Serving the Lord in Russia

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Russia in Color - a Century Ago

It is interesting to look back in time with this extraordinary collection of color photographs taken between 1909 and 1912.  In those years, photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) undertook a photographic survey of the Russian Empire with the support of Tsar Nicholas II.  He used a specialized camera to capture three black and white images in fairly quick succession, using red, green, and blue filters, allowing them to later be recombined and projected with filtered lanterns to show near true color images.  The high quality of the images, combined with the bright colors, make it difficult for viewers to believe that they are looking 100 years back in time - when these photographs were taken, neither the Russian Revolution nor World War I had yet begun.  Here are just a few of the hundreds of color images made available by the Library of Congress, which purchased the original glass plates back in 1948.

So here are a few pictures in Russia 100 years ago and how I have labeled them in 2011.

Sister Sorenson teaching at Zone Conference.

President Sorenson contemplating his next move.

Elders working on visual aids.

Our home at Rosinka (Rosinka is the gated community where we live.)

Our last Sisters' Conference.

President Sorenson at Zone Leaders Council.

Homes down by the lake at Rosinka.

One of our districts' P-Day activity.

Doing some Metro contacting.

President and Sister after 15 months in Moscow.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Moscow This Summer

Summer has passed all too quickly for us this year with several interesting events.  I'm finally posting a few of them since the beginning of June.  I'm sorry for the long delay.

With the joy of having several wonderful new missionaries arrive we also had to say goodbye to several of our wonderful seasoned missionaries who were returning to their homes after completing honorable missions.  It's still, and probably always will be, hard for me to let them go because we love and appreciate them so much.

Saying hello...

June 2011  Sisters Thrall, Daniel, and Sorenson
Elders Francom, Campbell, Black, Hamp, and President Sorenson.

June 2011   Sister & Elder Cook and Sister & President Sorenson
Unbeknown to us (we hadn't received any personal information or pictures of them, not even their first names) when our Elder and Sister Cook arrived we were thrilled to learn they are David and Becky Cook.  David and I are second cousins through my dad and his mother - the Clyde line.

August 2011   (front) Elders Roberts, Kirkham, Everett, Sisters Workman and Sorenson
(rear) Elders Knight, Ayers, Raymond, Law, and President Sorenson.

Saying goodbye (до свидания)

June 2011   Elders Cardoza, Larsen, Andersen, Sister Knudson, Elders Mecham and Callister.

July 2011  We didn't get to say goodbye to Elder Miller in Moscow but said hello in Salt Lake.
Elder Callister, Sister Sorenson, Elders Miller and Kasallis, President Sorenson.

July 2011   The same with Elder Lund.

August 2011   Elder Nielson going home, President Sorenson and Elder Nielson's companion,
Elder Breedlove.

August 2011   Elders Jensen, Trotter, O'Bryant, and Hansen.

Stephen became ill the end of June which required that he be hospitalized in Moscow for five days.  They discovered blood clots in his lungs and were suspicious that cancer might be involved as well.  President Schwitzer, our Area President, and the Missionary Department determined it would be best to send us to Salt Lake for further diagnosis.

The Lord had everthing lined up and prepared for us to leave in a way that our missionaries would be well cared for and the work could continue to move forward.  Miracle after miracle happened.  We could feel and see the power of the faith and prayers of our family, friends, missionaries, leaders, and members in our behalf.  We were so humbled and grateful for everyone's love, concern, and support.  We were willing to accept the Lord's will and were praying hard that we would be able to return to our beloved mission in Moscow.

After several days of intense and thorough medical tests in Salt Lake, with outstanding doctors, we learned it was not cancer.  It turns out that Stephen has a genetic predisposition to form deep-vein thromboses easier than most people (he is a Factor 5 Leiden heterozygote).  He is taking a blood thinner so he won't get clots again.  Words can't express the joy and gratitude we felt when we were told we could return to our mission.  We stayed in Salt Lake for a couple of extra weeks so that his coagulation was at the proper level for him to safely travel back.

Of course we were so excited to see our children and grandchildren when we arrived but the real joy for all of us came after we learned Stephen did not have cancer.  Then it was total joy!!! Oh, to be reunited with our family again was heavenly!  We love them all so much and have missed them greatly.  We had so much fun being with them for the three weeks we were there.  Many thanks, family!  We said our goodbyes to our family, without tears this time, and returned to Moscow on August 2nd. 

Grandpa and our newest granddaughter (born on July 1st), Sophia Jo Sorenson, daughter of Rich and Misty.

Peter and Hannah.

John & Brooklyn, Misty & Sophia, Stephen & Hailey, and Becky.

Our daughters and their new babies:  Misty & Sophia, Jeannette & Hailey, and Becky & Brooklyn.

Our Jack, Kate and Emily.

Our Lindsey.

Hailey (3 months old) and grandpa.

Our Brooklyn (6 months old).

Hannah's 3rd birthday.

Just before we arrived in Salt Lake Becky, Rich, and Mike ran the "Freedom Run".

One of the Sundays in August we went to our mission branch in Lotoshino to join in church services with the two active members, President and Sister Garbuz.  They now hold the services in their small home and we had such a wonderful experience.  Elder and Sister Gronning, our office couple, Elders Page and Bruev, our office Elders. and Alexander, our driver, joined us.  Lotoshino is about two hours northwest of Moscow and is very out-in-the-country.
President Garbuz, Elder Gronning, President Sorenson, Elders Page and Bruev, and Alexander.

Sisters Sorenson, Gronning, and Garbuz.

Their sweet little home is on the left and they have beautiful flower and vegetable gardens.

On August 27th we went with some of our senior couples to Tsaritsino Palace Park to see the sights and share the Book of Mormon.  I was so excited---I gave my first Book of Mormon to a sweet little lady and she even gave me her phone number so we could contract her. 

The Tsaritsino Palace in the background was built for Catherine the Great but she didn't like it when it was finished so she never lived there. 

The beautiful water fountain show in the evening.

On August 29 through September 2, we had the privlege of attending the annual Mission Presidents' Seminar in Vilnius, Lithuania.  What a great seminar we had!  It was a spiritual feast!  Wonderful instruction was given to us by our Area Presidency and their wives and by Elder W. Craig Zwick of the Seventy and Sister Zwick (a member of the Seventy from the Missionary Department will only come out now once every three years, so this was a special opportunity for us).  It was a real boost to rub shoulders with the other mission presidents and to receive training from these inspired men and women.

We stayed in the "Old Town" section of Vilnius and it was quaint and historic with its cobblestone streets, enchanting shops, few cars and people, and its cathedrals and monasteries.

This was one of many unique side streets off the center road through "Old Town."

Standing in front of The Gates of Dawn Chapel.

The frescoed ceiling in the Domus Maria, an 18th-century monastery that has been restored and is now a guest house.  We had dinner in this room two nights.

The Vilnius Cathedral (the official name is the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Stanislaus and St. Ladislaus) and its bell tower.

Mission Presidents, Area department heads, and support staff.

President Michael Pratt (Vladivostok Mission President), Dale Nielsen (Ukraine Dnepropetrovsk Mission President) and Stephen Sorenson (Moscow Mission President).  These three men served at the same time in the Finland Helsinki Mission during the period of 1969 to 1971 under President Orval Nelson.

With Elder and Sister W. Craig Zwick of the Seventy at the end of our conference.

What a wonderful summer we had!!!!!!