Anne started her day with an omelet that Rick made her. Just a little while later, the first set of elders called and sang happy birthday. Then, about an hour later the other set of elders called and sang happy birthday. Later in the day, both sets of elders came over to coordinate for the baptism the next Saturday. They had another reason for coming over. They brought birthday presents and a card for Anne. She is sporting both of her presents in the photo above; a capka and a shawl. Two of the elders already had capkas and the other two decided to get them also when they bought the one for Anne.
After English Club Rick had arranged a surprise birthday celebration for Anne. He told the people in the English Club Conversational class that we teach and the other missionaries told their classes also. Natasha, the young lady that was baptized last month, helped with refreshments by baking two Russian birthday cakes. Anne decided that she was going to celebrate her birthday with everyone so she also baked a cake and we bought ice cream for everyone. It was a very enjoyable day. Anne is holding a card made by one of the young women in the branch and is standing next to Alex, an investigator.
The day after her birthday, the missionaries called and said we had an opportunity to provide service at the Russian Orthodox (Provaslavny) Church where they had performed service in the past. It is just across the street from McDonalds and quite close to our apartment. This is a view of the church from the front.
Behind the church are two other buildings. The one above, they call a temple. It was built in the 1600s. It has been gutted and they are starting from the base structure to build it out again. They are also having to shore up the foundation and replace a lot of bricks in the walls.
Across from the temple is a long two story building. We went up to the second floor to a big room in the back to work. Our assignment was to clean it all out. You should have seen Elder Angelo's eyes when he asked the priest if we were supposed to take apart the set of make-shift shelves that were standing in one part of the large room. It is hard to see in this picture, because of the dust, but Elder Angelo is flying through the air to destroy one section of the shelving.
After we took the shelving apart we threw it out the window down to the ground. This is Elder Barney at the window tossing the disassembled shelving out.
This shot is of the back of the church taken from the upstairs window where we were working. After we finished cleaning up that upstairs room, we went to the back of the church and separated the red (krasny) bricks from the white ones. At noon, the priest took us all upstairs and they fed us lunch. It was our first real traditional Russian meal. We had a delicious soup to start with. There was also caviar spread on unleavened bread and Yaroslavl grown apples and plums on the table to eat. After the soup, they served us Gretchka. One of the elders told us it was buckwheat cooked in some type of broth with some carrots and other seasonings in it. Rick really liked it.
Anne's Birthday Dinner at Texac
Anne chose for her birthday present to take all the missionaries out to the Texac restaurant for dinner. We went on the Friday after her birthday. This is the restaurant that is within the same block that we live in. It is very Texicanized as you will see. Here we are out in front.
Here we all are in front of the sign inside the restaurant. You can't tell it very well but the Texas neon sign is on top of a map of Texas.
This is a shot looking across the dance floor over to the saloon. There is a bar on the right behind the post. On the post is a "Wanted Sign" for Osama Ben Laden. Just to the right, there was a small stage where they had live singers performing for part of the evening.
This is the door out of the dining area back to the font desk. Etched on the glass is "Cowboys, leave your guns at home." Most of the signs there were in English.
But, the menu wasn't. The covers were made out of leather. It took us quite a while to make up our minds what we were going to have. Four of us had T-bones, one had a rib-eye and Anne had the cowboy steak. The food was very good, by any standard.
Anouther one of the cute touches was out near the front desk by the coat check. There was a cowboy who had a lighted cigar (red light in the end) and a horse behind him whose ears and mouth moved.