Serving the Lord in Russia

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pioneers in Moscow

In keeping with Pioneer Day in Utah (July 24th) I want to show you some of the many pioneers here in Moscow.  I think the best way to describe them is from the hymn, "They, the Builders of the Nation."

"They, the builders of the nation,
Blazing trails along the way;
Steppingstones for generations
Were their deeds of ev'ry day.
Building new and firm foundations,
Pushing on the wild frontier
Forging onward, ever onward,
Blessed, honored Pioneer!"


"Ev'ry day some burden lifted,
Ev'ry day some heart to cheer,
Ev'ry day some hope the brighter,
Blessed, honored Pioneer!"

"List our song of adoration,
Blessed, honored Pioneer!"

Monday, July 19, 2010

Metro, McDonalds & Miracles

Komsomolskaya Station

On our P-Day last week we decided to take a tour of the famous Metro system of Moscow.  After I got over the initial shock of going deep, deep down into the metro we had  a wonderful time exploring the beautiful metro stations.  To give you an idea of how deep some of these stations are, many were used as bomb shelters during WWII.  Most of the metro lines are like spokes that meet at a hub in the center.  The Brown Line is an exception and is a circle that crosses all the other lines.  Many of the stations on the Brown Line look like art museums.  Also, they are so clean!  We didn't see any trash at all, not even a trash can.  They say 9 million people ride the metro system every day.  Wow!

Kievskaya Station

Belorusskaya Station

Novoslobodskaya Station

Prospekt Mira Station

The other night we met three of our couple missionaries at a McDonalds for dinner before we had Family Home Evening.  I thought our grandchildren would enjoy seeing what McDonalds looks like here.  I was busy snapping photos of the menu when Steve said the manager was yelling at me for taking pictures.  I looked up and sure enough I was being told in Russian that no photos were allowed.  I'm glad I got the ones I did.


"Moscow Miracles" is what we call the missionary work here.  It is so thrilling to see the gospel going forth in this historic land.  Miracles really are happening here!  This last Saturday two sweet women were baptized thanks to our missionaries and members.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Here in Moscow

   These last two weeks have been so incredible!  Here is a quick update on a few of the events in our life.

Saying goodby to family and friends was, of course, very hard.  Especially to my mother who has Alzheimer's. She is very confused and I think most days she remembers that I'm gone but doesn't remember where or why.  I know this is very hard on her and on me as well.
    My dear mother and me.

My sweet sister, Camille and Me.

Stephen and I entered the MTC in Provo on Wednesday, June 23, and had both a spiritual feast as well as physical feasts.  We were blessed to be in the presence of and hear from our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, as well as President Henry B. Eyring, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, members of the Quorum of the Twelve, the Presidency of the Seventy, and members of the First and Second Quorum of the Seventy.  At this amazing Seminar for New Mission Presidents there were 130 of us newly called couples to go out into all the world to serve.  We had such a wonderful experience getting to know a few of them and and hearing of their stories and where they will be serving.  One of these couples is my dear cousin, Andrea Clyde Funk, and her husband Randy.  They were called to the India Bangalore Mission.  When I talked to Andrea when we each received our calls and I told her how hard I thought her mission sounded, in reply she said the same about where we had been called.  It was so interesting that we both felt and knew our missions were the ones right for us.  It was thrilling to be with her and Randy at the MTC for those five days.
President & Sister Sorenson going to Moscow and President & Sister Funk going to Bangalore.

We also got to visit with our dear tutors, Phil Sagers and Trent Olsen.  They are the best!

On Sunday evening, June 27th, we were able to come home from the MTC and spend time with our sweet family.  It was such a fun evening!  We love each of them so much!!!! It was soooo very hard to say goodbye! They are all very happy and excited for us, but still it was hard to say goodbye.  AKBH! Our little grandchildren are the best and I miss them so much already.  They give the best hugs and kisses and will change the most these next three years. 
Here we all are!  Our wonderful family!!!





Grandma & Hannah

Grandpa & Jack

After a long flight from Salt Lake City to New York City and then on to Moscow we arrived on Tuesday, July 29th.  We were greeted by members of our Europe East Area Presidency and Brother and Sister Budd (they lived in Worland, Wyoming, and know Claudia and Bruce) and taken to the beautiful Meridian Hotel for the evening.  We enjoyed an afternoon and evening of relaxation and delicious food.  The next day we had training meetings with our incredible leaders here in Moscow.  After a lovely dinner and pictures (see picture below) with our Area Presidency, President and Sister Cranney (the mission president and his wife whom we are replacing) picked us up and drove us to our new home for the next three years.  They are an incredible couple and are greatly loved by all the missionaries and members here.  We spent a couple of hours with them that evening learning some of the many, many responsibilities we now have.  THANK YOU, President and Sister Cranney, for your great work here! 

Europe East Area Presidency
and new Mission Presidents & Wives:  Sorensons (Moscow), Carters (Armenia), Sartoris (Samara)

July 1, 2010  Our new wonderful life!

Our first day on the job was meeting our wonderful AP's and Office Elders.  They are incredible!  REALLY!!!  They have been so loving and patient with us as they have guided us through the many responsibilities we now have.  We have a driver, Alexander, and he is greatly needed here.  The traffic in Moscow is awful and he has been safely transporting us to where we need to be.  These first two weeks have been busy with meeting all our missionaries (8 couples, 35 Elders and 15 Sisters), meeting some of the great members here, interviews, many meetings, attending a baptism where three men were baptized, enjoying our first P-day by visiting Red Square and feeling the great spirit of missionary work here. 
 I love our missionaries!  I love the members!  I love Moscow!

President Sorenson, Elder Nikolaichev, Elder Morgan, Elder Hansen, Alexander, & Elder Croese

Working hard in getting us set up.

First day as mission president.

This is where we live.

St. Basil's Cathedral in Red Square

Red Square

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Alexandrovsky Garden

July 10, 2010  Our first baptism we attended.