Saturday, April 22, 2017

"Krasny"...the original word for Red Square...translated means Beautiful.

Red Square lives up to it's original title.  Beautiful.  
Inspirational, jaw-dropping architecture, and the sense of decades of history. The Kremlin towers, St. Basil's Cathedral, miles of cobblestones, Lenin's Mausoleum, the armoury chamber, cathedral square, museums, and concert halls to name just a few.  

This is said to be the center of Moscow.  If you stand in the center and flip a coin and it lands on the gold markers, it is said that your wishes will come true.  

Our first visit there was last Monday with the Sister Volunteers.  Inside this little church was a Russian Orthodox Priest praying.  

Just one of the many, many examples of the Russian Orthodox Church artwork that adorns their cathedrals. Intricate and detailed in every fashion.

A view of Cathedral Square.  The Cathedral of the Annunciation, The Cathedral of the Assumption, The Cathedral of the Archangel, as well as the Church of the Twelve Apostles, and The Church of the Deposition of the Robe. 

April 22, 2017 we toured the Kremlin with our friends the Limb's.  

We have learned that in Russia if you can make anything, you make it BIG.  This cannon and the bell are no exception.  

I am not sure how we lucked out today, but we timed our visit to witness the Kremlin Regiment
perform.  Truly FANTASTIC!  And please be dazzled that I figured out how to post the video that we filmed.  I know I am.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Moscow Circus....

Acrobats, magicians, clowns, monkeys, tightropes, music, costumes, walruses, balancing acts, jugglers, cotton candy, ringmasters, somersaults, spinning plates, trapeze, and more. 

Truly a delightful evening at the Moscow Circus.   

We have tried to stay away from American Cuisine in Moscow, however, tonight, we had to break our rule.  I think this was the busiest BK I have ever seen. 

Sculpture gardens outside of the theatre...

Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures of the show.  Suffice it to say, it lived up to all that Russia has to offer in perfection.  Truly, something not to be missed.

Our friends, Elder and Sister Crane and cute Diana from the Kubik Office. (Church Office Building) 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Sunday with the Savicheva's...

What an Easter treat!  Lyudmila and Nikita Savicheva invited us to their apartment for a traditional Easter dinner after church on Sunday.  Of course it was snowing as we walked to their apartment pictured in the background.  

The table was festive with the traditional Russian Easter Bread, Kulich and colored eggs.  When the meal has been consumed, we had an egg competition.  Each person takes and egg and taps it against his opponents egg.  If your egg gets cracked when you tap it, you loose.  I was the looser.  Paul was the winner.

Paul is holding a perfectly roasted chicken.  In the window are delicious salads, and drinks.   We stayed until dark visiting and listening to their amazing stories.  Lyudmila works in the church office building in Russia.  She commutes three hours every day on the Metro.  Nikita works for Noni Juice, (yup, a Utah company) now called Angel.  He is in management.  It was wonderful to be with friends who made us feel so welcome and not lonely on Easter.  
He is Risen...Truly He is! 

Had to have an Easter selfie.  

Our Russian Family...

One of the great blessings of being members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is that no matter where in the world you go, you have family.  This is our Moscow family, and we love them already.

From left to right:  Limbs, Griffins, Schwendiman, Larsens, us, Krimme, Crane (husband not present), Taylor's, and Crittendens.  Missing were Bice, Burnett, Hansen, Harris, Henriksen, and Lee's.

Each Tuesday we meet for Senior Council.  There is always a great spirit there.  Their help has been invaluable when we go to grocery stores and read labels like this one...

Or you are riding on the Metro with 10 million (no exaggeration) other people and you can't read Russian and are trying to decide if it is the train on the left or the one on the right that you should take to get home. 

The best is when they call and say..."Hey, we have two extra tickets for the Moscow Circus tonight, are you in".  Yippee.  A family Party.  We love our Moscow family.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

'Tis Eventide with Elder Holland...

Moscow Stake Conference.  What a delight.  We traveled to the Amber Conference Center, a very large arena that the church secures for big events.  Over 1000 members attended.  We met so many people.  The messages were strong and timely.  But what struck us most was that no one wants to leave.  They are so happy to be together.  We met so many kind and loving people.  We are blessed.

Vasily conducted the Stake Choir.  He is a marvelous work and a wonder.  His arrangement of "There is Sunshine in My Soul" brought us to tears.  This is one of Elder Hollands favorite hymns.  Check out Vasily @  He is in our branch.  I was able to play the piano for him last Sunday while he taught music to the Primary.  Mack Wilburg would have been in awe🎶

The above picture was taken 45 minutes after the conference ended!  

Me with a member from South Africa, from Russia, and Samaria.

Elder Hollands counsel to the saints in Moscow:
  • Be the best Christian member you can be.
  • Take advantage of this golden moment and teach the less active.
  • Stay temple worthy.  Live for it, Love for it.  

Oh It Is Wonderful....Easter with an Apostle.

Saturday, April 15, 2017 was our great honor to be taught by an apostle of the Lord.  We attended two meetings that day.  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland presided along with Donald L. Hallstrom.  Each was accompanied by their wives.  Our area Presidency, Elder James B. Martino, Elder Larry S. Kacher, and Elder Alexy V. Samaykin were also present along with our mission President Jeffrey D. McGhie.

