Thursday, October 29, 2009

Upper Babushkas, Evgeny's baptism, Elder Nelson Visit, Sasha Going Away, Eleanor

Upper Babushkas
These three sweet babushkas come faithfully to Church in the upper branch and sit on the same row together. We love seeing them and watching how they care for each other.

Evgeny's baptism
Evgeny's conversion story is quite miraculous. He watched a TV interview with two missionaries 17 years ago and wanted to find the Church all these years. He went to several churches, but when they didn't have the Book of Mormon, he knew they weren't the Church he was looking for. One day he was looking for an office and happened to see the Church's sign on the outside of the building. He went in and Elders Worthington and Nuckols were teaching a lesson. They invited him to stay. They have continued to teach him and were able to see him baptized in October. Elder Nuckols is on the left and Elder Worthington on the right.

Elder Nelson Visit
The day we had anticipated for several months finally arrived. Elder Nelson, a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, arrived at the Nizhniy airport with Elder Pearson, in the background, President and Sister Woolley and their interpreter.
After the meeting with the members, Elder Nelson was willing to have pictures taken with missionaries and members. It was such an honor to be with him and to hear his message of love and gratitude.
The day after the meetings, we met Elders Nelson and Pearson to take a culture tour. Because the traffic was so congested, they decided to spend their time at our apartment while their cell phones were charging. We had such a wonderful visit and enjoyed listening to Elder Nelson play the piano. He started with "Sunrise, Sunset." After he finished, he quipped, "When in Russia...!" Sister Doty felt honored to be able to be with our special guests. Her companion had to leave the night before for a visa renewal trip so she was staying with us. She received some very personal and timely advice from both Elder Nelson and Elder Pearson, first counselor in the Europe East Area Presidency.

Sasha Going Away
Sasha, on the right, is a member from the lower branch. He found out during the week that he would be leaving for military service for one year. All Russian young men are required to serve one year. We hosted a farewell party for him. Selyena, from the upper branch, shares her good-byes with him.
This was most of the group who gathered to say good-bye to Sasha. Sisters Smith and Doty are in the back on the right. Elder Smith is is on the left in the forefront. Sasha is sitting between Anne and Rick.
From left to right: Posha, Ilusha, and Olya. Posha is investigating the Church and has had several lessons in our apartment. Olya is a member and Ilusa is her 4-year old son. Posha and Olya are planning to be married in the spring. Posha is such a sweet, loving man and Ilusa loves being with him.
Ilusha enjoys hiding and found this wonderful spot under the kitchen table. He is such a fun little boy and loves wearing the Angel Moroni tie we gave him.
During Sasha's farewell party, we each shared something we liked about Sasha and gave him advice. Here Elder Nuckols, standing, and Elder Worthington share thoughts with Sasha.
Elders Smith, left, and Westbroek listen to others share their good wishes to Sasha as they wait their turns.

Nizhniy Landscapes
Early morning mist hangs over lower Nizhniy Novgorod.
A picture from the upper city looking down the hill and across the bridge to the lower city.

Our darling little great granddaughter, Eleanor, was born May 8th. We're looking forward to getting to know her. One of the blessings we'll enjoy when we return home.