Sunday, July 29, 2012

A sweet experience

We are thinking that amongst the differences, there are things that are the same. Underneath it all, people are the same.  As we attend Church week to week, the members are becoming more familiar with us and are very friendly There are certain babushka's (older ladies) who I exchange hugs with and the young women in their twenties also are very friendly. Dave carried on a simple conversation with one of the members today. I felt warm and welcomed by our bishop who asked how I was feeling (since I had been sick last week). He speaks very good English.

I had the opportunity of visiting with Alexsey, who we met last week at English Club. He teaches English in Moscow and showed us his certificate today that he received with a college here that is associated with Cambridge University. He is a delightful man in his 30's or 40's who loves his family and is now investigating the Church. He came to the Investigator's Class today after Sacrament meeting.

There is one little guy named Nikita who is 6 years old who has really taken a shine to Dave. He likes to rub Dave's head and enjoys hug. This sweet boy is the age of one of our grandsons. The little ones are precious and don't seem to let the language barrier affect them too much.

A couple new to the mission shared a sweet experience that they had on the metro a couple of weeks ago. They noticed a young man looking curiously at their name tags and when a seat became available next to Elder and Sister J, he came and sat down next to them. He said in halting English, "I see that you wear Jesus Christ next to your heart." He was hoping to learn more and they just happened to have some Russian Church literature which he accepted happily.

We are learning that there are people who are looking for light. The days of communist rule and aethism are in the past and many want something more. We hope next time we can be prepared with something we can share with them to read despite the language barrier. Of course, our young missionaries speak Russian and can communicate better then we can. We need to try!

A clean sweep

The mission office broom is worn out so I decided to order a new one from Legacy. I shouldn't have been surprised when I saw the broom when it arrived a couple of days later. (there was no picture of it.) It is the kind of broom we see the street sweepers use. Looks like a bunch of brush tightly wrapped together with twine at the top. Dave described it as looking like a witches broom. It stands about 3 feet high. Now I know there are brooms out there because we bought one at Neptune for our kitchen. I never dreamed we would get a witches' broom (except that a witches' broom would have a longer handle.). I wonder what Svetlana (our wonderful mission office cleaning lady) will think when she sees the new broom we bought for her to sweep the kitchen. Oh well.........

We have had more experiences as of late with Russian speakers coming up to us and starting to talk. Sometimes you can tell they are just "shooting the breeze". They talk a while and we nod and smile pleasantly. I wonder if they figured out we can't understand them.  Today on our way to church, a man and his son noticed my name tag (which as Sister Sutton Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) in Russian of course. The dad wanted to carry on a conversation, but quickly figured out we couldn't speak Russian so he shook Dave's hand and they went on their way. Oh, how we would like to be able to talk to them! Language is coming slowly. Understanding Russian is VERY difficult.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

We are still in Russia

Monday Alexsei arrived at the office to look at the copier. We were thrilled to think that at last the copier would get fixed. Well, we were wrong. It appears that his responsiblity was to actually determine if there was something wrong with the copier. Yep, there is something wrong with the copier. Yep, I know what's wrong with it. Nope, I'm not here to fix it. Just to confirm that it is broken. Hmmmm. So the waiting begins again.
In the meantime, there had been a mixup with an order from the Distribution Center. Two of us ordered paper (for the copier), so we have double what we need and no copier to use it with. Oh well. Such is life in Russia.

Remember how I told you that we were told to go home and that it is not uncommon for missionaries to be told that? Keeping in mind that so many people have been raised in aethist homes, this is understandable. And yet we are learning that there are people who are searching for more than what they have been given, which in many instances is nothing. No hope, no joy. Elder and Sister J, a couple who have just arrived from the States within the past month, had a sweet experience. They were sitting on the metro and noticed  a young man watching them and reading their name tags with curiosity. When a seat opened up next to them, the young man came over and sat next to them and said in halting English, "I see that you wear Jesus Christ next to your heart." He then asked if there was anything he could read. They had a copy of the Liahona in Russian, a monthly Church magazine. He was thrilled with his gift and went off with a smile.

Sister L went out of her way to return to a grocery store (not convenient to get to) to give a lady in the salad department the address of the nearest ward (congregation) to her as she was interested in learning more.

