Texac, one more time
The week before transfers we take the missionaries out to eat. We decided to take them to the Texac Sports Grill to see what that was like compared to the restaurant that we went to before. As it turned out, it was the same menu with not quite as comfortable seats and no dance floor with live singers. Elder Smith was the only one of the missionaries who had been there before.
Rita, from English Club
This is Rita bundled up with her new shopka on after our Institute class. We love having her in our class. She is one of our English Club participants who chose to come to our Institute class since we conduct it in English. She has told us she now speaks much better English because of her participation with us.
Area Authority Visit to Yaro
Elder Paul Pieper and his family, our East European Area President and a General Authority 70, visited our Yaroslavl Branch as well as President and Sister Collins. We conducted an Auxilary Leadership meeting the night before their expected visit. Elder Pieper surprised us and came early and attended most of Rick's leadership session with the Branch Presidency on Interviewing and then stayed a while afterwards and socialized with us. It was a real treat. Elder Pieper's son served in Yaroslavl on his mission and baptized our current Branch President. On Sunday, President and Sister Collins spoke in Sacrament Meeting. Elder Pieper took the last 5 minutes; then, he did a Q&A for the second hour of our meeting schedule. It was a spiritual feast for all of us.
We had two young men interviewed to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and 6 people interviewed to receive their patriarchal blessings. There are two traveling patriarchs who come during the year and give blessings. They travel to the major population centers all over Russia and surrounding countries and give about 100 blessings in each center.
One of the other treats of the weekend was that Dasha Vostrykova came to visit because Sasha Yartsev was to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. However, President Collins wasn't able to interview him before meetings so President Collins authorized Rick to sustain Sasha and Vanya, the other new Elder, the following week. Here is a picture of Sasha and Dasha below.
On Monday, the 9th, it was time for Elders Jenson and Smith to leave Yaroslavl and complete the transition of Yaro from the Russia Moscow Mission to the Russia Moscow West Mission. Here is a picture of the group at the train station (vauxal) who were there to see them off. From left to right are Vanya (who just became an elder), Elder Jenson, Sasha (our tutor and a new elder), Elder Heath, Elder Armstrong, Shondra, Elder Smith, Daniel and Rick.
Elders Jenson and Smith in their last few minutes here in Yaro. We will miss them.
Whenever the 7:15 am train leaves, a corny, somewhat cool traditional song plays over the loudspeakers at the vauxal. Rick has been saying for sometime that he wants to capture a video with the song on it. As you listen to it, pay attention to when they say "Yaroslavlsky vauxal".
That same Monday evening, we went to the train station again to say goodbye to Elder Armstrong as he left to go on his visa trip. We waited for about a half hour and Elder Jouttenus arrived. He is from Finland and his father also served a mission. Pictured above are Elder Heath, Sasha, Elder Jouttenus and Rick.
The next day we departed for our Moscow West Mission Conference in Moscow. We were surprised when the train that Elder Armstrong purchased tickets for turned out to be, as Anne calls it, a traveling campground. This picture shows the inside of it. It is all open with 4 beds on one side of the isle and a place for two to sleep on the side we are sitting on. We are sitting at a table (you can see Anne's shoulder on the left of this picture) that folds down into a bed. This isn't our favorite way to travel. This is the type of train we took a while ago when our tickets were purchased for the wrong day and we met a young Russian on his way to accept a job in Bejing.
We got to Moscow a day early and spent the night with Dr. and Sister Rees. We have stayed with them before and had a wonderful evening visiting with them this time.
At Mission Conference, we met the last of the Russia Moscow West missionaries to be assigned to Yaroslavl. Below is Elder Hiatt. He has been out about a year now and he will be serving as Elder Heath's companion.