Dear Friends and Family,

This weekly update looks like it will be on time for a change. Monday is our personal preparation day and the day on which I would normally take time to do this. We have now been here in Nakhodka for 3 weeks. Here is a list of some of the things I have not seen in that time:

Motor homes, campers, trailers.
Airplanes flying overhead.
Dishwashers and dryers.
Pie pans or pies.
Fast food.
Lawn mowers ( I am told there are some weed whackers but if someone can lay claim to any little plot of ground they grow a garden.)

Even sidewalks and even stairs. We were told before we arrived that the old Soviet leaders didn’t make stair steps even because they wanted to keep people looking down, but we don’t really believe that. It is just shoddy workmanship.

Life is good! We found the Russian equivalent of buttermilk (keefer) and made real pancakes this morning. I made syrup from their crystalized brown sugar and some maple flavoring that was given to me by the mission office couple – a treasure they could spare because they will soon be returning to the States.

We are getting ready to get on a bus and go to meet our interpreter who has made an appointment for Jim to see a chiropractor. We asked ourselves what made us think he could live without a chiropractor but then our answer is that we never dreamed we would be sent to such a far-away place as this. The buses run fequently and get us generally where we need to go but there is always a lot of walking,too. They are crowded and there is rarely a place to sit on them. The majority of the buses are made by Daewoo and we are told that when they are worn out in Korea they send them here.

Some people have cars but they are the minority. They are almost all Japanese and Korean makes with the driver mostly on the right, although some are on the left like ours. Gasoline is about a dollar a gallon but we rarely see a car at station. They must not drive very far or very much. Since cars are fairly new to most people here they are very creative about garages. They use old freight containers and lock the cars inside. We are adding a picture for you to see. There are rows and rows of these around most apartment buildings. Also adding a picture of the apartment house next to ours that shows the ever present laundry hanging out to dry.

Last Tuesday they turned the water off for the entire city of over 150,000. Luckily our missionaries called us the night before and warned us to fill some containers. Apparently they do this about every 6 weeks.

We are flying to Moscow on Wednesday and back again on Sunday. Oh, good! More jet lag as they are 7 hours behind us. We are to receive some special training on strengthening families. I sure hope we are able to use it. There are very few intact families here in Russia.

On Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons we have English Club. I really enjoy it! It is a careful balancing act, however, because we are not allowed to TEACH English since we are not certified as teachers here. We just have to try to engage those who come in conversation. It is so hard for me not to teach and the students are so eager to learn English. For some it is an all-consuming hobby. On the Island of Sakhalin, north of us, the Russian versian of the FBI raided their English Club some time ago and held everyone and questioned them all night. The Church has been to court and won and to an appeals court and won but they still no longer have English Club there.

Our friends and family are ever more dear since we are so far away. Our best to all! Elder and Sister Rahi