We celebrated the 4th of July on the P-day before the holiday. We planned a picnic in the park with games, food and lots of R&R. Anne made cookies decorated like flags for each country the missionaries represent: America, Russia and Latvia. From left: Elders Traasdahl, Malanin, Nutt, Armstrong, Smith and Jeremejev.
It seemed a little ironic that Rick wore is Russian t-shirt while enjoying his American flag cookie!
While the elders played frizbee and football, we took a walk along the edge of the park. It provided a great view of lower Nizhniy and the Oka River.
The wildflowers were in bloom and it was a lovely, colorful scene all down the hillside.
On the way back to the picnic area, we walked along this beautiful path through the Birch forest.
Elders Armstrong, Malanin and Traasdahl hope to catch the football. (Actually, the ball dropped between them.)
Elder Traasdahl makes a break to catch this pass ahead of Elders Armstrong, Smith and Nutt.
Elder Malanin looks for someone to pass to while Elder Traasdahl guards him. Rick makes a break from Elder Smith and Elders Armstrong and Nutt wait for the action to pick up.
Elder Jeremejev gets into the action by taking pictures.
In the evening, after our picnic, we attended a wonderful presentation of romantic Russian songs sung by the two women on the left who have professionally trained voices. The one of the right was the fantastic pianist. It was one of our favorite culture events since being in Russia. It was organized by the upper branch activities committee chairwoman.
Elder Jeremejev has provided many hours of entertainment with his piano playing. He learned to play just three years ago and does not read notes. He plays from hearing the music and then adds his own embellishment. He also plays his own compositions. He is truly remarkable.
This transfer has been hard for us. Elders Jeremejev and Nutt were both transferred. Elder Nutt will be serving in Kazakhstan with Elder Baxter and Elder Jeremejev goes to Tver, south of Moscow. They both left Sunday right after meetings.
This is the last picture of our Zone before transfers. From front left: Elders Malanin, Jeremejev, and Traasdahl. Back left: Anne, Rick, Elders Smith, Armstrong and Nutt. These pictures were taken in front of the lower branch building.
It was a hard day when we said good-bye to Elder Armstrong. He's heading back to the states after serving very faithfully for two years. He's been an exemplary missionary and we loved serving with him both in Yaroslavl and in Nizhniy. We wish him well in all he does!