We had to go back up to Samara - Mission Home - to meet with another CES couple. We went up Wednesday morning, attended the institute there and met with them regarding the program there, stayed Wednesday night at the extra apartment at the mission home, then back Thursday. It is about a 6-7 hour trip but interesting to see things along the way.
There was another baptism for our branch yesterday, a roommate to another recently baptized member, the girl in the blue blouse. The young lady between those two, a member for a couple of years. The lady on the left is an investigator. - all good, fun people. (couple of missionaries having fun in the background)
We've sent pictures of the church building before, but wanted you to see more of the area. The bus stops at the bottom of the hill and we have to walk up and over the bridge - this is the view from the bridge that goes over the train tracks - you'll recognize the building, we meet in the corner between the white and pink buildings about 2 1/2 stories up. There are just two actual church buildings in the Samara Mission, others are rented space.
We had a belated pumpkin carving activity at the Institute. This is Mike with out little babushka cart and a couple of bags carrying the pumpkins back from one of the outdoor markets. He's done more shopping in the last month than he has in the last 42 years - that isn't a complaint by the way, just a report.
Pumpkin carving is always fun, for some it was their first time and they did some quite creative things.
So, all is well - we are good. It is still hard to believe we are actually in Russia but recognize it is a long ways away. We do miss home and family, and have thought of the feelings those early missionaries must have had as they were away from family with no email or internet or phone and often for a very long time. We've thought of Grandma Waite with even more love and respect and admiration for her missionary service on her own without the blessing of having each other as we do. She loved family and Bunkerville, and she surely missed that terribly, but worked her heart out with no complaints. We are grateful to be able to serve here and have been impressed with the people.Strange to think I'm saying this since I'm the one who can wear a sweater during the summer, but the weather hasn't been bad the last few days -- with no rain or snow or wind, and bundled up (me, not Mike - he's still just wearing his suit coat and jacket) - low 40's doesn't seem so bad. We even walked down to the small new corner market after dinner Friday and bought a couple of ice cream bars that we ate on the way home, me without my gloves on. :) more next week .. .