Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday - Walk Around Town

Kathy and I had a good day today inspecting the missionary apartments, taking the metro across town to the institute building and then walking back to the apartment. It snowed lightly on us all day, but the walking was great to be outdoors.  We walked through downtown St. Petersburg and it is like walking in the high rent district of any big city. Our camera ran out of battery so we didn't get any good pictures of downtown, but we got a couple by our apartment. We will get some more downtown pictures next week.  Downtown there were a lot of very nice stores, restaurants and nicely dressed Russians walking the streets. They even wear short skirts in the cold winter months with high heel shoes.  

We met a couple of the older senior couples and they showed us around the town, Notice the Russian spelling of Subway on the left in the picture. We will need to get some maps so we don't get totally lost or turned around in the future. We have to take the metro out to the institute (45min) from our house on Wednesday to work with some of the youth.  We plan to go over a little early and just study. I attached a couple of pictures. 

Many of you have asked about a typical day in our lives on a mission:
1) Wake around 6:30am (although we did sleep until 7 one day because we still aren't sleeping well at night)
2) Exercise, eat, shower, gospel study and language study until 10:00
3) Work with administering the affairs of the missionaries from 10 - 7
4) Dinner at 7-7:30
5) Language study and write in journal until 9 or 10.

We take a lot of phone calls on our cell phones from the missionaries in the mornings and evenings so it is busy all day long.  On Saturdays we will have some free time to do our laundry, shopping and preparation for the next week and Sunday will be mostly gospel study and working with the youth.  It is our goal to set aside one evening a week and have a date night and walk around the city.  There is so much to see, but it takes 30 to 90 minutes to walk to anywhere so it will limit our site seeing until we get the long nights of summer.  We are really enjoying the mission team we work with here in St. Petersburg and the mission president and his young assistants are awesome. The couple that is training us have also been wonderful and patient. I look forward to hearing from all of you. I testify that this work is true, that Joseph Smith restored the gospel, that Thomas Monson is our modern day Prophet and that Jesus died for our sins.  With this knowledge and through our works we know that we can live together again. Love Mom and Dad.

P.S. Love the missionaries if they ever stop over, make them some dinner and think of us here in Russia :-)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thursday, January 23, 2014 – On the Ground in Russia

Kathy and I are officially on the ground in Russia and in a temporary studio apartment. The apartments are clean and very close to the mission office, which is nice. The plane ride was very long and neither one of us slept very well.  We have also had a hard time adjusting to the time difference of the 11 hours.  The first day we arrived at 2:30, our mission president , about 4 missionaries and the office couple picked us and two new missionaries up from the airport. One sister missionary, was fresh out of the Missionary Training Center and the other missionary, was returning from the states where he was treated for Type 1 diabetes.  

He has already served 16 months of his mission and then got Diabetes. He returned home to learn how to administer insulin and live with Type 1 and then he returned.  They are both awesome missionaries and it was fun travelling with them.

We have 58 full time young men and women missionaries in our Russia, St. Petersburg mission along with three senior couples. Kathy and I will be working closely with the mission president in the office and also proselyting with the missionaries in the evenings and on the weekends. He talked to us yesterday about working with our local Ward (congregation) in the young mens and womens programs.  We look forward to working with the Russian youth attending church in Russia.  Some of them travel over 1.5 miles each Sunday to attend church and it will be good to get to know them.  We still feel like a deer in the headlights, as people are talking, but we don’t understand them J. We get a few words that we have learned, but need to continue our diligent studies of the language.

We had missionary transfers yesterday. Every 6 weeks the mission president works with his assistants to determine what changes they need to make in the missionary companionship's.
When  missionary changes areas or companions this is called a transfer.  Each missionary may changes companionships 6 – 9 times during their mission. It was fun because each of the missionaries receiving a transfer met in the mission office yesterday for a meeting. We sung songs in Russian, did the prayers in Russian and then we held the meetings and training in English. I think they did that for our benefit. It is amazing to see these young men and women serving the lord and talking the Russian language. It really touched my soul and made me understand why I am serving to support their efforts.  There were 3 missionaries who had finished their mission and were going home and it was fun to shake their hands and tell them how proud we are of them.  We haven’t had any time yet to take any pictures, but I included some of our apartment.  I will take some pictures when we go shopping this weekend for groceries, as we can only live on peanut butter sandwiches for so long. Ha Ha.

We love you all very much and look forward to staying in touch. Once we get internet in our apartment in the next several weeks we will be able to send more e-mails.  Right now the only access we have is at the office and we have been very busy in training while we are there. I hope to be able to post this blog on my lunch hour today so you don’t think we have forgotten our wonderful friends back in the states.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is true! We know that our heavenly father loves us and that his son Jesus Christ is our Savior.  Joseph smith was a Prophet of god and restored the church on this earth. The Book of Mormon is a wonderful second testament of Christ and follows a thousand year journey of the saints as they left Jerusalem in 600BC, bear record of his visit to the Americas after his resurrection and then followed the people until 400AD.  We are so thankful for the opportunity to serve the lord and send our love to each of you.  Love Bob and Kathy Carter. 

