Here is a picture of the part of the original wall and tower that houses the flower tunnel. You can't see the tunnel from here because it runs perpendicular to this view, from the left side, where our picture was taken, to the right side of it. Since Yaro will be celebrating it's 1000th birthday in 2010, you can imagine how old this wall must be.
From where we were standing taking the picture of the tower, and turning about 90 degrees to the left, is the Volkov theater. It was built in 1750, the first theater built in Russia. We went to two plays in this theater and enjoyed them both, even though they were all in Russian.
Our tradition is to take the missionaries out to lunch after the last district meeting before transfers. In this case it was our transfer that we were anticipating. We went to the Texac restaurant again which was close to our apartment. Elders Armstrong and Heath, in the background had been there with us before, but Elders Jouttenus, right front, and Hiatt had not. We all really enjoyed our meal and time there together.
President and Sister Collins came to Yaroslavl our last Sunday there. Both of us spoke and President Collins took the last 5 minutes of sacrament meeting. He then took the second hour and showed part of a DVD made in Russia by the church about building better family relationships. It was very well done. After meetings, we gathered all who were there and took a picture of the branch. President Collins is standing left front next to Rick who is holding Maxi Chernikov and Sister Collins is sitting next to Anne, right front.
Last Sunday Dinner
Later, after meetings, we had our last Sunday dinner together and took a picture of our district.
The lower district is pictured above: from left to right, Elders Kruglyak, Rosenhan (trainer), Jeremejev and Traasdahl (DL). Elder Kruglyak is from Kurgan in the Ekaterinbourg Mission. Elder Jeremejev is a new missionary from a small town in Latvia. He is a native Russian speaker. All three of our Russian speakers are learning English.
Just Before We Left
Thursday, the 23rd of April, the mission driver brought the large mission van to Yaroslavl to load up our stuff and us for our trip to Nizhniy Novgorod, the 4th largest city in Russia. We had spent the week before boxing up everything to either move to the Family History Center for storage for the next senior couple, or, to go with us to Nizhniy. The missionaries all came to help load, as well as Ilya, Sasha and Tanya. The whole van was packed full and the two of us rode in the front seat with the mission driver. Above is a picture of us just before we got into the van which is almost like the picture that was taken when we first arrived. From left, Ilya, Sasha and Tanya.
On the 26th, we took an overnight train from Nizhniy to Moscow to attend Zone Conference. It wasn't the most comfortable accommodations and we didn't get very much sleep. We did manage to stay awake during the meetings. They were very good and spiritually uplifting. Then we rushed to catch the 4:40 train back to Nizhniy, arriving at about 11:00 pm. The time went by fast because we played games with the missionaries all the way home.
Nizhniy and Yaro are similar in one way. Both are situated at the intersection of two rivers. In Yaro it is the Volga and the Kotorosl and in Nizhniy it is the Volga and the Oka. The Oka is much bigger than the Kotorosl. The city of Nizhniy is over twice as large as Yaroslavl, with 1.5 million in population. The city is split in half by the Oka and is referred to as the upper and lower city. We live in the upper city, about 2 blocks from the branch in a really wonderful apartment. The district of missionaries that serves the upper branch is pictured above. From left to right are Elders Baxter (DL), Milanan, Terrell and Michaelis. The last two are our zone leaders and Elder Milanan will be our district leader for three weeks starting next week. Elder Milanan is from Meahst which is in the Ekatrinbourg Mission east of the Moscow missions.