Pictured above is the tree that was set up on Gorkova Square. The banner exclaims "Happy New Year". So it really isn't a Christmas Tree. Russia celebrates Christmas as a religious holiday on January 7th.
Elders Worthington and Nuckols met Irina on a bus at the close of their day. Elder Worthington had an impression that she knew English. She was anxious to meet and be taught in English. So most of her lessons took place in our apartment. It was a thrill to hear the lessons taught in English so we could know what was going on and participate in teaching her. She wasn't sure she was ready for baptism till she went to Ludmilla's baptism the week before we left, where she had a strong witness of the spirit. She asked Anne when we were going to leave and when she found out it was in a week, she said she was going to pray fervently about baptism. On Tuesday, she asked to be baptized the next Saturday.
Above, she is pictured with Anne and Sister Rasmussen. Elder and Sister Rasmussen arrived on Friday in Nizhniy to replace us. They have been working in the office in Moscow for 10 months.
Here Irina is pictured with Elder Guynn who baptized her. Irina was the first person that he had baptized.
This was the last time we were with our missionaries in Nizhniy. It was hard to say good-bye to them. They are all so special to us. From left: Elders Guynn, Anderson and Nuckols, Sisters Chetina and Doty.
On Monday morning, the 21st, we traveled by plane to Moscow and spent the night with the Woolleys. They are doing a great job as mission president and parents. They love the missionaries and keep new ideas for teaching and contacting flowing into their lives continously.
Our family, except for one child and his children from Boise who joined us on Christmas day, and one grandson serving in the Utah Ogden Mission, were all wating for us in the baggage area when we got off the plane. They were quite a spectical for all the other passengers arriving with us.
We were so happy to see them.
It was wonderful to have grandchildren gathered around us again.
The day after we got back we went to a Christmas tree farm hoping to take a hayride, however, they were no longer giving hayrides. But there were plenty of other activities for the grandchildren. We took the opportunity to take a group picture on the haystack with everyone there. What a GREAT family!!
We couldn't resist having our picture taken in front of these beautiful Christmas trees. The real snow started the next day, Christmas Eve, and really helped all of us enjoy a white Christmas. (We are taking credit for bringing the snow with us!)
On Christmas Eve day, after the grandkid's cookie decorating party, Anne read them the story behind "I heard the bells on Christmas Day". That evening, each family received a copy of the book as a special Christmas Eve gift.
It was wonderful to spend time with our first great-granddaughter, Eleanor. She loved being with great-grandpa.