Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bob's Birthday Blog - Celebration in Russia

I wanted to start this blog with a special thanks to Kathy for a wonderful birthday week and standing by my side through this life and making it so special. I am also sooooo grateful to all of our family and friends who reached out this week to let us know they care and made my birthday and the passing of Kathy's father very special.  It was awesome to hear from all of you and all the missionaries through e-mail, facebook, phone and prayer. 

We had a wonderful week in the mission and I had the honor of  baptizing one of the young ladies we have been teaching for a couple months.  I was so excited when she asked if I would baptize her and we couldn't believe it would be on my actual birthday. I wish we could post some pictures, but we aren't allowed to share baptismal events through pictures. Hopefully the greatness of the day comes through in words.

One picture I did want to share was a painting my little granddaughter Mya made for Kathy on Mothers Day. Our daughter Krista put some paint on a canvas and let Mya get on it in her diaper and paint the picture.  We screen captured these through skype.

I am going to share pictures with you of the Monplaisir palace in Peterhof, Russia as I talk about my birthday week and a tribute to Kathy's father who passed away this week. 

The Monplaisir palace is an amazing place and all the fountains are driven through natural pressure without pumps. It was an architectural wonder for the 1700's. I have attached a link for those of you who want to learn more about the palace.

The days in St. Petersburg are getting longer with the sunrise about 4:30 am and the sunset about 10:30 pm. The days are getting longer by about 30 minutes each week and eventually we will only have about 1.5 hours of darkness. 

 Understanding we are getting older and have to get up several times in the night because we drink so much water, it is weird to have it light that early in the morning.  

Right now I am sitting on our deck and it is about 70F and absolutely beautiful.  The picture to the left shows the view off our deck where I am sitting. 

We are getting sad because we only have about a month and a half left with our current mission president and his wife and they are amazing. We have had a lot of fun serving with them and learning from their example of love, service and leadership. 

I got to have three nice dinners this week for my birthday and Kathy worked very hard to make my birthday week special. The mission president and I have a birthday only a couple days apart so we celebrated together Wednesday evening. 

 Then on Saturday we walked up Nevsky and ate dinner on the river, and tonight (Sunday) Kathy is making me a wonderful dinner and having an investigator and four missionaries over for dinner.  Our dear friends the Tehini's sent us a box of cake mixes and gravy and we have put those to great use. We always bake something for the baptisms and the missionaries love cakes and cupcakes. Kathy didn't realize that serving a mission with me would require a whole week of spoiling on my birthday and spoiling all these missionaries HaHa. I am usually traveling so I have put her to the test being with me 24/7.  

The emotionally difficult side of this week for all of us was the passing of her father Robert (Bob) Milton Cottam. He lived in St. George and we were able to visit with him many times before we left. He was 86 and lived a good life. He and his wife, Alice, were sealed in the temple, so his passing will only be for time and we will be together again in eternity. 

We send our love to the family as they gather together in St. George for the funeral services. All of our kids and Kathy's brothers and sisters were able to attend the funeral services. We plan to skype into the funeral and share in the love of the family. We know her father is in a better place. Even with that knowledge, it is hard for his wife that he left behind and all of us who will truly miss him. 

It is weird sometimes to realize that we are living in Russia, as it just becomes the norm in our lives. I am finally starting to get a grasp of the language and basic communication, and it gives me hope as I continue to expand my vocabulary and continue to talk in the Russian language. It helps to feel more comfortable in my ability to share thoughts and ask questions. It is fun because the missionaries get excited as I progress and they try to help me as much as possible. 

The hardest part of the mission is watching the missionaries we love complete their mission and head home. We are excited for them to go home, but will truly miss them, as they have become family. 

We laugh and cry together daily as we experience the journey of this mission. It isn't easy to be a missionary and it helps to do it with the ones you share a common love and belief. We have been blessed with some awesome young men and women to carry this work forward. The Lord prepares people to hear the gospel and we are here to be his hands and mouth in teaching the way to return and live with him. Kathy and I send our love and appreciation for all of you! Love Bob and Kathy 


  1. So sorry to hear about Kathies father. My sincerest condolences. The strength of your faith will carry you all through.

  2. Please accept our condolences and best wishes for Kathy family. Congrats on the baptism on your birthday. I love reading your blog and seeing the pictures. God bless you both

  3. Great adventures expressed so well. Thanks for sharing on your blog. Happy belated birthday and please express our condolences to Kathy. Our love to you. Jan & John Harper

  4. Sorry about your dad, Kathy. And happy birthday Bob, sounds like you're getting as spoiled as Kathy does on her birthdays!