Sunday, November 2, 2014

Serving Up Halloween in Russia

These past two weeks in the mission have been hard work, focus and prayers.  We will share many pictures of the service and again apologize as we try to use pictures that don't show the faces of the missionaries. We decided that while everyone else was working we would pull the senior nap card. HaHa. (It's really 
an option for us seniors!)

We have some great people we are teaching and great missionaries with us in Kaliningrad.  We have been working hard with our church leaders in this area to strengthen each of the auxiliaries. (These are the different programs within the church.)  

We have been praying that as we strengthen the existing branch in this area, the Lord will send us more people to teach.   We have also been doing a lot of service for the members of the church who are older or need help at their homes or work area.

As it gets colder and the leaves and apples start to fall from the trees, there are many opportunities for service.  One of our church members needed us to dig a large hole in her yard and bury all of the apples that had fallen and were rotting on the ground.  

Kathy said I wasn't treating her like a queen, so I gave her a ride to the service. :)  Each time we do service for someone they prepare a little snack for us to show their appreciation. It is fun to sit and talk with them and enjoy their company.

Early the next week we had the opportunity on our day off to help our branch president dig a trench and pour some concrete at a neighbor's home.  They were putting up a fence but have a problem with frost when they put concrete in the ground. Our branch president is an amazing person and it was an honor to help him.  We did such a great job that he then asked us to dig another trench at his warehouse!

Kathy gave a talk in church and did a great job. One of the sister missionaries translated for her. I have been asked to serve in the branch presidency and that will be fun to work with the local leaders. 

My Russian language is getting better, but it is so hard to learn the full vocabulary.  You don’t realize how you learn words over a lifetime and take for granted that you can talk on a daily basis.  Sometimes I say the wrong words and Kathy has to "hang" around until I get it correct :-) 

I am comfortable now that I can get us around and understand 60-70 percent of most conversations, but the 30-40 percent can be very important.  There are definitely times when the Lord helps me with the language when it is critical that I understand.  Other times I just laugh when I make mistakes and everyone is very patient with me.  

I have only been learning Russian for 9 months and speaking it for about 4 months. I just need to expand my vocabulary and this takes time.

We included some pictures of the buildings in the section of the city that was built when Russia first took over the city after WWII. They put up a lot of buildings fast and it looks like a Lego village. Many of these apartments aren’t very nice, but people here in Kaliningrad seem happy. 

Halloween in Russia was non-eventful because they don’t celebrate this holiday in Russia. We had our regular English Conversation Group, but Kathy stayed home with a cold and decided to COOK our decorative pumpkin!  You can't get canned pumpkin here. Desperate times call for desperate messures! Ha ha.
 We did enjoy Halloween in America through all our great friends posting pictures and videos on Facebook. It was so fun to see all the wonderful kids and their amazing costumes. Our two granddaughters and their parents were beautiful and fun.  Shawn and Alise posted some pictures enjoying their time at a haunted house.  We hope you enjoyed the pictures we posted. (The picture on the left is the main square in Kaliningrad.)

As we prepare for winter we ask that you keep us in your prayers. We need to find more people to teach, and as the days get shorter and the temperatures colder, this becomes more difficult.  The gospel is true and changes peoples lives. Thanks for following our blog and sending us e-mails with updates on your families. Familes can be together forever and we can live and share the lives of the loved ones who have left this earth.  This is a great 3-minute video that is worth your time to watch ://   Love Bob and Kathy

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