Monday, 16 February 2009

Now We're in the Moscow Mission

The ground is covered with snow, and Sunday coming home from church through the park we saw several snowmen. We actually like it better for walking when there is some new snow cover over the ice, but it usually doesn't stay that way for long as it gets packed down from people walking or gets shoveled away to expose the ice again.

Snowmen in the Park

While we were in Madrid getting our visa renewed, we received a call from President Collins, our mission president for the Moscow West Mission. He called to let us know that we are now part of the Moscow Mission. Boundaries have been changed so that all of Moscow and the nearby suburb areas are part of the Moscow Mission, and the cities further out that had been part of the Moscow Mission as well as Kazakhstan and Belarus are now Moscow West Mission. We have enjoyed our association with President & Sister Collins and the young Elders and Sisters in the Moscow West Mission, so we will miss that relationship; but we also know President & Sister Cranny and like them very much. Before this change, the Curbishleys and Irelands were the only senior couples living in Moscow in the Moscow West Mission. Now we are in the same mission with the other senior couples in Moscow.

Yugo Zapadnaya, our assigned branch and formerly in the Moscow West Mission, is now in the Moscow Mission. However, we will still see the office Elders for the Moscow West Mission as long as the branch continues to meet in the Moscow West Mission office. The branch will be moving to another building when the remodeling is finished, and this should happen this month. Both missions are scheduled to move to a building nearer Rosinka this summer when that building has the remodeling completed.

Saturday and Sunday, February 7 & 8, we attended the Moscow District conference. The district presidency was reorganized and the outgoing district presidency spoke as well as the new district presidency. President Paul, first counselor in the Area Presidency, was also a speaker; and Sister Cranny spoke at the Saturday meeting and President Cranny spoke in Russian at the Sunday meeting. Vlad Nechiporov (our supervisor over humanitarian activities in the area) conducted one of the meetings. He was a counselor in the former district presidency. Vlad has been called to serve as a mission president, although it has not yet been announced to which mission.

There are now two districts in the Moscow Mission. The Moscow West District was reorganized the week before when we were in Armenia. Right now, it looks as if we will continue attending the Yugo Zapadnaya Branch and will be part of the Moscow West District.

On Tuesday, February 10th, our new mission had a zone conference with all missionaries (both young and old) in the mission attending. President Pieper (EEA President), Moscow Mission President Cranny and the two district presidents spoke to us. We had pizza afterward and then headed back to work. That evening, the Shepards had us over for supper and visiting (both were wonderful). Usually we have family night on Tuesdays; but since the senior couples had been to zone conference, it was canceled for the week.

We called Elder & Sister Rasmussen, the new office couple for the Moscow West Mission, and invited them to the Valentine party with the senior couples being hosted by the Nearons on Saturday afternoon, February 14. We made arrangements to meet the Rasmussens that morning to show them the best place to buy souvenirs (Ismaly) and also the Asian market where all kinds of merchandise is for sale at negotiable prices. Elder Aiken and Elder Bladder wanted to look for some things; and since it was their P-day, they went with us. Sam showed them where the young Elders buy their silk ties for as low as $3.00 a tie. Elder Rasmussen bought a shopka (Russian fur hat), and Elder Bladder bought one with wolf fur. Sam and the Elders bought some Russian ties; and I bought a scarf, gloves, and purse to go with my black coat I had gotten the week before. We had gotten such a good deal on the coat and were actually surprised when the vendor accepted what rubles we had with us when we counted it out to show him that all we had was about 6350 rubles, which was a long way from the 21,000 rubles he first wanted.

Elder Rasmussen, Elder Bladder, and the hat vendor at Ismaly

Linda Nearon had made a savory stew served over a pie shell, and the rest of us brought other food for the dinner. Linda Rees brought a yummy three-layered chocolate cake for dessert. The meal was delicious. Linda Nearon had printed some poems about love she had people read and then each couple told about how they met and got engaged. It was a nice Valentine's party. Greg & Chris Shepard were the honored couple, as their mission ends March 28. They both shared some of their thoughts about their mission and bore their testimony. It was a special occasion.

Chris & Greg Shepard
(Will be greatly missed
when their Mission is completed March 28.)

Linda & David Nearon and Sam
in matching shirts for Valentine's Day.

Sandi & Dennis Rasmussen,
the new office couple in the Moscow West Mission.

Linda & Steve Rees, the "junior couple"
until the Rasmussens arrived.
(He is the Area doctor.)

Renee & Clark Mason,
serving a 23-month mission with another winter.

Darvel & Kathy Gregory,
who came a month after us
and will be the next to leave after us.

Sharon & David Yorgesen
will complete their mission around the first of June.

We really enjoy all of the senior couples, and we're glad to have the Rasmussens with us. George & Byrle Curbishley completed their third mission in Russia the first week in February, and we miss them.

Beryl & George Curbishley
(originally from England) are now at home in California.

I gave the lesson in Relief Society Sunday. It was on "Missionary Service: A Holy Calling, a Glorious Work." That should be an easy lesson for a missionary to give, but it's always a challenge to give a lesson to Russian speakers when you have to have it translated from English. The pages in the Russian manual don't correspond to the pages in the English manual, so that complicates the process when you have someone read something from the manual. I print the lessons out in both languages and then go through and mark the page numbers and paragraphs.

The Shepards came to visit our branch Sunday, and they came to our apartment for dinner after church. We always enjoy our time spent with the Shepards and are going to really miss them. They have become dear friends, and we hope we will be able to get together again after our missions.

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