Monday, January 20, 2014



We finished our Missionary Training Center (MTC) experience on Friday and had the wonderful opportunity to spend some time with the family on Saturday and Sunday, before getting on a plane this morning at 8:41 am to fly to St. Petersburg Russia.  It was sooooo hard to say goodbye to our family and especially to our two beautiful granddaughters.  We had the opportunity to attend the temple together as a family on Saturday and realized how much we look forward to spending eternity with our kids!  We love to laugh with them and definitely spent some time this weekend crying with them, with the thought of our departure. Kathy and I had the opportunity to bear testimony to the kids and my Dad Sunday evening, hear thoughts from the kids and kneel in prayer together.
One thing we will miss in Russia is sitting around with the family eating snacks, playing games and watching sports. We were glad to see the Seahawks and Denver win their divisions and it should be an awesome Super Bowl.  We look forward to an update from the kids on the outcome and I am sure they will have a spectacular super bowl party. It will be a fun super bowl party, as some will be cheering for the Bronco (especially my sister Cindy and her family) and some for the Seahawks (Taylor, Brandon, Shawn and  ???, because Krista was wearing a Bronco’s jersey J).

We will definitely miss our beautiful dog max and my wonderful father, but we left them in very good hands with Krista, Taylor and the other kids. The temperatures in Russia are getting down near zero and the hours of daylight are still dropping, but Kathy and I plan to bring a light to Russia with our laughter and smiles.  Kathy will also have me to keep her warm on those cold Russian nights J. Keep us in your prayers and we will keep you in ours.  Love Elder and Sister Carter

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Day 4 Amazing Missionary Training Center (MTC)

This week has been amazing and an opportunity to
learn spiritual truths and life skills in communication, trust and love. On Tuesday we had the opportunity to have Elder Bednar, one of the 12 apostles,  come and speak to all the missionaries. It was an amazing experience to see him in a small setting and have him laugh, teach and challenge us as individuals and missionaries.  Kathy and I have already begun to grow closer together, even after 30 years of marriage. We are learning how to lovingly teach together and share the opportunities to speak and listen to people interested in the gospel message.  The picture on the right is several other senior missionary couples we have shared this initial training time.  They are an amazing group and brought many smiles to our faces.

Kathy and I are also trying to ensure we keep our physical strength while serving our mission. We have woken up as early as 4:45 am to run 40 to 60 minutes each day.  We finish our MTC experience tomorrow and then return home for 2 days to pack prior to getting on the flight to Russia. It will be fun to share the experience this weekend with our children and also ask for their advice and input.

We have missed our friends and family, but are finally ready to leave for St. Petersburg on Monday morning and serve the wonderful people of Russia. We have all of you in our prayers and hope you take the time to read the Book of Mormon to really understand the message that we are taking to the world.  If you don’t have a Book of Mormon you can go to Sorry I don’t have many pictures to include with this post, but we have mainly been in classes. We send our love and best wishes.  Bob and Kathy Carter

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Day 1 - Arrival at Missionary Training Center

 Day 1: Well we made it to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah.  We arose at 6:00am thinking we had plenty of time to leave by 9:00 am, but barely made our departure deadline. Our son in law Taylor made us some pancakes and Shawn stopped over to say goodbye so we cherished the last moments together. The night before we left, we had all our kids, their spouses and children over. We played some games and enjoyed each other, so we didn’t get to bed until late. Early Monday morning when we were packing we noticed that our little granddaughter MYA was hiding in our suitcase and wanted to go to Russia. Of course we were willing to oblige, but our daughter Krista wouldn’t let us take her. J  
Our First day in the MTC was administrative in nature to ensure we had all our vaccinations, travel, visas and schedule for the week. We were honored to have the MTC president and his counsellors talk to our group. There are about 30 senior missionary couples in our training session and they are going all over the world. There were about 8 couples who are serving medical missions, 4 couples serving in various visitor centers and the rest of us were humanitarian or proselyting couples.  It was a very spiritual day and fun to get to know all the other couples. We were definitely the youngest couple with most retired. Needless to say we were exhausted at the end of the day, but we finished our studies and homework,  set our alarm for 4:50 am to get up and exercise, kissed each other and went to bed as missionaries of the lord. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Active Preparation - 6 Days Left Before Departure

Kathy and I are busily preparing for our mission and getting the essentials ready, like this warm hat J. I work for a great company called Preferred Sands and one of our mines is located in Genoa, Nebraska. I had the privilege of attending their holiday party on January 4th and they gave me this hat as a going away present.  It has been difficult to do things for the last time before we leave and visiting all of my friends at the corporate office and all of the plants has been one of the hardest.
We are diligently praying for help, studying the language, reading about the history and weather in St. Petersburg, studying the gospel and spending as much time as possible with Family.   Our kids have have made this past month wonderful by giving us their time, smiles and support. We have played games, hunted, shopped, laughed, golfed, played tennis, ate, ate, ate and laughed along the way. We are soooooo blessed to have such a wonderful  and close family.
Over the holiday we had the honor of rescuing a sick bald eagle from the wild. I was able to hold it in my arms for over an hour until help could arrive.  My son in law Taylor got the whole thing on Video and it captured national press because there were a bunch of eagles dying in our state over the previous two weeks.  Our bird was instrumental in helping with the diagnosis of West Nile Virus within these birds and they are now able to treat the sick ones going forward . It was such an honor to hold our national bird and he has been the key to solving this rare infection.  The following link shows the video of the eagle and part of our experience.  There are several followup news stories talking about the diagnosis of the disease.

We speak in our church this Sunday, January 11th at 11:00 am before we leave. It has been tough deciding which message to share with our ward members, friends and family.  We hope you follow our Journey and join us as we follow the example of our savior, learn to love the people of Russia and support all the missionaries in the mission. Please connect to the blog so you get updates.