Thursday, December 11, 2008

P-Day, Branch Computer, Alexander's Baptism & Decorations

Here is our district on a recent P-Day. The missionaries come over in the afternoon and use our two computers to do their one hour of internet time to write home. While one companionship is doing that the others are in the living room playing games. Much of the time we are playing with them, if we are not preparing something for them to eat. Here Sasha Yartsev (our tutor), Elder Jenson (on floor) and Elder Smith in the back are playing a Russian card game. In the foreground, from left to right, Elder Terry, Sister Vostrykova, Elder Keifert and Sister Gorina are playing an advanced game of Uno.

Branch Computer
We now have a computer for our branch. Rick found an old one in Moscow that the APs were no longer using. It was Windows 98SE with a broken CD drive, 166 MHz, no USB ports and no way to connect to a network. We bought a computer desk and a 4 port USB card for it. It took a couple ot trips to the local computer store where we bought the 4 port USB card to get service to get it working. The service each time cost 200 rubles (about 7 dollars) for an hour. Very cheap compared to the US. It is now working, which means that Rick doesn't have to stay in the branch waiting for Elder Jenson to do the finances on his laptop. He can now go home after church and help Anne get ready to feed the missionaries Sunday dinner.

Alexander's Baptism
Here is Elder Jenson with Alexander just before the baptism. We rented a section of a bath house to do the baptism. The section had four rooms (one of them a sauna), some showers and a small pool about 4-5 times the size of our fonts at home.
When we got there we stuck our fingers in the water and found that it was ice cold. Luckily, there were 3 tubs in the shower area which we immediately started filling with hot water and dumping into the pool. We did this for about 45 minutes when Alexander said the temperature was OK to go ahead. Above are Elders Smith and Keifert with Alexander filling the tubs.
Here are Elder Keifert, Masha and Alex in the hallway leading down to the four rooms. The first room on the right was where we gathered for the program. Alex is planning on being baptized in January.
Here is the pool where the baptism took place. The water was still cold and when Alexander came up out of the water he was so shocked with the cold water that he almost pulled Elder Jenson under. After they got out, they went into the sauna room and warmed up before changing clothes. It was nice to have the sauna room there. They really enjoyed it. Sister Vostrykova is in the above picture with her back to us talking to Masha.

Decorating Our Apartment
We invited the missionaries to bring an investigator or less-active over to help decorate our apartment for Christmas. Elders Smith and Jenson worked very hard on getting the garland up over the doorway into the living room. They put lights through the boughs and hung little replicas of matrushka dolls on the garland.
Anne and Rick worked on the tree. There are several sets of handcarved ornaments we found at the renik. We couldn't find a star anywhere for the top of the tree so we finally settled for a sweet snow lady who looks like an angel.
The other two elders and the sisters worked on getting our advent calendar prepared. Elder Keifert is hard at work on it here. It is made from paper towel and toilet paper rolls cut and covered with paper. They placed a piece of candy inside each one and covered it with a circle with the day on it. Each time someone comes, they can open it for the day and have the candy inside.
Here is a shot taken from our kitchen doorway showing the advent calendar and the tree in the living room reflecting in the mirror. The pictures on the wall are from a calendar. We framed them to help remind us of the meaning of Christmas.
Above is one of the nativities that we bought in the renik on one of our trips down to Moscow. We found the little feather tree at a gift shop in Yaroslavl.
Sister Cranney (our mission president's wife) told us they were going to Kazakhstan (it is part of our mission) and wanted to know if she could pick up a nativity for Anne there. We, of course, said yes. It is pictured above. It is all hand stitched from felt fabric and has darling details. The little "tent" in the background opens up to hold the pieces.
A couple months ago, Sister Cranney mentioned she was ordering a hand-painted Russian nativity. Anne asked if she could order us one also. It came from a town near Sergei Pasad which is on the way to Moscow and is the birthplace of the Matrushka stacking dolls you saw on an earlier blog. The pieces are hand carved and painted and are very detailed. We are pleased with our decorations. It isn't like previous years where every room is decorated with Anne's 300+ nativity sets, but it really brings the spirit of the season into our home.

We want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and hope you make the worship of the Savior and remembrance of his birth the central part of your celebrations.

He was born in an obscure village. He worked in a carpenter's shop until he was 30... He then became an itinerant preacher (for only 3 years).

Yet nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race.. All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that... ...ONE SOLITARY LIFE.

1 comment:

Member of the Vernier Family said...

Your tree is lovely. Wow, 300+ nativities!!!! I would love to see them all. You didn't put your Lladro nativity on the blog.

Merry Christmas- continued good health and happiness in your service to Lord in the coming year.
Love, Celia