Serving the Lord in Russia

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ways We Find

Two very effective ways for our missionaries to get acquainted with people are English Club and chalk drawing.  On Wednesday nights, for an hour, our missionaries are available to speak Engish with people who want to improve their English.  After the club meeting people are welcome to stay, if they would like, for a spiritual thought or video segment.  At one of our buildings we usually have between 80 to 100 people who come for the English Club and then many who stay afterwards.    

Elder Lund leads a discussion.

Our chalk art drawings are great!  A few of our Elders or Sisters go to a Metro Station and draw a scene on the sidewalk from the Book of Mormon.  Two missionaries draw and then a couple of missionaries are there to explain, to those who stop to watch, what they are drawing.  It is very effective and they draw a good size crowd of people who stop and ask questions.  The day we went to watch, Elder Anderson and Elder Grover were drawing Lehi's dream of the Tree of Life. 

Elder Grover and Elder Anderson

Elders Lund and Mecham with an interested young man.

Thank you Elder Anderson and Elder Grover!

We weren't able to stay to see the completed picture but we were sure impressed with what we did see.  It usually takes about two hours to complete the scene they are drawing.  While we were there the missionaries who came were busy talking with the onlookers.  We hope the weather continues to be nice for a couple more months so our artists can continue to create.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Saying Hello and Saying Goodbye

One of the many new things I'm learning as a missionary is the many hellos and goodbyes.  I've always loved hellos but I hate saying goodbye.  We have been blessed to welcome four new missionaries in the last two months.  It is exciting to have them here and we are anxiously waiting for another Elder to arrive any day.  But, we have also had to say goodbye to six wonderful missionaries who served so faithfully and we miss them greatly. 

                                               Welcome!  Welcome!
Elder Perfilyev, from Russia, arrived in our mission on July 22.  It is the tradition here in the Moscow Mission to take our new missionaries to Red Square the day they arrive and give them the opportunity to begin contacting people.

Sister & Elder Wright and Sister & Elder Gronning

The Gronnings, from Utah, arrived in our mission on July 26th.  They are our new office couple and have taken over the reins very quickly and nicely.  They replaced Sister and Elder Wright who served so faithfully here in the office.

Elder & Sister Gronning, President Sorenson on his birthday, and Elders Hansen & Croese.

Elder Paul, from Las Vegas, arrived in Moscow on August 31.  

Elder Paul with Elder Callister, one of our AP's, working together on Red Square on Elder Paul's first day here.

Elder Perfilyev and Elder Paul greeting each other.  They were in the same MTC District in Provo.

"God be with you 'till we meet again."

Sister Dayberry, from Washington, was our first missionary we said goodbye to.

Elder and Sister Wright, our faithful office couple, returned home to Utah the first of August.

Elder and Sister Rees returned home to Salem, Utah on September first.  Elder Rees served both as a missionary and as the Area doctor and Sister Rees as a missionary and as the Area Patriarchal Blessing Coordinator.

Our dear sweet Elder Demchenko, from Russia, returned home September 2.

Well done, thou good and faithful servants.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Slavic Men and the Trail They Leave

Russia loves statues and gravestones of its leaders, heroes, and great contributors to its culture.  Here are a few that we have seen so far. 

Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852) was a great Russian novelist, humorist and dramatist.  A couple of his famous writtings are "Dead Souls" and "The Inspector General."  He is buried in the Novodevichy Convent Cemetery in Moscow.

Alexander II was Tsar of the Russian Empire from 1855 until his assassination in 1881.  He was also the King of Poland and Grand Prince of Finland.  This statute is in front of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.  

Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) was a famous Russian short story writer, playwright, and physician.  Two of his famous plays are "The Cherry Orchard" and "Three Sisters" where the famous line " year in Moscow..." comes from.  He is buried in the Novodevichy Convent Cemetery.

Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917.  As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its itnitial years (1917-1924), as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a socialist economic system.  His mausoleum is at Red Square.

Fyodor Chaliapin (1873-1938) was a famous Russian opera singer and is buried in the Novodevichy Convent Cemetery in Moscow.

Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) was a Soviet politician and head of the state who served as the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953.  After the death of Lenin in 1924, Stalin rose to become the leader of the Soviet Union, which he ruled as a dictator.  He is buried at Red Square.

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was a great Russian composer, pianist and conductor.  Two of his famous works are "Peter and the Wolf" and the ballet "Romeo and Juliet."  He is buried in the Novodevichy Convent Cemetery in Moscow.

Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971) was the First Secretary of the Commuist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953-1964 and Chairman of the Council of Minister, or Premier, from 1958-1964.  He led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War.  He is buried in the Novodevichy Convent Cemetery.

Below are two Slavic men here in Moscow into whose hands we've regularly committed our lives. 

Alexander Shtaltovny is our full-time driver.  He is great!  He is a former MIG pilot in the Soviet Air Force and drives like he's back in the cockpit of the old MIG.  We always feel safe with him as he weaves in and out of the cars on the busy Moscow roads.

Vyacheslav Ferensky was our substitute driver for a month this summer when Alexander was on vacation.  He is a former policeman/detective, military man, and a lawyer.  He's great also.  I laugh now, but one hot summer afternoon after he took me to the grocery store, we rode with the windows down because the air conditioner was broken, I felt like I looked like Cruella DeVille.  What a sight!