February 27, 2008

MOVING TO A NEW APARTMENT

February 27, 2008

So much has happened this month. We started the month with President Hinckley’s funeral. It was sad news for us all. We attended the broadcast of the funeral services here in our Branch with about 30 younger missionaries. It was very touching to be sitting in the room with all of them knowing what a powerful influence he had been in all of their lives.
We spent the first week or so looking for a new apartment. Which turned out to be very helpful in many ways, one, it got us out walking in the streets of Donetsk, and two we realized that the center of town isn’t nearly as big as we thought it was and three we ended up finding a really nice apartment. The downside was we had to go without Internet for a few weeks again when we moved. We were fortunate to find an apartment with two bedrooms so that we could have an office separate from the rest of our apartment. We wanted more space so that we can have the missionaries over for dinner as well as members of our Branch. I am trying to invite missionaries at least once a week, and usually 4 at a time, and members or people investigating the church once a week. (I know my family is surprised I am actually cooking, I have even made rolls once, and desserts every time we entertain.) When I get home I am going to have a whole new perspective on feeding the missionaries. The missionaries here don’t get invited to member’s homes much so most of them are losing weight. They are thrilled when the senior couples invite them over. We are losing weight too, but not because we don’t eat, (at least not me), but we are walking a lot now. Our apartment is located right on the river so we have a view of the frozen river from our office (second bedroom).
There is a nice trail along the river we will be able to use when it is springtime. Our walks right now are rather brisk because it is still so cold outside; we are looking forward to a good stroll along the river. We have also discovered some really pretty walking trails that go through parks in Central Donetsk. Bruce lost his footing in the snow the other day and took both of us down, then proceeded to walk about 10 more feet and fell again. We both are fine, except Bruce bruised his hand. We gave someone who was standing nearby a good laugh.
We can tell we are getting use to it here. We actually ride the Marshuka’s now without anyone with us. Even if we get stuck or squished in the back Bruce has memorized a few lines that have consistently gotten us off at the right stop. The first time he tried asking the Marshuka to stop when he was way in the back a few locals assisted by yelling a little louder with a little different pronunciation than he used and that did the trick. We even jump on buses that we have no idea if they will take us to where we want to go. I can say, “I don’t speak Russian” really well in Russian but that just makes them think I can speak a little Russian so they proceed to talk to me in Russian.
We can ride the cab without Olga but she has to call it for us. Bruce does really well with knowing how to pay for things. He can count well and ask “how much”, but when they tell us how much something cost we need them to write it down for us because it doesn’t sound like any of the numbers we know.
We even went to a Restaurant that nobody else had ever tried before all by ourselves. We even managed to order and pay without any help (although they did give us an English Menu).

Some of the other memorable events this month were:

The Swan Lake Performance, when 4 of the Elders wore their brand new matching brown suits, new shoes and pastel ties
The missionaries who helped us move all crammed into the back of the rental van that we paid $8.00 for.
Having lunch at McDonald’s in the Birthday party room with the missionaries after we moved into the new apartment.
Saying good-bye to Elder (Michael) Hammond who was transferred to Gorlovka
Saying good-bye to Sister(Maryann) Jackson who went home to America
I gave a Book of Mormon to Lubov from the International Relief Organization

Saints in Ukraine (put music on pause)

My music


click on the photo to see the captions

Armenia Trip

Our last Zone Conference

Some of the faces we will miss

Our trip to Mariupol

March Zone Conference in Donetsk(click on photo to view a larger version)

Missionaries helping the International Relief Development unload a container from America

Health Fair click on the photo to see what is coming up

To listen to this talk you will need to put the music on pause first

Sometimes we forget what divine gifts we have been given. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Thanksgiving

Look at the fun equipment we got to deliver to this internat for Special Needs children

Europe East Area District Meeting

I LOVE THESE MISSIONARIES

OUR APARTMENT (this is not an average missionary apartment)

THIS IS WHAT MISSIONARY APARTMENTS LOOK LIKE ON INSPECTION DAY

CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO SEE A MORE COMPLETE VIEW

LEADERSHIP TRAINING IN THE KALINSKY BUILDING

Click on photo to see more photos of the Open House at the Kalininsky blg