Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Home!

We arrived at the SLC airport the evening of February 23. The Mac's carried on their tradition of wearing matching t-shirts to welcome the returning missionaries.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Carry On!


Elvira exemplifies the faithful saints.  She and her husband joined the Church 15 years ago and were sealed in the Temple.  After he died of cancer, she raised their two children alone.
She speaks good English and is infinitely patient with we "foreigners" who work with her in the office.  We can't say enough about her wisdom.

Although trained as an architect, she prefers being employed by the Church as a visa worker.

In the Church she is the District and Branch YW leader, an Institute Teacher, Branch pianist, a dedicated VT, and constantly looking for missionary or reactivation opportunities.

We will miss her and all those like her.  Our prayers are with them.

Soviet


Those who grew up in the USSR (CCCP) say that they felt a pride in their country, they felt lucky to be Russian.  In the "Young Pioneers," they sang songs, gave service, and were taught good values:  take care of the elderly, be an example to the young; slogans promoted "equality and justice for all."

One sister said it was a shock to realize that the world didn't see it the same.  She added, "Of course, it was forced and we didn't know about the killing, etc."

Today, we think they should still be proud to be Russian.  They may not realize it, but they have more choices than their grandparents.  The way we see it, they can choose a material life, or one based in Faith.

ReBar


This rebar covers all the Office windows or the balconies.  Nearly all lower-story windows have it.  We thought the rebar was a hold-over from the Soviet Era, but people say that, no, that felt like a safe time.  We were told that if a crime was committed, the suspect just "went away," they "disappeared."

The rebar became a necessity during the aftermath of the soviet collapse when there was no order and everyone's property was up for grabs, so to speak.  But we sense an era of trust is re-emerging.

Salad


Salads are both similar and different. A cold salad with vegetables is common as a first course or as a side dish at a meal.  However, they're not the tossed green salad we tend to expect.  A salad here means something more like a potato or chicken salad mix.

The salad will almost always be mixed with mayo and will contain meat, sometimes more meat than in the entree.  The combinations are new to us:  potato salad almost always has canned peas; a beet salad may contain fish, and so on.

Addresses


The addressing system is sensible enough. Each large building has a street and number, sometimes posted plainly such as this "dome" by the office.  Someone's address may be Tatesheva 125  Apt. 70.  It gets tricky, however, because several buildings may fill the center of large blocks.  In this case, the actual street Tatesheva is a block or two away.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Contacting

Remember the twins we sometimes pass on our walk to school? They came with their mother last week to our house to meet the missionaries, and then, very kindly reciprocated.

(Elder Stewart, a twin himself, plays puzzles with them.)


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Last Days

We're scheduled to return home this Tuesday, February 23, and we speak in Sacrament Meeting on the 28th.  After we're released, we'll post a few more items to finish out our blog.  

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

До свидания


Instructions have just come from our Area Presidency that missionaries not maintain blogs. We want to comply. : ) For the record, we asked permission before we began, but as time has passed we have heard things that make us see the need for such direction.


As long as we're writing one last time, we have this to say:
  • Heavenly Father loves each one of His children. He wants our happiness.
  • Jesus Christ is the Savior of all mankind. He offers exaltation to all who are willing to follow Him and abide by His precepts.
  • Joseph Smith has restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ on Earth today.
  • The Book of Mormon is true; following its principles will make your life happier--we promise.
  • The Church is lead by a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, who reveals God's will for our times.
  • The Heavens are opened. That is, each of us can be guided by the Spirit to have direction for our lives. Prayers are answered.
  • To those who already know these things: BE TRUE!
Love to all,
Elder and Sister McEvoy

Saturday, January 16, 2010

"Papa, Don't Drink"


Many groups within Russia try to help stem alcohol consumption, use of drugs, and other destructive lifestyles.  This sign was spotted on a public wall in Chelyabinsk.

Fresh Air

Parents and grandparents pull children on sleds. Babies, even newborns, are taken out in strollers for "air." There are times when it is too cold, and even adults will stay in and wait it out.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Russian Christmas




We can't say enough about a traditional Russian dinner at Alexey, Olga and Anna's, with Elder and Sister Nuzman. After feasting on borscht, meat and cabbage turnovers--piroshki, chicken and rice entree, and hot cranberry-cherry compote--Olga heaped the table with chocolates, torte, and fruit. Then it was time to talk and laugh away the evening.

Bright spot


Fun to run into Sister Mezinets (Ukraine) and Sister Hansen (ID), when we were walking to Alexeys.

Sister Mezinets' cute, warm fur coat was made for her by her mother.  We see plenty of real fur coats, but if it's faux, Russians call it "fish fur," a little joke.

At work in Himash


After a meeting with Lilia and her mother and young son, Elders Holden and Cutler dig snow from her car outside the apartment, while Elder McEvoy removes the battery to take inside and charge. It's not uncommon to take the battery inside at night so it will work in the morning. After the work was done, we all headed for the bus stop. (-10 f.)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Warm today

It was +5 f. degrees Sunday.  At church Lubov, who speaks English, cheerfully announced, "It's warm today!  But tomorrow it will be cold again."  Our -25 temperatures make us appreciate a balmy +5.
Inside homes, stores, missionary apartments, and our office it's plenty warm.  We mostly work in shirt-sleeves.  Missionaries dress to be warm enough when they're out in -20f. (with wind) and still be comfortable inside at +72 degrees on any given day.  Layering is the answer!

