Sunday, 12 April 2009

Spring Returns to Moscow

It was nice walking to church today (April 12) in the sunshine wearing a light coat and regular shoes. Spring has arrived in Moscow and hopefully is here to stay for the duration of our mission. I started this blog a year ago with my first entry posted on 12 April 2008 entitled "Spring Weather is Welcome." After the cold, ice, and slush of winter, spring certainly is welcome.

Today is Palm Sunday in Russia and Easter Sunday in the United States. Just as Russian Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7 instead of on December 25, their Easter comes later than ours because of using the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar we use.

A Russian Orthodox tradition on Palm Sunday is to take pussy willows to church instead of palm leaves, and on the street and near the metros ladies were busy selling small bunches of pussy willows.

Selling pussy willows for Palm Sunday.

Even the Church's General Conference comes a week later to Moscow in order to receive the broadcast translated in Russian. Of course, we watched conference last weekend on our laptop in our apartment and had excellent reception. We watched the morning sessions live in the evening, but we watched the afternoon sessions the following day instead of staying up until midnight because of the time change between countries. Even though we had already watched the Sunday morning session, we went to the Central building where it was being broadcast in both Russian and in English. Of course, we watched the English broadcast and enjoyed it again the second time. It is such a blessing to be able to hear the prophet and the General Authorities give their messages and bear their testimonies. It is a very rewarding opportunity that I didn't have growing up without the technology available today.

Walking back from the metro, we noticed signs of spring in addition to seeing buds on the trees. The work crews are starting the annual spring painting of fences and buildings. No preparations are done prior to the painting. Rather, the paint is brushed on over cement, dirt, and whatever else is on the fence. No concern is given to drips either, and rarely are "Fresh Paint" signs put up to alert one to be careful to not rub against the fresh paint.

Here are a couple of pictures I took on the way home from church today.

Sam on our way home from the metro.
The tall apartment building has been
built during our stay here.

Since we came to Moscow, we have watched from our apartment window crews building this new apartment building, working 24/7 no matter what the weather. The only time they weren't working was on New Year's Day. We wonder how good the cement can be when poured with below zero temperatures.

Only in Russia would a fence extend around the tree.

One of the numerous stray dogs in Moscow.
Stray dogs are typically well fed and cared for by the
babushkas selling wares on the street.
This one is lucky enough to be given a "bed."
(Photo taken last week coming home from church.)

Today we said "goodbye" to Elder Aiken who is being transferred from our branch to Lipetsk. We knew this transfer was coming, so we were pleased that President Collins gave Elder Aiken and Elder Blatter permission to come to our apartment yesterday after the Priesthood broadcast and eat with us. We love the young missionaries and have gotten close to those we have known in Tver and Yugo Zapadnaya branches. Hopefully, we will see them again one day. They are great young men.

Elder Blatter (left) and Elder Aiken
from the Yugo Zapadnaya branch when they
came for supper Saturday after the
Priesthood General Conference broadcast.


Troy Dunn said...

Our son has just received his mission call to Moscow Russia mission and we are sitting around the laptop googling for information. Your blog has, by far, been the most entertaining, insightful window into Moscow yet!!
Is there an email address we could communicate with you on? Just a few (hundred) questions we would love to get your thoughts on! :-)
The Dunn's
P.S. Happy Easter!

samnarene said...

I am replying to the request for an e-mail address after seeing my blog, and I would be happy to answer your questions about Moscow. This is a great place to serve a mission, and your son will love the people. I look forward to hearing from you at