The first meeting was for those serving in the  mission.  A photoshoot was arranged.  First we had to organize the elders.  

Then come the adorable Sisters.  Cute little Mazie McGhie is doing one of her ballerina poses for the camera.  What can I say.  She is five.

Add the seniors, and then we wait.  When the general authorities arrive, they warmly greet us, pictures are snapped, and then we file out one by one to shake the hands of an apostle of the Lord.  

Some highlights from Elder Hollands talk:

1.  It's time to accept what we cannot do without complaining and focus with faith on what we can do.
2.  The Book of Mormon needs to become (or remain) the center of our personal studies.  Our teaching of members and investigators should be centered on the Book of Mormon.  It is our greatest missionary tool.
3.  Keep teaching--active members, non-members, less-active members.  Teach everyone who will listen.  "A teaching missionary is a happy missionary".
4.  We need to figure out how the Lord wants us to reach out and rescue the less-active members in our mission.  Elder Holland told us that by rescuing the less active members, we will also find investigators.  More to come on this one.

Our cups runneth over.

The butcher, the baker, the candle....wait! Did you say "Bakery"

Now, you may think that all we do in Moscow is look for bakeries.  May I just defend us by saying we do A LOT of walking.  Walking takes us past store fronts, and who in the world can resist a French Patisserie named PAUL!!!  Not us.  

Raspberry Meringues.  Even if they did not melt in your mouth, they are just so pretty.  

Bet you can't eat just one!  And we did not.  We bought FOUR!

The sacks say Paul, even the desserts have a little chocolate wafer that says Paul
It was a sign that we should return and buy more.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The color of money...

I feel like the queen of, well, Moscow if there were one.  In my wallet right now in rubles is a 5000 bill, and 1000 bill, a 500 bill, a 100 and a 50.  Actually it is only $115.00 in American money, but it feels good to hand someone a $5000.00 bill.

We got this...

Our survival in Moscow Russia is assured!  Chocolate Chip Cookies.  We did it.  We shopped, we figured out the ingredients needed, we mixed, we baked....

We figured out which setting the oven needs to be on so we don't cook everything on preheat or broil...

And who will help me eat the cookies?  

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Randomness in Moscow...

Captain Moroni has a dry cleaner store here!

A makeshift antenna.  Beer cans repurposed.

Ryan, Wendy, Jed and Joshlyn...forget the golf cart, forget the four-wheelers. How would this mode of transportation work to toodle around in?  

This Scooby Doo travel trailer is ready to hitch on to the motorcycle, and away you go!

Meeting our fearless leaders....

Meeting our amazing Mission President, Jeffrey D. and Josie Priesler McGhie was an honor.
President McGhie is 46 years old.  They have five children.  One married, one son with a mission call to serve in the Ukraine and three children here in Moscow with them.  They both speak the Russian as do their children.  

We enjoyed a lovely dinner with them in the mission home along with the Larsens who are serving a Humanitarian Mission here.  Jake, Mazie, and Sage are pictured in front of their parents.  We received some fantastic training from the McGhies regarding the do's and the don'ts of our mission.  It was also great to talk to them regarding customs and traditions of this great country.

Hoppin' down the bunny trail...

No Peter Rabbits in Russia...but,
We are practicing.... The common phrase you can hear in Russia on that day is: "Khristos voskres!" (Christ is risen!), which is to be followed by "Voistinu voskres" (Truly He is risen! This traditional greeting followed by hugging and triple kissing is called "kiss of peace". The Christian Orthodox Easter feast lasts seven days and is called the Holy Week or Sedmitsa.

In the Russian Orthodox church, the day before Easter all churches hold night services and organize religious processions around churches. By that time, kulich, [the cake] the traditional holiday baking symbolizing the body of Christ, [pictured on the table] had been already baked and Easter eggs painted. The morning starts from visiting neighbors and giving away Easter eggs. We will take treats with us to church on Sunday and exchange them with the members.
Easter is the day of abundant food. My kind of holiday!
The egg, which is traditionally painted red and its shades, was the mandatory attribute and the symbol of Christian Easter in the 12th century. High and round kulich with cross image on top has always been baked from yeast dough. It is believed that quality Easter bread ensures well-being of the family. It is to be cut across, keeping the top intact to cover the rest of the Easter cake.
In the picture above are all the items which symbolize Easter in Russia.  Pussy Willows are their version of palm leaves since there are no palm trees to be found in the country, the cake with frosting, the painted eggs, red cloth, and the pyramid shaped delicacy is some kind of sweet jello kind of mold.  Don't forget the candles.  Many candles.

I have my pussy willows/palm leaves, we will do some eggs and purchase a cake (my oven is about the size of a bread box), we will work on the greetings, but I am not sure about the triple kissing.

Happy Easter America!💝

Thursday, April 6, 2017

We all giggle in the same language...

April 5th was our first day in Russia where I felt like I could open the windows without getting frost bite.  Outside my East window is a playground with little ones giggling and joyful.  Oh how I love that sound.

Outside my west window is a school playground.  I felt like I was back at Bowler Elementary.