Sister Allcott took winter pictures of all the zones; Yekat Zone here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Thursday, January 7, 2010

One More Christmas Story

These Elders are the ones who were scheduled to fly home on December 22. At the airport, they were told they would be delayed 48 hours; at least they'd make it home Christmas Eve. They took off on the 24th, but we got the "rest of the story" from the Allens today:

"When the four returning missionaries got to Frankfurt, Elder O'Dair didn't have a ticket home. So Elder Shreeve stayed an extra day in Frankfurt with Elder O'Dair so that he wouldn't have to be alone at Christmas. [The two were flying into AZ.] They both came home late, but we are sure their families were glad to see them."

(l-r Elders Shreeve, Krogue, Dasha, us, Elders O'Dair, Isenbarger, 23 Dec. 2009.)

Food, Glorious Food # 1



We haven't said enough about food. Originally we wondered what we would eat here. Well, the brands are different but we lack nothing.

We love trying Russian food, but when we're on our own we gravitate to the familiar. For lunch at the office we've had grilled cheese, tuna salad, and BLT's--Russian style. That is, crisp fried slices of kilbasa and tomatoes; skip the L or use Chinese cabbage leaves. Russian mayo is excellent.

Recent dinners have featured chow mein (frozen broccoli, chicken, fresh mushrooms w/real Asian noodles); enchiladas and fajitas w/ homemade tortillas; pork roast and baked potatoes; pasta alfredo w/chicken; tuna casserole; etc., etc.
(Elder Mac serves enchiladas to Vasylina, Elder Stoops (Norway), and the Nuzmans; BLT's w/out the L.)

General Blog

We could easily post three or four times what we do but we write only when time permits. Then, some things we experience aren't suited to a blog. In any case, thank you for reading and for comments. So sorry we don't always respond back! For the next few weeks we have random items to share.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Welcome 2010

С Новым Годом! Happy New Year to all!

We're celebrating New Years as we did last year, in by dark the 31st and all day the 1st. Missionaries will be studying and house cleaning. What with our -20 f. degree weather, no one should mind. Most missionaries are planning good food, too!

The celebration begins for Russians by watching President Medvedev's brief speech, televised at five minutes before midnight in each of Russia's twelve time zones.  When he's done, the festivities begin!  (Take a look at the good values in his speech.)
Picture from the ice sculpture display in central Yekat from ekaterinburg.com

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Russian Winter

We are experiencing a Russian Winter, at least compared to last year. The weather has been quite cold around the mission, with some areas as low as -43 Celsius. The wind in our area of Yekaterinburg seems to always bow from the pond area, making it just a bit cooler. With the humidity in the air, sometimes the wind simply penetrates all clothing.

Scarves are essential elements of clothing, and they help immensely to protect ones cheeks and nose. However, they seem to collect the breath and fog glasses and also freeze to one's eye lashes and eye brows.


Elder Stewart (New Jersey) is pictured here after a few hours in the Ufa cold.

Suggestions: Don't try this at home!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Branch Christmas Night

Elder McEvoy as Father Frost brings gives packages to the children; he was the Spirit of Christmas Present with Zhenya as Scrooge in this simplified version of A Christmas Carol; the children, dressed in nativity costumes, sang.
(Thanks to Radeek for most of the pictures.)



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Transport Window Frost

Elders




























  • Our great Ukrainian elders, just back in the Office from visa renewal in Kiev: Elders Kurbatov, Melnik and Bagmet
  • Hardworking Elder Cutler during practice for the Branch Christmas play.
  • Goodbye dinner with Elder Isenbarger and his companion, Elder Pearson, the photographer.
  • Elders Smith, Heuer and Cooper stop mid-stride for the camera on their way to their first visa renewal trip to Helsinki.
NOTE: Elder Isenbarger, Krogue, O'Dair and Shreeve went to the airport to go home today, and their flight was canceled because of bad weather in Europe; they can't leave for two more days.

Winter Solstice


The sun, low in the sky at noon, casts long shadows as President and Sister Solomein walk Sister Galina to their car on Sunday, the 20th.

Yesterday was our shortest day, 6.75 hours of daylight, and now the Sun is on its way back towards summer!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Girls Night





The darling Young Single Adult sisters came to our house for a pre-holiday party. We actually had a few decorations--unlike last year. Elder Shreeve (AZ) let us use the little tree his mom sent. We had candles from Ikea, and that was it.

After doing a craft or two, we ate potato soup, and then had a Spiritual Thought on Christmas, the celebration of Christ's birth. These young sisters can teach their future families about the Nativity.

They took lots of pictures and put a bunch on FB. Their favorite part of the evening was when Elder McEvoy bore his testimony of the Savior.

Enroute to Bus Stop 4:30 PM

Walking in a winter wonderland, Yekaterinburg style.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ural Folk Choir and Dance Troupe




We LOVED this performance of local traditional song and dance. The orchestra was made up of accordians and mandolins, with musicians in native dress. Fabulous music. The ladies all danced in red boots, red shoes.