Tuesday, April 24, 2012

GIDEON PAUL FOUTZ turns 2 April 20, 2012

We love you Gideon and hope that you had a good birthday.  Miss you lots and lots, we know that you are surrounded by lots of love, we wish we could be there with you. 

Monday, April 23, 2012


I am surprised that I haven't written for so long.  I wanted to wish Hannie and Hyrum a happy birthday on the 9th and 10th.  We did get to talk on the phone to both and it was good to hear how they were celebrating their birthdays.  Hannie was working, and Hyrum took the day off school to celebrate and to be with his friend who was visiting from Canada.  Anyway here is another HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!  We love you both.

Since our last post we have pictures of our grandson, Coleson Paul Foutz.
He shares the name Paul with his cousin Gideon Paul Foutz who is two years older.  They both share the name with my father Wayne Paul Gaertner who died in 1980. 

Our spring has finally sprung!!  The first two days were even summery, mildly humid and warm into the night.  We have since then had more springlike weather, but once the weather broke, it has never turned to freezing in the night.  The nights continue to get shorter and shorter.  We have it fairly light now until 8:30 PM and the sun rises around 6:00 AM  a big change from last December when we had only about 9 hours of light.  We walk to church in the light both ways all evidence of ice is gone. We still see piles of snow around in corners where the sun never shines that still are slowly melting.  It does feel good to have it sunny again.

We have been involved in teaching some of our people and it feels so good.  We sometimes have people who speak English and we need no translation, but most of the time that is not the case.  We have told
the missionaries that anytime they want to come to have a home cooked meal, just bring someone over whom they are teaching.  So last night we had the elders and a young man over who is very interested in listening.  He is a good young man. We were involved in as much as we could be.  He said he liked my first attempt at borscht (Russian soup with beets).  We liked it and he said it tasted like it might be american style.  So far I haven't had any luck to get the ladies to share with me their recipes.  Maybe later.  Mine didn't stay very red.  He is actually a Ukrainian and misses his really red Ukrainian borscht.  He didn't offer to teach me, don't know if he knows how to make it.

Since last writing we have had a visit from President and Sister Woolley.  That weekeend President called our driver Andrey as the new branch president.  He will be a very good one, and his wife, Olga, will be a great support.  They both help us a tremendous amount.   We are working with Olga, to do some humanitarian work here.  It will take time, but we feel confident that we have some good projects. While the Woolleys were here we visited Gorodyets with them.  They got to see 2 museums and lots of the countryside.  It was good to be with them again.  It will be good to go there again when the trees are in full leaf, and the flowers are blooming.  It is a pretty little town. 

We continue to visit both branches, and they are doing well.  We have one more baptism scheduled and maybe  another one soon after.  The branch president in the lower branch and his wife are expecting their first child, a girl, in the middle of July.  They are so happy, it is fun to watch them. 

It was good to get a whole envelope of letters from our empty nesters group in South Jordan.  What fun it was to get them and we enjoyed every one.  Thank you so much Joe for heading up that project for us.  Write again anytime!!!  We can get letters, and cards with envelopes through the following address:  Elder Jerry and Linda Foutz, Russia Moscow West Mission, Muravskaya Street,  Bldg. 1  Floor 3,  Moscow  125310  Russia.  This requires overseas postage.  If you write on a single page, writing only on the front, (NO ENVELOPE) then fold it in thirds, taping the two shorter ends,  and put the address on the back, you can send this in the pouch for regular mail price at the following address:  Elder Jerry and Linda Foutz,  Russia Moscow West Mission,  POB 30150 Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150.

Someone asked if we are affected by the mission boundry reassignment in the Moscow Mission and the answer is yes.  We will be part of the Moscow Mission as of July 1 this year.  Our mission president will be going home after a 3 year assignment and the present Moscow mission president will be taking the orphan groups in Russia over. Our mission is presently made of groups in Russia, Belarus, and Kazahkstan.   I don't know if that spelling is right the way they spell it here is different because of the cyrillic alphabet.  Anyway, we will be one of the furtherest outlying groups in the Russia Moscow Mission

We have ventured out a bit more since we don't have to watch for ice and it is fun to see the architecture on the buildings.  We were always watching for the ice and didn't look up that much. 

We are slowly getting a bit more of the language, it is a difficult one in which you have to know parts of speech and then rearrange the words to work better in the language.  I haven't done much with grammar, I am struggeling just with memorizing sentences for which the grammar is already situated.  There is a specific accent on each word and it does matter which vowel you accent!!  Since the written Russian doesn't include the accent marks you have to get pretty comfortable with the language to read out loud!  We have a teacher who comes over once a week and struggles with us to help in this matter.  Oleg is very patient but insists that we do it right and there is one sound that I haven't mastered yet, it is written as 'bl' but it doesn't sound like it is written. It is a cross between 'ee' and 'uy' and is more gutteral than we are used to.  He just shakes his head and then is surprised if I get it close, but of course I can never repeat that one time it is close!!  Oleg is a young college student, not a member, but loves to serve others.  He likes to spend time with us speaking english to improve his skills.  He is scheduled to go to Texas this summer on a work permit for about three months.  He is real excited to go to the U.S. and hopes he will be understood.  His english is pretty good and he won't have any real problems communicating.  We hope he gets more serious about the church.

Oleg is going to Galveston, Texas, so we got on line and played him Glenn Campbells version of Galveston!  I don't know if he liked it or not but now he knows a bit about Galveston fame. 

Transfers were this last week and one of our sister missionaries completed her mission and returned to St. George, Utah.  We have a new Elder from Shelley, Idaho, a sister missionary who will serve 2 weeks,  and Sister Francom, who was here before has returned to finish the last six weeks of her mission here.

We are doing well and feel blessed to be here.   

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Welcome to our new little Coleson Foutz!! April 5, 2012

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.