Serving the Lord in Russia

Monday, August 30, 2010

Kyiv Temple Dedication

On Sunday, August 29, 2010, we had the priviledge of particapting in the dedication of the Kyiv Temple.  Moscow was blessed to have three of our buildings receive the live broadcast from Kyiv, Ukraine.  Stephen and I attended the broadcast in our sweet little Zelenograd Branch just north of Moscow. The Zelenograd Branch meets in a small builidng that the Church actually owns and there are about 100 active members who attend.  The first session of the dedication was at 10:00 and we met upstairs to hear it in English.  At the 1:00 dedication we met with about 23 other members in the chapel area to hear it in Russian.  We decided not to attend the 4:00 session but went home.  Later Sunday night we got a call from one of our sister missionaries who was with us at the Zelenograd Branch and she said shortly after we left they lost the broadcast reception and they weren't able to hear any of it.

Just a brief history on the builiding of this long-awaited temple.  The Kyiv Ukraine Temple is the first temple built in the former Soviet Union and includes 13 countries in its temple district.  The announcement of the temple was on July 20, 1998, by President Gordon B. Hinckley and it wasn't until June 23, 2007 that the groundbreaking and site dedication took place.  So on August 29, 2010, after twelve years of waiting, the wonderful people here have a temple.

It was an incredible experience to be part of this historic event this weekend.  Friday night there was a Cultural Event in connection with the dedication and we were able to watch that via live broadcast.  We had a large group of young single adults from Moscow perform in the Cultural Event and they were wonderful.  We were all cheering as we recognized the faces of our dear group.  Also, at the second session of the dedication, a choir from Moscow sang in the Celestial Room.  They sounded like a choir of angels.  Both groups made us so proud!

Our Moscow young single adults.

Group from the Ukraine.

Then came Sunday morning and the actual dedication of this beautiful temple.  Words can't express the feelings of graditude, love, and reverence to our Heavenly Father for this gift to the people here.  One of the very tender moments for me was when we sang "The Spirit of God" in Russian.  And I was singing in Russian.  Tears were streaming down my face as I realized what was happening.  I was here - in Moscow - as a missionary - singing in Russian - at the first dedication of a temple in Eastern Europe.  How grateful I will always be.

Many miracles happened in Moscow so we could particapte in the dedication.  One of them was the miracle of the white hankerchiefs.  We were able to get these beautiful Ukrainan Temple hankerchiefs for each of our missionaries a few days before the dedication.

Three of our sweet sisters from the Zelenograd Branch.

Elder & Sister Gronning, Elder Page, Elder Cardoza, Elder Lex, Sister Barash, Sister Perry, a young woman from the branch, Elder Demchenko, Sister & President Sorenson

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Called to Serve

During the months of July and August we have had several series of training for our missionaries, from Zone Leader Council, to Zone Conferences and to four days of specialized training for our AP's, Zone and District Leaders and Trainers in the new Simplified Curriculum we received at the MTC.  Here is just a small glimpse of our outstanding Elders and Sisters.
Arriving at the Mission Home for training.

Eager to learn.

Learning by role-playing.

They are always appreciative of lunch.

The new DVD's are popular.

Working together.

"Sing choirs of angels...."

Our North (Severnaya) Zone Conference

Our South (Yuzhnaya) Zone Conference

It's a wrap! 

We love all these faithful hard-working missionaries of ours!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Oh What Do You Do in the Summertime...

Even though Moscow has been experiencing record heat temperatures and air quality that's been sending families out of the area to safe locations, including the American Embassy, there is still such summer charm here.                                                              
                                  Summers photos of Moscow in July and August.
Lots of fruit and vegetable stands on the streets and along the roads.
The Russians love their watermellons.
Some older women sell their garden flowers at roadside stands.
This sweet little "babushka" selling her three bunches of flowers, four cucumbers and 6 apples by
the main Post Office in central Moscow.

People sell whatever they have - even the 7 Dwarfs.
Stephen buying water on a hot summer morning.

There are lots of little parks here with fountains.

Keeping cool near Red Square. "Do you swim in a pool, to keep yourself cool...?"
Alexander's Garden at Red Square.  The sign reads "Don't Walk on the Grass."
"...or lazily dream on the banks as the clouds go by?"
An American influence in Moscow - Coca-Cola.
Russia's fast food.
How we feel about being in Moscow? We love it here!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Then and Now

We love Moscow!  It's just that right now we can't see it.  I thought you might like seeing what Moscow looked like a few days after we arrived here and what we are seeing now.  We have issued proceedures for all our missionaries to follow in order to stay healthy and safe.  We are in good spirits and enduring well.

July 7, 2010
August 6, 2010 (Yahoo News)
July 7, 2010
August 6, 2010 (Yahoo News)

July 7, 2010

August 6, 2010 (Yahoo News)

July 4, 2010 looking at the side of the Mission Home

August 5, 2010 looking out from our front door
Wish you were here?


Friday, August 6, 2010

"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"

This picture was in Time magazine last week and it really shows what Moscow looks like right now.  We are in a serious smokey situation because of fires burning throughout Russia.  The other big factor is the high temperatures.  It is still in the 100's and will be for at least the next week.  It's the hottest here in Moscow in 115 years.  Between the heat and the smoke we've had to instruct our missionaries to try and find investigators and teach in buildings that are cool.  It is even smokey down in the metro. Also, keep in mind that there are 12 million people in Moscow and the cars on the road are bumper to bumper most of the day. We are all enduring well but are praying for relief from these health concerned situations.  The following pictures are the ones I have been taking of the smoke in Moscow.

August 4th at 6:30 a.m. from our front door. The sun comes up at 5:00 a.m. these days. 
On the way to the Metro.
On our P-Day we went to tour the "Cathedral of Christ the Saviour".

Alot of people are wearing masks over their nose and mouth now.

President Sorenson taking a phone call from a concerned missionary about the smoke.

Smokey skyline of the Kremlin from the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. 
Men walking to work at Rosinka.

Picture and quote from Time magazine.  "Wildfires burn in Russia.  One of the worst heat waves in the country's history has spawned a series of deadly blazes. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev declared a state of emergency in seven regions of the country."