Tuesday, September 30, 2014

 Some of the young Elders wanted to visit the sister who lives in the country so back we went.
 We had a good visit and the young Elders gained a greater appreciation for this sister and how she lives.
 While we were there we pulled water from her well and filled the reservoir with a weeks worth of water.

 These two sister are good friends.
 The is the kitchen of her house.
 The other room of the house is a combination bedroom, living room and dining room.
 Sister J visiting the toilet, to the right attached to the house is the sauna.
 In the back part of the property is a tin shed.  The sister told us she lived there for one winter while the house was being built.  From her knees down she said it was very cold but she was nice and warm above her knees.
She does have a sauna and the young Elders had to see what it was like.
 It's Saturday morning the end of September and we had a Relief Society picnic in a beautiful park.
 The only problem was, it was only about 38 degrees.
 The fire became the center of the picnic.
 Beautiful scenery and good company made for a great picnic.
 Food was great.
 Camp cooks working on the dogs.
 The branch president really liked the grapes.
 This sister is a doctor and is teaching some first aid skills.
 After the picnic Elder and Sister J went for a little walk.

 The fall is so beautiful with the changing of the color of the leaves.
What a great day to be at a picnic.
 Another patch of potatoes to harvest, so off we went back through this grove of trees that Sister J likes.
 This time we took the young elders through the grove.  They thought it was great.
 Beautiful trail through the grove.
 Working in the potato harvest is hard work but in less than 3 hours we had completed the task.
 Elder J loves potatoes and enjoyed the harvesting experience.  Do you like his Russian Navy shirt?
 Sometimes hard keeping the young missionaries on task but they did a great job.
 Typical babushka (grandma) going somewhere with a load of something.
Even out in this country setting where the potato patch was people still live in high rise apartments.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

 This is a friend we met when we first arrived here in Tomck.  She's not a member of our church but came to church one Sunday.
 This is our Institute teacher in our branch.  My Institute teachers were never this cute.
 We visited the Institute in a neighboring city that we are responsible for and Sister J fixed a Russian meal.  Everyone was very impressed, she did a great job.
 Missionaries, members, and Institute youth at the party.
 This lady is less active in our branch and has some land that she allows the branch to grow potatoes.  We went with the Sister missionaries to harvest the fall crop.  We walked through this grove of trees and Sister J got all excited, like being out in the country.  Very pretty with the fall colors.
 This was the potato patch.
 All these potatoes dug by hand.  The lady gave us some of the potatoes.
 On the way home on the bus we met this man who really liked Sister J and offered her a Siberian apple that he had grown.  He has been the happiest Russian we have met since being here.  When we came to the stop for him to get off the bus he reached over and kissed Sister J on the cheek.  It made his day.
 An active sister in our branch invited us out to her home.  She lives outside this village several miles.  It was a beautiful day and we had a fun time trying to find her.
 This village sits in an open valley, the prettiest we have seen in Russia yet.
 This is the lady's home we visited.  The structure on the left is a sauna.  The newer structure on the right is her home.  It has two rooms.  A small kitchen and a bedroom, living room, dining room all in one.
 She was born in the 1930's and has lived through some very hard times.  She divorced her husband and then he died a short time later.  She had two children, a daughter who visits often from the city and a son who has passed away.
 She gave us some squash.  She walks to the bus stop 20 minutes away and travels an hour to get to town.  Changes buses and then travels another 30 minutes to get to the church.  She is very faithful in attending.  She lived in the city in the late 1990's and one day two missionaries knocked on her door.  Once she heard gospel message she joined the church and a year or so later went to the temple. She has done the temple work for all known relatives.  She and Sister J are best friends but can only speak a few words to each other.  She is a great example to us.
This trailer full of potatoes, harvest time.  Being in the country was great and if we had to live here in Siberia I think this would be on the top of our list.