This was a very busy week in the mission and at home! Our grand daughter Mya had her first birthday and we were able to Skype in and share her opening her presents and then eating her cake. Her parents, Krista and Taylor always make everything special and this was no different.
We woke up at 5 am so we could participate and it was well worth the lost sleep. Mya looked beautiful in her birthday dress and opened our present, "U of U Cheerleader Outfit" as we watched from Skype. They took off her dress to have the birthday cake and she came over to give us a kiss on the computer and we got an awesome picture of the computer screen.
She is so beautiful. We also wanted to send a shout out to Alyse's sister Jennica who is a cougarette at BYU. Brandon's wife Alyse traveled to Florida and watched her sister compete and they took first in Nationals in the competition. Each of our kids married into some amazing families and it is great to share the extended journey, as we love each of their families.
In Russia they hold General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints one week after they hold the meeting in Salt Lake City. This allows them to translate all the talks into Russian and also takes into account the 10-hour time difference. It was awesome to listen to the prophet and apostles again. We watched part of it in Russian and part in English.
Understanding many of the missionaries in the mission travel up to two hours to attend conference, Sister Carter and I decided to throw a breakfast for the 30 missionaries who were traveling in for the conference. We have a little two-bedroom apartment where we held the party and so we used another apartment to cook the bacon, while we cooked the eggs, pancakes and cut up fruit in our apartment. The pictures I attached shows us cooking up some bacon and all the missionaries in our bedroom, and, yes, they are piled on our bed for the picture :-). We aren't allowed to post any pictures of the missionaries while in Russia, so we had them turn around and got their best side anyway. Ha Ha. We just wanted you to know there really ARE missionaries in our mission! They are amazing young men and women who we have the honor to serve with each day.
We had some great teaching opportunities this week with new investigators and also did our missionary apartment inspections. We go around to all the missionary apartments every 6 weeks and do a formal inspection of their apartments to make sure they are clean and safe. As we went into one apartment I snapped a picture of a fun setup they had on their table. Even though they are on missions, the missionaries don't lose their fun personalities. Hopefully they are not depicting how they "catch" investigators. Ha ha
We were impressed with the condition of the apartments and the level of cleanliness that the missionaries did in preparation for the inspection (Note: Hopefully the other 5 weeks they don't look like my kids rooms at home. :) )
When Kathy and I went to the store this week, we snapped a couple of pictures of things that are different in Russia. The biggest difference is we walk an hour insted of jump in the car and drive 5 minutes. We pull a "Bob Cart" that is a back pack on wheels.
This allows us to walk a greater distance to a discount store and bring more home. In the US we have mayonnaise and Miracle Whip but in Russia they have about 100 different kinds of mayonnaise. This isle is ALL mayo. Also, we have Ketchup and Fry sauce in the US and they have 50 different flavors of Ketchup. The ketchup and mustard all come in squeeze packets. They also love their Kielbasa (sausage) and so we took a picture of the section showing all the different kinds. We love Kielbasa and always have a couple sticks in our apartment for some fun snacks. As the weather warms up we will continue to get some great pictures of Russia.
I figured we would close with a picture of the entrance to our apartment. There aren't any fancy pools, tennis courts or other amenities in the apartments like in the US, and the door to the entrance looks like a back alley entrance to a warehouse. You can see I have been to another store and
have two bags over my shoulders and carrying a third. We didn't take the Bob Cart with us on this trip. Our apartment is actually one of the nicer apartments in the area. The funny thing of the week is that we have to brush our teeth in the kitchen sink, because we only have filtered water in the kitchen. You definitely don't want to put the tap water in your mouth if it isn't filtered. :-)
We love the people of Russia and the opportunity to serve the Lord. It was awesome to listen to conference and hear the testimonies and messages of our prophet, apostles and other leaders. The gospel is true, we know why we are called to serve at this time and love each of you dearly. Thanks for following our journey and for your continued prayers on our behalf. Love Bob and Kathy.