The upper district after branch meetings the Sunday before transfers. The three on the right left Nizhniy. Elders Terrill (3rd from right) and Michaelis (far right) finished their missions and returned home on the 28th of May. Elder Baxter (2nd from right) was transferred to Kazakhstan. Elder Malanin, next to Anne, stayed.
The Fantastica Mall from the bus stop. You can see it spelled in Russian left of center on the roof line (Фантастика). OBI is a Home Depot-like store, actually bigger than most of the Home Depots at home. Real, pronounced Re-al, is the supermarket where we enjoy shopping. On the left side you can see an outdoor screen advertizing movies showing at the cinema there. Can you see the Russian word for cinema in the picture?
Sasha and Family
Elders Terrell and Michaelis invited a non-member man, Sasha, who has 7 children (really unheard of in Russia!). The missionaries have been working with the family for 6 years and he loves the teachings and the way they have helped his family. His oldest daughter from a previous marriage is 20 and lives out of the home. He has a 12, 8, 7, 5, 3 and 1-year old. He brought 3 of his children with him--the 8, 7, and 5-year olds. They were so adorable and fun to have with us. They are very well-behaved and obedient. You can tell there is much love and respect in the family. They have a hymn book in their home and even the 5-year old sang the songs with us. During the lesson the missionaries had prepared, they were very attentive and answered questions correctly. It was so impressive to be with them. While we played a game with Sasha and Masha (the 8-year old), the two little boys, Sergey and Ilya, played with the cars on our living room carpet. When they were ready to leave, we gave them a plate of the cookies we had for treat to take home and they each picked a car to take with them. It was so hard to let them go, they are just like our own grandchildren.
Here are Elders Baxter, Terrill and Michaelis at our last district meeting on Tuesday before they left. Elder Baxter left the next morning and the other two flew home to America on Thursday.
Elder Kruglyak, on the right, was transferred to Kazakhstan along with Elder Baxter. They are on the train, ready to leave.
On P-Day, after five of the missionaries had left town, the three remaining elders came to our apartment for P-Day. Elder Malanin cooked Plov for us. It is a Russian dish that is reserved for men to cook. It is made with rice, meat, vegatables and spices. The ingredients can vary according to what is available. We all enjoyed it.
We also celebrated Elder Traasdahl's birthday on P-Day, a little early since his birthday was the next Sunday.
The new elders missed their 11:30 pm Wednesday train because they were directed to the wrong train station. They were to arrive at 6:35 am on Thursday. They spent a short night in Moscow and caught a train around noon which arrived in Nizhniy about 7 pm. Above is Elder Malanin (right) with his new companion, Elder Nutt. He is from Sandpoint, ID.
Pictured above are Elder Traasdahl (left) with his new companion Elder Smith. Elder Smith is from Vernal and knows some of Anne's cousins.
We are excited to have Elder Armstrong (right) back with us. He was our district leader in Yaroslavl. He will be going home at the end of this transfer. He is both our Zone and District Leader here. We now have only one district. His companion is Elder Jeremejev.
We had our last zone conference on Monday, June 1st with our Mission President and his wife. They are going home the first of July. It was, as usual, and uplifting event. The two of them are master teachers. Elder Rosenhan was also transferred. It was a big surprise. He had 6 weeks left on his mission and he has been made an Assistant to the President. He is in the center of the first row, next to President Collins.
Following our zone conference we had a very special treat. Our two Moscow missions had a meeting with President Uchtdorf and Elder Anderson (our newest Apostle) and their wives. At the beginning of the meeting they had all of us file past them and shake their hands. What a thrill for these young missionaries and us older ones also. Their teachings were inspiring and the spirit was electrifying in the room. After this meeting, we went to a larger auditorium where they met with all the saints from the two missions who could be there. They talked about the possibility of a stake in Moscow and of a temple here and inspired the saints to work toward those goals.
The picture above is the Cosmos hotel where we held the meetings with President Uchtdorf and Elder Anderson. It reminded us of a hotel in Las Vegas. There were even slot machines inside.
This was an awesome monument just outside the hotel.
A cool (klasna) monument commemorating the victory of WW II not far from the hotel. The area around the hotel was all very nice. We walked through a park with amusement rides and other recreation facilities on our way to eat. It was a very nice walk.