I know that many of the 108 missionaries currently in our mission have sweet experiences like this every day.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Remember You Are In Russia

We have been in Russia for 4 months now. There certainly are things to get used how quickly things DON'T get done. We were told about one month ago that our cable televison would kick in on July 1. Well, it hasn't happened. So, we call the cable company through our Russian office worker.  We were told that we had a cable box - it is part of the contract. Hmmmm. I checked with the couple who lived here for 20 months before we moved in and they never had cable and no cable box. PLUS taking the apartment apart looking for the cable box was fruitless. Calling the landlady Zhenah was the next step and we are waiting to hear back. NOTHING HAPPENS QUICKLY IN RUSSIA. At least not when you want it to. Of course we are now paying for cable. It would have been nice to get Animal Planet and news in English this past week when I was home sick for several days. Instead, I watched the Russian Circus in Russian of course, but at least I "understood" what I was seeing. The repairman doesn't show up on time? REMEMBER YOU ARE IN RUSSIA. (now wait a minute. We have this kind of thing happen in the States too if I remember correctly) but truthfully not to this extreme. And the fact they can't understand us makes it so frustrating!

I was told that it isn't easy to go anywhere and get things done quickly. I think more than half of Moscow is on vacation. They call it "Dasha Season." I think that's where the tv cable repair man is.  Many people own a little summer place outside of Moscow where they go for the weekend to get away from it all. Now these dashas can simply be an 8x10 shack or a very nice cottage or home by the Black Sea. Even the little ones like their own little yard where they can grow a garden. Remember most of the people live in apartments in the biggest city in the world so a little getaway is most welcome. But I diverse....................

Our copy machine at the office is broken. Not a good thing. WE use it all the time and need it badly. Getting someone from the Service Center to fix it has been a joke. Of course, everyone is on vacation. Or they just don't seem to understand how important it is that we have a working copy machine (which was overdue for a checkup anywahy)

How I miss being able to get a haircut. To be able to call and make an appointment and be understood and be able to get there in a timely way. I really like the girl who did my hair when I first got here. Gore is her name. An ugly name for a beautiful girl. She works in a high-end salon in Rosinka, a very nice family area of Mitina about 5 minutes from the office (or our apartment). Getting there is so difficult that we have invited her to come to us. There are 3 of us who would like a haircut so it will be financially a good thing for her and us. Because she is currently on vacation (remember it is Dasha Season) we can't set it up for another week or so. Getting to Elder and Sister L's apartment will take a bus ride and a good walk, or one long walk. Either way, because she understands some English and does a beautiful job, it is worth it.

REMEMBER YOU ARE IN RUSSIA. It's a good thing to remember. Keep a sense of humor, be grateful for what is available and roll with the punches. Now, MAYBE we will have cable tv before we are ready to leave and go back to the States in 14 months. MAYBE I will have gotten a haircut by then. MAYBE the copy machine will have been fixed and we will be able to carry on with the vast amount of work that needs to be done on this machine. Time will tell.

Many exciting cultural events are in our future and we will share them with you as they happen. Until then, dos vidonya.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Victory Park

A couple of weeks ago we went to Victory Park with some of the other senior couples. It is located at Polklonnaya Gora, the highest hill in Moscow. It is the hill where Napoleon, with his troops surrounded Moscow and waited in vain to be given the keys to the city of Moscow (Kremlin) in 1812.

Russia is steeped in Russian military history. This park memorializes World War II and Russia's involvement in this devestating war. This war took a huge toll on Russia and elderly Russians are revered for having survived this difficult time. Over twenty million people lost their lives in Russia alone. Staggering!

On May 9, Victory Day in Russia, the park becomes the center of Moscow's celebrations. World War II is also referred to as the Great Patriotic War.
                                One of the beautiful fountains. Children play in the fountains.
One of the many sculptures in the park. This is located at the base of a tall monument. In this sculpture the dragon is slain.
                   This haunting memorial to all the Jews who lost their lives during the war
              This United Nations Memorial is dedicated to all the victorious nations of WW II
          This monument is dedicated to all the suffering and sorrow experienced during the war
                                          The one Russian Orthadox Cathedral in the park
                             Barb with Elder and Sister Pierson and Elder and Sister Naegle

Missionary work in the Moscow Mission

There are currently 50,000 young missionaries and 5000 adult missionaries serving throughout the world. Wow. Back in our ward in Ludlow MA. and our service in the Boston Temple, we have had the privilege of getting to know missionaries who have come from all over the world to serve. Yes, they knock on doors and share the gospel message  whenever they have the chance to do so., perform acts of service and community service and other myriad  responsibilities.  I admire all of the missionaries for their hard work and dedication and for the different responsibilities they have.

