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.