Happy birthday to my sister Lenae, who turned 50. Can't believe that she has reached that milestone.
The weather is absolutely wonderful for winter in Russia. We still have snow, but it was forcasted to be 2 degrees above 0 Celsius today that would be about 37 F. We didn't have that little pause in the freeze last year. The snow piled upon snow last year and there was ice under it all winter. This year is so nice with not near the danger of falling that we experienced before. Usually February is a very cold month, but we realize that there is still much of February left.
We had a combined zone conference in Moscow this past Friday. It was wonderful to see everyone, but more important to feel the spirit in such strength. We feel blessed to be able to help with the work of the Lord in this part of His vineyard. It is a bit of a trip for us as it lasts 24 hours, and for some of the missionaries some it is even longer. We have an overnight train ride which isn't always a good sleep, but we manage to get some rest most of the trips. The old song with the lyrics that go: 'rock'n, roll'n, ride'n all along the way, all bound for morning town, many miles away" describes perfectly the ride we have. I used to sing that song to my kids who probably don't remember it, but it was a good as a lullaby.
The days are passing quickly and we are trying to make use of our days by inviting some of the people who have had an impact on us while we are here, to have dinner with us. It is a wonderful time to spend with them alone and to get to know them on more of a personal level.
This next week is transfers, the last one we will witness, and we are losing just one young missionary, who will go to Zaleningrad (near Moscow) and another Elder will take his place here. We will miss him as we miss all who leave, but it gives us opportunity to meet other missionaries.
This last week we visited 2 babushka's who are often home bound in the winter due to the difficulty of walking to the bus on the snow and ice. One is 92 years old and is sharp as a tack. She knows everything almost before we do!! She still hears from several missionaries who have gone back home to USA. She told us that she is popular in the US with her missionaries! We do love her and are glad for the care she receives from the other members of the church. One little sister couldn't afford another telephone when hers quit working, so the branch (local church) paid for another one for her. The Russian saints have trials that we can't even imagine, yet they are happy and manage to live a comfortable, joyful, and meaningful life. God bless all these wonderful people.
There were 2 new people who attended church today and they were delightful to have with us. They are from Nigeria and Namibia. We have been blessed to meet many Africans, probably from 10 or so countries.