In Russia, because the Church is so young and there isn't always a strong priesthod base yet, our missionaries are sometimes called to serve in leadership roles in the little branches. (30 - 120 members).That is a huge responsibility! One young elder was just called to serve as the Branch President in Smolensk to help strengthen the young branch there. These young missionaries called to serve in Russia are often called upon to carry additional responsibilities  at times on their young shoulders.
In the Russia Moscow Mission, our mission president's goal is to have a senior couple in each branch or ward to help teach leadership and help these little branches get on their feet. The senior couples have years of experience to share, having served in various Church responsibilities throughout their life. They are a blessing to the members and missionaries alike.

Currently, there are not enough senior couples to cover all the wards and branches in our vast mission. One couple, Elder and Sister L. take a train to Tver each weekend to serve in the ward there and travel back to serve in the mission office during the week. We are talking about several hours on a hard seat to and from, so that they can fulfill their responsibility to the people of this area. They are incredible people.
Recently, a dear couple who were serving in Moscow Elder and Sister C., were transferred to Veronezh, 900 miles away, to serve. WOW. We will only get to see them a couple of times a year. They will help build up the church in that area along with a set or two of young missionaries.

I've mentioned this before, but I'll mention it again. Elder Sutton and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to serve in Moscow at this time and rub shoulders with some of the most dedicated and wonderful missionaries ever! Both of us are working hard trying to learn the additional responsibilities that are now ours due to the expanded mission.

Not only do we cover Moscow, but the areas around it. Twe are almost the size of the United States. Wow. We're having trouble getting our heads around that! We ask for your prayers to be with us and the missionaries of this wonderful mission and the other Eastern European missions as we try to bring light to these wonderful people after so many years of dealing with aethism and communist rule.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Russia

The Church is growing in Russia: 1843 - the first missionaries were called to Russia by the prophet Joseph Smith. However the assignmet was not fulfilled.

June 1895 - The first Russians were baptized in Russia. (Russians had been baptized in other countries before then but not in Russia.

1903 - Russia was dedicated for missionary service by Elder Lyman of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
1917 - atheism became the official religion

October 1959 - Apostle Ezra Taft Benson visits the USSR

June 1981 - Book of Mormon in Russian is published

April 1990 - Ambassador Yuri Dubinin visits Utah and allows the Church into the Soviet Union.

April 26, 1990 - Russia rededicated to missionary work.

May 1991 - The Soviet Union Socialists Republic grants the Church republic-wide recognition.

June 1991 - Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs in Moscow and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg)
1992 - Russia Moscow Mission is established
September 2002 - President Gordon B. Hinkley  visits Moscow, Russia, the first time ever a president of the Church visits the Country

June 5, 2011 - the first Stake in Russia is created in June by Elder Russell M. Nelson. . There were 6 wards (1 English speaking) and 3 branches  .

2012 - when we came to Moscow there were 2050 members, 10 branches (the stake had 9 and Lotoshino, a tiny branch outside of Moscow.) 48 young missionaries and 12 senior couples.

July 3, 2012- our numbers have doubled! The Russia Moscow West Mission has been dissolved and has become part of the Russia Moscow Mission. We now have: 19 branches, 88 young missionaries and 20 senior couples. The original Russia Moscow Mission includes the greater Moscow area. The Russia Moscow West Mission included the countries of Kazikstan, Belarus and large metropolitan cities in all directions outside of Moscow. Needless to say, it covers an enormous geographical area. Now the two missions are one. WOW. The mission covers an area about the size of the United States. Obviously, not all of these areas have missionaries in them.Kazikstan and Belarus are not part of other missions.

The Russian Orthodox Church, with its close ties to the government is the main religion today. Sadly Jesus Christ is not mentioned or talked about or taught or known.

The Berlin Wall came down in November 1988 and a year and a half later Russia was re-dedicated to missionary work. However, with the economic chaos of the 1990's following the breakup of the Soviet Union, the government went into default in l998. Many of the members, as well as other Russians left Russia if they could.,weakening the Church and leadership base.

The core strength needed to maintain the growth of the Church was diminished. Well above 50% of the Church members are in Moscow., many having been baptized in surrounding areas but moving to Moscow because of better economic opportunities.
It truly is hard to imagine just how large our mission is. Veronezh, where we have a senior couple and a few young missionaries is 900 miles away!! The senior couple, the Craythorns, just transferred there from Moscow. They are definitely too far away now to attend our Thursday Senior Council nights!

