Monday, August 31, 2009

Transfers and Visit to Yaroslavl

Most mornings during the week, we walk around Gorkova Square which is about two blocks from our apartment. We walk three times around the outside, just on the other side of the trees surrounding the square. Then, we also walk one time around on the inside walkway, seen above. Flowers beds like this are planted in many of the public areas and are very beautiful. The statue is one of Gorky, the Russian poet. Nizhniy was originally named for him, but was changed when the city became more industrialized.


We had an emergency transfer of Sister Corbett, from Canada, replacing Sister Lavrentyeva because Sister Corbett is a registered nurse and Sister Uldonova had been experiencing fainting spells and nausea.
We meet the missionaries most of the time at the train station. Pictured above is an amazing chandelier that hangs in the lobby of this vugzal (train station).

The two side walls are decorated with mosaics depicting Russian history. The upper one is a memorial to WW II.Sister Uldonova and Irra Vershinina on the last Sunday before Sister Uldonova left. Irra just returned from a mission to Ukraine. She also speaks English quite well and is anxious to do Russian translation of materials we need for training. She has been a real blessing for us
This is our district, plus Valeri. In the back from left to right: Elders Smith, Malanin, Worthington, Valeri and Rick. On the front row are Elder Traasdahl, Sisters Uldonova and Corbett and Anne. Valeri is an investigator that Elders Worthington and Malanin have been teaching. He has a baptismal date for September 5th. This was our last meeting together before Sisters Uldonova and Corbett left and transfers took Elders Traasdahl and Malanin.
Dasha Vostrykova was a mini-missionary in Yaro last November and part of December. On a trip back to Yaro to attend a baptism of one of the investigators she helped teach, Sasha and she formed a relationship and she moved to Yaro for the summer. She has just moved back to Nizhniy and Sasha stayed with us for the weekend. Both of them are planning to serve missions soon.
Elder Malanin was transferred to Yaroslavl and Elder Traasdahl was transferred to Minsk in Belarus. Elder Westbroek on the left was transferred back to Nizhniy to be companions with Elder Smith. Elder Westbroek was in Nizhniy when we came apartment hunting, but was transferred out before we moved here. Elder Nuckols came to Nizhniy straight from the MTC and will be companions with Elder Worthington.
During a YSA activity at our apartment, we celebrated Rick's birthday, watched Narnia II, Prince Caspian, and also saw photos and videos from the YSA Conference in St. Petersburg that 8 of the YSA attended. Deema Danchina had just returned home from a mission in the state of Washington. He was one of the last Russians to be called to go out of the country. We're very glad he's home. It was amusing to hear him give his talks in the two branches here. There were a couple of times in each talk that he couldn't remember the words to express himself in Russian; he is so used to speaking and thinking in English.

Visit to Yaroslavl

On the last weekend in August, we visited Yaroslavl, arriving on the overnight train early Friday morning. Rick is now the first counselor in the Mission Presidency and received an assignment to go there and call a new 2nd counselor. He also volunteered to do the financial audit while he was there. It was great to be with Elder Malanin again. He has only been gone a week, but we were glad to see him. After doing much of the audit on Friday, we took them to the Texas Restaurant. It is the one that is close to the apartment we used to live in. Later that evening, Rick went to the Family History Center and did some web conferencing tests with one of the branches in the mission and a test on the computer there to see if it could do web conferencing properly. Rick is trying to get web conferencing up and working by October so we can start to have monthly leadership meetings using that technology.
On Saturday, the branch planned a picnic. The Chernikovs met us at the bus stop and Rick picked up Max and he stayed with him the whole way (45 min) out to the picnic site. He also fell asleep for part of the time.
Besides the Chernikov children, two other little boys came with their non-member mother. They were also very cute and we enjoyed playing with them.
One of the highlights of the trip was to see these two young ladies again--Natasha, on the left, and Kristina Chernikov, who is back from nine months in Burley, Idaho, as an exchange student. We were so excited to see her again. She had an amazing time in the United States. Natasha met a returned Russian missionary from Canada just after we left Yaro and things are looking promising.
Elders Malanin and Boradin barbequed chicken over the coals at the picnic. It was delicious.
After eating, Elder Boradin pulled out Kristina's guitar and several of them sang Russian folk songs. It was the best Russian music we've heard. Also pictured here are President Chernikov (elders quorum) and two of his children, Karina and Max. Rita is sitting on the log with the other adults. She is a very good friend from English Club.
We walked down to a spot where we could see the Volga River and noticed the leaves beginning to show their color. Rita makes a good subject.
On the way back to the bus, Anne couldn't resist taking a picture of this little dacha where, as you can see, someone is presently living. They are probably there only for the summer and will return next month to the city.

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