Dear Friends and Family,
Probably while you were out on some grassy field participating in an Easter Egg hunt on Saturday, we were enjoying snow. It snowed a wet, slushy snow all day. Mind you, I am not complaining and am not anxious for hot summer weather. We had an activity at Church in the evening to color easter eggs. They don’t actually color them here, they paint them with a brush and paint. Didn’t see any of the regular egg dye that we use.
We just had 10 people in our little apartment for Easter Dinner. We had 6 missionaries and a mother and daughter from our little branch. I have mentioned her before. She is a well-known pediatrician here in town and when she joined the church about 3 years ago she converted all the people in her podyez (stairwell), including another doctor. She told me at church this morning that she has a soggy apartment and no electricity. There is a hole in the roof of the apartment building and everytime it rains they get leaks and lose electicity. They own their apartment but I guess the city owns the building and won’t do anything about the leaks in the roof. I thought she could use an invitation. We had a great time eating and then I had a candy hunt using clues from the scriptures about the crucifixion and resurrection of the Savior.
We had a fun and spirit-lifting 4 days in Vladivostok last Saturday thru Tuesday. We stayed in our favorite hotel with the beds as hard as the floor but still enjoyed meeting the two other couples who are now in our mission. It used to be just Jim and me. We especially enjoyed the new couple that are now in Nahodka – great people. My daughter put her in touch with us before they came and we emailed back and forth for several months before they came. From her emails I thought she was going to be an annoying person but I found her and her husband to be completely delightful! They have been kind enough to go close a couple of projects that we had to leave undone in Nahodka. The man used to work for an international company that made and installed hospital equipment all over the world. He said that Russian hospitals are on a whole different standard than anything he has ever seen anywhere.
A year ago when we were at this annual meeting there was an American ship in port and sailors everywhere. This time there was a ship from India and Indian sailors were everywhere. We tried to be friendly and spoke to many of them. The Russians aren’t too friendly to strangers. We even went and had lunch at a restaurant called “Bombay” and had delicious Indian curry.
This will be interesting to those of you who are members of our church. Elder Larry Lawrence of the Second Quorum of Seventy was at our conference. He related his experience of returning to Salt Lake City before General Conference for training. He was able to spend time with Elder Holland and Elder Holland told him about being in Japan before the earthquake and tsunami. He felt impressed to leave an Apostolic blessing on the members in Japan and blessed them that they would all be safe. As soon as he returned home he heard of the disaster and finally the reports that not one of the 128,000 members in Japan was lost in the disaster.
Just before the trip to Vlad we had to go visit the little library that had been set up in town by the Blind Society to make sure that most of their members would have access to the things they requested. It was a small room in a large building and next door there was a large hall where there was an art exhibition. We went in to look. The artist was a native of somewhere north of here. It was amazing to me that both he and his art reminded me of native Americans. After seeing this and the collection of arrowheads in Nahodka I am pretty much convinced that there must have been a land bridge from Siberia to Alaska at some time. Or maybe they just went back and forth by boat. Jim was able to get some good photos of the art work which we can share when we get home.
I struck up a conversation with a nice man there who told us that he is an musician and actor. He got out his guitar and played and sang a few Russian folk songs for us. You never know what delights await you in any given day. We hope and pray that you can find some delight in each day and know that each day is a gift from a Heavenly Father who loves you. Love, Elder and Sister R