It is truly humbling to be serving in a part of the world where the Church is still very much in it's infant state. There is a small but growing stream of Russian returned missionaries and valiant young adults who are finding each other, getting married in the temple in Ukraine for time and all eternity, and establishing families here in this wonderful land of Russia.

At the last stake conference last month, a young woman who spoke told of how long it took her to be taught by the missionaries. She said they literally had to start from the very beginning because she had never even heard of Jesus Christ. I cannot imagine growing up not knowing of a loving Heavenly Father and His Son who love me and taught by example the way to live. So many of these sweet people are thirsting to know who they are!

Serving in the office gives Elder Sutton (Dave) and I a chance to get to know many of these fine missionaries who sacrifice 18 months to 2 years of their life to come to a foreign land  to spread the joy that come through knowing the Savior and His teachings. We both feel humbled to play a tiny part in this.

21,421 members
140,041,000 people in Russia
.014% of the population is LDS
8 missions throughout Russia
116 branches (congregations)
1 stake (like a diocese)
13 districts (a zone consists of several districts) There are 4 zones in our mission, each zone having several districts. The farthest away is over 900 miles).
After 20 years in Russia, the Church now has a firm foundation and will continue to grow. Our missionaries here in Russia will continue to spread the gospel  to a people too long in the dark, many of whom are looking for light and the joy the gospel can bring. May this proud people be able to shake off the shackles that beset them under Soviet rule!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Wooden Palace

In late June Barb went with some of the other senior couples to see the Wooden Palace in Kolomenskoye outside of Moscow. (Dave was home sick) It is incredibly beautiful. It was originally built in the 1670's for the Tzar Alexey Mikhailovich. It is sometimes referred to as the "eighth miracle of the world." Called the Kolomenskoye Palace, it took five years to build. Russian and foreign craftsmen brought new devices into the traditional Russian wooden architcture. It was built without nails or using saws. The Palace consisted of separate towers and living sections connected by passages. There were 26 living sections of different height from 2 to 4 floors. There were 270 rooms which were lighted by 3000 small windows. (which are very beautiful) It was a most unusual structure, being build of wood instead of the traditional stone or brick. In almost all the rooms, icons were kept in the "red" corner, (which means beautiful), curtains on windows, and floors and walls were covered with woolen cloth. There were glazed tiled stoves in many of the rooms; in the men's side they were square and women's side they were round. There was a women's half of the Palace and a man's half of the Palace. The Empress Catherine the Great who reigned from 1767-1770 ordered the Palace pulled down. (It has ben recreated according to 18th century surveys found which Catherine the Great had kept). It was completed in 2008, also without using saws or nails. There are many pieces of original period furniture, a set of knight's armour, a crossbow and other weapons. The grounds are very beautiful and it was a delightful day. We were blessed to have a guide with us who spoke English and explained many things to us. We walked for quite a distance on the grounds. Her great grandmother (our guide) is buried in a tiny cemetery not far from the Palace.
this is one of the fancy furnaces that was in most rooms. women's side was rounded.
Catherine the Great
13th century sculpture of woman outside the grounds of the Wooden Palace
Group picture taken on the grounds in front of another churh


Today on our way home from church we had another "first" to add to our list of experiences. This was not pleasant. We knew that other couples and young missionaries had it happen to them so it didn't come as a total surprise. We were sitting on the bus and there was a man in his early 40's just in front opposite of us. His countenance was not pleasnt. There was a hardness and surliness about him. He looked back at Elder Sutton and was looking at his name tag which has says Elder Sutton in Russian and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He pointed and said forcefully Sersha! Sersha! Dave told the man he did not speak Russian and the man glared at him and said GO HOME. Sersha means to bring disgrace or to bring shame upon us. (we looked it up when we got home) There are those who do not want us or any Christian denomination or Americans here in their country. We have watched people's reactions as they see our name tags and we have seen curiosity, hate, indifference and others don't seem to care one way or the other. Our responsibilities as the office couple keep us in the Mission Office where we help the Mission President, order supplies, take care of finances (Dave) and assist the missionaries in numerous ways. We are not exposed to the same degree as those in humanitarian work or prosyliting missions as our young missionaries are as they take the gospel to the Russian people. I had one young missionary share the sadness he feels when the message he brings is rejected. One of the sister missionaries told me today she feels overwheleming sadness when someone they have been teaching for a while no longer wants to be taught. The missionaries learn to love those whom they serve. God has not been a part of the lives of many of the Russian people due to the official religion in the country for so long being aethism. Anyway, we are here until September 2012 at which time we will then go home and not until then. Until next time, dos vidonya.

