrutka to the aeroexpress.  Luckily the marshrutka let us off at the door of the aeroexpress office.  We bought tickets and boarded for about a 30 minute ride to the metro.  We decided to follow the crowd to find the metro. It is a bit daunting for us but we just walked in the only direction we could go and found the escalator going about 3 stories down. 
Right in front of us was the line we needed and it went right to our stop in about 11 minutes.  We found our Sapsan (fast train) station and they were just boarding.  All in all it turned out good and we felt blessed to manage through a lot of new territory in such a smooth way.  
We are back to our routine and are prepared to cook for the missionaries on Wed. We have apartment checks tomorrow (Tue) and some appointments after that.  All is good (AG).  

All of the Russian missionaries are limited to a 3 month visa.  Each 90 days We leave the country, get the visa stamped and come back and start the process over again. To be legal in the country you have to have a passport, a current visa, a commuting paper, and a community paper.  All except the passport are only valid for the period of 3 months.  So we leave and come back all in the same day just to renew the visa.  When we return we see our person who takes our passport with current visa to get us the community paper.  She returns it to us and we are legal.  While she has our things we have a copy of our passport and visa and the flight coupon from our flight into country.  That makes us legal inbetween time. 

 we are the couple who prosylete and the other couple here do CES or in other words working with the youth.  They are a great couple and we really like them.  They are from Joseph, UT.  We had never heard of Joseph before, just a little place not far from I-70 at Cove Fort.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

GAZ Factory

We toured the GAZ car factory in Dec and this is a picture of the more recent cars made with the GAZ model called Volga.  They stopped making the Volga 2 years ago.  They make tractors, trucks, and SUV's now.

This is an older GAZ model car.  It looks like an old Ford because Henry Ford came over here in 1929 and helped start a car factory.  They started rolling off the line in 1932 if I remember right.  The original cars all looked like the Ford models.  During WWII  they made tanks, planes, and other war implements and the factory was bombed several times.
They still find scrapnel of various sizes even now on the grounds, especially when digging for expansions.