The metro station

It is hard to accurately describe the metro station. There are MANY metro stations with many different metro lines with many different stops in the greater Moscow area. In Mitina we begin our metro journey either at the Mitina Station which is at one end of the "blue" line. The full metro system is like a big wheel with spokes and each spoke is a different color and represents a different metro line.(red, blue, purple, green, yellow, brown and light blue. I may be able to figure out how to get from one point to another once I am on the metro, but since the station is so huge, finding my way from one line to another proves very daunting due to my lack of any sense of direction. (therefore, I have NO plans to ever ride the metro alone). It is VAST with 9 million people using the metro system on a daily basis. WOW. Walking through one of the metro stations is a feast for the eyes. They are truly beautiful. (Sometimes it's hard to appreciate it though as you are moving along quickly with the hoards of people going from one place to the next. We have had only experience where the metro station was very quiet with almost no people. It was on this day that Dave just happened to have our camera with us and decided to take a few pictures. These pictures represent only a small fraction of the kind of artwork and intricate design to be found there. Many of the walls are marble as are the floors.
This escalator is over 20 stories high and is the longest we have been on

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July! A day to celebrate the gift of freedom!

Since we have arrived here in Moscow on 20 March 2012, about 3 1/2 months ago, I have been struggling with my weight, which, as those of you who have known me for a long time, has been an ongoing battle, many years which I lost that battle. Before our arrival here I was well on my way to success in this area. I had discovered a couple of years ago that GASP! Exercise was not going to kill me and in fact, would make me feel better and help me accomplish my over-all goal of greater health and weight loss. So, I joined Dave at the gym 3 - 5 days week bright and early depending on our schedule at the Boston Temple. I do not have a gym to go to here, but we do walk everywhere (almost) and I was hoping that would be enough. Sadly, it is not. We work in the Mission Office which is wonderful, but I'm not getting the exercise I did at home when I was running around on errands or cleaning, etc. PLUS, we have been eating out so much, (most of it out of necessity due to our schedule), eating dinner at the homes of friends who happen to be wonderful cooks, and enjoying more desserts than I have ever seen in my life, compliments of generous office workers who bring all kinds of goodies to the office or to our various meetings during the week. This has not boded well for me. So, being the dramatic person that I can sometimes be, I have given considerable thought as to what I am going to do about this. Since thinking doesn't accomplish much physically, I needed to come up with a plan and a date to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Today is July 4, a day of freedom. I thought this would be a perfect day to begin my goal of attaining greater freedom. In my case, freedom from sugar cravings. I have chosen 40 days to diet. A symbolic number. The Savior fasted for 40 days in the wilderness. I feel I can better serve Him if I am feeling my best physically and 40 days is "doable, a good place to start. (please don't think I am comparing what He did to what I am trying to do. I'm not.) I can certainly give up sugar for that amount of time, thereby ridding myself of the cravings and be on my way to weight loss and better health generally. Which means I will sleep better and have more energy and better be able to accomplish my goal of being an effective and healthy missionary. I have come to know that what I eat affects every other aspect of my life, spiritually and emotionally as well as physically. I have gone through cancer once and don't want to repeat that experience. Cancer cells love sugar and therefore, that is another wonderful reason to avoid it. So today I begin. I felt that if I told you about it, it would make me more accountable and have a better chance of success. I do not believe in dieting. Dieting is generally short-lived and not healthy and people revert back to old habits afterwards anyway. I believe in eating healthy and will not be doing anything foolish to attain this goal. It would actually defeat my purpose. JUST SAY NO will be my goal. Russia offers many healthy foods which I can enjoy and help me acheive my goal. So, August 13 will be the 41st day. I will report back to you then to let you know I am doing. Wish me luck! May God bless you as you go about your daily lives striving to accomplish those things of importance to you. Until later, dos vidonya.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pick Pocketed on the metro!

One hundred and forty missionaries arrived at the Central Building today in the heart of Moscow for our first ever all-new mission meeting. Many took the metro while others in the outlying areas came in by train. One of our senior missionaries, Elder H. was pick-pocketed on the way to the meeting while riding the metro. (I didn't say it was us that had our pockets picked). You have to be SO careful. He is not the first this has happened to and sadly will most likely not be the last. Fortunately, we all have been counseled not to carry large amounts of cash on our person (which he was not), but it is still very inconvenient.) Riding the metro at rush hour is a nightmare! Today was the first time I have been on the metro when I didn't have anything to hold onto. I can't reach the bar overhead, and there were too many people around. I stood behind Elder Sutton and held onto his belt. While I have been told it can get even cozier, I felt like a sardine in a can. We stood up for a good 40 minutes before we got off. The metro is an interesting way to travel though and is remarkable in its own right when you think about the fact that 9 MILLION people ride the metro in Moscow area every day. Isn't that amazing? (I think there were about a million on our metro alone this morning.) OK, slight exagerration there. If you miss the train, no worries, another one comes along within a couple of minutes. It is a very effective way to travel. And very fast. You never know what you are going to come across as you ride the metro. It is not uncommon for people to take advantage of a captive audience and play their instruments or break into song as they walk along (obviously when it is not as crowded). they have a little bucket for people to put money in if they want to. Sometimes it is a crippled person that looks for handouts. They get off the train and climb on the next one and earn a few rubles this way. The metro station is VAST and since I am so directionally challenged, I get turned around very easily which is why I will never go to the metro alone. I may know to take the purple line for 7 stops and switch to the green for 2 but in the metro itself finding my way around is not something that is likely to happen in my lifetime, let alone in the 15 remaining months here in Moscow. Also, the escalators are the longest I have ever seen. Some (but not all)of them are many stories high. You see all kinds of things on the escalators. People reading the newspaper, chatting with their neighbor, kissing, combing their hair. I like to get the little one's attention and wave to them and see how many respond as they go up (or down) and I am going in the other direction. The ornamentation on the walls and the ceilings are very ornate and beautiful. There are beautiful sculptures in the metro as well of soldiers, dogs, different things. The millions of people who pass through seem oblivious to the beauty around them. Sometimes we feel like cattle being herded along. It can get very crowded! These metro stations were built to be used as bomb shelters during war time which is one reason why they are so deep under the ground. They never had to be used as bomb shelters though. There is so much more to post, but will wait until another day to tell you about the momentous meeting that took place today and my trip to the Wooden Palace last week. We continue to work hard but are having such an incredible experience! Until later, dosvidonya.

Daisies and vodka bottles......

An interesting combination, but one we have seen frequently as we walk to the mission office every morning. Beautiful daisies (my favorite flower) blooming in the grass along the sidewalks, and not far away, empty vodka bottles strewn in the grass or standing up as if someone had neatly left them behind. The stray dogs come and sniff the flowers and then the bottles, hoping for something to eat perhaps? or maybe a drink? Just what we need in Moscow. Drunk stray dogs! That would surely improve their dispostions. (which are generally quite mellow. They are used to people but are still strays). Summer is here in Moscow and everything is green and beautiful. We get plenty of rain here, along with abundant sunshine. Temperatures have been moderate and not hot and humid as we expect in July and August. Of course, days are so long and bright. We continue to have experiences here we will have nowhere else. A few days ago, David ran an errand for me which has fallen under my responsibilities as the secretary of the Moscow Mission. While I made dinner he went to the opteka (pharmacy) looking for de-worming pills and prozac. As previously mentioned, when the missionaries go home they are instructed to take de-worming pills. EEEYOUUUUUUUUUUUUUU. I'm responsible for getting our missionaries ready to go home and since this is in their departure packet, I guess I need to buy the pills too. Pharmacists don't blink when we go in and ask for 10 or 12 boxes of these pills. hmmmmmmmmmmmm. We continue to be more comfortable as we go through routine daily experiences. Dave gets his hair cut at a barber shop similar to those in America. He shows a photogaph of his haircut (even though I don't think it's necessary. It's not like he has lot of options. ha ha.) because the barber doesn't speak any English. The cost is only $4 or $5. One of the more disconcerting experiences Dave has had is that in the men's public rest rooms, it is not uncommon for a cleaning woman to just walk in. She walks in like she owns the place and it doesn't phase her at all that she is in men's territories! (however it DOES bother Dave!) When we moved in we noticed a very large watering pot on a shelf. We learned that this is to be used when we lose our hot water for a couple of weeks during the summer. I have noticed our water is looking rusty and not as warm. I wonder if it is starting. I tend to think so. OH NO! There is a lot more to post but will do so a little later. Until then, dosvidonya.